Greg was an actor at Mammoth-Art Studio in Hollywood. His latest role was in a gangland melodrama, and he had gotten the piano job at the Pig in a Poke speakeasy to soak up atmosphere for his performance. It was just for a weekend. His best friend, Jacob "Jake" Black, was a writer at the studio, and had come down that Saturday night to see what Greg was up to. Jake was a teetotaler, too, and had never been in a speakeasy before. He looked around with interest.
There was a dance floor, and a few couples were dancing away. At a table near Jake, there were two pairs of clean-cut college students with their girl friends, out on a double date. They probably felt like they were up to the last word in deviltry by visiting the Pig in a Poke. On Jake's other side, a middle-aged man with a mustache was escorting a woman in a low cut dress who was young enough to be his daughter. At a third table, an elegant, beautiful young woman sat. Two young men in tuxedos were very attentive to her.
An over-dressed man of around forty, was seated at the best table in the speakeasy with a chorus girl. He wore lots of rings with huge stones, diamond studs in his tuxedo shirt front, and other jewelry. Jake wondered if the man were a big time bootlegger. There was a tough looking man seated with him, who could be a bodyguard.
Jake did what he always did in a new and interesting place. He took a small notebook out of his coat pocket, and started taking notes in shorthand, recording everything he saw. Jake never knew when they might be useful on some story he was writing.
Greg pointed out the speakeasy's manager. He was a dapper, powerfully built man, also wearing a tuxedo. He frequently circulated among the guests, and Jake heard him addressed as Nick Woolcott. The jaunty manager looked tough, and capable of taking care of himself among a wide variety of circumstances.
The threesome that came in next were oddly mismatched. Jake recognized Clay Harrigan, a Los Angeles City councilman, and his wife. Councilman Harrigan had been present at the dedication of a new Mammoth-Art Studio building. Harrigan was blustery, a long-winded political orator, and something of a social climber. Harrigan did have the reputation of being honest, however. His mousy looking wife was with him, loyally trailing in his wake, as usual.
The distinguished looking man with the Harrigans was vastly more refined. The 40ish man was tall, handsome and almost impossibly aristocratic looking. He spoke in the clipped tones of an upper class Englishman, and was dressed in a well-tailored English naval officer's uniform, with a Captain's rank. Harrigan loudly referred to him as Sir Anthony, on several occasions. Harrigan had used a voice that could be heard throughout the entire club, and Jake guessed that Sir Anthony was Harrigan's latest social conquest. The trio sat at the table next to Jake's, and he could read Sir Anthony's last name on his uniform: Harquist.
Sir Anthony was soon escorting Mrs. Harrigan out on the dance floor. He had impeccable manners, and he showed that lady many small courtesies. He danced divinely as well, holding himself erect with perfect posture, and one could see that Mrs. Harrigan was thoroughly enjoying herself. While the couple were dancing, Jake noticed Sir Anthony's hands. He had beautiful long fingers, like those of a surgeon, or pianist.
Sir Anthony Harquist looked faintly familiar to Jake. Jake wondered if he had seen the naval officer's picture in the newspaper. Jake had a vague mental image of seeing a black and...