the other vampire murder case (part four)

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"Please tell me who lives here, and where in the house they live. And please tell me your name."

"I'm sorry. My name is Erika. My room is downstairs, in the basement. There's also a game room down there, with a pool table, a dart board, and so on.

"This is the living room, obviously. Through that door is the dining room, and behind that is the kitchen. The second floor is not used very much."

"Why not, if I may ask?"

"It was my parents' rooms," Claudia said. "Their bedroom, and my father's library. I rent rooms, because I need the money, but things are not yet desperate enough for that."

My employer nodded. "I understand. Please continue."

"The floor above, the third floor, has been divided into two apartments. Jason has the rear apartment. Ryan was in the front."

"That's the man who was killed?"

She nodded.

"And the top floor, where the murder took place, that's your room, Claudia?"

She nodded, clearly beginning to get upset, but keeping herself under control. "Yes. There's a spare bedroom in the back that I use as a parlor. My bedroom is in the front."

"Is there some reason you live on the top floor?"

"I was the youngest of three children. That was my room as a girl, and I've never wanted to leave. It has a wonderful view."

"And Ryan was killed in your room? Not to be indelicate, but was it unusual for him to be in your room?"

"It was quite a regular occurrence, at one point, but not recently."

"Had he broken it off, or had you?"

"Claudia, may I?" Jason asked. She nodded, looking resigned. "Ryan was dumped, I'm sure for good reason, and he wasn't happy about it. She threatened to kick him out a couple of times, and he always promised to be better, but then he'd go off again."

"Was he violent?"

"No, never," Claudia said quickly.

"But he could have been," Jason said deliberately. "He had a temper, we all knew that."

"What do you do, Mr. Garland?" my employer asked.

"I'm a college professor," he said. "Psychology, over in the city."

Erika stood up. "Would you like to see Claudia's room?"

My employer nodded and got to her feet. Erika turned to Claudia. "I'll take them up," she said, and Claudia nodded.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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