Max's studio office apartment was in the Haight Ashbury district. He felt more comfortable in the seedier parts of town so wasn't looking forward to this trip to Nob Hill. He was on his way to see Myra Moretti, the landlady for the building of the murder scene. Myra owned half of the building and managed it. The deceased, Eleanor Abbott, also known as Nora, had owned the elegant lower flat that she had been murdered in.
Max had an image in his mind from the landladies he knew in Haight-Ashbury. He imagined an older woman with a sweaty muti-colored scarf wrapped around the hair, a cigarette would hang from the corner of her mouth, she'd be wearing a poor fitting cotton house dress, topped off with anklet socks with knit slippers. Never an attractive sight!
After a bus and cable car ride, he arrived to the apartment on California Street and rang the bell. It was hard to believe this houdy toudy apartment building was the scene of a violent murder which was now plastered all over the daily papers. One of the SF Examiner's columnists went so far as to delve into the victim's personal life right away. Her headline:
"DANCING GRANDMAS AND GIGILOS HIT THE JAZZ TRAIL."
Gossip or reality? Max had to look into this further. If this respected, wealthy society lady lived a double life, this could be the break for the little Chinaman Lok Chu to get off this murder rap. He was sure the landlady could give him the skinny. He figured he could use his charms to worm it out of her. That, or a ten spot.
Max rang the bell again and the door swung open.
"What can I do for you handsome?"
"I'm here to see Myra Moretti," Max's eyes opened wide. As he had imagined, this woman had a wide scarf wrapped around her hair and had a cigarette hanging from her mouth. Except, ... she was an absolutely gorgeous dame. The scarf provided a sexy bohemian accent to her thick black hair. The cigarette was in a long diamond studded holder. Her silky flapper dress plunged in the front, in a flattering, rather than a shocking way.
"I'm Myra, and who might you be?"
Max found himself blushing as she looked him up and down. The tables had been turned.
"I'm investigating the death of ...um ... Eleanor Abbott and wondered if I ... uh ... can have a few words with you. I'm a private detective."
"Ohhh, Nora? Ok, sweetie, come on in. No need to choke over your words. I won't bite you, - at least not right away....," she gave him a sly wink.
Max slid past her into an opulent apartment with red velvet couches and walls filled with pictures with golden frames, and he wondered what he had gotten himself into.
Photo: bohemian fashion at styled society.tumblr.com