We left off with Investigator Pepper Black (posing as Hazel Brewster and a friend of the murder victim Margie Webster) getting kidnapped after leaving the book club run by Malcolm Sinclair. Sheriff Clayton Nazzaro and a tech had been listening in on a wire Pepper is wearing. Now they have lost communication. The last thing they hear is Pepper outside of her car, then a scuffle.
The sheriff puts out the “officer down” call. Police cars are at the scene by Pepper’s jeep, parked down the road from Malcolm Sinclair’s estate on Spirit Lake where the book club was held.
“Her purse was found on the ground outside of her jeep,” said the deputy, “and this book of Hemingway poems. Door was open.”
Clayton would have to fight his urge to throttle Malcolm Sinclair. He headed back to his patrol car. “I’ll be up having a few words with the Grand Poobah. Tape everything off all the way down the road and up that idiot’s driveway—nobody else in or out.” He didn’t wait for the deputy’s response.
Thirty minutes had passed since the last sound from Pepper through the wire she was wearing. The tech had heard Malcolm call her Ms. Black before he got up from where he was sitting with Pepper and two other women. Would thirty minutes be enough time for Malcolm to take her?
There were still a few people meandering around the grounds as the other officers approached to prevent them from leaving. Malcolm was sitting on an Adirondack rocker on the porch, book in one hand, drink in the other.
“Ah sheriff, a bit of commotion tonight I see,” said Malcolm. He set the drink down, took a cigarette out of his pack and lit it.
“You don’t seem too upset one of your guests has gone missing,” said Clayton.
“So I hear, Ms. Brewster. Hazel wasn’t it?” He took a drag and blew the smoke in Clayton’s direction. “Unfortunate. She didn’t care much for our topic tonight. Nietzsche wasn’t to her liking. I was going to ask her if she liked Russian literature any better.” He tossed the book on the table.
Clayton could feel his blood pressure rise. He couldn’t let on that his tech told him that Malcolm knew Hazel was Pepper. “Is it normal for you to do away with your club members when they don’t like your choice in books—Margie Webster and now Hazel?”
“Yes, I heard about Margie. Very sad business. But I assure you, sheriff, I haven’t left this spot,” said Malcolm, with a wave of his arm in front of him. “Ask any of the people still here.”
That was the plan, Clayton thought. But would they tell the truth?
Today's word – R is for Russian literature - is brought to you by Ed Martin.
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!