The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Twenty One
Heading for the motor pool, Spence texted Tom. I got the boss not to replace you.
Tom’s response a moment later was not reassuring. You need the manpower.
Spence paused behind the wheel, engine running, sick feeling in his stomach. You don’t think you’re coming back.
Tom didn’t respond and Spence couldn’t wait all day. He filed the emotions under useless and headed out of the garage.
When he arrived in Shadow Brook, Spence started closest to the Paulson home. He didn’t mind if Arlene Paulson saw them interviewing door to door at this point. He wanted her a touch nervous. Then again, given how large the properties were up here, Arlene would practically need to be visiting a neighbor when Spence arrived to have any clue.
“Yeese?” A young woman with a thick Russian accent answered the door.
He displayed his badge and then his credentials, “Detective Thomas, Sheriff’s Office.”
Her eyes went wide with fear. Spence didn’t attach undue import to her reaction. It was probably a simple facet of her experiences back in her home country. “I would like to speak to the lady of the house.” Such a complicated way to put it.
She nodded and beckoned him in. “Please wait.” She held up one hand to gesture him to stay in the foyer as she went into the depths of the house.
Spence took advantage of the time to look at whatever he could before the maid returned. Grandfather clock, probably an actual antique, as it was slightly banged up. A little further in a print of ballet dancers seen through a bunched cluster of heads, Spence thought it seemed like a Degas. Degas liked dancers, or so he remembered from a college art history girlfriend. After a closer look, Spence hoped it was a print. The idea that he was about to go fishing for information from the owner of an original Degas intimidated him a little.
At the clack of high heels on wood floor, he quick stepped it back to the area immediately by the front door.
“Can I help you?” Her cultured voice contrasted with her youthful face. Second wife. Trophy wife.
“Detective Thomas, County Police.”
She nodded with a tight smile, “Elizabeth Greggson.”
“I am investigating the death of your next door neighbor, Harold Paulson.”
“I was sorry to hear about his death.” Her statement was a formal platitude.
Spence decided to wait a moment and see whether she would deviate from the script.
“Would you like to have a seat?” She gestured to a small sitting room in the opposite direction from the Degas.
Spence nodded and moved forward. After they were seated and he was still silent, she raised an eyebrow.
“Were you well acquainted with the Paulsons?”
Spence waited to see if she would say more. Elizabeth merely out-waited him with a vague smile on her smooth face.
“Have you lived here long?” Spence decided to try another track.
“A few years.”
“I ask because it seems odd that two such close neighbors would be unfamiliar with each other.”
Elizabeth took a deep breath and broke eye contact. Her mouth pursed. “Arlene and I were not compatible. Up here the wives make friendships, the husbands make business contacts.”
“And your husband didn’t have business with Harold Paulson?”
“My wife and I don’t socialize with the inhabitants up here much.”
Spence looked up from his notepad and met Elizabeth’s smirking smile. “That must be complicated.”
“It is. This is Rebecca’s family home and she likes to live here.”
Spence nodded. “Is there anything you can tell me? About their relationship with each other? About their friends? Any arguements you may have overheard?” No reason not to be direct now. Elizabeth wouldn’t be running next door to tell Mrs. Paulson anything.
She slowly shook her head. “I don’t think so. The walls are thick, our property wide. I haven’t had much opportunity to observe anyone coming or going. I work at home and my office overlooks my own back forest, so to speak.”
Spence nodded. “Well thank you for your time.” He slipped a card out of the back slot on his credentials folio. “If you see anything, hear anything, give me a call, please.”
“Of course, detective.” She stood and took the card with a smile. She gestured him towards the front door.
“Out of curiosity, the Degas?”
“Musicians in the Orchestra?”
“That’s not a print is it.” Spence said a little sadly.
She simply smiled and opened the door for him. “Thank you for stopping by detective.”
Spence stepped out on the porch and shook his head. It was a strange old world. He moved down to the next house, hoping for better luck.