Dancing with Valentino

New York City

December 26, 1950

The Ashland Hotel is a dump in a rundown section of the city. I live in an one-room apartment, two rooms if you are the bathroom, with my common-law husband, some time cab driver, Joe Davies.   The hotel is a perfect setting for a murder.


Aser Thorson is some Swedish guy Joe had picked up in his cab earlier at night.   Thorson lives on a single floor as us, but we had never met. Joe is a talkative sort who is always bragging to people that his wife had danced with Rudolph Valentino, been in the Ziegfeld Follies and starred in silent movies.   I guess Thorson wanted to meet me.

Nobody bothered to ask me what I thought, so when they arrive, I didn’t know what is certainly going on.   But the sight of two whiskey bottles and some beer in a stranger’s arms made for warm introductions.   He was about 45, tall, dirty blond hair, lanky and smelled like fruit trees.   I then found out later he was an apple picker and worked in a cider factory.

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