“Somehow, the absence of them is more frightening than the disturbances themselves.”
I don’t know about you, but Quentin Collins has spent the evening jumping from one crisis to the next. He began by questioning his butler about the murder of Dameon Edwards, a mysterious gigolo who everyone had pretty much forgotten about, until he suddenly started projecting his essence around the house and conducting post-mortem piano recitals.
Then Quentin went downtown, where he found the mysterious John Yaeger beating a romantic rival with a cane, a spontaneous act of pointless violence which is somehow connected to Quentin’s friend Cyrus, a mad scientist who’s been writing mysterious thousand-dollar checks to cover other people’s bar fights. Quentin chased Yaeger from the docks to the bar, and from the bar to Cyrus’ lab, and then to a barmaid’s boarding house and finally back to the lab, where he almost cornered the guy but lost him at the last minute.
Now Quentin’s come home after a long, weary night, and Alexis, his mysterious sister-in-law, rushes to his side as soon as he walks in the door.
“Quentin!” she cries. “Thank god you’re back!”
Quentin goes on alert again. “Why, has something happened?”
“No, it’s not that,” she pants. “It’s just this house.” Which is typical.
“There haven’t been any more disturbances, have there?”
“No,” she admits, “but somehow, the absence of them is more frightening than the disturbances themselves.”
“What do you mean?”
“This house — it’s so quiet!” she breathes. It’s like the calm before the storm!”
Or maybe everything’s fine, Quentin thinks, and you need to cut back on the espresso.