the college murder case (part seventeen)

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The door opened and someone shoved Ron in. She looked around, her expression fierce, and then she belatedly realized who we were. Still trying to look fierce, she ran across the room and threw her arms around me.

"I gather she's with you," the inspector said dryly.

"We know her," Jan said carefully. "She works for us. But she didn't come here with us. You can confirm that with the driver–"

"Oh, thank you so much for that sage advice, Miss Sleet," he said, "but we already did that. And you're about to say that you didn't know she was here, and I believe you. Do you want to know what I do think?

"You and Mr. O'Connor and Mr. Anson and Miss Malin are in the clear. You were on stage, and they were clearly visible to a dozen people at all times. And I can't imagine that you would come all the way here to murder one of your own people in any case.

"I think this girl came here to kill him, and nobody was supposed to even know she was here, except that we caught her."

Ron was still holding me, and I could feel her start to shiver. I put an arm around her and held her close.

"I'm prepared to make you a deal," Ibarra said. "You're free to go, if you give me permission to investigate this in U-town, to establish a motive." Stu started to speak, but he continued. "We're going to hold the girl either way."

"On what charge?" Stu demanded.

"Well, it turns out she's listed as a runaway."

"Her name is Hazel Davis," Jan said, lighting a cigarette. "Her parents are Bob and Virginia Davis, of Carmel, California. I've spoken to them, some time ago, and they said they're willing to allow her–"

"She's on the books as a runaway," he said. "That's enough for me."

"Fair enough. And we're not taking your deal. May I examine the crime scene?"


"Do you have witnesses? May I speak to them?"

"Yes, we have witnesses, and no you may not speak to them. Let's save some time here, Miss Sleet. Whatever other questions you may have, the answer is no to those as well. Since you decided not to take my offer, I have work to do. Excuse me." He left the room, and one of the officers went to stand by the window. The other remained by the door.

I wondered about this change, but then I noticed the windows. The room was roughly square, with a few dusty tables and chairs around. There were lockers along one wall, and mirrors along another. A third wall had windows, very tall and thin. They were set to swivel out when a small crank was turned, though they were all closed now, and it occurred to me that, while the average person couldn't have fit through one of them, Ron probably could have.

Turning to face my employer, I saw her glance at me, smiling as she noticed that I had figured this out. Then she turned her attention to Ron.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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