the family murder case (part nine)

This story started here.

Eventually, my employer got the disputants to agree to have their whole case judged again at Duffy's bar. It was a matter of policy that we didn't rule on civil cases that had already been decided, but it sometimes took a bit of diplomacy to get things resolved.

The parties headed off to Duffy's, and my employer limped over to us. "Jason," she said, "you look like–"

"Erika's been arrested for murder!"

She disliked being interrupted, but that was outweighed by her excitement that someone was bringing her a mystery to solve. She led us into the dining room where we sat at a small table.

"Who, what, where, when, and how?" she asked as I lit a cigarette for her.

He took a deep breath. "Claudia's nephew, with a knife, in her bed. Erika's bed. At Claudia's parents' house. I don't know what the police are claiming for a motive, but it's bogus, because she didn't do it."

"And you've brought this to us for what reason?"

He eyes widened in surprise. "To get you to go and find out who really did it. I–"

She nodded. "Then please take deep breath and calm down. I will ask you eight questions. One: how did you hear about this?"

"One of my students, who knows I rent the house from Claudia, he heard something about it on the radio. The family–"

"Two," she said firmly. "Have you spoken to Claudia?"

"I called the house, and I spoke to Claudia's mother, very briefly. I told her–"

"I'm not interested in what you told her. The important information is going to flow the other way. Three: Is Erika under arrest?"

"Mrs. Forrester said the police were–"

"Jason, please. Take a deep breath. Has she been arrested? Has she been charged? And, if she has been charged, with what? That's questions three, four, and five. Facts only, now."

"I'm sorry, I–"

"The correct answer to all three questions is 'I don't know,' isn't it?"

He seemed to deflate a bit. "Yes."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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