The Armitage Files

Diamonds of Kingsport

In which Jackson does some good old-fashioned detective work

After the tragedy in Dixon and subsequent revelations from Lem Finlayson, Celestine Whateley goes looking for a copy of the Ponape Scripture, which proves fairly easy.

Dr Whateley: “Do we have a copy of the Ponape Scripture in the special collection?”
Dr Llanfer: “In fact, we published it. Miskatonic University Press, 1907.”

Skimming through it, she finds a story about a city or village in ancient Mu that turned away from the worship of Dagon. A prophet came to warn them of the error of their ways, but they turned him out. The prophet then “poured blood upon the waters” and visited the townsfolk with the “Kiss of Dagon” — which is to say, they all drowned.

Tuesday, October 2, 1935.

Hearing that “Diamond” Walsh and Zora Smallidge have been spotted at Walsh’s Kingsport club (“Diamonds of Kingsport”), Dr. Whateley and Thomas Jackson decide to have dinner there and see if they show up. Sure enough, Walsh and Zora are seated at a very visible table, having dinner and chatting with members of Kingsport society who stop by.

When Walsh is called away by the maitre-d’, Jackson shadows him while Whateley has a brief chat with Zora, offering her condolences about the tragedy in Dixon. Zora seems genuinely shocked by what happened, although Whateley isn’t surprised that she doesn’t seem to be exactly grief-stricken over a town that she left when she was 16. She does seem concerned about her grandfather (Elihu), but again in a kind of detached way.

Meanwhile, Jackson follows Walsh into a back hallway and a door marked “Office.” His attempt to linger outside and eavesdrop is foiled by the appearance of a waiter who directs him to the men’s room. Later he sees Austin Kittrell leave the office and decides to follow him. Kittrell heads back out into the restaurant and out the front door where he steps into the only cab at the taxi stand.

The next day, armed with photos of Kittrell and Smallidge, Jackson returns to Kingsport and canvasses the local hotels. He learns that Kittrell has a suite at the upscale Harbor Place Hotel for the week. Moving to the other end of the scale, he finds the five-cent tenement where Smallidge stayed a couple of nights ago. Searching the room he finds a discarded bus schedule with an address scribbled on it — checking the city directory reveals that it’s Zora’s apartment (owned by Diamond Walsh).

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