Death in Diamonds – New Chapter 8

I made a pot of coffee and while the coffee dripped, I called Crystal O’Shea. Terry Perez still was not at the house. She was supposed to be there at six o’clock that night. I drank a cup of coffee while scanning the sports pages to find out how the Nats fared last night. They lost. Having finished the coffee, I headed out the door. Time to go to work.
I drove to the address Crystal gave me for Terry Perez. She resided on the north side of R Street NW between Thirteenth and Fourteenth Streets in a former five story single family red brick townhouse which in New York City would be called a brown stone, except that is, for the red bricks. Each floor had been converted into a single apartment with the former main stairway of the house accessing each apartment level.
It was in rundown neighborhood just north of Logan Circle. A hundred years ago this was one of the more fashionable vicinages of upper class mansions in the city. Over the next hundred years the upper class moved to the west side of Rock Creek Park and a different class of people moved in. The cycle repeated itself about every twenty five years or so; the older residents moved west and newer residences moved from the east into the neighborhood. It was always an upgrade for everyone.
The big single family mansions were divided into apartments and the neighborhood further decayed. Strip joints expanded west from Ninth Street and the area became a haven for ladies of the night, their pimps, pushers, junkies and a collection of drunks sleeping in doorways. Urban renewal and the Metropolitan Police were beginning to work their magic in the neighborhood.
The building itself looked run down. It must be trash day. There were five full garbage cans in front of the basement areaway. The aroma of rot permeated the air around the garbage and a swarm of iridescent bottle flies hung around looking for a free lunch. A layer of grime and neglect covered the ornate brickwork.

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