I’ll try to recap briefly. We left Sheriff Clayton Nazzaro off at “I” is for Infallible, waiting for Inv. Pepper Black to get back from the book club which she has infiltrated as Hazel Brewster.
While Clayton waits for Pepper he wants to talk to Beth, the waitress at the Lamont Café, again about Malcolm Sinclair, the odd guy who runs the book club at his mansion on Spirit Lake. Beth may be the last person outside of the club to see Margie Webster alive when the club stopped for coffee before going on a group day trip.( Margie’s body was found the following morning in a farmer’s field decapitated.) The Sheriff is supposed meet up with Pepper Black at the station at 9:15 PM.
In the meantime (posts J, K, L), Pepper has been getting tidbits on Malcolm and the club in her guise as Hazel Brewster. It is now 8:45 PM and Pepper is trying to wrap it up at the book club. Pepper is sitting with Malcolm and two of his “followers” Sophia & Jessie. Pepper mentions how sad she was to hear of Margie’s death. Malcolm gets uncomfortable and slips up by saying good night to Ms. Black, confusing the two women who just figure “Hazel” is divorced, and he walks away. Her prime suspect knows who she is.
It was 8:50 PM. Beth should be getting ready to lock down; the cook had already come out the back door of the Lamont Café. The sheriff got out of his car, walked up to the glass door, and tapped on the glass. He could see Beth in there as she untied her apron, but she didn’t see him. He rapped louder.
Beth gave Clayton a “what now” signal with her arms in the air as she walked towards the door. The locked clicked as it spun open. “What, you forget your gun on the counter or something? It’s almost nine, Clayton.”
“I know, I know. I just have a couple quick questions. Honest. It’ll just take five minutes.”
Beth looked at her watch. “You have three. It’s been a tiring day and I just want to go home and soak in the tub with a good book.” She opened the door wider and let him in.
“Don’t tell me you’re in the book club too?” said Clayton. He sat at a booth close to the door. He really had no choice. Beth blocked him from coming in any further. Smart girl.
Beth put on her jacket and sat across from him. “What? Malcolm’s?”
“That’s the one.”
“Oh, hell no,” Beth said. “I’m not a rich, bored housewife, for one.”
“And for two?” asked Clayton, although he figured the list was longer.
“I’m not single and insecure,” said Beth. She reached in her jacket pocket and pulled out her car keys. “Malcolm Sinclair is a notorious womanizer. He’s in here with a different lady from that club all the time. Anything else?”
“Yes, just a couple. Do you remember what she was wearing yesterday morning when they all came in before their field trip, as every one calls it?”
“Actually, I do. She wasn’t dressed like herself, now that you ask,” said Beth. She checked her watch again. “She had on a pretty short skirt for her. Trying to get Malcolm's attention I guess.”
“What about jewelry around her neck, a scarf?”
“No, nothing like that that I noticed.” Beth moved over by Clayton and with a wave of her hand, ushered him to the door. “Times up.”
“One last thing,” said Clayton. He gave his best plead for patience look. “Did any of them happen to mention where this field trip was?”
“Oh sure, Malcolm’s other property.” Beth unlocked the door and nudged Clayton’s shoulder.
Clayton didn’t think to ask the county clerk about other property when he checked to see when Malcolm bought the lake parcel. “He has another property?”
“The old Olmstead place. You know, the local writer from the 30s? Jeez, Clayton don’t you know anything about where you live?”
Apparently not, Clayton thought. “Where’s that?”
Beth pushed Clayton out the door. “It’s the big brick one on Hempstead Road. Man for the sheriff, you don’t know much.”
Clayton had to agree. The house wasn’t even a quarter of a mile down the road from where Margie’s body was found. He was right about one thing. The waitress did know all.
Today's word – N is for Notorious - is brought to you by Storm Amrhein.
If you would like to catch up, here is my 2013 A to Z Mystery Recap.
This post is part of April's Blogging From A-Z Challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo. The rest of the A-Z bloggers can be found pinned in the links section of my sidebar.
Hope to see you tomorrow!