[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
001 002 Prologue 001-002 003 004 005 Chap 1 003-005
Chap 2 006 007 008 Chap 3 007-008 009 010 Chap 4 009-010 011 012 013 Chap 5 011-013 014 015 016 017
Chap 6 014-017 018 019 Chap 7 018-019 020 021 022 023 Chap 8 020-023 024 025 026 027 Chapter 9 024-027 028 029 030 031 Chapter 10 028-031 032 033 034 035 036 037 038 039 040 041 Chapter 11 032-041 042 043
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 044
Chapter 12 (3 of 7): The Detective
“Glad to see you, Phoebe,” he said and held out his hand. “Too bad it always has to be something like this to make us get together.”
“Nice to see you, Bud,” she said and shook the man’s hand.
They walked over towards the groups of officers and functionaries standing in a circle and tramping their feet for warmth. A yellow ribbon had been nailed into the verge and ran over a ditch about twenty feet into the forest; here it looped around a tree and paralleled the road for another twenty feet before heading back to another nail in the road. “I’ve got a call in for a road crew to bring out some wooden markers we can place along the side of the ditch,” Eaton explained.
“Looks good,” she said.
People had stopped moving around and turned expectantly toward Phoebe and the sheriff. “I think you know my senior deputy, Bobbie Jamison,” the sheriff said. “And this is Vernon Williamson. He’s been with us for a couple of years now.” Phoebe exchanged greetings with both of them.
“Detective Light, how are you? I’m Preston Schwenicke, if you remember.” A short and compact man with a smooth complexion vigorously pumped her hand. “We met at the M.E. seminar in Birchville last April. I own the funeral parlor in Marloe when I’m not doing this,” he gestured vaguely towards the ditch
“Of course,” Phoebe said, recalling the man as an intense and seemingly knowledgeable participant in one of the sessions on which he had participated. “Nice to see you again.”
She turned toward the men wearing the thick black coats stenciled ‘Crime Scene Investigator’ in yellow above the front left pocket. The same message, she knew, would also be found across the back in larger block letters.
“Gentlemen,” Phoebe greeted them, “and lady.” The lead technician was Barb Purcell, a fact which pleased Phoebe. She trusted the woman, for experience had taught her Purcell was a tenacious investigator when it came to ferreting out useful evidence from a crime scene. Her assistant was an eager overweight young man named Henry Friend. The third tech was Pete Anders, a somewhat sour individual who gobbled antacids by the handful for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But he was a first-rate forensic photographer who had a knack for taking just the kinds of pictures that, three or four weeks into an investigation, you wished you had. And he wasn’t bad on the video end, either.
“Phoebe,” they acknowledged.
They all turned towards the man who had been standing a bit outside the circle nervously observing them.
“This is Mr. Wright. Dexter Wright,” the sheriff introduced him to Phoebe. “He’s the hunter who called this in.”
“How do you do, Mr. Wright,” Phoebe said, extending her hand.
“Dexter’s fine, ma’am,” he said.
It’s not all that unusual for the perpetrator of a violent crime – especially if it’s one of passion, done in the heat of the moment, without premeditation – to be the person who reports its commission. It’s a way of trying to deflect the investigation’s focus onto a false trail. Though sometimes successful initially, in the end such evasions do the perpetrator more harm than good. Phoebe wasn’t sure about the exact statistics on this, but it would have been negligence on her part if she had not at least entertained the possibility that Mr. Wright, the friendly Dexter, could be involved in this murder in ways not immediately apparent.
He was in his early twenties, good-looking in a rough outdoorsy kind of way, and under the bulky winter outfit Phoebe imagined a lean build. She guessed about five-eleven, maybe 160, but it was hard to be sure with all those clothes. He was clean-shaven, and had frosty blue eyes that were alert but not alarmed. He was standing very straight up but appeared at the same time to be quite relaxed.
“Dexter it is,” Phoebe said and smiled kindly at him. “Excuse me just a minute,” she continued, lightly touching his forearm, and turned to the group of men watching them.
“Sheriff, anybody touch the body or the area where it’s lying?”
“Nobody. Bobbie and Preston laid out the crime scene tape. You can see their tracks in the snow up there. But nobody’s been near the actual body.” He peered over into the ditch where the partially exposed corpse lay.
“See any tracks on the road when you came out here?”
“Nothing,” the sheriff said. “No traffic since the snow started falling.”
Phoebe made some more notations.
“Good.” She paused a moment. “Pete,” she said turning to Anders, “why don’t you get started here and do a full series on the body and the immediate area around it. Start from the edge of the road, and then work your way down into the ditch and around. But stay about ten feet away from the body. Try to get as many shots as you can close to ground level, too. And take some from up here down on top of her. Do that first so we have a record of Dexter’s tracks in the snow.”
“You got it, Phoebe!” Pete Anders said, glad finally to have something to do. Soon his flash was bouncing off the snow non-stop as he began shooting.
Phoebe put her arm over Barb Purcell’s shoulder and walked her off to the side where the others couldn’t hear her. “Say, Barb,” she said softly, “ when Pete’s through, can you put a small plastic sheet over the woman’s chest and then fold a blanket across it? Let’s show her some respect, OK? Be sure the blanket doesn’t touch her, though.”
“Absolutely,” Barb said.
As Phoebe walked back over to Dexter, who had been following the exchanges attentively, Barb beckoned to Henry, and the two of them shuffled over to their wagon.
“Dexter,” Phoebe resumed her conversation with the hunter, “I understand you were the one who found this body.”
TO BE CONTINUED