Longarm #430: Longarm And The Deadly Sisters by Tabor EvansLongarm #430: Longarm And The Deadly Sisters by Tabor Evans

Longarm #430: Longarm And The Deadly Sisters

byTabor Evans

Mass Market Paperback | August 26, 2014

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Longarm’s seeing double…

The Olsen sisters are as beautiful as they are deadly. Hilda and Pearl were twin mistresses to Senator Taft Baker of Sacramento, California, but now the polygamous politician has been shot to death in his bed—and the sisters are nowhere to be found. Word is, they’ve fled to Denver, where it’s up to Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Long to bring the diabolical duo to justice—on the double!
While the sisters may be identical in appearance, they turn out to be as different as night and day when it comes to temperament. Evil twin Pearl aims to blast Longarm with both barrels, while Hilda is more interested in doubling his pleasure. This time the lawman will have to think twice before making his move—or the Olsen twins may just be the death of him…
Tabor Evans is the author of the long-running Longarm western series, featuring the adventures of Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Long.
Title:Longarm #430: Longarm And The Deadly SistersFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 6.75 × 4.19 × 0.5 inPublished:August 26, 2014Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0515154849

ISBN - 13:9780515154849

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THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUPChapter 1Deputy Marshal Custis Long turned his collar up against the driving snow as he made his way up Colfax Avenue toward the Federal Building. Denver’s sidewalks had not yet been shoveled and the footing was treacherous as workers tried to get to their offices and businesses. Just up ahead of him, a stout woman bundled up in a heavy woolen coat stepped on a patch of ice and fell hard. Longarm, trying not to fall himself, hurried up to assist the woman.“Are you hurt?” he asked with genuine concern as he knelt by her side.“Hell yes, I’m hurt! I busted my ass.”The woman was in her fifties, red-faced from the cold, but she was smiling. “Say, handsome, you want to give this fat lady a hand?”“Sure,” Longarm replied, helping her to her feet. “Are you sure that you’re all right?”“To be perfectly honest, only my pride is injured,” she admitted. “I guess that being fat and having more padding does have a few advantages while trying to walk on this ice.”“I hope you make it to wherever you’re going without another hard fall.”“Not likely, but we all have to get to work even in this horrible winter weather, don’t we?”“Sure do.”“Say, you look familiar.” She turned her head first one way and then the other like a parrot. “Why, you’re the one that they call Longarm! You’re a famous United States marshal!”“I am.”She gave him a good look from the top of his flat, snuff-brown hat to the toes of his overshoes, lingering for a moment on his crotch. “Well, young man, I’ll bet that’s not the only thing long about you!”Longarm’s jaw dropped and as he watched her scuttle down the icy sidewalk, he began to laugh.Once inside the building he stomped the snow off his overshoes and hung his coat on a line of hooks provided for government employees as well as the public. Clancy O’Dell was sipping his usual cup of bracing hot coffee. The man reminded Longarm of a picture he’d seen of a walrus with his bushy mustache and big, corpulent body.“Morning, Clancy.”“Morning, Custis,” the man replied. “Real pisser of a storm, this one.”“That it is.”“I doubt that you fellas up there in the marshal’s office have much to do when the weather gets this bad.”“You’d be wrong about that,” Longarm replied. “Criminals are often smart enough to take advantage of bad weather.”The big guard nodded. “For a fact?”“Yep. Even the number of train robberies increases in bad weather.”Clancy mulled that over for a minute just as Longarm was about to climb the stairs to his second floor office. “Well, that doesn’t make much sense to me because they’d be leaving tracks in the snow easy enough for a lawman like you to follow.”“Good point,” Longarm agreed. “But most lawmen don’t like to go out in storms that can cover those tracks in a hurry.”“Oh,” Clancy said, “sure, I see your point there, Marshal Long. Yes, I do.”Longarm continued up the stairs to his office. Truth be known, he hated being cooped up in the Federal Building for days waiting for some good assignment that would bring him an interesting challenge and even a little danger. And while he was a capable enough writer, he didn’t like to do the damnable reports that were a requirement of his job. Mostly, when he had to be stuck in an office he brought along a book to read so that the hours would pass quickly.“Custis!”Longarm looked up from his desk to see his boss, Marshal Billy Vail, waving impatiently at him from the other side of the room. Longarm came to his feet, passed several other marshals, and joined Billy in the man’s private office.“I’ve got something right up your alley,” Billy said, motioning for Longarm to take a chair. “It’s a job that I wouldn’t wish on anyone else but neither would I trust to anyone else.”“I’m listening.” Longarm stretched his six-foot-four-inch frame out and studied Billy, instantly curious as to what the man had in mind.“Have you ever heard of United States Senator Taft Baker?”“The name sounds familiar.”“Well, it should because he has always been involved in railroad legislation. He was one of the ones that pushed to get funding for the transcontinental railroad.”“That was way back in ’65, wasn’t it?”“About then, yeah,” Billy said. “I met the man a few times when I was called back to Washington, DC, and he was one of the most flamboyant and colorful politicians I’d ever seen. He was tall, like you, and even when he got older he remained damned feisty and ready to fight at the drop of a hat. Why, when he was in his seventies, he whipped a senator from Virginia right on the steps of Congress! And the senator from Virginia was thirty years younger than Baker and said to be a big fella.”“Sounds like this Senator Baker was quite a man.”“He was. I liked him and although he was hated and feared by his opposition in Congress, everyone respected the hell out of him.”“So what has the senator to do with me?”Billy leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers behind his bald spot. “I just learned that Senator Baker was murdered by his twin mistresses in Sacramento, California. The pair got away and word is that they have come to Denver to hide with friends or relatives.”“Whoa!” Longarm cried. “Did I hear you right? You said twin mistresses?”Billy was a little prudish when it came to talking about sex and now his face turned pink with embarrassment. “It’s not something that I want you to tell everyone in the office about.”“Go on.”Billy sighed. “I guess that Taft Baker was married for quite a few years when his wife died last winter in Sacramento. There were two sisters . . . nurses . . . that had taken care of Mrs. Baker and, when she passed, they just sort of stayed on with the senator.”“‘Stayed on’?”“That’s right. At first no one thought anything about it but when the sisters never left, the rumors started flying.” Billy cleared his throat. “I understand that the sisters are in their late twenties and quite attractive. It’s also said that they are identical twins so you can’t hardly tell them apart except perhaps if they were undressed because one has a large mole . . . well, never mind.”“No,” Longarm said, very interested. “Go on! This story is getting better by the minute.”“I don’t have much more to tell you,” Billy said, picking up a telegram and waving it over his desk. “But apparently the senator was found shot in his bed, naked and with a big grin on his face. At the same time the sisters went missing.”“So there’s no actual proof that they shot the senator?”“You’re right,” Billy said. “But there was no one else living in the house with the senator when he met his demise. And the authorities have sent out information that neither of the sisters were really nurses.”“They were imposters.”“And quite possibly murderesses.”Longarm shook his head. “Well, this is an interesting case, I’ll say that much. What are their names?”“Hilda and Pearl Olsen.”“And you say they have friends and relatives here in Denver?”“I’m not sure if that is true or not,” Billy admitted. “But arresting the pair would be a real feather in our caps. It would make front-page news and help me get a raise in our budget . . . especially if they were tried in Sacramento and found guilty of murdering the senator. Custis, it would be very helpful not only to my career and yours, but to everyone in this department.”“Would that also include a long overdue raise in pay?”“It might,” Bill replied. “And it would also give us a lot of clout with Washington . . . something that we don’t enjoy right now.”Longarm understood. Billy was always worried about “the budget” and if this would help get everyone in this office a nice raise . . . then that alone was a good enough incentive to try to find Senator Baker’s killers.“So,” Longarm said, “what evidence do we have that these sisters might be here?”Billy picked up a telegram. “This says that the father of the Olsen sisters might be living around here. No address but his first name is Dane.”“Any idea where I’d start looking for Dane Olsen?”“No,” Billy admitted.Longarm frowned. “There are probably a lot of people named Olsen in Denver but I can start checking. It would help if I knew what the father does for a living.”“I’m sorry.”Longarm came to his feet. “We don’t even know for certain if Dane even exists or lives in our town.”“He exists,” Billy countered. “You see, Dane spent six years in a California prison for attempting to rob a stagecoach. When he was released, he left the state the very next day.”“So,” Longarm mused. “The man robbed stagecoaches. Well, at least we know that he understands a thing or two about guns and horses.”“I’d say that is a fair conclusion. And perhaps stagecoaches.”“We’re really working on damned little information here, Billy. Dane Olsen might have changed his name.”“I’m sorry, Custis. We don’t know for sure if Dane or his daughters are here and I’m not sure that there is any evidence to prove that they murdered Senator Baker. But he was a very prominent politician and public figure, and we have to do everything we can to apprehend the sisters and get them back to Sacramento for questioning and possibly being charged with murder.”“Was Dane Olsen released from prison about the same time as the senator was murdered in his bed?”“Good question. I’ll send a telegram back to Sacramento and find out.”“Do it right away,” Longarm said, “because it’s possible that the sisters were not the ones that murdered Senator Baker but instead it was their father.”“It’s a mess,” Billy admitted. “I know I’m giving you more questions than answers but—”“I got it,” Longarm interrupted. “Do we even have descriptions on what the sisters look like?”Billy’s eyes jumped back to the telegram. “It just says that they both had long, blonde hair and blue eyes. Oh, and tall. Both stand nearly six feet.”“They are probably Scandinavian. Anything else?”“Nothing other than they are tall and very attractive and identical.”“Well,” Longarm said, standing up. “Two tall, identically blonde, and beautiful young women won’t go unnoticed for long even in a town this size. I’ll start asking around.”“Ask around a lot, Custis. This is really important.”“I will,” Longarm promised. “But this thing about Dane is also a worry. If he was released from prison shortly before the senator’s murder and immediately left California, then that tells me that he might very well be involved along with Hilda and Pearl. Was anything missing from the senator’s home after he was found dead?”“Yes. He had a safe in his office hidden behind a portrait of President Lincoln. The portrait was moved and the safe was open. No one has any idea how much money or other valuables were in the safe, but the senator was a wealthy man. In addition, there were a few other items that were missing.”“Such as?”“A gold pocket watch and chain. It was made in France and was very valuable. There were also several pieces of art that were removed and taken.”“Maybe it was a robbery that had nothing to do with any of the Olsen people.”Billy shrugged. “No one will ever know until they are arrested and brought back to California for questioning. However, that does seem unlikely.”“And why is that?”“If the sisters or their father are innocent, why would they just up and vanish right after Senator Baker was shot to death in his bed?”“Good question,” Longarm had to admit.“Custis, if you need help I can—”“Let me do some scouting around and make a few inquiries on my own first,” Longarm interrupted.“I don’t know where to even tell you to begin searching.”“I’ll give it some thought as soon as I’ve poured a cup of coffee,” Longarm told the man. “And anyway, I’d sure rather be outside moving around and talking to people than sitting at my desk watching snow pelt the windows.”“Yes, I’m sure you would.” Billy paused. “You know, if you’d like to one day be promoted, then you’ll have to get comfortable with more desk time.”“I don’t want to be promoted,” Longarm said. “You’re good at what you do and I’m good at what I do, so why should anything change?”“A promotion would bring you a significant raise in your salary.”“And ulcers.” Longarm headed out the door.Chapter 2Longarm had no idea where he might start to look for the Olsen sisters or if they were even in these parts. But he knew a lot of people in Denver and figured that, if he asked enough questions, he’d get some answers. Outside, the wind and snow were blowing just as hard as when he’d entered the building and so Longarm turned up his collar, screwed down his hat, and headed up Colfax Avenue. His first stop was at the newspaper office. The editor was a longtime friend named Stuart Appleton and he’d been in charge of the paper for at least the past ten years so he knew almost everyone that either accomplished something newsworthy, ran afoul of the law, or was involved in civic affairs.“Dane Olsen won’t be civic-minded,” Longarm said after meeting the editor and settling into a chair. “In fact, quite the opposite.”“Has he committed a criminal act?” the tall, lanky editor asked.“I’m not sure, but probably not in Denver.”“I do know some people named Olsen. None, however, with the first name of Dane. How old a man would he be?”“He has two daughters in their twenties so he has to be at least in his late forties or more likely fifties.”“Do the daughters live here in Denver?”“They may have recently arrived from California.”The editor tried to bury a smile. “You seem to be working on a lot of ‘maybe this or maybe that’ possibilities. Are you sure of anything?”“Yes, but not something I can tell you about.”“A story?”“Perhaps,” Longarm said, knowing that nothing would entice the man into helping him more than the promise of an important future story having to do with the murder and scandal revolving around a famous senator.“And you would immediately come to me with that story as soon as you or your superiors felt comfortable with offering that information?”“Of course.”“All right,” Appleton said, “we have an agreement.”“I suppose that we do.”The editor steepled his fingers. “Do you know what Dane Olsen does for a living?”“I’m afraid not. He was recently released from a California prison for attempting to rob a stagecoach.”“Do you think that he’s tried to rob a stagecoach here in Colorado?”“I don’t know. Maybe he did at one time. But there are not many stagecoach robberies anymore. They seem to have moved to banks and railroads in the past ten years.”“Yes.”“A man bold enough to attempt to rob a stage . . . be it here or in California . . . is likely to have attempted to do other criminal acts,” Longarm suggested. “Wouldn’t you agree?”“I would. But if this man is in his late forties or early fifties, he might . . .”“Like I told you, Stuart, he just got out of prison after being convicted of a serious crime.”Stuart Appleton thought for a moment. “The editor who worked here before I took this job was quite an organized individual. He maintained years of records . . . little card files actually . . . of every criminal act that was of significance. It is quite possible that this person you seek did rob a stagecoach before I became editor, and if he were caught, arrested, convicted, and sentenced, he could be in those files . . . unless, of course, he’s changed his name.”“How far back do the file cards go?”“Twenty years at least. I’ll be honest with you, Marshal Long, it will be a tedious, time-consuming job. It might take a couple of days to go through them.”Longarm didn’t find the idea of going through the card file even a little appealing, but when you had nothing to go on you had to start by grasping at straws.“Would you allow me to take the files?”Appleton thought about it for a few minutes. “The card files are just notes from courtrooms and observations. There is nothing in them that is prejudicial or incriminating. However, it’s not something that I’m too comfortable with giving to you.”“How about this,” Longarm suggested after noting the editor’s professional concern. “You have someone run the card files over to the Federal Building and give them to my boss, Marshal Billy Vail.”“I know the man. Fine gentleman.”“He is,” Longarm agreed. “Marshal Vail can have an officer go through those files one by one looking for stagecoach robberies and the name of Dane Olsen.”“And I assume that this would be kept confidential . . . within house so to speak.”“It would. You have my word on it.”“I’m comfortable with that.”“Thank you, Stuart.”“You can best thank me by giving me an idea of what this is all about. You said something about two young women.”“I suppose I did.”“But you’re not prepared to tell me what they might have to do with their father.”“Not yet.”“Very well. Just keep me posted. Like you, I’m a professional and I would never jeopardize your case with a premature newspaper story.”“I know that.”“I’ll have the files sent over to Marshal Vail right away.” Appleton started to turn back to his paperwork, but then seemed to have a thought. “Oh, perhaps this is of no value to you but there is a family named Olsen who lives just to the east of town that has a dark reputation.”“Go on.”“I briefly met the patriarch of the family many years ago. He was being sued by a competitor whom he then assaulted.”“What was the man’s first name?”“I can’t begin to remember, but it’s in the card file.”“You also keep a card file?”Stuart Appleton shrugged. “I promised my predecessor that I would, but I haven’t done nearly as thorough a job. Hold on a moment.”Longarm stood and waited about five minutes in the editor’s office until Stuart burst back into the room waving a file card. “Yes, here it is!” he proudly proclaimed. “It resulted in a hefty fine, a ten-day jail sentence, and probation.”Longarm took the card and read it. “The patriarch’s name is Dane Olsen. Do you know where the Olsen place is located east of town?”“Afraid not.” The editor scowled. “But you might ask the local sheriff or even one of the stables here in town.”“I understand your suggestion that I go to see the sheriff . . . I’d planned to do so anyway. But why would you suggest I visit Denver’s stables in search of information?”“One of the Olsen men used to own a livery and have a stagecoach business that ran between Denver and Cheyenne before they built the railroad and put him out of business.”“I see.”“Be careful,” the editor warned. “I seem to recall that it was a large and violent clan.”“Thanks for the warning and the information.”“Might not have any connection at all,” Appleton conceded. “Maybe not worth going out in this bad weather.”“I’ll wait until the storm passes.”Appleton chuckled. “You’ve left a lot of gaps in the story, but from what I’m reading between the lines . . . I’d say your storm is just beginning.”Longarm didn’t have a response, so he headed for the sheriff’s office, hoping the man might have some further information on Dane Olsen.Chapter 3Longarm went to the sheriff’s office where he knew everyone and received a warm greeting. Sheriff Patterson was a veteran lawman with plenty of knowledge of Denver, its politics, and its problem makers.“Well, well,” Patterson said, grinning as he stuck out his hand, “if it isn’t the famous Longarm come to visit us poor peons that risk our lives in poverty and obscurity.”“Cut the crap,” Longarm said good-naturedly. “How have you been since I was here last?”“Older and poorer,” the sheriff said without rancor. “But it’s a job that has to be done so here I am. Are you still tomcatting around every night?”“No,” Longarm answered. “I manage to get a good night’s sleep most of the time.”“Don’t go and soil your reputation as a lady killer,” Patterson advised. “You’re still a relatively young man, although your years of hard loving and fighting are starting to show.”“Sheriff, I can always count on you to ruin my day.”“Coffee?”“Nope,” Longarm answered. “The last cup I drank here was stronger than horse piss and it gave me the shits.”Patterson roared with laughter. “Sit down, Custis. I’d like to think you just dropped by to say hello to an old friend but I know you better. What is it you want this time?”“Some information.”