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Valentine Williams

Mannequin

Hodder & Stoughton 1930
Jacket artwork by Abbey

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PAGE ONE

To seaward the red light at the point of the harbour mole flashed against the deep evening purple very much as if the sombre Mediterranean were blinking at the radiance streaming forth from hotel facade and shop window along the curve of the Croisette. Up the slope of the Casino approach an endless chain of limousines came crawling, with side-lamps that picked out of the surrounding obscurity vivid patches of red and pink and green among the geraniums and verdant bushes of the gardens. The uniformed silhouettes of chauffeurs and chasseurs, passing to and fro before the glowing Casino windows, appeared against the moving background of cars. At the foot of the ramp an immense phalanx of automobiles already flanked the lapping harbour with its forest of slender masts melting into the mauve dusk. Here and there the brilliant beam of a headlight wheeled erratically out of the gathering night. Far along the edging of palms marking the Croisette, the blurred lamps of the cortege were strung. A klaxon grunted from time to time, strident, impatient. Hurry I hurry I the horns seemed to protest. We bear the idle, and they cannot bear to sit still while there is more nothing to be done. Against the low wall of the Casino gardens the waiting chauffeurs lolled, smoking and gossiping in the lingo; fashioned out of half a dozen tongues, of the Riviera garages, stamping their feet and beating their arms against their smart tunics in the chilly February air. Above this scene of bustle, the Casino, squat and flat and white, like any Oriental pavilion, and

Valentine Williams     Abbey

Classic Crime Fiction

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