The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
They walked Mrs. Paulson through headquarters and down to the sub-floor morgue. The morgue had its own front desk receptionist, not a police officer.
Spence waited with Mrs. Paulson as Tom leaned in to talk to the young woman. She nodded and picked up the phone. Tom nodded to Spence.
“This way Mrs. Paulson.”
“Are you sure this is my husband? I really don’t want to have to see some other dead body.”
Spence caught Tom’s eye. This woman was weird. “Yes, ma’am.” Spence gestured down the linoleum hallway. They turned the corner and Spence opened the door marked Observation.
Mrs. Paulson stood stone still in the four by four room, her hands clasped in front of her of chest. A light to the right of the large, curtained window turned green.
“Are you ready?”
Mrs. Paulson nodded.
Spence pushed the button below the light and the curtain opened. On the other side of the glass was a body, the pool man’s body, covered by medical drapery to his shoulders.
“Oh,” Mrs. Paulson mewed.
“Is that your husband?” Spence asked, following the routine he designed to distance himself from the grief of others.
Mrs. Paulson nodded and Spence hit the button to close the curtains. This was the tricky part. Some families cried and begged him to leave them open longer. Others cried incessantly and he couldn’t get them into a car and on their way home.
Spence opened the door to the hallway and Mrs. Paulson followed him out into the hall.
“What will happen now?”
“We’ll investigate your husband’s death.”
Spence walked her back upstairs to the main lobby. The desk sergeant called, “Fredericks is out front.”
Spence smiled to himself. Thank you, Tom. “Let me walk you out.” He opened the front door and waited for her to walk through. The coat did not look like it should be touched. Neither did the woman in it for that matter. No tears. Maybe she was stunned or cried out from earlier. “Officer Fredericks will drive you home, ma’am. Thank you for coming in. We will be in touch.”
“In touch? About what?”
“Your husband’s case.”
“Oh. I’m not sure I want to know anything more about that.”
Spence nodded. “Of course.” He opened the door of the cruiser and after she slid in, closed the door. He leaned in through the driver’s side window. “Up in Shadow Brook. 912 Reindeer Lane.”
Officer Fredericks made a face and then nodded.
He slapped the roof of the car once and then headed back inside. They had a confirmed identification. Time to see what that got them.
Spence double timed it up to the fourth floor office. “Widow confirmed the ID.”
“Maybe the medical examiner can finish the autopsy now.” Melanie turned from her computer. “The start of our background information came in.”
“Give it to me.” Spence poured another cup of coffee and waited.
“Mike Hunter. Gulf War One. Chicago PD. Broke his back when a perp got the drop on him and sent him off the roof of a four story building. Pushed out on disability. Retired out here on a partial pension. Working at Whispering Evergreen Academy ever since. Where do they get the names for these places?”
“That matches up. What else you got?” Tom said from the doorway.
“Where you been?” Spence looked over.
“Had to make a phone call.” Tom blushed lightly as those with fair skin are prone to do.
“The new lady? Tess has been bugging me about it, wants you two to come over for dinner.”
Tom harrumphed. “I’ll see what I can do about that.”
Spence shook his head at Tom, then looking back to Melanie said, “Go on.”
“Bobby Tasker. College kid. GPA sucks. Lost his scholarship. Working at the Academy four months.”
“That lines up with what he said.” Tom nodded.
“What about the headmaster with bad eyes?” Spence asked.
“He moved around a lot in the beginning of his career. This gig is the longest one he’s had by years. Not married currently, one divorce. No kids. Divorce lines up with him taking this job.”
“Something to be said for getting away from the ex.” Barnes contributed from the television monitor.
“Alright, what more did you get on dear, dead Harold?”
Melanie switched paper stacks. “Harold is a CPA. He runs a very large accountancy firm. A number of big money clients. Several he provides with auditing oversight are huge.” Melanie widened her eyes to demonstrate how huge.
Spence nodded and gestured for her to go on.
“Married Arlene twenty years ago. No kids. Moved into Shadow Brook five years ago.”
“He insured?” Spence thought back to the pricey items at the house.
“You’ll love this part. Fifteen million, all to the wife.”
Tom caught Spence’s eye. “All those snazzy goods.”
“People been killed for a lot less than 15. Does she get control of the business, too?”
“Still delving into that but it looks like no. Harold had an odd set up with his investors where ownership of the company remains in the company. In other words, the wife gets a small portion of stock. Controlling interest will be divided among the five biggest stockholders.”
Spence said nothing. He absentmindedly stuck the stir stick for his coffee in his mouth and chewed.
“You haven’t even heard the best part. Guess who was a client?”
Tom slapped a pencil down on his desk hard enough to break it. “Whispering Evergreen Academy?”
“He’s on the board there.”
“You’d think I’d done this before,” Tom said with a wink.