When Brad Schrader picked up the phone, he never expected to
hear the voice on the other end, a voice he had not heard in
thirty-nine years. It is his mother. He is thrilled at first, then hurt
when he realizes the true reason for her calling. She isn’t
interested in him as her son, the writer, but as the retired
lieutenant from the New York City police force.
Kevin, one of her sons from her current marriage, is the person
of interest in three homicides. She wants Brad to prove his
innocence. The problem is he is not to reveal his relationship to
the rest of the family. Reluctantly, and with his wife’s insistence,
Will Brad be able to keep his promise to his mother? Can he
convince his hesitant partner, Lieutenant Joseph Spencer, that
he is only helping to solve the murders and not take the
limelight? Or is Kevin really the killer? Hopefully, he can find the
answers before another victim is discovered.
“When the hell is this going to stop?” he demanded. “I've told you everything I
know a dozen times or more. Do you know what it does to my business having a
police car parked outside? My business must have dropped off at least forty
percent ever since this has happened.”
“Look, Mr. Waltman,” Joe Spencer said patiently, “just show us the register and
we'll be on our way.”
He grunted in annoyance then opened the desk drawer and removed a register
that had the word March printed across the jacket. He slammed it down on the
counter in front of me.
I thanked him and started to leaf through the pages when he said, “There's a
marker on the page. It's the third name down.”
I found the marker and spread the book open. Compared with all the names listed
on the page, the third one down was written in the smallest of hand and barely
legible. I strained to make out the letters, and failed. “Would you mind very much,
Mr. Waltman,” I said politely, “if I borrowed your glasses for a moment?”
Although surprised by my request, he removed his reading glasses and handed
them to me. “If it gets you outta here faster.”
“It reads, Mr. and Mrs. Perry Blakeney, and the date is March eighth,” Joe
informed me. “We checked it out; it's a phony name.”
With reading glasses in hand, I stared at the writing. Suddenly, I realized the
mistake that had been made. The changing of one letter in the name made it
significant. Joe was right; it was a phony name that was used. But it was the date
that really caught my attention.
“What identification did you ask for?” I said, handing him back his glasses.
He shook his head in exasperation. “It's like I said before, we were real busy that
night. All I remember is the girl gave us her driver's license for an I.D. while he
signed the book. I never got a good look at him because he was wearing
sunglasses and had this blue cap with a white emblem pulled down over his head.
He paid cash for the room for the night, Sunday night. That's it.”
“I would like to have this book, Mr. Waltman. Lieutenant Spencer will give you a
receipt for it and it will be returned in a couple of days.”
“Take it...be my guest,” he said, flinging his arms wide. “If it gets you off my back
and out of my hair.”
I smiled. The man had no hair to speak of.
“I don't understand why you need the register,” Joe said as we got into the patrol
“I want to get a blown up copy made of that page. I want to make certain what it
“I've told you,” he said indignantly. “It reads Mr. and Mrs. Perry Blakeney, and the
date is March eighth.”
“Are you sure it's Perry? Or could it be Percy?”
“Perry? Percy? What's the difference? It's still a phony name he used.”
“The name Percy Blakeney is a real character in a book written by Orczy. Sir
Percy Blakeney was The Scarlet Pim-pernel. Now does it ring a bell?”
“Holy shit! He...he intentionally used that name. But why?”
“It would only be a guess on my part,” I said. “But he wants us to know he's a man
of many disguises and that he's clever. And if you remember, the French never
caught the Scarlet Pimpernel. Since he's gotten away with killing three women, he
thinks he's infallible. If he's that cocksure of himself, there's no stopping him. He's
probably got his next victim lined up already.”
“Jeez…that's all we need.”
Again, he used the pronoun “we,” linking us together as a team.
|When the Snow Melts
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