The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Thirty One
Spence and Melanie left the reception shortly after their soggy conversation with Roger.
Back in the office, Spence logged into his email. Any number of reports would improve their investigative situation. At the top of his queue was the highly sought after tentative report from the accountants. Spence skimmed the information, more or less what he knew the day before. Filing for a warrant to search the Paulson home, he attached the report. A quick phone call to his to favorite judge and he was assured a warrant would be ready by one.
Feeling antsy, Spence forced himself to work through the other emails. Reports from the lab techs on the wide variety of things found at the crime scene, final reports on toxicology, digital copies of everything they bagged, tagged, or considered interesting, photographs of the same at the scene. He clicked and read and read some more until Melanie returned.
“What did you get out of the girls? You got the gist of my convo with sniveling Roger.”
“Solidad was forthcoming with what she knew, which wasn’t much. Helena had a pretty apt take on Roger.”
“I feel we’re in a holding pattern and any second the dam is going to break if we keep going back over things.”
“We might have a crack already. I got the prelim from the accountants and used it to file for a search warrant on the Paulson residence. We should have it by one.”
“I hope Barnes is done with the next ex-Mrs. Barnes by then.”
“I hope he didn’t hear you say that.”
“He’s not back yet, is he?” Melanie looked around quickly.
“You two are something else,” Spence said with laughter.
When Barnes returned from the funeral, he brought a pizza.
“I was hoping for information. I guess a pie will do,” Spence joked.
“Laugh it up, go ahead.” Barnes opened the box, dished a slice onto a paper plate, and handed it to Melanie with a stack of napkins. “I got onto a new motive today. Which I might share, if you’re done trying to be funny.”
Spence paused mid-grab for a slice. “More than the affair?”
“With a little kindness and attention, Nancy spilled the Mexican jumping beans. We’re talking one heck of a white moth.”
Melanie choked on a bite of pizza. “What the hell do moths have to do with anything?”
“That’s what’s in a Mexican jumping bean. The moth escaping makes the bean move around. Whatever. Harold and Nancy had plans to blow this Popsicle stand.”
“Harold was leaving Arlene for Nancy? Had he told her yet?” Spence asked, pizza in mid-air this time.
“Oh, I’m betting yes based on the flying spit at the funeral,” Melanie added.
“And you would win that bet. At least, Harold told Nancy he told Arlene,” Barnes explained.
“Arlene got six weeks notice at the start of October. Supposedly Harold moved into the guest room and notified Arlene he would be moving into Cabo by Thanksgiving.”
Spence chewed as the gears worked in his head.
“Mind if I come in?” Tess asked from the door with a plastic-wrapped plate in her hand.
Spence jumped up from his chair to kiss his wife on the cheek. “Everything okay with the baby?”
“Yes. You guys had to go to a funeral this morning. I thought double chocolate brownies were in order.” Tess set the plate down on the work table in the center of the room, sliding files out of the way to make space.
Melanie was a step behind her, waiting to grab a brownie. “I miss your baking.”
“Aw, that’s sweet. Thank you.” Tess pulled out a chair and sat at the table.
“Planning on staying a while honey?” Spence asked with a voice full of amusement.
“Winter sports is all repeats – that I’ve seen. So is HGTV.”
Spence knew better than to laugh but Barnes choked out a single syllable before Melanie drew a finger across her throat.
“Can I do something, anything useful for a while?” Tess pleaded.
Spence swallowed. His eyes flicked to Melanie and on to Barnes. He leaned over and pulled a folder of paperwork. “Take a look through this and see if anything sticks out.”
“In what way?”
“Anything that seems interesting or odd to you. Barnes already went through it. Another viewpoint can’t hurt though.”
“I did say I’d do anything.”
“And we’re waiting on a warrant, when it comes through you have to go back home.”
“I will. Thanks, honey.”
Barnes helped himself to a brownie and returned to his own computer research. Melanie snagged a second brownie and did the same. They quietly pursued lines of inquiry that might yield results.
“What about this charge for DIY Construction? That seems out of the ordinary for their shopping pattern,” Tess asked.
“Is it? Everyone needs to pick up stuff now and then,” Melanie responded.
“Do the Paulsons seem like the type to DIY anything? I see expensive clothes and food and art and travel but DIY?” Tess asked.
“No. They don’t. Give me that.” Spence took the page with the relevant charge and handed it to Barnes. “See if you can get a purchase copy for this.”
“You mentioned travel, did you see a travel based charge on there?” asked Spence.
“Um-hm. For bookmytrip.com.” Tess pointed to the relevant line on the credit card statement.
“Barnes, I thought you said there weren’t any travel related charges?”
Barnes turned back to face them. “You asked specifically for the dates after the murder and there weren’t.”
Spence took a second look at the sheet. “This charge was October 17th. My bad. Can you find out what it’s for?”
Barnes nodded. “It’ll cost you another brownie.”
“Consider it an apology.”
The speakers on Spence’s computer let out a large squawk.
“What was that?”
“Our warrant is in.” Spence clicked a few keys. “Yup, we are hot to roll on the Paulson house.”
Tess stood up to hug Spence. “I’m guessing it’s going to be a late one for you. I think I’ll pop by the library and pick up a bit of entertainment for the evening.”