The Case of the Mock Murder
Disclaimer: The Ironside characters are the creation of Collier Young and the Perry Mason Characters were created by Erle Stanley Gardner. All other characters were created in my imagination for the purpose of telling this story. I make no profit from this fan fiction. I am only borrowing the characters so that Ironside and Perry Mason may live on in the hearts and minds of fan fiction readers.
As always, my stories follow a timeline that does not necessarily follow the timeline of either show. They are written in the present and not when the shows were on the air.
I have no legal training. I ask that you forgive any legal errors that may appear. Since it is partly Perry Mason, I just cannot envision a story without courtroom scenes.
I hope you enjoy the story. Reviews are welcome.
The Case of the Mock Murder
"Della, can you come in here, please," Perry spoke into the intercom. He turned back to his newspaper and continued reading. The door to his office opened and Della came in.
"Yes, Perry. What is it?"
"Did you see the San Francisco Chronicle?" Perry stood up, picked the paper up and walked around to the front of his desk. Sitting down on the edge of it, he handed the paper to his Girl Friday.
Without bothering to read it, Della handed it back to him. "I read it before you came back from court. Your brother solved another big case."
"Scrabble Spells Murder. The man was not very smart thinking he could put clues on a Scrabble board that Bob Ironside could not solve."*
Della smiled. "Fortunately, neither he nor any of his staff were harmed. Commissioner Randall certainly hands him the most dangerous cases."
"That is because no one else can solve them fast enough to suit the commissioner or the city council."
"Not to change the subject but you just solved a big case of your own."
"Lt. Tragg was not guilty of that murder.** I could not allow him to be convicted of a crime that he did not commit," Perry said.
"Do you suppose he will give you a break the next time you or Paul discover a body?"
Perry chuckled. "Don't bet on it." He picked the San Francisco paper back up. "Bob certainly got a lot of coverage on this one."
"You got plenty of press on Tragg's case, Perry."
"It is not a competition between Bob and me as to who solves the most cases or gets the most publicity, Della."
"You would never know that when the two of you are together."
"He brings out the competitive spirit in me," Perry grinned.
She chuckled and picked up his empty coffee cup. "I'll get you another cup of coffee and then we will do the mail."
Perry's intercom buzzed. Della walked back and pressed the speaker button. "Yes, Gertie."
"Lt. Tragg is here. He would like to speak to Mr. Mason."
Perry nodded to Della. "Send him in, Gertie."
The door opened and Lt. Arthur Tragg walked in. "Hello, Perry… Della."
Perry met him in the middle of the room and extended his hand. "Hello, Tragg."
Lt. Tragg shook Perry's hand and said, "I was wondering if I could impose upon you?"
"That depends," Perry smiled. "What kind of an imposition?"
"I am sure you know that the police convention is being held at the civic center."
"Yes, I am aware of it. Bob attends it every year. I haven't heard from him about it but I am assuming he is attending again this year."
"Yes, in fact, he is. I am sure he will be contacting you about it shortly."
"Alright then what can I do for you?"
"I was wondering if I could talk you into being one of the guest speakers this year."
"I will be happy to, Lieutenant if it can be fit into my schedule. Give Della the date."
Della took a piece of paper from the lieutenant and left the office.
"Perry, I have a check for you." He reached into his pocket and pulled a handwritten check and pushed it toward the lawyer. "It is the rest of the money I owe you for defending me."
"I told you to forget it. The first check you gave Della was enough."
"First of all, Counselor, you make a lousy liar. The first check I gave you would not begin to cover your services. You see, I have an idea of what you charge. Secondly, I have said things in the past that, well… I meant at the time but it was before I got to know you. What I am trying to say is I appreciate the way you came to my defense... and without even being asked to."
"Forget it, Lieutenant. The past is past and I knew you were not guilty of murder. You would do the same for me."
"I would but I am not so sure about Hamilton. He is tired of being beaten by you." Tragg and Mason laughed.
"I think this is one time he was happy to lose the case," Perry said with a smile.
Della walked back into the office. "That date was not open but I called the court and was able to reschedule one of Perry's cases. He is free to speak at your convention."
Tragg smiled at her. "Thank you, Della. Now that I have accomplished what I came here for, I will get back to work. I will be in touch with you about the schedule." Tragg turned to leave but immediately turned back. "I almost forgot to tell you that our other guest speaker will be Frank Rousseau of the Montreal Police Department. He is a friend of your brother's so you can be sure Chief Ironside will be coming." With that, Tragg left Perry's office.
"Alright, Perry, let's get the mail done," Della said.
Perry cringed. "Della, it is almost five o'clock. We will never get it done by then so why don't we let it wait until tomorrow."
"Since when do we observe office hours around here?" she asked.
"Look, we do not have to be in court tomorrow and if memory serves me right, I believe the entire morning is open tomorrow. We can do the mail then. For letting it wait, I am willing to take you out for a steak dinner, drinks and dancing. Just you and me."
Della closed the distance between them. "Are you trying to bribe me, Mr. Mason?"
"Well… no… actually, yes. Is it working?" He reached for her and pulled her up against him.
Della laughed. "You will try anything to get out of the mail."
"Almost anything," he grinned.
Paul's code knock sounded on the door. Perry and Della parted as she walked over to the door to let him in.
Paul grinned and said, "Hello, Beautiful."
"Hello, Paul," Della said, returning his greeting.
"Hi, Perry. I was just finishing up. I was wondering if you two wanted to go out for a steak dinner and some dancing. You will have to share the dancing, though."
Perry quickly glanced over at Della who shrugged her shoulders. Leave it to Paul to interrupt an evening alone with Della. "We'll have dinner with you but no dancing."
Paul looked disappointed. "Since when do you forbid Della from dancing with me?"
"I was referring to me. Della doesn't share me with anyone else. Besides, I don't want to dance with you anyway." Della started laughing.
Paul grinned. "That is fine by me. I don't want my toes stepped on. Now whose turn is it to spring for dinner?"
"Yours," Della and Perry said at the same time."
"But I thought I paid last time."
"That is not the way I remember it," Perry said.
"Me neither," Della joined in.
Paul pouted. "Well, alright, dinner is on me but you are buying the booze, pal."
"Not with the way you drink," Perry quipped.
Della laughed at them. She took each one of them by the arm. "Let's go, gentlemen," I am hungry."
Ironside watched as his staff stared at their cards. He had just raised the bet by two dollars. He looked at Eve who had been sitting there for a couple of minutes looking at her cards. "Eve, you have three choices… call, raise or fold. No matter how long you stare at those cards, they will not change." Ed and Mark chuckled.
"I am trying to determine if you are bluffing," she said.
"And how long will it take you to determine that?" Ironside barked.
"As long as it takes," she replied.
"Mark, get me a drink. Officer Whitfield is driving me to it."
Mark got up, went to the kitchen, pulled down a bottle of bourbon and poured the boss a drink. He walked back with the bottle and set it on the table. He set the glass in front of Ironside.
"I pass," Eve said.
Ironside shook his head. You can't pass… I raised the pot."
"Oh, then… I call," Eve said.
Ironside looked to Ed. "Well?"
Ed threw in his hand. "I'm out."
"That leaves it up to you, Mark," Ironside said.
Mark looked up at his boss. He could not read his poker face. It was the same face that made criminals tremble in his presence. Finally, he threw in his hand.
Ironside turned up his hand and dropped three jacks and two kings on the table. He looked up at Eve who had a big grin on her face.
"I knew you were bluffing." She turned her hand up and displayed three aces. As she went to take the pot, Ironside placed his hand over hers.
"Miss Whitfield, what do you think you are doing?"
"I am taking my winnings. I had three aces to your three jacks," she said as she tried again to take the pot. Ed and Mark were grinning.
"Since when do three aces beat a full house?" Ironside asked.
"But aces are higher than jacks," Eve protested.
"There is a little matter of the two kings," he snarled. "That makes it a full house."
"You mean I lost?"
"You lost," Ironside said as he pulled in the pot.
"I don't understand this game. Why don't we play Hearts or Old Maid?" she complained.
"Old Maid?" Ironside said sarcastically. "You aren't old enough… yet." Ed and Mark laughed.
"Ed, it's your deal," Ironside said.
"I'm done for the night, Chief. I am down ten bucks."
Ironside looked at Mark. "Are you going to take your money and run too?"
"What money? I'm down twenty bucks. I don't get paid until Friday and I don't make that much."
"Are you going to start that again," Ironside growled.
Eve picked up the cards. "I'll play another hand. I have to win back the money you took from me. It's your deal, Chief." She handed the cards to him.
He took them, looked at Eve and threw them into the middle of the table. "That would be like taking candy from a baby. Let's call it a night."
Ironside sipped his bourbon as the phone rang. Mark picked it up and greeted the caller, "Chief Ironside's office."
"Hello, Mark. Is my father there?" Robert Duvalier asked.***
"Yes, hang on," Mark told him. He handed the phone to Ironside.
"Ironside," he barked.
"Papa, I see you solved the Scrabble murders. It hit the papers up here," Robert said.
"Hello, Robert. Yes, he was bound to make a mistake sooner or later. Are you going to Los Angeles with Frank for the police convention?"
"Yes, Papa," Robert told him. "I just wanted to be sure you were going to be there."
"I'll be there."
"Good, I trust we can have dinner while we are there, yes?"
"Of course. I look forward to it. You can meet your uncle. Tragg called earlier to tell me that Perry will be one of the keynote speakers."
Robert smiled. "It's funny. I have heard you talk about him but it never even occurred to me that he is my uncle. It makes me proud to know that I am related to such a man."
"You better hold your judgment until after you meet him. Remember, he's a shyster lawyer," Ironside said, causing Robert to laugh.
"Like I withheld my judgment of you?" he questioned.
"Withheld? Seems to me you said you didn't need my help. You called me, English," Ironside imitated Robert's French Canadian accent.
Robert laughed. "And you are still English."
"So are you… at least half English. " Ironside turned serious. "How's your mother?"
"She is doing well, Papa. She is taking it a day at a time. She still loves you."
"I know, son, but there is nothing I can do about it except stay away."
"Yes, I understand. I'll call you when I get to Los Angeles."
"I'll have a room at the Regency for you."
"Thank you. Goodbye, Papa."
"Goodbye, Robert." Ironside hung up the phone.
"Chief, when is the police convention?" Eve asked.
"I suppose Mark gets to go with you," Ed surmised.
"And we have to stay here and mind the store," Eve groaned.
"Actually, no. I have a surprise for you. I spoke with Dennis and he has agreed to allow you and Ed to come with me. Fran Belding will be assigned to run our office while we are away."
Ed and Eve perked up.
"It has been a while since I have been to Los Angeles. I can't wait to go shopping," Eve said excitedly.
"Of course, Eve. You certainly don't have enough clothes," Ironside said with sarcasm. Mark and Ed were grinning.
"Chief, you can never have enough clothes."
He shook his head. "If you good people will get out of here, I think I will turn in. We still have some work to do before we leave here on Saturday."
Ed and Eve got up, said goodnight to Mark and the chief, and then left the office.
Mark started clearing the table of empty glasses and left over potato chips. Ironside picked up the cards and put them back into the box. He collected his winnings and wheeled over to the desk. Opening the drawer, he placed the money in it for safekeeping.
"Chief, why is it you always win when we play poker with you?" Mark asked with suspicion.
"Because all three of you are lousy poker players," Ironside said. "I am surprised you play at all. You might just as well hand me the money before the game even starts."
"Go ahead, oh wise one, brag away but one of these days I am going to beat you."
"You three would not beat me if I were old and senile," he said in a parting shot as he wheeled toward his bedroom.
Robert hung up the phone from talking to his father. When he turned around, his mother, Jeanine Duvalier was standing in the doorway.
"That was your father, yes?"
"Yes, Mama, it was." Robert did not want to hurt her. He never mentioned Ironside around her. The minute his name was mentioned, he could see the hurt in her eyes.
"How is he?"
"He is fine."
"And how is Barbara?" she asked.
Robert turned to look at her. He had not told her that Ironside and Barbara had split up. "He is not seeing her anymore. She decided she could not live with his job."
He saw the look in her eye that looked like hope, but it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. "He is seeing another woman by the name of Katherine Denuerve."
Jeanine dropped her eyes from Robert. "Yes, I believe I met her in Robert's office when I arrived in San Francisco."
"I am going to the police convention in Los Angeles. I just called my father to find out if he is going to be attending."
"And is he?"
"He is. We are going to spend some time together when I get there."
Jeanine smiled. "I am happy you are getting to know your father. He is a good man, Robert."
"I know, Mama."
"Oh, I almost forgot. This was delivered for you about an hour ago." She walked over to him and handed him a telegram. "I think I will go to bed. Goodnight, Robert."
"Goodnight, Mama." Robert watched his mother leave. Once again, he could see the pain in her eyes. He wondered if she would ever get over his father.
He opened the envelope and read:
So, you are going to Los Angeles to visit Ironside. The three of you will pay for what you have done. One of you will not leave Los Angeles alive.
Robert stared at the telegram. Who could have written it? And who were the three that were referred to in it? He assumed he and his father were two of them but who was the third? Perry Mason… Frank Rousseau? He could not be sure. He wanted to call his father right back but his voice had sounded tired. He figured he had gone to bed. Robert supposed it could wait until morning… but only until then. His father must learn of this telegram as soon as possible before this pleasure trip turned into a nightmare.
Andy Anderson stuck his head into Lt. Tragg's office. "Are you still here, Lieutenant?"
"No, I am just a figment of your imagination," Tragg said, sarcastically.
"Sounds to me like you need to go home and get some rest."
"I don't need rest. I am so far behind because of that damn trial."
"It is behind you now. You need to forget it and move on, Arthur," Andy said quietly.
"Ha, easy for you to say." Tragg rubbed his eyes. "Every time I go home thinking I am going to get some rest, Mason or Drake discover another dead body."
Andy laughed. "I don't think Perry has a criminal case going right now. Holcomb said he saw the two of them out drinking and dancing with Della tonight."
Tragg smiled. "Good for them. They deserve a night off."
"How long is this goodwill between you and Perry and Paul going to last?"
"Until one of them… "
"Discovers another dead body," Andy finished for him. He laughed with Tragg and then said, "I am out of here. My shift is done. Unlike Perry, I am not going to dance until dawn. I am going home and hit the sack. I suggest you do the same."
"Yea, I will as soon as I finish up this paperwork," Tragg said. He waved off Anderson who left his office. Within an hour, he had completed the last of the paperwork.
Tragg grabbed his suit coat and put it on. He turned out the lights in his office and shut the door. As he was locking it, Hamilton Burger approached him. "Would you like to go for a drink, Arthur?"
Tragg turned to see the District Attorney standing there with a smile on his face. "Hamilton, you did what you had to do. Stop apologizing."
"I am not apologizing. I am actually happy I lost that case. Now what about that drink?"
"Another time maybe. I am just plain beat tonight. I think I'll just go home and go to bed," Tragg answered.
"Alright. Get some rest. I'll talk to you tomorrow." Hamilton Burger left Tragg and headed down the hall.
Lt. Tragg left the building and got into his car. He was so preoccupied that he did not notice he was being followed. He did not glance in his rearview mirror as he always did when traveling alone, especially at night. He drove his vehicle home and pulled into the driveway. Hitting the remote, the garage door opened. He pulled the car in and shut the door.
When he opened the door into the kitchen, his senses went on high alert. He had left the kitchen light on and now it was off. The lieutenant pulled out his service revolver. Slowly, he made his way toward the kitchen light. He flipped the switch. The light turned on. Tragg checked each room in the house but found no one and nothing had been disturbed.
He went back into the kitchen. It was then he noticed an envelope on the kitchen table. He picked it up, opened it and unfolded the telegram.
Someone is going to die at the police convention. You are not going to be able to stop it. It will happened in front of dozens of police and none of you will stop it because no one will suspect me of harming the man who will die. I will not be able to get away but I will have killed a man who deserves it and that will be my salvation.
Tragg stared at the telegram. He set it down on the table, folded it and put it back into the envelope as he attempted not to touch anything but the edges. Grabbing his keys, he headed back to his car. At least he wasn't going back because Mason had discovered a dead body. It wasn't much consolation.
He watched as Tragg pulled out of his driveway and headed down the street. Smiling as he drove away, he walked to his car and got in. The plan was in motion. He intended to make all of them pay. The murder would take place. Tragg would try to stop it but he would not be able to do so.
No one would suspect who would be doing the shooting. He would be above suspicion. Not even he would realize before it was too late that he would be committing murder. He would shoot him in front of a hall full of police. Tragg would have no choice but to charge him with murder. Everything that he had put in place would send him to the death penalty. That is how he would hurt him. It was only a beginning. He would do much more before he was finished.
Perry and Della arrived at his apartment at two in the morning. Perry unlocked the key, turned off the away setting on the alarm and then turned it right back on with the stay setting. He pulled Della into his arms. "I wanted the evening alone with you."
'Didn't you enjoy Paul's company?"
"I always enjoy his company but I wanted to hold you in my arms all night while we danced."
"All night? Then why are we back here at two o'clock?"
"Because I knew Paul could not join us for what I have planned," he said as he kissed her.
Della broke the kiss when she noticed an envelope on the kitchen table with Perry's name on it. "Perry, that was not there when we left this morning."
Perry let go of Della and walked over to the table. He picked up the envelope, opened it and unfolded the telegram.
Someone will die at the police convention. It cannot be prevented. You will not defend the man who kills the cop. If you do, you will die as well.
"Perry, how did this get in here? No one has the code to your alarm but you and me."
"I do not know, Della." He stepped over to the phone and dialed the police station. "I want to talk to Lieutenant Tragg."
*Refers to my fan fiction story, Scrabble Spells Murder (in progress. Since I write on a timeline, this would follow that story.)
**Refers to the fan fiction story, The Case of the Set Up Cop (also in progress. This would also follow that story as both cases were being solved by the brothers, separately at the same time.)
***Robert Duvalier was introduced in the Ironside episode, Check Mate; and Murder. He was revealed as Ironside's son in the timeline of my fan fiction, Checkmate and Terror.