The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
When Spence and Tom came back out of the restaurant laden with bags, they found Melanie reading the front page of the late paper.
“Article that interesting?” Tom asked. “We got food. Hope you like Moo Shu.”
“We’ve got a leak.”
Spence shoved his bag into Tom’s arms and reached for the paper. He read quickly. “Who the hell is Stephanie Lewis and how does she know about the penis under the crossed hands?”
Melanie shrugged. “Like I said, leak.”
“Let’s get back, I need to brief the lieu.” Spence crumpled the paper and flung his arm back to throw it. He changed his mind at the last moment, squeezing the paper to death instead.
The short drive was quickly accomplished. Melanie took the food into the office they all shared. Spence headed for their lieutenant’s office. She wasn’t there. He stopped by the division secretary. “Where’s the lieu?”
“Press briefing. That reporter saw you at the school and now they’re hounding her about Dismember.”
“Great. I’ll wait.” Spence went back to the office and leaned against the open door jamb. Inviting himself into her office was a good way to put the lieu in a permanent bad mood.
He didn’t have to wait long before she came striding through the floor.
“Got a minute?”
She took a long look at him. “We need to get you a disguise. How’s it going with the latest victim?”
Spence shook his head. “We’ve barely gotten started. Did you see the late paper?” He held out the mangled copy.
“No. Do I want to?”
Spence shook his head. “Details are in it we never released.”
She removed her glasses and leaned back in her chair. “Any idea where those details came from?”
“Stephanie Lewis is the byline. I’d like to have her followed.”
“Agreed. Get a full package. Telecom, surveillance, and records. Physical, 24/7.”
“I’ll get right on it.” Spence turned for the door.
“This is important. Less important than Dismember though. Don’t let it detract from what you are doing on the serial killer investigation. Keep your focus where it can do the most good.”
Spence stopped at the duty desk. “I need a team on surveillance immediately. Stephanie Lewis. Employed at The Times. See if you can pull her DMV.”
The duty sergeant typed at the keyboard. “Got it. She’s cute.”
Spence held up the paper. “Leak.”
“Cute,” his tone switched from admiring to annoyed. “I’ll get a couple of guys in plain clothes over to The Times now. We’ll catch her there or at home. Overtime approved?”
“If need be. The lieu will sign off. She wants 24/7 coverage.”
The duty sergeant nodded again.
Spence stalked back to the team office.
Barnes and Melanie were chopstick deep in Chinese. “How’d it go?” Melanie asked around a mouthful.
“Better than I thought. Can you order a warrant for telecom, monitoring, and records on effing Stephanie Lewis?”
Melanie put down the box in her hand and turned her chair to her PC. She was typing before Spence got his coat off. Turning to Barnes he asked, “Did you find anything on the tapes?”
“Depends on what you mean by anything.”
“Not now. Just give it to me.”
Barnes added a mouthful of noodles and chewed slowly. “Harold Paulson visits the Academy three or four times a week. Often in the middle of his work day. He stays for several hours each time.”
“Could be board business.”
“I pulled the Board of Directors’ pictures and bios from the school website, none of the other members visited in the last three weeks. They all seem to stop by only on monthly board meeting night.”
“That’s something. What was Paulson up to?” Spence turned to Melanie. “Did you get those warrant requests in?”
“I did for the business and the personal. I called Judge Lawrence’s assistant, too. He’ll get them under the judge’s nose at the next break. Don’t get excited, it might be end of day before that happens.”
“Any word from the medical examiner?” Spence scooped up more Kung Pao.
“Not yet, want me to call him?”
Spence shook his head. “I think I’ll run down there. Where did Tom go?”
“I thought he was with you?”
“He and the lieu barely get by under the best. Maybe he went to the morgue.”
“Maybe Barnes and I should drive out to Shadow Brook, start talking to the neighbors,” Melanie suggested.
Spence considered this. “It’ll be Friday night by the time you get there. You might catch a few of them home.”
“Until all that paperwork comes in, what else are we going to do?”
Spence looked over at Barnes, “You up for that?”
“I could use the fresh air.”
“I’ll go down to the morgue then head home. Meet back here at seven tomorrow?”
Melanie and Barnes nodded.
They ate their fill in silence: answering emails, reading over reports, considering their next steps. Tom had not returned by the time Spence left for the basement.