Cover image for Widows
Title:
Widows
Author:
McBain, Ed, 1926-2005.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow, [1991]

©1991
Physical Description:
332 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780688102197
Format :
Book

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FICTION Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery
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FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
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Summary

Summary

The beautiful blonde in the penthouse apartment was dead, her face and body laced with slashes from a paring knife -- grisly evidence of the terrible things the city can do to pretty young women. What sordid web of money, sex, and greed had ensnared Susan Brauer? The stack of unsigned erotic letters in her possession was the first clue. Then the murder of Susan's lover, a married lawyer in his sixties, leads the cops of the 87th to the women left behind: the lawyer's wife, his ex, his daughters. And for Detective Carella, his own father's senseless death in a bakery holdup sears through the intense summer heat -- and sends him on a fevered hunt for the one who made his mother a widow and shrouded his family in grief.


Author Notes

Ed McBain is a pen name for Evan Hunter who was born in 1926 in East Harlem, New York on October 15, 1926. Hunter was born with the name Salvatore Albert Lombino, and he legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. During World War II, Hunter joined the Navy and served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific. He graduated from Hunter College, were he majored in English and psychology, with minors in dramatics and education.

He was a prolific writer who also wrote under the names of Ed McBain, Curt Cannon, Hunt Collins, Ezra Hannon, and Richard Marsten. His first major success came in 1954 with the publication of The Blackboard Jungle, which was later adapted as a film. He published the first three books in the 87th Precinct series in 1956 under the name of Ed McBain. He also wrote juvenile books, plays, television scripts, and stories and articles for magazines. He won the Mystery Writers of America Award in 1957 and the Grand Master Award in 1986 for lifetime achievement. He died of laryngeal cancer on July 6, 2005 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography) Ed McBain is the only American to receive the Diamond Dagger, the British Crime Writers Association's highest award. He also holds the Mystery Writers of America's coveted Grand Master Award. His books have sold over one hundred million copies, ranging from his most recent, "The Last Dance", to the bestselling "The Blackboard Jungle", the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" & the bestselling "Privileged Conversation", written under his own name, Evan Hunter. He lives in Connecticut.

(Publisher Provided) Ed McBain, aka Evan Hunter, wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and has written many novels. He is the only American to be awarded Britain's coveted Diamond Dagger Award, the highest honor a suspense writer can achieve. He lives in Connecticut.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

YA-- This novel is more a contemplation of relationships than a murder story, as McBain introduces a serious study of the hostage security unit. His descriptions of the good cop, bad cop, abductors, and hostage relationships are true to life and not overdramatized. With the exception of the erotic letters included, this could be used in English class to illustrate how dialogue should be written. Relationships between working partners, married partners, father and daughter, father and son, ex-wives and lovers are successfully explored. Readers have complete knowledge of all characters and their background. There are no superfluous victims or survivors. McBain uses words the way an artist uses colors to illustrate an idea. For those who read on a less complicated level, however, there is a story worth reading. An informative book with lots of excitement.--Kathy Danbury, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1 She'd been brutally stabbed and slashed more times than Carella chose to imagine. The knife seemed to have been a weapon of convenience, a small paring knife that evidently had been taken from the bartop where a bottle opener with a matching wooden handle sat beside a half-full pitcher of martinis, an ice bucket, and a whole lemon from which a narrow sliver of skin was missing. Someone had been drinking a martini. With a twist. Presumably the paring knife had been used to peel back the skin of the lemon before the knife was used on its victim. The martini was still on the coffee table alongside which she was lying. The lemon twist lay curled on the bottom of the glass. The paring knife was on the floor beside her. The blade was covered with blood. She was bleeding from what appeared to be a hundred cuts and gashes. "Natural blonde," Monoghan said. She was wearing a black silk kimono patterned with oversized red poppies. The kimono was belted at the waist, but it had been torn open to reveal her long, slender legs and the blonde pubic patch upon which Monoghan had based his clever deduction. Her blue eyes were open. Her throat had been slit. Her face had been repeatedly slashed, but you could still see she'd been a beauty. Nineteen, twenty years old, long blonde hair and startling blue eyes, wide open, staring at the ceiling of the penthouse apartment. Young beautiful body under the slashed black kimono with poppies the color of blood. The men in suits and jackets stood around her, looking down at her, plastic-encased ID cards clipped to their coat collars. Monoghan and Monroe from Homicide North; Detective/Second Grade Steve Carella from the Eight-Seven; Detective/Third Grade Arthur Brown, same precinct. Nice little gathering here at a little past eight o'clock on a hot, muggy night late in July. Monoghan and Monroe kept staring down at the body as if pondering the mystery of it all. There were slash and stab marks on her breast and her belly. Her wounds shrieked silently to the night. The insides of her thighs had been slashed. There was blood everywhere you looked. Torn white flesh and bright red blood. Shrieking. The men were waiting for the medical examiner to arrive. This weather, cars and people all over the streets, it took time to get anywhere. There was a pained look on Carella's face. Brown looked angry, the way he normally did, even when he was deliriously happy. "Girls like this, they can get in trouble, this city," Monroe said. Carella wondered, Girls like what? "You get a young, pretty girl like this one," Monoghan said, "they don't know what this city is like." "What this city can do to you," Monroe said. "This city can do terrible things to young girls," Monoghan said. They stood there with their hands in the pockets of their suit jackets, thumbs showing, identical navy-blue suits and white shirts and blue ties, looking down at the dead woman. Girl, they had called her. Nineteen, twenty years old at most. Carella wondered if she'd thought of herself as a woman. On all the subsequent reports, she would be labeled merely FEMALE. Generic labeling. No fine distinction for feminists to pursue, no quarrel over whether it should be girl or woman, no such bullshit once you became a victim. The minute you were dead, you became female, period. The pained look was still in his eyes. Dark brown eyes, slanting downward to give his face a somewhat Oriental look. Brown hair. Tall and slender. His nose was running, a summer cold. He took out his handkerchief, blew his nose, and looked toward the front door. Where the hell was the M.E.? The apartment felt sticky and damp, was there a window open someplace, diluting the air-conditioning? No window units here, everything hidden and enclosed, this was an expensive apartment. High-rise, high-rent condo here on what passed for the precinct's Gold Coast, such as it was, overlooking the River Harb and the next state. Two blocks south you had your tenements and your hot-bed hotels. Here, on the floor of the building's only penthouse apartment, a young woman in an expensive silk kimono lay torn and bleeding on a thick pile carpet, a martini in a stemmed glass on the coffee table behind her. Liquid silver in the glass. Yellow twist of lemon curling. Lipstick stain on the glass's rim. Enough still left in the pitcher on the bar to pour half a dozen more glasses like this one. Had she been expecting company? Had she voluntarily admitted her own murderer to the apartment? Or was there a window open? "They say it's gonna be even hotter tomorrow than it was today," Monoghan said idly, and turned away from the victim as though bored with her lifeless pose. "Who's they?" Monroe asked. "The weather guys." "Then why didn't you say so? Why do people always say they this, they that, instead of who the hell they is supposed to be?" "What's the matter with you tonight?" Monoghan asked, surprised. "I just don't like people saying they this, they that all the time." "I'm not people," Monoghan said, looking offended and hurt. "I'm your partner." "So stop saying they this, they that all the time." "I certainly will," Monoghan said, and walked over to where a second black leather sofa rested under the windows on the far side of the room. He glanced angrily at the sofa, and then heavily plunked himself down onto it. Brown couldn't believe that the M&Ms were arguing. Monoghan and Monroe? Joined at the hip since birth? Exchanging heated words? Impossible. But there was Monoghan, sitting on the sofa in a sulk, and here was Monroe, unwilling to let go of it. Brown kept his distance. "People are always doing that," Monroe said. "It drives me crazy. Don't it drive you crazy?" he asked Brown. "I don't pay much attention to it," Brown said, trying to stay neutral. "It's the heat's driving you crazy," Monoghan said from across the room. "It ain't the goddamn heat," Monroe said, "it's people always saying they this, they that." Brown tried to look aloof. At six feet four inches tall and weighing two hundred and twenty pounds, he was bigger and in better condition than either of the two Homicide dicks. But he sensed that the argument between them was something that could easily turn against him if he wasn't careful. Nowadays in this city, a black man had to be careful, except with people he trusted completely. He trusted Carella that way, but he knew nothing at all about the religion or politics of the M&Ms, so he figured it was best not to get himself involved in what was essentially a family dispute. One thing he didn't want was a hassle on a hot summer night. Brown's skin was the color of rich Colombian coffee, and he had brown eyes and kinky black hair, and wide nostrils and thick lips, and this made him as black as anyone could get. Over the years, he had got used to thinking of himself as black -- though that wasn't his actual color -- but he was damned if he would now start calling himself African-American, which he felt was a phony label invented by insecure people who kept inventing labels in order to reinvent themselves. Inventing labels wasn't the way you found out who you were. The way you did that was you looked in the mirror every morning, the way Brown did, and you saw the same handsome black dude looking back at you. That was what made you grin, man. "You get people saying things like 'They say there's gonna be another tax hike,'" Monroe said, gathering steam, "and when you ask them who they mean by they, they'll tell you the investment brokers or the financial insti..." "You just done it yourself," Monoghan said. "What'd I do?" "You said you ask them who they mean by they, they'll tell you the investment..." "I don't know what you're talking about," Monroe said. "I'm talking about you complaining about people saying they this and they that, and you just said they this yourself." "I said nothing of the sort," Monroe said. "Did I say that?" he asked Brown, trying to drag him into it again. "Hello, hello, hello," the M.E. said cheerily from the door to the apartment, sparing Brown an answer. Putting down his satchel, wiping his brow with an already damp handkerchief, he said, "It's the Sahara out there, I'm sorry I'm late." He picked up the satchel again, walked over to where the victim lay on the carpet, said, "Oh my," and knelt immediately beside her. Monoghan got off the sofa and came over to where the other men stood. They all watched silently as the M.E. began his examination. In this city, you did not touch the body until someone from the Medical Examiner's Office pronounced the victim dead. By extension, investigating detectives usually interpreted this regulation to mean you didn't touch anything until the M.E. had delivered his verdict. You could come into an apartment and find a naked old lady who'd been dead for months and had turned to jelly in her bathtub, you waited till the M.E. said she was dead. They waited now. He examined the dead woman as if she was still alive and paying her annual visit to his office, putting his stethoscope to her chest, feeling for a pulse, counting the number of slash and stab wounds -- there were thirty-two in all, including those in the small of her back -- keeping the detectives in suspense as to whether or not she was truly deceased. "Tough one to call, huh, Doc?" Monoghan asked, and winked at Monroe, surprising Brown. "Cause of death, he means," Monroe said, and winked back. Brown guessed they'd already forgotten their little tiff. The M.E. glanced up at them sourly, and then returned to his task. At last he rose and said, "She's all yours." The detectives went to work. The clock on the wall of the office read eight-thirty p.m. There was nothing else on any of the walls. Not even a window. There was a plain wooden desk probably salvaged from one of the older precincts when the new metal furniture started coming in. There was a wooden chair with arms in front of the desk, and a straight-backed wooden chair behind it. Michael Goodman sat behind the desk. Dr. Michael Goodman. Who rated only a cubby hole office here in the Headquarters Building downtown. Eileen Burke was singularly unimpressed. "That's Detective/Second, is it?" he asked. "Yes," she said. "How long have you been a detective?" She almost said Too long. "It's all there in the record," she said. She was beginning to think this was a terrible mistake. Coming to see a shrink recommended by another shrink. But she trusted Karin. She guessed. Goodman looked at the papers on his desk. He was a tall man with curly black hair and blue eyes. Nose a bit too long for his face, mustache under it, perhaps to cradle it, soften its length. Thick spectacles with rims the color of his hair. He studied the papers. "Put in a lot of time with Special Forces, I see," he said. "Yes." "Decoy work." "Yes." "Mostly Rape Squad," he said. "Yes," she said. He'd get to the rape next. He'd get to the part that said she'd been raped in the line of duty. It's all there in the record, she thought. "So," he said, and looked up, and smiled. "What makes you think you'd like to work with the hostage team?" "I'm not sure I would. But Karin...Dr. Karin Lefkowitz..." "Yes." "I've been seeing her for a little while now..." "Yes." "At Pizzaz. Upstairs." Psychological Services Assistance Section. P.S.A.S. Pizzaz for short. Cop talk that took the curse off psychological help, made it sound jazzier, Pizzaz. Right upstairs on the fifth floor of the building. Annie Rawles's Rape Squad office was on the sixth floor. You start with a Rape Squad assignment on the sixth floor and you end up in Pizzaz on the fifth, Eileen thought. What goes up must come down. "She suggested that I might find hostage work interesting." Less threatening was what she'd actually said. "How did she mean? Interesting?" Zeroing right in. Smarter than she thought. "I've been under a considerable amount of strain lately," Eileen said. "Because of the shooting?" Goodman asked. Here it comes, she thought. "The shooting, yes, and complications arising from..." "You killed this man when?" Flat out. You killed this man. Which, of course, was what she'd done. Killed this man. Killed this man who'd murdered three prostitutes and was coming at her with a knife. Blew him to perdition. Her first bullet took him in the chest, knocking him backward toward the bed. She fired again almost at once, hitting him in the shoulder this time, spinning him around, and then she fired a third time, shooting him in the back, knocking him over onto the bed. At the time, she couldn't understand why she kept shooting into his lifeless body, watching the eruptions of blood along his spine, saying over and over again, "I gave you a chance, I gave you a chance," until the gun was empty. Karin Lefkowitz was helping her to understand why. "I killed him a year ago October," she said. "Not this past October..." "No, the one before it. Halloween night," she said. Trick or treat, she thought. I gave you a chance. But had she? "Why are you seeing Dr. Lefkowitz?" She wondered if he knew her. Did every shrink in this city know every other shrink? If so, had he talked to her about what they'd been discussing these past several months? "I'm seeing her because I'm gun-shy," she said. "Uh-huh," he said. "I don't want to have to kill anyone else," she said. "Okay," he said. "And I don't want to do any more decoy work. Which is a bad failing for a Special Forces cop." "I can imagine." "By the way," she said, "I don't particularly like psychiatrists." "Lucky I'm only a psychologist," he said, and smiled. "Those, too." "But you do like Karin." "Yes," she said, and paused. "She's been helpful." Big admission to make. "In what way?" "I have other problems besides the job." "First tell me what your problems with the job are." "I just told you. I don't want to be placed in another situation where I may have to shoot someone." "Kill someone." "Shoot, kill, yes." "You don't see any difference?" "When someone's coming at you and you've got three seconds to make a decision, there's no difference, right." "Must have been pretty frightening." "It was." "Are you still frightened?" "Yes." "Just how frightened are you, Miss Burke?" "Very frightened." She could admit this now. Karin had freed her to do this. "Because you killed this man?" "No. Because I was raped. I don't want to get raped again, I'd kill anyone who tried to rape me again. So I don't want to be...to be constantly put in situations where someone may try to rape me, which frightens the hell out of me, and where I'll...I'll have to kill him, which...which also frightens me, I guess. Having to kill someone again." "Sort of a vicious circle, isn't it?" "If I stay with Special Forces, yes." "So you're thinking of the hostage team." "Well, Karin thought I should come up here and talk to you about it. See what it was all about." "It's not about killing people, that's for sure," Goodman said, and smiled again. "Tell me about these other problems. The ones that aren't related to the job." "Well, they're personal." "Yes, well, hostage work is personal, too." "I understand that. But I don't see what my personal problems have to do with..." "I just interviewed a detective who's been with Narcotics for the past ten years," Goodman said. "I've been interviewing people all day long. There's a high burnout rate on the team, lots of stress. If the inspector and I can keep a good negotiator for eight months, that's a long time. Anyway, this detective hates drug dealers, would like to see all of them dead. I asked him what he'd do if we were negotiating with a hostage-taker who was a known drug dealer. He said he'd try to save the lives of the hostages. I asked him who he thought was more important, the hostages or the drug dealer. He said he thought the hostages were more important. I asked him if he'd kill the drug dealer to save the hostages. He said yes, he would. I told him I didn't think he'd be right for the team." Eileen looked at him. "So what about these personal problems you're working on?" he asked. She hesitated. "If you'd rather..." "The night I shot Bobby...that was his name," she said, "Bobby Wilson. The night I shot him, I had two backups following me. But my boyfriend..." "Is he the personal problem? Your boyfriend?" "Yes." "What about him?" "He figured he'd lend a hand on the job, and as a result..." "Lend a hand?" "He's a cop, I'm sorry, I should have mentioned that. He's a detective at the Eight-Seven." "What's his name?" "Why do you need to know that?" "I don't." "Anyway, he walked into what was going down, and there was a mix-up, and I lost both my backups. Which is how I ended up alone with Bobby. And his knife." "So you killed him." "Yes. He was coming at me." "Do you blame your boyfriend for that?" "That's what we're working on." "You and Dr. Lefkowitz." "Yes." "How about you and your boyfriend? Are you working on it, too?" "I haven't seen him since I started therapy." "How does he feel about that?" "I don't give a damn how he feels." "I see." "I'm the one who's drowning," Eileen said. "I see." They sat in silence for several moments. "End of interview, right?" she asked. They found the letters in a jewelry box on the dead woman's dresser. They had ascertained by then -- from the driver's license in her handbag on a table just inside the entrance door -- that her name was Susan Brauer and that her age was twenty-two. The picture on the license showed a fresh-faced blonde grinning at the camera. The blue cloth backing behind her told the detectives that the license was limited to driving with corrective lenses. Before the M.E. left, they asked him if the dead woman was wearing contacts. He said she was not. The box containing the letters was one of those tooled red-leather things that attract burglars the way jam pots attract bees. A burglar would have been disappointed with this one, though, because the only thing in it was a stack of letters still in their envelopes and bound together with a pale blue satin ribbon. There were twenty-two letters in all, organized in chronological order, the first of them dated the eleventh of June this year, the last dated the twelfth of July. All of the letters were handwritten, all of them began with the salutation My darling Susan. None of them was signed. All of them were erotic. The writer was obviously a man. In letter after letter -- they calculated that he'd averaged a letter every other day or so -- the writer described in explicit language all the things he intended to do to Susan... ...standing behind you in a crowded elevator, your skirt raised in the back and tucked up under your belt, you naked under the skirt, my hands freely roaming your... ...and all the things he expected Susan to do to him... ...with you straddling me and facing the mirror. Then I want you to ease yourself down on my... As the detectives read the letters in order, it seemed possible that Susan had been writing to him in return, and that her letters were of the same nature, his references to her requests... ...when you say you want to tie me to the bed and have me beg you to touch me, do you mean... ...indicating an erotic imagination as lively as his own. Moreover, it became clear that these were no mere unfulfilled fantasies. The couple were actually doing the things they promised they'd do, and doing it with startling frequency. ...on Wednesday when you opened your kimono and stood there in the black lingerie I'd bought you, your legs slightly parted, the garters tight on your... ...but then last Friday, as you bent over to accept me, I wondered whether you really enjoyed... ...quite often myself. And when you told me that on Monday you thought of me while you were doing it, the bubble bath foaming around you, your hand busy under the suds, finding that sweet tight... ...known you only since New Year's Day, and yet I think of you all the time. I saw you yesterday, I'll see you again tomorrow, but I walk around eternally embarrassed because I'm sure everyone can see the bulge of my... The letters went on and on. Twenty-two of them in all. The last one was perhaps the most revealing of the lot. In part, before it sailed off into the usual erotic stratosphere, it dealt with business of a sort: My darling Susan, I know you're becoming impatient with what seems an interminable delay in getting you into the new apartment. I myself feel uneasy searching for a taxi when I leave there late at night, knowing the streets to the south of the Oval are neither well-lighted nor well-patrolled. I'll be so much happier when you're settled downtown, closer to my office, in a safer neighborhood, in the luxurious surroundings I promised you. But please don't take the delay as a sign of indifference or changing attitude on my part. And please don't become impatient or forgetful. I would hate to lose this apartment before the other one comes free -- which I've been assured will be any day now. I'll make sure you have the cash to cover any checks you write, but please pay all of the apartment bills promptly. You can't risk losing the lease on default. I've been going to my post office box every day, but nothing from Susan. Is little Susan afraid to write? Is little Susan losing interest? I would hate to think so. Or does sweet Susan need reminding that she's mine? I think you may have to be punished the next time I see you. I think I'll have to turn you over my knee, and pull down your panties, and spank you till your cheeks turn pink, watch your ass writhing under my hand, hear you moaning... This letter, too, was unsigned. It was a shame. It made their job more difficult. The clock on the squadroom wall read twelve minutes to midnight. The Graveyard Shift had just relieved, and Hawes was arguing with Bob O'Brien, who didn't want to be the one who broke the news to Carella. He told Hawes he should stick around, do it himself, even though he'd been officially relieved. "You're the one the sister talked to," O'Brien said. "You're the one should tell Steve." Hawes said he had an urgent engagement, what did O'Brien want him to do, leave a note on Carella's desk? The urgent engagement was with a Detective/First Grade named Annie Rawles who had bought him the red socks he was wearing. The socks matched Hawes's hair and the tie he was wearing. He was also wearing a white shirt that echoed the white streak of hair over his left temple. Hawes was dressed for the summer heat. Lightweight blue blazer over gray tropical slacks, red silk tie and the red socks Annie had given him. This was the seventeenth day of July, a Tuesday night, and the temperature outside the squadroom was eighty-six degrees Fahrenheit. By Hawes's reckoning that came to thirty degrees Celsius, which was damn hot in any language. He hated the summer. He particularly hated this summer, because it seemed to have started in May and it was still here, day after day of torrid temperatures and heavy humidity that combined to turn a person to mush. "Can't you just do me this one simple favor?" he said. "It's not such a simple favor," O'Brien said. "This is the most traumatic thing that can happen in a man's life, don't you know that?" "No, I didn't know that," Hawes said. "Also," O'Brien said, "I have a reputation around here as a hard-luck cop..." "Where'd you get that idea?" Hawes said. "I got that idea because I have a habit of getting into shoot-outs, and I know nobody likes being partnered with me." "That's ridiculous," Hawes said, lying. "Now you're asking me to tell Steve this terrible thing, he'll confuse the messenger with the message and he'll think Here's this hard-luck cop bringing hard luck to me." "Steve won't think that at all," Hawes said. "I won't think what?" Carella said from the gate in the slatted-rail divider, taking off his jacket as he came into the room. Brown was right behind him. Both men looked wilted. "What won't I think?" Carella asked again. O'Brien and Hawes looked at him. "What is it?" Carella said. Neither of them said anything. "Cotton?" he said. "Bob? What is it?" "Steve..." "What?" "I hate to have to tell you this, but..." "What, Bob?" "Your sister called a little while ago," O'Brien said. "Your father is dead," Hawes said. Carella looked at them blankly. Then he nodded. Then he said, "Where is she?" "Your mother's house." He went directly to the phone and dialed the number from memory. His sister picked up on the third ring. "Angela," he said, "it's Steve." She'd been crying, her voice revealed that. "We just got back from the hospital," she said. "What happened?" he asked. "Was it his heart again?" "No, Steve. Not his heart." "Then what?" "We went there to make positive identification." For a moment he didn't quite understand. Or didn't choose to understand. "What do you mean?" he said. "We had to identify the body." "Why? Angela, what happened?" "He was killed." "Killed? What...?" "In the bakery shop." "No." "Steve..." "Jesus, what...?" "Two men came in. Papa was alone. They cleaned out the cash register..." "Angela, don't tell me this, please." "I'm sorry," she said. And suddenly he was crying. "Who's...who's...is it the...the...it's the Four-Five, isn't it? Up there? Who's working the...do you know who's working the...the...Angela," he said, "honey? Did they...did they hurt him? I mean, did they...they didn't hurt him, did they? Oh God, Angela," he said, "oh God oh God oh God..." He pulled the phone from his mouth and clutched it to his chest, tears streaming down his face, great racking sobs choking him. "Steve?" his sister said. "Are you all right?" Her voice muffled against his shirt where the receiver was pressed fiercely to his chest. "Steve? Are you all right? Steve?" Over and over again. Until at last he moved the phone to his mouth again, and still crying, said, "Honey?" "Yes, Steve." "Tell Mama I'll be there as soon as I can." "Drive carefully." "Did you call Teddy?" "She's on the way." "Is Tommy there with you?" "No, we're alone here. Mama and me." "What do you...? Where's Tommy?" "I don't know," she said. "Please hurry." And hung up. Copyright (c) 1991 by HUI Corporation Excerpted from Widows by Ed McBain All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.