Table of Contents
A Selection of Recent Titles by R.N. Morris
Part One: Love
Part Two: Money
Part Three: Death
A Selection of Recent Titles by R.N. Morris
The Silas Quinn Series
SUMMON UP THE BLOOD *
THE MANNEQUIN HOUSE *
THE DARK PALACE *
The Porfiry Petrovich Series
THE GENTLE AXE
A VENGEFUL LONGING
A RAZOR WRAPPED IN SILK
THE CLEANSING FLAMES
* available from Severn House
THE DARK PALACE
A Silas Quinn Mystery
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This first world edition published 2014
in Great Britain and the USA by
Crème de la Crime, an imprint of
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
19 Cedar Road, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM2 5DA.
eBook edition first published in 2014 by Severn House Digital
an imprint of Severn House Publishers Limited
Copyright © 2014 by R.N. Morris
The right of R.N. Morris to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Morris, Roger, 1960
The dark palace. – (A Silas Quinn mystery; 3)
1. Quinn, Silas (Fictitious character)–Fiction.
2. Assault and battery–England–London–Fiction.
3. London (England)–History–1800-1950–Fiction.
4. Motion picture industry–Fiction. 5. Detective and
I. Title II. Series
ISBN-13: 978-1-78010-508-6 (ePub)
Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.
This ebook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
My thanks to Andrew Martin and Piers Connor for their help with certain details of the London Underground of the period, and to Britta Osthaus for help checking the German. Any mistakes in either case are entirely mine.
Thanks also to everyone at Severn House, especially Kate Lyall Grant and Sara Porter, my copy-editor, Claire Ritchie, and proofreader, Emma Grundy Haigh, and to my agent, Christopher Sinclair Stevenson.
Love constitutes a great human interest, of course. Money has an appeal as strong or sometimes even stronger. Then there is death, horrid enough one might think, yet capable like the rest of being turned for the occasion into an unwilling pay box attendant.
The Handbook of Kinematography
Colin N. Bennett, F.C.S., and collaborators (London: Kinematograph Weekly, 1911).
The darkness liberated him. He moved through it like a fish through the depths. It was his element.
He was clad in black, a loose black hood over his head. He felt the cloth of the hood against his face. As if the darkness had formed itself into a soft membrane and drifted on to him.
He smiled beneath the hood. A smile that no one would ever see.
There was no darkness like the darkness in this place. It was leavened by a silver cast of moonlight from the high windows. But it was what he knew about this darkness that distinguished it. His knowledge of what it contained.
And he was part of it now. He was at one with it. More than that, he was about to make off with its secrets, the source of its unique potency.
He had a right to smile. He had earned it.
He picked his way through a lattice of shadows, his arms held out as if to initiate an embrace. He had trained himself to move without reliance on sight. It was a perverse skill for one who lived by the visual to develop, but it served him well at moments like this. And there always would be moments like this. He had counted the steps earlier in the week, when the assistant he had bribed and flattered and cajoled had led him to the room where treasures he wanted would be stored.
The door was a looming presence, a sentinel.
His black-gloved hand flicked out to test the handle. Locked, as he knew it would be. He tensed a muscle in his hidden smile. He knew how little municipal workers were paid. It had not taken much to buy the privilege of handling the keys for long enough to make an imprint. Naturally, he had been ready with a perfectly innocent explanation. And the promise of fame and riches had been enough to quell any doubts the man might have had.
That was all it had taken: to locate the vanity of a weak, overlooked man and exploit it. Every man had his vanity, which was only the same as saying every man had his price.
The key resisted. He kept the pressure firm and constant, careful not to force it.
He looked behind him anxiously, a redundant gesture. He knew there was no other living soul in the place at this time of night.