We left off with Investigator Pepper Black tied up underground somewhere. She finally got off what was tied over her eyes that turns out to be a polka dot scarf—just like the one Margie Webster was wearing when she was found dead in the farmer’s field. Sheriff Clayton Nazzaro is at Malcolm Sinclair’s estate on Spirit Lake questioning him and guests. Pepper had disappeared from there right after Malcolm’s book club let out. None of the guests still there saw Pepper (undercover as Hazel Brewster) leave the book club. (We know from “D is for Diluted” that Pepper recently moved to town and lives in a garage apartment above the Lamont Bicycle Shop.)
Questioning Malcolm Sinclair had gotten the sheriff nothing but smug remarks. Should he come right out and say he heard Malcolm call the woman posing as Hazel Brewster, Ms. Black over the wire she was wearing? The last thing he wanted was to put Pepper in more danger, but letting Malcolm wonder how he found out might make Mr. Sinclair slip up. Clayton heard footsteps come up from behind. He took a few steps back away from the porch and Malcolm’s ears.
“Sheriff,” said the deputy, “we questioned everyone still here. No one saw Hazel, I mean Investigator Black, leave. At least that’s what they’re saying.”
“What about the two women she was sitting with at the table with Malcolm?” asked Clayton.
The deputy flipped open his pad, “Left already. Sophia Lyons, married, not happily from what they say here, and the other one Jessie Belmont—lives alone. We sent officers to their houses.”
“See if you can track down any other guests who might have left already,” said Clayton, “and send these other people home.”
“Already on it, sheriff.”
“Good. Good work.” The deputy walked back down the path into the gardens—now to approach Malcolm about the ladies. Clayton returned to where Malcolm was chain smoking, standing on the top step.
“Making any headway, sheriff?” Malcolm asked.
Clayton figured he would try the direct approach to gauge Malcolm’s reaction. “Where is Sophia Lyons and Jessie Belmont, Mr. Sinclair? The women you and Ms. Black were sitting with.”
Malcolm choked on the smoke he had just inhaled. “Finally getting around to that, I see. As to the women, I didn’t see any of them leave, including your detective.”
“And how did you know who Investigator Black was?”
Malcolm paused a moment. “I had my bicycle in for repairs. She lives in the garage apartment above the Lamont Bicycle Shop.” He gave a smart ass grin. “Rather silly sending an officer undercover to a book club, don’t you think?”
At this point Clayton didn’t know what to think of Malcolm Sinclair.
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!