Saturday, June 27, 2015

Excerpt: the Inspector Gilles Maintenon Mystery Series # 6.

1929 Mercedes SSk roadster. Stoskett, (Wiki.)

Louis Shalako

It was a fashionable district, in an affluent quarter. Their daily clientele included some of the most famous, powerful, talented or simply beautiful people in the city. 
Some of them were even important, as either a philosopher or a comedian had once said. He was opening an account, slightly baffled by his own success but looking around at the company he kept, impressed as all hell.

Crédit Lyonnais Paris Branch manager Antoine Noel let himself out of the Mercedes. His son Maurice would pick him up for lunch, and return him to the bank about one-thirty or two o’clock. Mo would pick him up after work and deposit him safely back at home. If nothing else, the man could drive. One must give him that. The SSK was Antoine’s one major concession to vanity, but the fact was that he hardly ever drove it. He’d worked hard to expand the bank in its operations, services, and most especially in its regional expansions of the previous decade. It was a symbol of his success, a socially acceptable flamboyance in this, the most staid and conservative of professions.

It made some use of, and gave dignity to a relationship, with a family member who would otherwise be useless to himself and the rest of humanity.

What the young man did with himself in the meantime was no concern of Antoine’s, but Mo hadn’t asked for money, over and above his rather minimal and unambitious salary in quite some time. 

While Antoine appreciated that his car and driver were mostly available, his son was overpaid now, considering time spent on actual duties. To be fair, the car was always clean and very well maintained as befitted Antoine’s status.

Antoine took it that he’d been winning at cards or the horses and that consequently all was well with the world in Mo’s book.

“Bye, father. Have a good day.”

“Bye, and you, too.”

All Antoine had ever really wanted for his children was for them to be happy, to be healthy, and to live long and prosper in whatever way suited them best. Maurice was happy where some of the others weren’t, even when they had so much more going for them. Lydie, his youngest daughter was a constant bitcher, and yet she had two fine sons, a doting if slightly stupid husband. They lived in a better house than her parents. For that and other reasons, he tried not to judge Mo too harshly.

His youngest son was ambitious in all the wrong places, or so it seemed to Antoine. He wanted to ski, or so he said, he wanted to race cars, bed fine young women, write novels and become a painter, a poet, a sculptor.

What else was wealth for, anyways? That was his attitude, and something inside of his old man had oddly resonated. Of all his kids, Antoine liked Mo the best—which is to say that he tolerated him where the others would have received a good swift kick in the ass.


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