The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Back in the car on the way to the office, Melanie shared her findings first. “I wandered off and found the day guard. Dumb as a box of rocks. He never notices anything. Although he was seriously buff.”
“You mean he looks the part but has nothing going on?” Tom asked.
Spence rubbed his forehead. “Idiots. You’d think they’d put the ex-cop on day shift.”
“Maybe he’s working evenings because that’s when they expect more trouble.” Tom countered.
“What kind of trouble do you expect at a private boarding school?” Melanie asked, laying on the horn to motivate a cautious driver into making an unprotected left.
“They did get a dead body,” Tom reminded her.
“You can’t anticipate that,” Melanie said exasperated.
“I’m exhausted and you two are killing me. What did you get from the girl?” Spence asked.
“I could barely get a whole question out before Matt objected.”
“That guy,” Tom grumbled. “Hey, do you know him?” Tom slapped the back of Spence’s seat.
“I think I do. I might have met him once or twice a few years back. If it’s who I’m thinking, his wife is friends with Tess.”
“Sweet. Can Tess get us dirt?” Melanie asked, her eyes glued to the road, missing the look on Spence’s face.
“I’m going to pretend you didn’t suggest I should involve my pregnant, on bed rest wife in this investigation.”
“Partial bed rest. She can call an old friend and chat, right?” Melanie pushed on.
“Not happening.” Spence was firm.
Melanie caught Tom’s eye in the rear-view mirror. Tom nodded once and slipped his phone out.
“Back to the girl. Did she corroborate Curt’s story?” Spence asked.
“Best I could tell. Like I said Matt was blocking my every attempt to connect and just about every attempt to ask anything blatant.”
“Do we think he’s helping the Academy hide something or is he a tenacious bulldog by nature?”
Melanie shrugged. “I don’t know. I think we need to apply for a bunch of warrants. We need all the financials for Paulson’s firm anyway.”
“Let’s get into his personal financials as well,” Spence agreed.
Finally, Tom looked up from his phone, “I took a little stroll about the grounds while you two were upstairs playing nurse.” This joke got a very small laugh. “Mike the guard was right. There’s easy access on two of the three sides. To the right of the main building the woods are dense and they seem to go back a good way, we can verify on USGS. I’m pretty sure that’s the state park land that butts up to the property. On the left side of the house the woods are only thirty feet and there’s a road. It’s only like one and a half lanes wide though. Tells me it’s not frequently used.”
Spence nodded. “Good catch. What about across the back?”
“Fifty feet of woods then backyards of other houses. I’m not saying you couldn’t access the Academy that way, it would depend on which yard you went through. Pick one without dog poop.”
Melanie laughed. “Should we send uniforms to canvas the houses? See if they noticed anything out of the ordinary?”
“Not a bad idea.” Spence agreed.
“It’s almost like I’ve done this before.” Melanie’s joke made them all laugh.
Tom popped Spence in the shoulder. “What did you get from the nurse?”
“Not much. With Matt within earshot, I kept it casual. I think she knows dirt though. I think she’s involved with someone she maybe shouldn’t be. And she dropped the creamer jug when I mentioned Paulson’s name.”
“You call that not much?” Taking advantage of a stoplight, Melanie took her eyes from the road and stared at Spence.
He shrugged. “Not as much as she had to give, so yeah, not much.”
“Did you flirt with her?” Tom asked.
“Played the exhausted beat cop card.”
“Nice one.” Melanie said as she turned into the parking lot of their favorite Chinese take-out joint. “Lunch or are you two gonna go home and crash?”
“I’ll stick it out until the autopsy report comes in.”
“The full won’t be in for days.”
“It’d be nice to get a cause of death.”
“He was found in a pool. I’m guessing drowning,” Melanie quipped.
“Whatever. Let’s get food.”
As they entered the restaurant to place an order to go, the late afternoon headline caught Melanie’s eye. “New Information in the Hunt for the Dismember Killer.” She told the guys to go ahead as she groped in the bottom of her bag for a couple of quarters to buy the newspaper. Flicking the edition open she scanned the front page article.