I see that I finished writing this at the start of October, which indicates just how long it has taken me to push it (and myself) through the 'beta' process!
The original "American-picking" beta eventually dropped out after a series of month-long gaps, not all of which was her fault, and I was very lucky to pick up a replacement who steamed through the remaining three chapters in nine days -- the delay had at least given me time to get the whole thing typed up, which is always laborious for me. He found a lot more lapses in chapters 4 and 5 than the previous beta did in Ch1–3, as well, which makes me a little nervous about the earlier chapters...
After going through various Hammerstein-related titles I eventually settled on simply "The Daaé Case", since if the story is being seen from Jos's point of view every case he's involved in is some kind of 'Hammerstein Affair'! And I think that version conveys the 'private eye' overtones of the story well enough.
The Daaé Case
Chapter 1: Christine Disembarks
“What do you mean, the Daaé’s disappeared?”
John McWhirter was a big man with gray in his wiry black beard, but his voice had cracked into a schoolboy’s high-pitched incredulity, and Jos winced. When the boss blew his top, he could make you feel mighty small. And right now, in the face of a foul-up this colossal, Jos Perlman would give a fair sum to shrink clear away and out of McWhirter’s sight.( Read more... )