Thursday, October 19, 2006

Players - 13

Denise Childers said, ‘When we talked last night, on the phone, you said you’d be willing to help out.’

Summer said, ‘I’m still willing.’

‘That’s good, because I have a couple of favours to ask,’ Denise said. ‘First off, I’d like to take you up on your offer of finding out whatever you can about this boyfriend, this Billy no-last-name. What he does, who he associates with . . . You know, the usual stuff. If you could track him down and bring him here, I’d love to sit with him and have a long talk about Edie Collier.’

‘Is this an official favour?’

‘If you mean, am I going to get Sheriff Worden to ask your boss if he can give you some time and resources to chase up any leads, then no, it isn’t exactly official. As far as the sheriff’s concerned, the case is down. Nothing to see, time to move on. Otherwise I’d go up to Portland myself.’

‘I guess I can talk to Edie’s probation agent when I get back, and ask around at the place where she worked. But I’ll have to clear it with my sergeant first, and he’s already pissed because I’m taking an extra day down here.’

‘If it’s going to cause problems . . . ’

‘I’ll find a way around it,’ Summer said. ‘I have my own reasons for wanting to help out.’

Denise smiled. ‘Jerry and his little practical joke being one of them, I bet.’

Summer smiled too, relieved that Denise had brought it up. ‘If you mean the dust-up between
Randy Farrell and Joseph Kronenwetter, then yes.’

‘You probably don’t know it, but Jerry is good friends with the TV reporter who just happened to be there when your Mr Farrell and Joe Kronenwetter pitched up at the same time. Right now he’s probably telling his buddies down at the Hanging Drop, the cop bar, all about it.’

‘I already had a pretty good idea that he’d set it up,’ Summer said, and explained about the phone calls Jerry Hill had made at the morgue, his beeper going off on the way back to the Sheriff’s office. ‘It isn’t just about that, though. I want to do right by Edie Collier, and I think there’s a lot more to what happened than your sheriff wants to believe.’

Denise said, with a sad smile, ‘It’s a real heartbreaker, all right.’

There was a silence. Summer saw Edie Collier’s face plain, her serene indifferent calm, and knew that Denise was seeing her too.

Summer said, ‘You said you had a couple of favours to ask. If finding Edie Collier’s boyfriend is one, what’s the other?’

‘I’m going to visit someone who might shed some light on the nature of Joe Kronenwetter’s monster, and the question of why Edie Collier ended up where she did. I was wondering if you wanted to come along.’


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