About the Author


Flagship Stores

Readers’ Comments





Every Thursday
by Patricia E. Canterbury

Every Thursday front cover

An excerpt from
Every Thursday


Nancy forgot all about the man in the raincoat, the one she’d nearly run over. The late fall rain was a welcome respite from a too long summer. As a native Washingtonian, she delighted in telling her friends that she was born with webbed toes. She loved the smell and feel of the redwood rain forest surrounding the city of Hawthorne. Nancy inhaled. The wonderful piney smell filled her lungs, even through the partly-closed car windows. She was so busy thinking of the warm rain that the tall man in the light brown raincoat barely registered on her subconscious.

Nancy noticed the man in her headlights. He came suddenly out of nowhere. She would have hit him if she hadn’t honked her horn in time for him to jump back onto the sidewalk. She hit her brakes hard; the Thunderbird rocked back and forth like a sailboat.

“Damned idiot! Watch where you’re going!” she shouted, relieved that she’d missed him. He continued looking straight ahead.

“Never looked up. Maybe he’s deaf,” she said to herself as she turned the corner.

“No, can’t be deaf. He jumped back when I honked,” she argued with herself. It was a habit she began while in law school. It was getting much worse.

She started looking for a parking space near the twenty-story apartment building where Jack lived. She glanced at the clock on her car dash. Maybe it was the thin scar on the man’s right cheek, which made her remember him much later. Or maybe it was the way he walked—he walked like Jack.

“Nearly 9:30 pm. There’s got to be a space soon.” She was a block from Jack’s apartment building.

“What luck! Things are definitely looking up,” Nancy said, continuing to speak aloud as she pulled into a parking space right in front of Jack’s building. She pushed the button to open the trunk, got out her overnight case, locked the car, and then walked through the opened black iron gates to the tenant’s garage and on to the glass elevator. A tall, young man she’d never seen before held the door open for her with his left hand. In his right was an open paperback novel. She ran toward the elevator.

“Thanks. Nice evening,” she said, punching the number nineteen on the panel. Number seventeen was already lit.

“Nice evening,” he answered, smiling down at her. The young, brown-skinned man, dressed in old faded Levis and a blue, well-worn, cable-knit bulky sweater, returned to the novel, Murder by Prophesy, by M. O. Anderson. He leaned against the glass side to his right. Their breath fogged the glass near them. She looked out at the red, green and yellow lights of the city, shining wavy through the rain-streaked elevator glass.

“Reminds me of a Christmas tree,” she said aloud.


“Sorry, I talk to myself a lot. I said the city lights remind me of a Christmas tree.”

“Yeah, guess it does,” he said, peering over round granny glasses and the edge of the book. The elevator stopped on the tenth floor, and an old woman dressed in a bright tweed suit and pale blue bunny slippers entered, smiled at the other occupants, and punched the twelfth floor. Seconds later the door opened and she left. Nancy continued looking out over the city. The man read his book and got out on the seventeenth floor.

“Good evening,” he said, just as the doors closed.

“Good evening,” she answered, to the empty elevator.

She yawned, looked at her large-faced watch. It was 9:38.

I have time for a shower before dinner, she thought, as the car stopped silently on the nineteenth. Jack’s apartment was three from the elevator. His door was ajar.

“Good, he’s home. I don’t need to knock,” she said, walking quickly down the wide carpeted hallway to 19-12.

Entering the large, well-lit living room, she called out, “Jack?”

She kicked off her boots and dropped her soft, Persian rug covered overnight case. It was her favorite traveling bag since he’d purchased it for her at Tasha’s in Sacramento, earlier in the year. The case made a dull thud when it fell on the burgundy tile floor near the stairs.

“Oh, no!” She opened the bag and pulled out a sealed freezer baggie containing a large bottle of green bath oils. Unsealing the baggie, she ran her hands along the bottle’s clean glass edges.

“Good, it’s not broken.” She put the bottle back in the baggie, sealed it tight, put it on top of a blue silk garment, and shut the latch. She opened the closet, which was empty except for Jack’s brown leather bomber jacket and three pairs of old boots. She hung her coat on a wooden hanger, closed the door, and pushed the overnight case against the closed closet door with her foot.

“Must be out.” She called out softly, “Jack, are you home?”

The television in the living room was tuned to the Sci-Fi channel. It was showing The Prisoner. “Oh, good. I love this series. Now where is Number 6 today?” she asked the television, as she stopped to look at the screen for a minute.

“Jack?” She could see part of the dining room through the open French doors; the table was set for two. Just like every Thursday. She started walking to the left toward his darkened study.


She walked back to the living room. The Prisoner was ending. “Good, it’s one I’ve seen ten times already,” she said, again to the television as she walked into the dining room. That’s when she saw the body.

She screamed and ran to it. The man was lying on his face. He was shorter than Jack. He was wearing brown corduroy slacks and a brown silk shirt covered by a large white chef’s apron. Nancy carefully turned the man over and looked into the surprised face of a white stranger.

She gasped.

“Thank God, you’re not Jack,” she said, choking back tears. The man on the floor had been shot once in the chest. His white apron was turning a dull red, staining his silk shirt and Jack’s rug.

Nancy ran from the dining room, just making the toilet before throwing up. She sat on the cold tile resting her head on the toilet until she stopped shaking. She got up slowly and threw cold water on her face, accidentally spilling a large handful on her knobbly pink wool jacket. Then she walked back into the living room and called the police.

She smelled the fragrant aroma of the chicken. The dead man had not lent his odor to the apartment. She walked through the kitchen, absentmindedly turning off the simmering chicken, and returned to the living room to wait for the police.

• • • • •

“I’m Detective Johnson, Miss... Miss, what’s your name?”

Johnson, a young, tall, thin black man, wore a dark blue suit and black leather shoes. He held out a glass of water in her direction.

He remembered her. Where was it? Oh, yes, the courthouse. She was one of O’Roucke’s people. He’d always wanted to meet her. He’d thought that she and Sam, his girlfriend, might have a lot in common. Now she was in the middle of a homicide. Just proves that you can never tell a book by its cover.

“Nancy Noire.”

“Do you know Jack Cummings?”

Did she know Jack Cummings? She thought about the question. Of course, she knew Jack. What would she be doing in his apartment if she didn’t know him? She knew a Jack Cummings who was always late for appointments, who made her laugh, who warmed her bed, who prepared fantastic chicken cacciatore. That’s what they were going to have for dinner tonight. Did she know him?

“Miss Noire, do you know Jack Cummings?” Johnson repeated, as he helped Nancy to a seat in the living room. “You’re shaking. You should sit down. Here, drink this water.”

She’d rather have had wine. Instead, she sat before the young detective, holding the water glass in both hands, like a small child.

“Yes, Officer, I know Jack Cummings. I... I was coming over for dinner, cacciatore, that’s what I asked for.” She sipped the water.

“Thank you,” she said, as he put a few ice cubes in the water for her.

“Miss Noire, my... my partner, Detective Belton,” Detective Johnson said, pointing to a balding, fat man about 45 years of age, with narrow, muddy-brown eyes, thin lips and dandruff, who was walking quickly in their direction.

“Johnson, I’ll ask the questions. Go in the den and see if they need help in there,” the older officer said. He turned to Nancy.

“So, you were coming over for dinner. Ten-thirty’s a little late for dinner isn’t it? Should be in bed by then,” Belton said, continuing to speak as he wrote in a small black notebook.

What luck, Belton thought. So... it was her. The young DA from the courts. What was she doing here? In his fantasies of her, of which he had many, he always pictured her in red garters holding up black stockings, which stopped at mid thigh. She’d be wearing a flimsy teddy and dancing around his house, her dark skin glistening in the light. She’d dance only for him... only for him.

He licked the end of his pencil and ran his tongue along the pencil’s tip. He felt the old familiar swelling between his legs just as he had whenever he thought of her. Sometimes it felt as if he had a hard-on for hours, just from smelling her perfume. He’d never dated a black girl but he had very real fantasies about this one. This one was special.

She had never noticed him, or Johnson.

The grandfather clock in the study struck the half-hour; Nancy and Belton looked up. She took another sip of water.

Where’s Jack, she thought, trying her best to ignore the older officer. She’d noticed the horny vulgar man leering at her the second he came into the room. The way he licked his pencil and stared at her told her all she needed to know. He’s a sadistic bully. She ran into men like him every day. Sometimes they wore suits, sometimes they were behind bars, and sometimes they sat on the bench. But they were all the same. Jack was different. Or was he?

Her thoughts returned to the officer in front of her. She knew that he enjoyed his role as a detective. He liked to see people squirm. Well, it was a long night. She may have found the body, but she was not going to give him the pleasure of seeing her squirm.

Belton was standing too close. She could smell the sausage he’d had for dinner. He was making her ill.

He absentmindedly scratched his crotch, and looked at her. She looked through him.

She wished Detective Johnson would ask the questions. She wasn’t thinking right. She wanted to go home. This old fool couldn’t intimidate her. Come on Nancy, she thought, pull yourself together. Why was she letting this... crude man think that he could intimidate her?

She looked over toward the den. She could see Detective Johnson talking to a uniformed officer. Johnson was closer to her age, and he’d understand that she’s wasn’t used to finding bodies every day. She was a deputy DA, damn it.

She wanted to go home. Belton was trying to make her feel dirty and guilty. Well, she wasn’t, either.

• • • • •

Detective Belton smirked as he looked around the dining room. The table was set for two. Across from each other were two large black plates with a thin band of turquoise along their outer edges, set on a pair of bright turquoise placemats. A Waterford goblet was by each knife. Pale pink, unlit candles were in the center of the mahogany table. Two chairs, one at the head and one to its right picked up the colors of the newly started-green Cherry Laurel bonsai. Two light turquoise napkin rings held identical black napkins. Nancy looked over and saw the detective’s mouth moving silently. She could almost hear him adding up the cost of the table setting. It totaled more than his monthly salary.

She dismissed the man from her thoughts for a moment. From where she was sitting she had a complete view of the dining and living rooms. Jack loved beautiful things: women, food, paintings, wine and fast cars. His apartment mirrored his taste.

The dead man was about six feet from her. He marred the beautiful surroundings. He lay chest down on Jack’s Turkish rug, his face at a right angle toward the window. It was right where she’d let his head fall after she turned him over earlier. The red stain from his chest wound mixed with the colors of the rug. Jack was going to be pissed.

She still hadn’t responded to the officer’s question. Her mind was racing but the words wouldn’t come. Just as she started to say something the coroner, who she’d met during a previous case, entered the room and walked over to Detective Belton.

“He’s been dead about an hour,” the coroner said, stepping aside to let the paramedics put the body on a gurney. Belton made another notation in his book.

“Johnson and I’ll come by your office when we’re finished here.”

The dead man was placed in a body bag and wheeled past her. She shivered. She’d seen many pictures of murdered victims. She’d even visited the morgue once or twice, but this was the first time that she was the first on the scene. And the body was in Jack’s apartment. She was numb. Her usually analytical mind was a jumble of contradictory feelings.

Nancy looked around the tidy living room, which seemed to be filled with police officers. Men stood in groups of two or three, dripping rainwater from their parkas on the hardwood floor as they took notes, dusted for fingerprints, and looked for clues.

One officer dusted the mantle above the fireplace, getting powder on a Goudie original that she and Jack had purchased at the last public television art auction. Another wrote down the titles of movies on the media shelf: Dial M for Murder, Witness for the Prosecution, and Double Indemnity.

“Sure likes to see murders,” one uniformed cop said to another as he recorded the titles of eight more classic murder movies.

A thin film of black powder was on everything in the living room. Mrs. Otwell, Jack’s housekeeper, is going to have a time getting the powder out of the Chinese-red wide wale-fabric on the sofa and two chairs, Nancy thought. The two tan leather recliners would be easily cleaned. Even the fresh yellow roses in a cut glass vase on the piano had a slightly blackish look, as did the piano.

Who is the dead man?

The fat detective touched Nancy’s bare arm. She’d removed her jacket, letting it dry on the edge of the bathtub, and put her shoes back on while she waited for the police. Dazed, her mind wandered to anything that took her mind off of Belton.

The apartment, usually a cool 70 degrees, felt extremely warm. She was sweating, yet she couldn’t keep her teeth from chattering.

She jumped, repulsed by Belton’s cold damp hand.

“Lady, tell me again, what do you know about Jack Cummings.”

What was she looking at? Did she think just because she was a deputy DA that she could solve this murder better than the police? She may look dazed, but it could be an act, Belton thought, looking closely at Nancy.

Belton wanted to touch her. He wondered if her skin was as soft and warm as it looked. He was in charge. He had to question her. He knew that she wanted to scream, “Keep your hands to yourself.” Instead she said nothing. The dead man and the cop had spoiled her evening.

“I asked you a question.” He continued to stand over her.

She knew that he was looking down her blouse; she’d unbuttoned the top three buttons when the room got unbearably warm. She hadn’t given her appearance a thought until Belton continued staring at her.

“Then ask them in a civilized manner. I don’t have time for games.” This man was much hungrier than most of the men she met during the course of a day’s work. Larry Huston, the private detective she’d met earlier this afternoon, was one of the few who treated her as a professional. God, was it only this afternoon that she was in Cedarville? Huston was a man who knew that he could get any woman because he wasn’t interested in them and therefore a challenge for single women looking for mates for their friends. This officer knows he can’t get any woman. He’d have to pay for her, or intimidate her, or threaten her, Nancy thought.

• • • • •

Belton continued to look at Nancy, his thoughts taking control of the moment. The little lady understood him. He was not afraid of her. He knew that she wanted him to feel fear. She may not fit into the compartments he had for women. But she would. She would.

She understood his needs. The needs of a small man. But she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of letting him notice that she’d noticed him.

What did she know about Jack Cummings? She thought. Time moved at a snail’s pace. Her thoughts were mixed up in questions from Belton. It seemed as if her answers were coming weeks after his questions. She wanted to rush through whatever was next.

Jack. She knew that he was an architect, that he smelled nice, that he had strong hands, that he liked to build things, and that he made her toes curl when they made love. Most importantly she knew that he couldn’t have killed the man the police just took away. That’s what she knew.

What she said was, “I know that this is his apartment. We were going to have dinner... I turned off the chicken we were going to have for dinner. We have dinner together, almost every Thursday. We’re both busy people. 10:00 pm isn’t too late for dinner. We frequently have late suppers.”

Why was she explaining her life to this policeman? Oh, yes, she’d found the body. She was probably a suspect. She was a respected attorney, but at the moment she was being treated like a criminal. She vowed to be more understanding with her own clients. She knew that she had treated some just as she was being treated now.

She sipped the water; the ice was melting.

“You hava key?” Belton asked, pulling one of the dining room chairs closer to hers and sitting down. He licked the end of his pencil as he made notes. He made it look obscene.

“No, I already told you and the other detective, Johnson, that the door was unlocked when I arrived. I assumed that Jack was in the bedroom...” Belton smiled.

“That Jack was upstairs and had left the door open for me.”

“Does he usually leave the door open for you?”

“Yes, if he’s working in the study or out on the balcony.”

“Who’s the dead man?”

“I don’t know. I never saw him before. I forced myself to touch him; I had to know if he was... was Jack. I knew that he wasn’t Jack as soon as I saw his face. I called the police, then Jack’s office, and got his voice mail. I called his cell phone, but there was no answer.

“The dead man and I were alone in the apartment. I was careful not to touch anything, except the stove, although I don’t think it matters. My fingerprints are all over the apartment.

“I fed the tropical fish while I waited for the police to arrive. Nothing seemed to be disturbed or missing. The afternoon mail was stacked neatly on the corner of his desk. The drapes were opened. I doubted if anyone could have seen inside.

“The next tallest building is over a mile away. It’s an insurance building. Most of the workers go home about 4:30. I remember that even the workaholics go home by seven pm. No one could have seen the murder. Everything was just as it should be, except there was a dead man lying on the dining room rug.” Her voice was steady.

She wondered where Jack was.

“So where’s your boyfriend?” Belton asked, as if reading her mind. The way he said “boyfriend” made her skin crawl. He smiled, showing two neat rows of yellow teeth.

He continued to look around the room, sizing it up, sizing her up. Her night case was just inside the door from where she’d dropped it when she first arrived. He noticed it and smiled.

“I’ll get you, you fat toad,” she said under her breath as she made a mental note to speak to Captain Martinez, an officer of the court, about his behavior toward her.

Louder, she said, “I don’t know where he is. I’ve told you that I tried to reach him. I’ve told you all I know. May I go home now?”

“Yes, you may.” He emphasized “may” to mock her. She may have thought that she was way out of his league, but Belton was in charge and he was going to have some fun. After all, she was the one who found the body. Just because we haven’t found the gun, it doesn’t mean that she didn’t do it.

He frowned. Belton, you’re having trouble with this one. Why would she kill someone in her boyfriend’s place then call the police? Think. Lover’s quarrel? Another woman? Another man?

“That your case?” He pointed to her night case.


“Planning on stayin’ the night?”


“Do that often?”

“It’s none of your damned business.”

“That often, huh?” He smiled again.

She turned, covering her mouth quickly with her hand.

“Oh God, don’t let me throw up, again,” she said, softly to herself. This ugly fool knew just what buttons to push to keep her off center. Come on, Nancy pull yourself together, she thought.

She said, out loud, “If I’m a suspect then arrest me. I’ll call my attorney. You can ask her questions.” She’d regained her composure and objectivity.

He wasn’t going to bully her. Not for one more minute. She’d allowed him too much leeway as it was, she thought.

“Gimme your telephone number in case your boyfriend returns to the scene of the crime. That is, if he’s not going to let you take the rap.”

He handed her a card. Detective Maurice Belton was the name on it.

“I wrote my home number on the back in case you wanta call or you remember somethin’.”

“Hell will freeze over before I give you the satisfaction of calling you at home or the office,” Nancy thought, putting his card in her right suit pocket.

“My office number is 555-7511.” She watched him write it down.

“Home phone?”

“I’m rarely at home. I’ve given you the number you need. You can leave a message at my office and with my attorney. Her name is...”

“I don’t need it... yet.” He interrupted. “Oh, Miss Noire, don’t leave town.”

He was going to have this woman one way or the other. He knew that if she hadn’t killed the man that she wouldn’t stay with a murderer. Someone had been killed someone on his watch. Jack was Belton’s now. He would toy with him as a cat would with a frightened mouse. Belton’s thoughts were clear. He stared at Nancy waiting for her answer. Time crawled.

The rain always made time slow.

“I won’t,” Nancy replied.


“I said that I wouldn’t leave town.” Her hands were shaking, she clasped them together. She wanted to wring Belton’s short fat neck. But then she’d be in jail and couldn’t help Jack. Men like Belton tried to give her a hard time all through law school. They only succeeded in making her stronger. She put the water glass on the table, next to her place setting and picked up her overnighter. Detective Johnson came out of the kitchen.

“Let me see inside the case,” he asked.

As she knelt down and opened the case, he waved Belton away. “I’ve got it under control.” He was thorough and replaced her things neatly. Careful to make sure that the bottle of bath oils didn’t leak.

“I could have told you that the gun isn’t there,” she said, turning and walking out of the apartment. A uniformed officer held the door open for her.

Nancy was angry and frustrated by the time she reached the elevator. She shivered, remembering that her damp jacket was still lying across the bathtub.

• • • • •

“Johnson, you find anything in the den?” Belton asked, as he changed the channel to a rerun of 24. “Johnson?”

“I’m here. There’s nothing in the study except what you’d expect. Drawings, renderings, models—you know, the usual things. There was a note to a Nolan Jacobs to start dinner. Jacobs could be the dead man. I’ll call down to the night security.”

“Might have been a lover’s quarrel. You know at first I thought this place belonged to a damned fag. Girl could be a decoy, ya know, for business sake. Could be that some of his partners don’t take kindly to fags. Nah, she likes real men. Know what I mean?”

Johnson didn’t answer. He called building security.

“Mr. Nolan Jacobs lives in apartment 1909 down the hall and across from Mr. Cummings,” an overly helpful guard said, in answer to Johnson’s question.

Leaning against the wall, Johnson looked around Jack’s apartment. The place reminded him of his own loft across town. It was furnished in the same rich colors as his. Belton had ideas of how his new young partner lived and it wasn’t as an artist. No, whenever Belton thought of Johnson it was as a young stud who might be cramping Belton’s action. Johnson smiled to himself as he continued to survey the apartment.

• • • • •

Detective Matthew Johnson was an accomplished watercolorist. His first show was scheduled to open in three months. His fiancée, Samantha Stuart, was completing her medical residency at Cedarville General. She had four more months until graduation.

“Usual things,” Belton said, minutes after Johnson completed his sentence. Belton’s mind was still in a time warp.

“What’d you know about drawin’s and models? Dens are for comfortable chairs, the television and your huntin’ case. That’s what’s in a den. Bet he gets lots of chicks with that drawin’ crap.” Belton spoke to himself. He’d already dismissed Johnson from his mind.

“I’ll find the damn gun and put him or her behind bars.” Belton picked his teeth with his fingernail. “Yeah, notice the comic book enlargement on his wall?”

“Comic book? Oh, the Lichtenstein.”


Johnson bet Belton would shit if he ever came to his place. He’d probably think that Johnson was on the take. Slimy bastard. Tried to make the girl feel like dirt. He liked demeaning people.

Johnson had a feeling Belton was going to be sorry that he tangled with Miss Noire. Belton’s never met anyone quite like her; Johnson was sure about that.

God, Johnson thought, he’d be glad when his old partner was off injured reserve. Johnson thought that Belton was getting dumber by the second. He picked up a fallen napkin from the table.

“I have napkins just like these, only red,” he said, softly to himself. Both men looked around the apartment, each deep in their own thoughts. The uniforms had left.

“I’ll check upstairs again. Meet you at the elevator. We still have to check Jacobs and see if he heard or saw anything unusual,” Johnson said, as he climbed the stairs to the upstairs bedroom.

The large master bedroom was on the western side of the building. A hand-carved, patina copper, king size modern four-poster bed dominated the room. Six large pillows in a colorful African print, the size people find on the floor in front of fireplaces, graced the headboard. A black and white abstract spread covered the bed. Twin ebony chests of drawers stood opposite a window and balcony, which overlooked the city. A black iron floor lamp, with a long crooked top resembling a burnt cornflower, allowed light over the bed.

A large plastic green alarm clock, the same odd color as the bed, was the only ornament on one chest. The other chest was bare. The alarm was set for 5:30 am. A flimsy yellow cotton nightie lay on top of the covers. Yellow bunny slippers, size six, were under the bed on the right side.

Johnson walked through the bedroom, opened the sliding glass doors and stepped onto a medium-size balcony. It contained three potted plants. Lightning flashed, momentarily illuminating the mountains.

Closing the door tightly, he walked back into the apartment to the walk-in closet. It was filled with expensive suits, monogrammed shirts and Alexander Julian ties. A woman’s blue wool suit and two silk blouses hung on satin padded hangers near the front of the closet. At the bottom of the shoe rack, in an old shoebox, he found a gun in a sock. He sniffed it. It hadn’t been fired. He picked up the box and its contents and walked over to the bathroom.

The bathroom had dark blue tile walls, a small abstract statue in one corner, and a woman’s bathrobe hung on a hook behind the door. Two toothbrushes, one green and one red, were in a ceramic hippopotamus toothbrush holder next to sticks of Secret and Old Spice Classic deodorant.

Johnson walked downstairs and out of the apartment. Belton was outside in the hall, standing by the elevators.

“Find anything?”

“A gun that hasn’t been fired. Come on, let’s find out what Jacobs might know about the murder before we return to the precinct.”

“Okay, I was just waitin’ for ya. Notice how the Noire woman’s perfume lingers in the air?” Belton inhaled deeply, absently rubbed himself, and smiled in Johnson’s direction.

Johnson didn’t reply, nor had he looked in Belton’s direction. They walked down the carpeted hallway past five doors to number 1909, Nolan’s apartment. Belton rang the door chimes. They heard the echo throughout the apartment. The door was open.

“Doesn’t anyone lock their doors around here?” he asked, pushing it farther open. “Mr. Jacobs? Anyone home?” The lights were on.

“SQUEAK!” Belton and Johnson jumped at the sound. Belton had stepped on a dog’s squeak toy.

“Here doggy... here doggy... good doggy,” he said, looking around for the pet whose toy he’d nearly destroyed.

An oil painting of the dead man hung above the fireplace in the living room. Jacobs’ apartment was as old-fashioned, dark and cluttered as Jack’s was bright and modern. The living room, paneled in dark oak, consisted of a sofa covered in a cotton print in a colorful rose motif; a matching chair and a dark brown leather recliner; a big screen television; and a couple of table lamps on expensive oak tables. A remote control unit lay on the recliner’s seat.

They walked through the living room to a state-of-the-art modern kitchen. Every pot and pan was either copper or stainless steel. Each hung in descending geometric order from wrought iron hooks attached to a high ceiling. A white ceiling fan blew immaculate dishtowels on a rack. The counter was white marble and the sink, stainless steel with Moen faucets. Twenty cookbooks, also in geometric order, lined the counter behind glass-door cabinets. Several pictures of Jacobs, in a chef’s hat, adorned the backs of slim cookbooks.

“Well, at least we know who the dead guy is. Now we need to know why. Where’s the damned dog?” Belton continued, whistling for the dog.

“I don’t think it’s here,” Johnson said, after they’d looked in every room.

“A dog definitely lives here. There are dog toys all over the apartment.”

They walked out of the kitchen into the living room and upstairs to the master bedroom. The bedroom was furnished with a double-size walnut sleigh bed and nightstands. Teddy bear print sheets and pillows were scattered about, left just as when someone gets up late and hurries out. A dog toy lay on top of the pulled-back bed covers.

A two-drawer matching walnut nightstand was on each side of the bed. One stand held a brass lamp with a plain white shade and a blue electric alarm clock. The alarm was set for 8:30. A copy of Hiking World lay open on the other stand.

“The girl’s not here either,” Belton said, dangling a pink bra by its strap from his forefinger. He’d found feminine hygiene products in the bathroom. Half of the large walk-in closet contained women’s clothing.

“Put that away and don’t touch anything. We don’t have a search warrant,” Johnson said.

Belton put on latex gloves and punched the number of Judge Dexter’s home. Johnson overheard him ask for a search warrant.

“Whoever she is, she doesn’t work in an office,” Belton continued, as if he hadn’t stopped to call for the warrant.

“Most of the clothes hanging in the closet are sweaters, linen pants, and jeans. She could be a student at the university. There are three pairs of hiking shoes, along with a pair of running shoes, but only one pair of dress shoes. I’d say Nolan’s friend is an outdoors girl.”

In three drawers on one side of the old-fashioned vanity dresser was more lingerie, silk blouses and a jewelry box filled with pairs of pierced earrings but no bracelets or necklaces.

“Whoever she is, she sure has complex taste in clothing,” Belton said, as he let a pair of lacy silk bikini panties fall from his fingers.

“God damn it, Belton, I said that we shouldn’t touch anything until we have a warrant.”

“A uniform’s going to deliver it. He’ll meet us at the station then we’ll come back.”

“You come back. I’ll write the report about Jack Cummings,” Johnson said, walking out of the apartment, shutting but not locking the door behind him.

Belton yawned loudly and scratched his stomach. They’d been in Jacobs’ place for less than a half-hour. He and Belton rode back to the station in silence. Johnson, being the junior and the more literate of the two, would write the report, as he’d suggested.

Frowning as they drove through the dark nearly deserted streets, Johnson thought something was out of order. “Something... I’ll think of it. I can’t quite put my finger on it...”


“Oh, nothing. Speaking to myself.”