Home > In Death #36 - Calculated in Death(3)

In Death #36 - Calculated in Death(3)
Author: J.D. Robb


By the time she’d done the first pass-through—master bedroom and bath, second bedroom or office and bath—Peabody came in.

“I started runs on the wits,” Peabody began. “The woman’s loaded. Not Roarke loaded, but she can afford that coat and those really mag boots.”

“Yeah, it showed.”

“He’s doing just fine, too. Second-generation money, but he’s earning his own. He’s got a D&D, but it’s ten years back. Her deal is speeding. She’s got a shitload of speeding tickets, mostly to and from her place in the Hamptons.”

“You know how it is when you want to get to the Hamptons. What do you see, Peabody?”

“Really good work, attention to detail, money well spent, and deep enough pockets to be able to spend it on really good work and attention to detail. And . . .” Unwinding a couple feet of her mile of scarf, Peabody stepped over to Eve’s marker. “What might be blood on this tarp.”

“The tarp was bunched up, like a rug when you take a skid on it. All the others are laid out fairly smoothly.”

“Accidents happen in construction. Blood gets spilled. But.”

“Yeah, but. Blood on a tarp and a body outside the door. Her lip’s split, and there’s dried blood on it. Not a lot of blood, so somebody might not even notice any dripped on the tarp, especially when the tarp bunched up.”

“They brought her in here?” Forehead furrowed, Peabody looked back at the door. “I didn’t see any signs of forced entry, but I’ll check again.”

“They didn’t force it. Maybe picked it, but that takes time. More likely they had the code, or a damn good reader.”

“Putting all that into the mix, it’s not a simple mugging gone bad.”

“No. He’s not smart. The killer. If he’s strong enough to break her neck, why smack her? She’s got a bruise on the right cheek and that split lip.”

“Punched her. Left jab.”

“I don’t think a punch, that’s really stupid. Backhand. A guy only slaps a woman if he wants to humiliate her. He punches if he’s pissed, drunk, or doesn’t give a shit about blood and damage. He backhands when he wants to hurt, and intimidate. Plus it looked like a backhand—knuckles on bone.”

She’d been hit in the face enough to recognize the signs.

“Smart and controlled enough not to punch, not to beat on her,” Eve said, “but not smart enough to leave the area clean. Not smart enough just to take the tarp with him. She’s got what looks like a rug burn on the heel of her right hand, and blue fibers on her pants, maybe carpet from a vehicle.”

“You think somebody grabbed her, forced her into a vehicle.”

“Possible. You have to get her here, to this empty unit, do what you do. He’s smart enough to take her valuables, including the coat, to play the bad mugging card. But he left her boots. Good boots, looked fairly new. If you’re a mugger who’d take the time to drag off the coat, why leave her boots?”

“If he brought her in here, he wanted privacy,” Peabody pointed out. “And time. It doesn’t look like rape. Why get her dressed again?”

“She was going to or coming from work.”

“From,” Peabody confirmed. “When I ran her I got an alert. Her husband contacted the police. She didn’t come home. Working late, but didn’t come home. She spoke to him via ’link as she was leaving the office—according to the alert—and that was shortly after twenty-two hundred.”

“That’s a lot of data for an alert, especially one on a woman who’s a few hours late getting home.”

“I thought so, too, so I ran him. Denzel Dickenson, Esquire. He’s Judge Gennifer Yung’s baby brother.”

“That would do it.” Eve blew out a breath. “This just got sticky.”

“Yeah, I got that.”

“Call in the sweepers, Peabody, and flag it priority. No point in not covering all asses when dealing with the judge’s dead sister-in-law.”

She pushed a hand through her hair, recalculated. She’d intended to go by the victim’s office building, retracing the likely route, getting a feel for the area. Then backtracking before continuing to the victim’s residence, gauging the ground, figuring the timing, the direction. But now—”

“The husband’s been pacing the floor for hours by now. Let’s go give him the bad news.”

“I hate this part,” Peabody murmured.

“When you don’t, it’s time to find another line of work.”

• • •

The Dickensons rated one of the four penthouse condos with roof garden atop one of the Upper East Side’s dignified buildings. All elegant gray stone and glass, it rose and rounded above a neighborhood where nannies and dog walkers ruled the sidewalks and parks.

Night security required clearance, which equaled, to Eve, a pain in the ass.

“Dallas, Lieutenant Eve, and Peabody, Detective Delia.” She held her badge up to the security screen. “We need to speak with Denzel Dickenson. Penthouse B.”

Please state the nature of your business, the butter-smooth computerized voice intoned.

“That would come under the heading of none of yours. Scan the badges and authorize access.”

I’m sorry, Penthouse B is secured for the night. Access to the building and any unit therein requires clearance from the manager, an authorized tenant, or notification of emergency status.

“Listen to me, you half-ass, chip-brained dipshit, this is official police business. Scan the badges and clear access. Otherwise I’ll have warrants issued immediately for the arrest of the building manager, the head of security, and the owners on the charge of obstruction of justice. And you’ll be in a junk pile by dawn.”

Inappropriate language is in violation of—

“Inappropriate language? Oh, I’ve got plenty more inappropriate language for you. Peabody, contact APA Cher Reo and begin processing warrants for all appropriate parties. Let’s see how they like getting dragged out of bed at this hour, cuffed, and transported to Central because this computerized tin god refuses access to police officers.”

“All over that, Lieutenant.”

Please submit your badges for scan, and place your palm on the palm plate for verification.

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Major Crimes 8.2 | Movimientos de redeldia y las culturas que traicionan from Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua | Royal British Legion | Poppy Lapel Pin Small