Brad Schrader’s world comes crashing down when his wife,
Melissa, discovers the dead body of her boss, Chester Dorian, a
murder victim, in a sleazy motel room. Since there is no reason
for her being there, Brad is plagued by the idea that Melissa was
having an affair with her boss.
Brad jumps at the chance to help the local sheriff investigate the
case in order to learn more about Chester Dorian, and in turn,
learn his own short comings for the reason his wife cheated on
“Mrs. Dorian,” I said, “as you know, your husband was brutally murdered. Would
you have any idea as to why his body was mutilated?”
My ploy to shock her failed. Cold blue penetrating eyes turned on me.
“I thought about it, Mr. Schrader, don’t think I haven’t,” she said. “You don’t
suppose the fact that Chester was a liar had any significant bearing on the
mutilation of his body, do you?”
The direct coldness of her question appalled me. “I wouldn’t know,” I answered. “If
society is to survive, we have to catch his murderer. Whether a victim was a liar or
a thief is insignificant to the brutality of his having been murdered.”
“I agree,” she said. “However, I refuse to wear black and be the grieving widow that
society would expect of me. In the twenty-three years we’ve been married, Chester
has humiliated me and degraded me with his indiscretions and sordid affairs. For
the sake of my children, I have held my head high, turned the other cheek, and
played the dutiful wife, well knowing people were laughing at me behind my back.
Now that he’s dead, I refuse to mourn him. That would be hypocrisy on my part.
For to mourn someone, you have to love them. Chester destroyed our love over
twenty years ago.”
“Why didn’t you divorce him?” I asked.
“Divorce him,” she laughed, her eyes glancing around the room. “This house was
given to us as a wedding present from my parents. When I married Chester, he
had nothing, nothing but a promising career. If I were to divorce him, legally, half
this house would automatically be considered his. A house my parents gave us.
Does that seem fair? I wasn’t about to let him profit by the Winthrops; I’d never let
How sad and how lonely, I thought. Letting a house stand in the way of finding
happiness. Maybe there still was time. Catherine Dorian was an attractive woman.
“Thank you, Mrs. Dorian,” I said. “Thank you for being so candid with us.”
“Candid with you?” She frowned. “You misunderstood, Mr. Schrader. Now I can be
candid with myself. For once in my life, I’m free. Free from gossip...free from telling
lies to my children for their father’s indiscretions. It truly is a glorious feeling.”
A smiling Catherine Dorian graciously saw us to the door and thanked us for
“I’ll be damned,” Willie said as we climbed into the patrol car. “You certainly know
how to get a person to babble on like a brook about themselves.”
“Hey,” I laughed. “I’ve never met one before today.”
“One what?” he asked.
“Merry widow.” I laughed.
He shook his head from side to side while placing the key in the ignition. “Yeah, I
guess she’s happy. Can’t say that I blame her.”
We both turned around to the loud, screeching sound of brakes. Behind us, at a
fast clip coming up the U-shaped driveway, was a black Chevy Corvette. It pulled
up behind the patrol car and a man hopped out. He appeared to be in his late
forties, meticulously dressed in a gray business suit. He shot a glance in our
direction before hurriedly taking the porch steps two at a time. As Willie pulled out
from the curb, I glanced at the license plate number on the car. Through the side
view mirror, I could see the man standing on the porch. I saw the front door open
and Catherine Dorian came out to greet him. The last thing I could see as the
patrol car turned the corner in the road was the two of them standing there kissing.
“Willie,” I said, as we drove out onto the main road. “I think we got ourselves
“You don’t mean Mrs. Dorian,” he said in surprise.
“No. I don’t think she’d lie to us about playing bridge, knowing we could easily
check it out. I’m talking about the man who just drove up in the Corvette.”
He turned to look at me, his face masked in puzzlement. “I don’t get it.”
“The way I saw them kissing just now, it ain’t her brother. Catherine Dorian has a
lover who just might have gotten tired of Chester Dorian being around. I got the
license plate number of his car. Can’t hurt to check him out.”
“I’ll be damned,” he said. “If that doesn’t beat all.”
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