In this scene from Murder On The Rue Cassette, Serafina tells Rosa about their trip to Paris.
Rosa rang the bell and gazed into space for a moment before shaking herself. “Elena’s dead, I can’t believe it. What time do we leave? Tonight you say?”
“At eight. We take the Niger bound for Marseille.”
“Plenty of time and don’t bore me with particulars, but we’d better have first class rooms.”
“The ship’s making a special trip to Palermo just to pick us up.”
Rosa’s smile broadened.
Despite the madam’s earlier objections to hearing details, Serafina explained their travel arrangements at length, dwelling on the luxury of the accommodations.
“This is getting good,” Rosa said. “I knew Henri would take care of us.”
“Cryptic as usual.”
“Henri Dupuy de Lôme. He’s an engineer of some sort, a principal with Messageries Maritimes. A navy man. Tall, dashing, or he was at one time. Haven’t seen him in years. No doubt by now he’s bloated himself. Men usually do. I’ll have the maids do all the packing. Not just the two of us, I hope. We’ll need a fleet of helpers.”
She opened her mouth to reply, but Rosa cut her off. Her friend’s excitement was infectious and for the first time, Serafina looked forward to the trip.
“And old man Busacca gave you a retainer, I’m sure. Let’s see it.”
Serafina handed her the envelope. Rosa took her time with the note, going over to the window to look at it in the light, turning it over several times, smelling the paper as if she could tell a counterfeit cheque by its odor, gazing at the numbers until her eyes widened.
“Someone’s finally paying you what you’re worth. We’d better be staying on the Rue de Rivoli. Haven’t been to Paris in ages, but they say it’s grand now the baron’s had his way with the place. Dug up all the slums, widened the streets, strewn gas lights all around so the city’s lit up like Nero’s Rome.”
“We’ve got seven rooms on the top floor of the Hotel du Louvre on the Place du Palais Royal, and we’re to stay for as long as it takes to find Elena’s killer.”
Photo: View of Notre Dame from Tour d’Argent. Credit: Wilhelmy, Creative Commons