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"You're going to do it?" she asked finally.

"Well, as I said, I want to talk to Suarez first. If we can get along, and work out a way I can act like a, uh, consultant, maybe I will. It might be interesting. What do you think?"

She turned onto her side to look at him. "Edward, if it was a poor nobody who got murdered, would Ivar and the Department be going to all this trouble?"

"Probably not," he admitted. "The victim was a white male WASP. Wealthy, educated, influential. His widow has been raising hell with the Department, and his father, who has mucho clout, has been raising double hell. So the Department is calling up all the troops."

"Do you think that's fair?"

"Monica," he said patiently, "suppose a junkie with a snootful of shit is found murdered in an alley. The clunk has a sheet as long as your arm, and he's a prime suspect in muggings, robberies, rapes, and God knows what else. Do you really want the Department to spend valuable man-hours trying to find out who burned him? Come on! They're delighted that garbage like that is off the streets."

"I suppose…" she said slowly. "But it just doesn't seem right that the rich and influential get all the attention."

"Go change the world," he said. "It's always been like that, and always will. I know you think everyone is equal.

Maybe we all are-in God's eyes and under the law. But it's not as clear-cut as that. Some people try to be good, decent human beings, and some are evil scum. The cops, with limited budgets and limited personnel, recognize that. Is it so unusual or outrageous that they'll spend more time and effort protecting the angels than the devils?"

"I don't know," she said, troubled. "it sounds like elitism to me.

Besides, how do you know Dr. Simon Ellerbee was an angel?"

"I don't. But he doesn't sound like a devil, either."

"You're really fascinated by all this, aren't you?"

"Just something to do," he said casually.

"I have a better idea of something to do," she said, fluttering her eyes.

"I'm game," he said, smiling.

The small, narrow townhouse on East 84th Street, between York and East End Avenues, was jointly owned by Drs. Diane and Simon Ellerbee. After its purchase in 1976, they had spent more than $100,000 on renovations, stripping the pine paneling of eleven layers of paint, restoring the handsome staircase, and redesigning the interior to provide four useful floor-throughs.

The first level, up three stone steps from the sidewalk, was occupied by the Piedmont Gallery. It exhibited and sold handwoven fabrics, quilts, and primitive American pottery. It was not a profitable enterprise, but was operated almost as a hobby by two prim, elderly ladies who obviously didn't need income from this commercial venture.

The offices of Dr. Diane Ellerbee were on the second floor, and those of Dr. Simon Ellerbee on the third. Both floors had been remodeled to include living quarters. Living room, dining room, and kitchen were on the second; two bedrooms and sitting room on the third. Each floor had two bathrooms.

The professional suites on both floors were almost identicaclass="underline" a small outer office for a receptionist and a large, roomy inner office for the doctor. The offices of Drs. Diane and Simon Ellerbee were connected by intercom.

The fourth and top floor of the townhouse was a private apartment, leased as a pied-A-terre by a West Coast filmmaker who was rarely in residence.

In addition to the townhouse, the Ellerbees owned a country home near Brewster, New York. It was a brick and stucco Tudor on 4.5 wooded acres bisected by a swift-running stream. The main house had two master bedrooms on the ground floor and two guest bedrooms on the second. A three car garage was attached. In the rear of the house was a tiled patio and heated swimming pool.

Both the Ellerbees were avid gardeners, and their English garden was one of the showplaces of the neighborhood. They employed a married couple, Polish immigrants, who lived out. The husband served as groundsman and did maintenance.

The wife worked as housekeeper and, occasionally, cook.

It was the Ellerbees' custom to stay in their East 84th Street townhouse weekdays-and, on rare occasions, on Saturday.

They usually left for Brewster on Friday evening and returned to Manhattan on Sunday night. Both spent the entire month of August at their country home.

The Ellerbees owned three cars. Dr. Simon drove a new bottie-green Jaguar XJ6 sedan, Dr. Diane a 1971 silver and black Mercedes-Benz SEL 3.5. Both these cars were customarily garaged in Manhattan. The third vehicle, a Jeep station wagon, was kept at their Brewster home.

On the Friday Dr. Simon Ellerbee was murdered, he told his wife-according to her statement to the police-that he had scheduled an evening patient. He suggested she drive back to Brewster as soon as she was free, and he would follow later. He said he planned to leave by 9:00 P.m. at the latest.

Dr. Diane said she left Manhattan at approximately 6:30 P.m. She described the drive north as "ferocious" because of the 40 mph wind and heavy rain. She arrived at their country home about 8:00 P.m. Because of the storm, she guessed her husband would be delayed, but expected him by 10:30 or 11:00.

By 11:30, she stated she was concerned by his absence and called his office.

There was no reply. She called two more times with the same result.

Around midnight, she called the Brewster police station, asking if they had any report of a car THE Fourth DEAL)LYSIN 17 accident involving a Jaguar XJ6 sedan. They had not.

Becoming increasingly worried, she phoned the Manhattan garage where the Ellerbees kept their cars. After a wait of several minutes, the night attendant reported that Dr. Simon Ellerbee's Jaguar had not been taken out; it was still in its slot.

"I was getting frantic," she later told detectives. "I thought he might have been mugged walking to the garage. It happened once before."

So, at approximately 1:15 A.M Dr. Diane called Dr. Julius K. Samuelson.

He was also a psychiatrist, a widower, and close friend and frequent house guest of the Ellerbees. Dr. Samuelson was also president of the Greater New York Psychiatric Association. He lived in a cooperative apartment. at 79th Street and Madison Avenue.

Samuelson was not awakened by Diane Ellerbee's phone call, having recently returned from a concert by the Stuttgart String Ensemble at Carnegie Hall. When Dr. Diane explained the situation, he immediately agreed to taxi to the Ellerbees' house and try to find Dr. Simon or see if anything was amiss.

Samuelson stated he arrived at the East 84th Street townhouse at about 1:45 A.m. He asked the cabdriver to wait. It was still raining heavily.

He stepped from the cab into a streaming gutter, then hurried across the sidewalk and up the three steps to the front entrance. He found the door ajar.

"Not wide open," he told detectives. "Maybe two or three inches."

Samuelson was fifty-six, a short, slender man, but not lacking in physical courage. He tramped determinedly up the dimly lighted, carpeted staircase to the offices of Dr. Simon on the third floor. He found the office door wide open.

Within, he found the battered body.

He checked first to make certain that Ellerbee was indeed dead. Then, using the phone on the receptionist's desk, he dialed 911. The call was logged in at 1:54 A.M. All the above facts were included in New York City newspaper reports and on local TV newscasts following the murder.

Delaney planted himself across the street from Acting Chief Suarez's house on East 87th, off Lexington Avenue. He squinted at it, knowing exactly how it was laid out; he had grown up in a building much like that one.

It was a six-story brownstone, with a flight of eight stone steps, called a stoop, leading to the front entrance. Originally, such a building was an old-law tenement with two railroad flats on each floor, running front to back, with almost every room opening onto a long hallway.

"Cold-water flats," they were sometimes called. Not because there was no hot water; there was if you had a humane landlord. But the covered bathtub was in a corner of the kitchen, and the toilet was out in the hall, serving the two apartments.