Dead Man Talking (PM5) by Daniels Casey

Dead Man Talking (PM5) by Daniels Casey

Author:Daniels, Casey [Daniels, Casey]
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Tags: Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Fiction
ISBN: 9781101145210
Publisher: Berkley
Published: 2009-10-06T07:00:00+00:00

9

My love life was a mess, but when it came to my professional life—and by this, I don’t mean my work in the cemetery—I was in luck. The detective who headed the original murder investigation was a stickler for detail and incredibly organized. The file Quinn gave me before he stomped out of my apartment (OK, he didn’t exactly stomp, but it wasn’t exactly pretty, either) contained not only his original notes about the case, but interviews with witnesses and suspects, crime scene photos, the autopsy report, and what must have been every newspaper article ever written about Jefferson Lamar and Vera Blaine.

I took the file marked BLAINE, VERA—CLOSED to the cemetery with me the next day. Surprise, surprise . . . I don’t know how he managed, but Absalom had somehow a) intimidated, b) coerced, c) outright threatened, or d) all of the above, everyone on the team to actually work. By the time I got there, they were busy trimming overgrown hedges and pulling a ton of weeds. With that out of the way, and no other pressing responsibilities for the moment, I pretended I had TV show business to take care of and ducked into the mausoleum. Careful to keep far back from the hole in the floor, I sat down on the lawn chair one of my teammates had left there, pulled out the file, and got to work.

“Body of Woman Found in Local Motel”

“Prison Warden Questioned in Slaying of Young Secretary”

“Surprising Arrest in Vera Blaine Case”

“A Business Relationship Turned Tragic?”

“Warden’s Testimony Shaky, Evidence Solid”

The headlines screamed at me from article after article, bolder and more sensational as the trial went on.

“Guilty!” the headline on one of the last articles in the pile shouted. “Love Nest Turned Murder Scene” said another, right above a photo of the Lake View Motel, a not-so-charming-looking place with a half-burned-out neon sign and a blacktop parking lot.

“I didn’t stand a chance.”

For the record, I did not squeal when I realized Jefferson Lamar was standing right in back of me, reading over my shoulder. I did, however, flinch. Like anyone could blame me?

I turned and gave him a glare. “Maybe they wouldn’t have been so quick to convict you if you weren’t so sneaky.”

He didn’t get it.

It wasn’t worth trying to explain.

Instead, I fanned out the newspaper articles. “There’s an awful lot here that sounds damning,” I said.

“Obviously. They convicted me.”

“Maybe they had good reason?” It wasn’t the first time I’d given him the opportunity to tell the whole truth and nothing but. This time, like the last, he stood firm.

“I didn’t do it,” he said, each of his words precise and clipped so I couldn’t help but understand.

“Your testimony was shaky.” Just in case he’d forgotten, I waved the newspaper article with the headline that said the same thing. “You didn’t have much of an alibi.”

“I was in Cleveland, I’ll admit that much. I was visiting my folks. Helen went out that evening. By the time I got home, she was in bed, asleep.



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