Starting in April, young and old alike would line up for a short ride around the waterway on the dual pontooned paddle boats with giant, wood-carved swans sitting on the back, sheltering the driver.
So it came as quite a surprise when one of the iconic swans was spotted from the park’s suspension bridge on the last day of December. It was bobbing up and down beneath the ice… with a dead girl tied to it’s neck.
“No one even noticed the swans had been stolen out of the warehouse were they were stored,” said the beat cop who was left to guard the crime scene after the official investigators had left. “The fellas that investigated the warehouse said there was undisturbed dust all over the boats indicating the swans had been taken off at least a month or so ago.”
Nicky Saint, Boston’s top private detective, looked over the side of the bridge at the hole in the ice where the swan and it’s dead victim had been lifted from. “Let me guess, there were seven of them taken.”
“How’d you know that?” the policeman asked.
“It’s the seventh day of Christmas,” Nicky replied. He had arrived at the scene just as they were putting the girl in a body bag. She was young, thin and blue. Her face was literally frozen in a scream of horror. She had been dressed in an evening gown which indicated that she had been abducted the night before.
“Any word who the victim was?” Nicky asked.
“Marla Von Dieter,” the newspaper reporter covering the story for the Herald said from the other side of the bridge. “The investigators haven’t officially identified her, but I recognized her from the ballet posters.”
“Ballet?” the cop said.
“Swan Lake, of course! It’s been playing downtown for the last few months,” Nicky muttered. He lit up his pipe and thrust his hands in his pockets. “Have your department contact all of the cast members immediately,” Nicky said to the cop as he strode away. “Six more of the dancers are in immediate danger, if not dead already.”
Nicky Saint knew that, at best, he had only a few hours to find the remaining victims. But rather than searching all the iced-over waterways for kidnapped ballerinas, he’d start with the swans. After all, there couldn’t be too many places one could inconspicuously store seven giant swans for a month.
Find the hiding place, find the killer, stop the murders. “For good, this time,” thought Nicky. “No more killing.”