Too many homicides were eerily starting to look alike.

More chapters from ToxiCity

A VG Serial: ToxiCity

Episode: 24

Exiting the bathroom, Matt gazed around the bedroom, decorated in muted shades of brown and turquoise. “I hope you won’t take offense, ma’am, but your lifestyle is one most people only dream about. Did your husband have other business ventures? Beyond his practice?”

“Let’s see, Detective, how does one put it?” She paused. “I am a woman of independent means. Have been for years. Fortunately, I’ve made some wise investments.”

Matt focused on the abstract painting above the king-sized bed. She was the one with the money. Not Simon. That’s why he kept coming home. But, if she held the balance of power, at least over the checkbook, why did she let him?

“You know, Detective, when you asked about enemies, I didn’t think of the bimbo brigade. Is it possible one of them— “?

“We’ll be looking at that, ma’am. Would you by any chance know where he kept his—personal records?”

“His little black book?” She let out a breath. “Not here, obviously. Try his office.”

He nodded. He asked if any strange letters or packages had arrived at the house recently. Or unfamiliar photographs.

“Nothing that I know of.”

“Do you have any connection to RDM, business or otherwise?”

“The people that haul away our trash?” She looked puzzled. “No.”

“You don’t hold any of their stock, or notes, or anything?”

“Not that I’m aware of. Why?”

“Probably nothing.” Matt closed his notepad and they walked back to the kitchen. “Thank you for seeing us, Mrs. Simon. If there’s anything more we can do, please let us know.”

She stood up too. “When can I bury him?”

According to Jewish law, the dead must be buried right away, sometimes within twenty-four hours. “They’re doing the autopsy this afternoon. We should be able to release the body tomorrow.”

Her face smoothed out, as if a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. “Thank you.” She took the coffee cup to the sink and ran cold water over it. “Detective Singer, tell me something.”

He cocked his head.

She looked at him. “How do you mix halucha with homicide?”

Why was she asking about Jewish law? “Excuse me?”

“I was just wondering if you can ever do justice to both.”

 ***

Outside Matt and Nelson compared notes.

“That was a brilliant move, Singer, with the scriptures. How did you know it would work?”

“I didn’t. It was luck.”

“Luck counts.”

He wasn’t so sure. Charlene Simon’s zinger had hit home. He usually tried to keep the two parts of his life separate, but today he’d used one to further the other. He felt like a backwoods preacher promising redemption for a twenty-dollar bill. “What’s your take on her?”

“I think it’s possible that she had enough of him.”

They crossed the street to her car. “And had him taken out?”

She nodded and climbed into her car.

“If it weren’t for the MO, I’d agree with you.” He leaned over the door. “How much do you know about the Romano case?”

“Only what I read in the paper.”

“There are a couple of similar circumstances.”

She looked up.

“Both bodies were moved, and both were probably dead when they were moved.”

Nelson tapped a finger against her lips. “You think the dentist was boffing Romano, the wife found out about it, and had Romano killed? And then went after her husband?”

“Romano was gay.”

“Well, there goes that theory.” Nelson stopped. “What else?”

“What do you mean?”

“You said similar circumstances.”

“RDM figures in both crime scenes,” Matt said. “Add in the fact that we rarely get a homicide up here. Suddenly we have two in two weeks.”

“I guess I know where you’re going next.” She inclined her head. “Hey, what was that stuff with the milk all about?”

Matt explained that Jews who keep kosher don’t eat or drink dairy products for a few hours after eating meat. After his reference to the Torah, Mrs. Simon must have assumed Matt kept kosher and offered him non-dairy creamer in case he had eaten meat. He hadn’t, so milk was acceptable.

“Sounds complicated.”

“Not when you’re used to it.”

Nelson rolled down the window. “Look, I know this is your case, but if there’s anything I can do…”

“We’re putting together a Task Force. You want in?”

Nelson’s eyes brightened. “You can do that?”

“I just did. I need you to check out East Bank. See what you can dig up.”

“Aside from pecs and testosterone?”

“Let me know what you find. Meanwhile, we’ll check out Simon’s offices.”

“You got it.”

Matt watched her pull away from the curb. Competent. That’s what he’d picked up about Carrie Nelson. She was competent.

Episodes in the novel will be published on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Please click the following title,ToxiCity, to read more about Libby Fischer Hellman’s books on Amazon.

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