the sister mystery (part eighteen)

This story started here.

We were in the big auditorium where we held most of our meetings, a few blocks from the hotel. The runners were scattered around the room. They were mostly young, many of them around Ron's age or a little older. Their bicycles were leaning against the walls, or lying on the floor. I estimated that about half of the runners were there.

My employer limped to the podium and hooked her cane over the edge of the lectern. She raised the microphone and said, "Welcome. Thank you for coming. There has been a murder, and I need your help to solve it.

"A teenage girl with shoulder-length blonde hair entered U-town quite recently, probably yesterday. She was stabbed to death last night in the hotel." She described what Tracy had been wearing, and her suitcase. "Did anybody see her, did anybody speak to her, did she ask directions? How did she get to the hotel? If anybody did speak to her, did she say anything about who she was or why she was here? Someone, almost certainly her murderer, took all of her identification."

This was interesting. Without saying anything untrue, she had given the impression that we had no idea who the murdered girl had been or where she had come from. And that led me to the possibility, which hadn't occurred to me before, that Tracy (underage, perhaps traveling alone to meet a lover) might have been using a false name.

I was standing at the side of the stage. I glanced farther into the wings, where Ron sat on a folding chair, looking morose. There was no problem with people seeing me, but we had been careful that nobody would be able to see Ron.

I heard my employer asking for the runners to spread the word as I saw Fifteen and Christy come in through the stage door and go to speak to Ron. Christy was apparently offering condolences. Fifteen came over and showed me a stack of mimeographed flyers, featuring a description and a rough drawing of Tracy. I nodded and he brought them to my employer. She glanced at them and then encouraged the runners, who were already starting to get ready to leave, to come over and get some flyers to spread around.

Apparently none of the runners had been able to help.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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