Home > In Death #36 - Calculated in Death(6)

In Death #36 - Calculated in Death(6)
Author: J.D. Robb


“Can I get you some water, Doctor Yung?”

He gave Peabody a quiet smile. “No, but thank you. You asked how well I knew Marta,” he said, turning back to Eve. “Very well. We’re family, and for Genny and Denzel—and Marta—family is everything. My wife and her brother have always been close. The children.” He glanced toward a curve of stairs. “I’m worried about the children. They’re so young to face something like this, and so much of their innocence ends tonight.”

He closed his eyes a moment.

“You’ll want to know what their marriage—Marta and Denzel’s—was like. I’ve been married to a lawyer—and a judge—for thirty-six years,” he added, then with a long sigh, folded his hands. “I know it’s something you must pursue. I’ll tell you they loved each other, very much. They had a good life, a happy family. Did they sometimes disagree, even fight? Of course. But they worked together, suited each other, made each other whole, if you understand. Sometimes you’re very lucky with the choices you make, the people who come into your life. They were very lucky.”

“Do you know of anyone who’d want to harm her, or to harm Denzel by causing her harm?”

“I don’t.” He shook his head. “I honestly can’t imagine it. They’re both happy and successful in their work, have a good circle of friends.”

“Lawyers make enemies,” Eve pointed out.

“As do judges. I understand that very well. But Denzel deals with estate law, primarily, tax laws, finances. He doesn’t litigate, doesn’t handle criminal law or family law—the sort of thing that can incite passions. He’s a numbers man.”

“And Marta was an accountant.”

“They spoke the same language,” he said with the ghost of a smile.

“Shared clients?”

“Yes, from time to time.” He rose as Dickenson came back in.

“Genny’s making coffee. She . . . she asked if you’d go back and speak with her for a minute, Lieutenant.”

“All right.” Eve glanced at Peabody, got a subtle nod.

“Mr. Dickenson, if I could ask you a few more questions,” Peabody began as Eve walked out.

Eve passed through another living space. More bright and comfortable furniture, this time focused around a whopping-ass entertainment screen. Shelves held more photos, various trophies, lidded boxes.

It opened into a large dining area with a dark-finished table holding a big blue vase of white flowers. And that opened into the kitchen. More dark wood in the cabinetry, a soft gray for the counters, and a window niche with padded benches flanking a table where she imagined the family usually had their meals.

Pretty little pots, the same blue as the vase, lined another window and held what Eve vaguely recognized as herbs.

Judge Yung stood at a center island arranging thick blue mugs on a tray.

“He’ll never get over it, my brother. They met in college, and that was that. I didn’t approve, not at first. I wanted him to finish law school, pass the bar, get established before he entered into a serious relationship.”

She opened a cupboard, took out a creamer.

“I’m ten years older than Denzel, and I’ve always looked after him. Whether he wanted me to or not.” She smiled a little. The attempt only highlighted her red-rimmed eyes. “But it didn’t take long for Marta to win me over. I loved her very much. My little sister.”

Those red-rimmed eyes filled before she turned away, opened a glossy white refrigerator, took out a container of cream. Composed herself.

“They waited to have children, focused on their marriage, their careers, and when they had children, focused on them. They opted not to be professional parents. They both love their work, and so they’re fulfilled in that area, and devote their non-work time to each other and the family. That’s an enviable balance. Denzel will never find that balance again.”

She placed the filled creamer on the tray, added a matching bowl heaped with cubes of sugar.

“I’m telling you this for a reason,” she continued when Eve held her silence. “I know you have to look at my brother. The spouse is always the first suspect. I’ll give you a list of their friends, the neighbors, their coworkers and supervisors. The nanny, the cleaning people. Everyone you need or want to interview.”

“I appreciate that. We’re going to need the ’link he used to contact her, and we’ll want a look at the other electronics, other communications. It would speed things up if we had permission to search the residence, any vehicles as well as his office.”

“He’ll give it. He’ll do whatever you ask him to do. But to keep it absolutely clean, I can’t arrange for the warrant. I’ll have another judge issue and sign on. It shouldn’t come from me. I only ask that you conduct your search when the children aren’t here. I’m going to have Denzel bring them to my home for the day.”

“That’s no problem.”

“Tell me what you know.”

“I can’t give you specific details at this time. You know that, and I’m sorry. I can only tell you it appears as though she was mugged, and it went south. I assume she’d have carried a handbag, maybe a briefcase.”

“Both. Most likely, both. A brown leather shoulder strap–style briefcase with silver trim. Denzel gave it to her when she was promoted about five years ago. Her wedding ring, she always wore it. A white gold band etched with hearts. And the wrist unit Daniel and I gave her for her fortieth birthday. They’re both insured. We can get you photographs and descriptions.”

“That would help.”

“You’ll want their financial information. They each have individual accounts, but most of their assets are held jointly. We’ll give you all that information. You know Denzel didn’t hurt Marta.”

“Judge—”

“You have to do the job, you have to be thorough, and eliminate him as quickly as possible. But you know. You’re smart, you’re cagey, and I think, very intuitive. I don’t have to ask you to do your best for Marta, because you will.”

When her voice wavered, she stopped a moment, pressed her fingers to her eyes and took several long breaths.

“Not long ago,” she began, “I joked to Daniel, sometimes in our position we need to make light of the risks for the people we love who worry. I joked that if any of the scum I’d sent over followed through on their death threats, he was to make sure you headed the investigation into my death. Get me Eve Dallas, I told him. And I’m telling you, if you hadn’t caught Marta’s case, I’d have used every string I have to pull to have you put on as primary. I want you and Detective Peabody to find who did this, who killed a lovely woman, who took her from my brother, from her children. From us. Oh God.”

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