The door opened and a man came in. He was wearing a dark suit, with a badge on his jacket. He appeared to be in his forties, with black hair, graying at the temples, and a sardonic expression.
"Miss Sleet," he said, "I'm Inspector Ibarra. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but the young man who was with you, Douglas Matthews, has been murdered. Obviously, since he came here with you, I need to ask you some questions. But first, as a matter of formality, I need to see your identification, and that of the people with you."
"Marshall is my assistant," she said. She used her cane to get to her feet. "He has my identification."
I pulled out my wallet and hers, and handed them over. Stu did the same, standing up as he did so. When Ibarra turned to Christy, she held up her hand, her fingers extended. "I am pulling out an automatic," she said, slowly reaching under her jacket with two fingers, "for which I have a permit. And I am refusing a body search until a female officer or a matron is available."
"My client is completely within her rights," Stu said. "Especially–"
"Stow it, counselor. We know she's not guilty. Several witnesses place her backstage through the whole thing, along with you and Mr. O'Connor. In fact, quite a few of the students were watching her movements very closely. Boys, of course." He chuckled, taking Christy's wallet and handing her gun to one of the officers. "We'll hold the weapon, and it will be returned to her later. If it does become necessary to frisk her, I've already had a half dozen volunteers from among my men. I'll probably auction off the rights to the highest bidder and add the money to my retirement fund."
I could see Christy bristle at this, but she let it go.
"We're interviewing everybody who was in the area, either in or around the building," Ibarra said, as the officer slipped Christy's gun into a plastic bag and sealed it, writing on the outside with a marker. "Mostly to find out if anybody knew him, or if any of them saw anything. We don't expect much out of that, but we have to do it." He smiled. "We already have a pretty good suspect in custody, but we have to cover all the bases. Did any of you know him well?"
"I had met him before today," Jan said, "but I didn't know him well. He worked for the U-town newspaper, and I have given them some classes, as a group."
The rest of us explained that we had never met him before that day.
"You all drove here together, I believe," Ibarra continued. "Did he mention that he knew anybody at this college or in the surrounding area?"
We all said no, and Stu clarified that he hadn't come with us and had actually never met Doug at all.
Then, from the hallway, a voice – very loud and very grating and very familiar – blared, "Let go of me, you fucking cop sons of bitches!"