Pepper has been held captive somewhere since after Malcolm’s book club. If you’ve read posts F and T, you know she’s been in spots like this before when she worked undercover in Chicago. The last time she nearly got killed, hence her recent move to the small town of Lamont where she lives in a garage apartment over the bicycle shop. While Pepper is trying to escape, Clayton is looking for leads to track her down. Mrs. Sophia Lyons told Sheriff Clayton Nazzaro about the bootlegger’s tunnel underneath Malcolm Sinclair’s estate that lead to the lake. He called one of his deputies to go back over and get Malcolm to agree to let them back in by any means possible. Sophia showed Clayton pictures she took during the book club’s field trip from the day before Margie Webster turned up dead and beheaded—we now know Margie had Jessie Belmont’s scarf around her neck.
***Clayton didn’t like to talk on his cell as he drove but he had no choice. The question needled at him; how did Malcolm know Hazel was his detective, Pepper Black? The jeep tilted as he took the curve in the road beyond the speed limit around the lake. He rolled the window down for the cool air to rush over his face. The sheriff needed the owner of the Lamont Bicycle Shop to pick up the damn phone. It was on the tenth ring.
“Who the hell is this, it’s almost midnight,” the man yelled.
“Wilber, that you?” The jeeps tires skimmed the ditch as it sped around the turn in the road. “It’s Clayton. Sorry about the time but it’s important.”
“Good God sheriff, I’m sorry,” Wilber answered, the stress in his voice blared in Clayton’s ear. “Any word on Pepper? My Lord. She hasn’t been here if that’s why you’re calling.”
“No, no that’s not why, but thanks for letting me know. I have a question.” Clayton put his cell on speaker and set it on the seat. “You know who Malcolm Sinclair is?”
“Seen him around town. Introduced myself and told him about the shop, him being new and all. That’s about it.”
“He ever come into the shop to have his bike tuned up, get parts, anything like that?” The phone slid towards the passenger door as the jeep leapt over a bump. Clayton grabbed the cell before it went over the edge. “What’s that now?”
“Nope. He’s never been to my shop. It’s just me, here. Small place and all—I’d remember him.”
Clayton’s gut feeling was right. Malcolm had lied. “When you’ve seen him around town, was it ever on a bike?”
“Oh, he don’t ride,” said Wilbur. “Got a bum knee. Said something about an accident when he lived in Chicago.”
“Thanks Wilbur, you’ve been a big help.” He almost hung up when he heard the man’s voice again.
Find her, sheriff. She’s a good lady.” Wilbur disconnected.
No sooner did Clayton flip his phone closed, it rang. He picked it up and wedged it between his ear and shoulder. “Nazzaro.”
“Yeah, what do ya got?” Clayton turned the wipers on. God, he hated spring. That’s all he needed was a typical Lamont style flood.
“We’re at the house. Servant let us in.”
“I’m almost there,” said Clayton. “Should be pulling up in five—don’t let Malcolm leave.”
“Sinclair’s not here.”
“We found the hidden entrance to the cellar. You were right about the exit to the lake," said the deputy, "but you’re not going to believe what’s down here, sheriff.”
Clayton slowed the vehicle. He didn’t want to hear the words he was afraid his deputy would say. “Go ahead.”
“Well other than a lot of fishing gear, the room is full of surveillance equipment.”
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!