“My God!”
     Just at the moment, Coal Blackstone was grateful for her martinis, though a second glance at the death threat letter sent earlier that day to Mayor Cass Tamburlaine’s office surprised her enough to put her off Chef Leroy Didier’s soufflé—which the waiter had just set before her.  She looked at Joy Pommery in some alarm.
     “And you say he’s been getting these for some time?”
     “For three or four days now, yes,” Joy replied.
     “And are they all as unsettling as this one?”
     “They’ve been getting steadily…more elaborate.  And each one is different.  They must have taken hours and hours to make.”
     Coal looked again at the note.  Where she might have expected obscenity, blood, gore and intimations of mayhem, spelled out in letters roughly cut from magazines and glued onto the page, what she was looking at instead was a dazzlingly conceived and queasily competent watercolor painting of a fallen angel—drawn and painted in an exalted high renaissance style, as if it had been limned by Raphael himself.  But while the painting offered a creepy virtuosity, the message was about par for death threats: “Hey fat Mayor Tamberlane…”
     Coal looked up.  “I see he spells Cass’s name incorrectly.”
     Joy nodded.
     And then she read the rest of it.  “You are an Incompetent Side of Beef and you will soon Hanging on a Hook, Making your own Gravy!”
     “Very nice,” she said, handing the sheet of paper back to Joy.  “Charming.  Have you contacted the police?”
     “No.  And Cass doesn’t want to.  Not yet anyhow.  It would all get out for sure and within hours, this fucking Old Master painting—she waved the pretty Fallen Angel at Coal—would be gracing the front page of the Toronto Sun.”
     “I hate to say so,” said Coal, taking a sip from her third martini, “but I suspect there are lots of people who’d be rooting for Raphael here.”
     “I know,” Joy sighed.  “But what do you think Cass should do?”
     “Nothing for the moment,” said Coal.
     “But do you think this Raphael, as you call him, is dangerous?”
     “Oh absolutely.”
     “So what’s the next step?”
     “Well, I think I’ll pay a call on His Worship.”
     “You’ll find he’s really pretty spooked about these notes,” said Joy.
    “So am I,” replied Coal.