"I felt bad when I found out Chips Delvin's housekeeper, old Mrs. Banjo, died while me and Mary was on vacation down in New Orleans. I felt worse when I found out that Chips was so broken up by it he nearly collapsed at the funeral and had to be taken over to one of them nursing homes, by the name of Larkspur, way over to the Fourteenth Ward.
But what I didn't understand was who was this cousin Francis Carmody who took charge of Chips. After all, me and Chips go back twenty years, to when I never even dreamed of being a sewer inspector. I was just a kid when Chips gave me my start in the Chicago sewers and Democratic politics. Twenty years, and I never heard of his having any cousins.
So I go to visit Chips, and I don't like what I see at all. The nursing home's all gussied up on the outside--flowers and a duck pond and rockers on the front porch--but when I sneak in to Chips' room before official visiting hours, it's dirty and smelly and the old man's so weak he don't even know who I am.
I want to get Chips out of there, but I can't, because this cousin Francis Carmody has got himself named as guardian. I'm cashing in favors all over town trying to find out about the Larkspur and this Carmody fella. And it turns out a lot of people in Chicago politics--including Chips Delvin himself--have got a bundle invested in nursing homes. It don't make sense. Then I get a phone call in the middle of the night that sounds like some old guy mumbling, so I rush over to the Larkspur.
Chips is OK, but I find another old man face down in the duck pond. It ain't a pretty sight. And it don't make my heart rest any easier when I hear that two other patients at the Larkspur died in the past two months. The death certificates call one an accident and the other natural causes, but when I get the details, it sounds suspicious. I'm getting the feeling something stinks here worse than the Chicago sewers, and if I don't find out what, my old pal Chips could end up leaving the Lakspur in a box..."
Original title: Nibbled to Death by Ducks
Genre: Fiction→ Crime and Mystery→ Detective Story and Detectives