Private Investigator Sidney Sharp was lucky with women. She attracted them easily — but hanging on to them was another matter. This particular night, it was a blonde, early 20s and out of control. She had the scent of money about her and it smelled good to Sharp. Her clothes were tailored, tight and carefully casual; she wasn’t a regular. She pressed herself against Sharp and whispered in her ear, pleading her case, as if she had to. In the black-walled basement club, women moved through the shadows like caged lions; their eyes lazily sized each other up. The tiny parquet dancefloor was packed with bodies grinding together. The rotating mirrored disco ball showered stars of light around the room. It was Saturday night in 1984 and the place was thumping. But for Sharp and the blonde, it didn’t matter; they had something else on their minds.
Sharp’s beige K-car moved through the darkened streets of Toronto. The blonde’s hand made Sharp grateful her car was an automatic. They turned down a residential street and parked in front of a two-storey, yellow-brick 1920s apartment building. Not saying much, the blonde unlocked the front door and Sharp followed her inside. 23 Crossley St. Apartment 3B. Inside the apartment, the blonde slipped into the bathroom to “freshen up.” Sharp didn’t think she could get any fresher.
A coat stand stood against the wall. Sharp hung up her jacket. Nice piece of furniture, she thought to herself. She should get one for the office. One day. One day when she had some money.
“I’ll just be a minute, Sid.”
The blonde’s voice came through the bathroom door.
“That’s fine . . . um?” Sharp’s cheek twitched. She realized she’d forgotten the blonde’s name! What was it? She groaned inwardly, imaging the blonde in her arms later that night, sighing and saying, “You’re so good, Sid.” And Sharp having to reply, “Yeah, well, you’re pretty great yourself . . . you. You, there.”
There had to be a way out of this.
Sharp’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of running water coming from the bathroom. The blonde was freshening up — and Sharp suspected the process was almost complete. She had to think fast. There wasn’t much time.
Her eyes darted around the room for clues. Her gaze fell on a small table by the front door. Lying on it next to a black rotary phone and a dish full of pennies were a few pieces of mail. She leapt across the room and snatched up an electricity bill.
It read, “Attention: Miss Claire Iverson.” Iverson? Why was that name familiar? The image of a church pew flashed in Sharp’s mind . . .
Just then, the bathroom door swung open.
Miss Claire Iverson stood on the threshold, wearing nothing more than a small, gold cross. The world stopped spinning long enough for Sharp to decide that this moment, and this woman, would be the beginning of something beautiful.
Boy, was she wrong.