[If you have not already done so, you must
read the Introduction
Revenge Should Have No Bounds 059
Chapter 14 (4 of 8): Headquarters
“Oh, hi , Phoebe,” Bev said, looking up from a pile of documents she was examining. Her desk top was covered with mountains of paper, folders, reports and a stack of library books, some of them with pages marked by little yellow stick-on notes.
“Bev,” she acknowledged.
“I understand we have a new one in the works.”
“Looks that way. Nasty piece of work in rural Swaithe. A young woman with her head bashed in, dumped in a ditch by a country road, probably not too long ago to judge by the snow cover.”
“Decomposing?” She wrinkled her nose.
“No, just the opposite. The cold froze her solid. An Asian woman.”
“Hmm,” she cocked her head, “and what have you got to go on so far?”
“Not much. But we’ll take it up at our first formal meeting, which I’d like you to schedule for five this afternoon. See if three-nineteen is available.”
“Three-nineteen.” She was already taking down notes on a pad she had unearthed from the mess on her desk, a mess in which she and she alone could find anything almost instantaneously. “Yes, it’s a mess,” she had told Phoebe once when she’d asked her about it, “but it’s my mess and I know everything about everything in it.”
“Please make sure the overhead projector is working. And while you’re at, how about giving me a half dozen of those overhead transparencies?”
She got up from her chair and took out a flat box from the supply case behind her to the left. “Here, help yourself.”
She grabbed some. “I want to be sure the regular group gets the memo about the meeting. They should already have gotten back. I hope they’re busy in the lab. Better get the D.A.’s office involved early on this one. Ask Jay Crowley to sit in, too. And I’d like you to be there. We’ll tape it, but bring your notebook and try to keep things coördinated. Everything as usual”
“Will do,” she said. “Anything else for now?”
“I’ll let you know. Thanks, Bev.”
She left the room and walked down to her own corner suite three doors away. The mail had piled up on her desk since Friday. She turned on her computer and quickly sorted through the envelopes and circulars, most of it junk mail, including subscription offers to criminology journals and an invitation to register for seminar to be held in Hawaii on management strategies for running an efficient office (cost: $675.00 not including air fare and meals).
She looked for the waste basket.
Then she weeded through the e-junk and tossed it in the e-waste-basket. Progress!
She sat back for a minute in her high-backed chair and gazed out over Paradise Park. It was a glittering winter wonderland, serene and white, a few hearty souls walking a ploughed trail into the woods. Her notebook lay before her on the desk, open to the page of THINGS TO DO that beckoned her to start making some phone calls. She punched up her phone book on the screen and selected Steve Wendell’s name. She clicked the CALL button with her mouse and heard the dial tones as she picked up the phone.
“Pathology. Susan speaking.”
“Hi. This is Detective Phoebe Light calling from Homicide. I’d like to talk to Dr. Wendell, please.”
“Sorry, Detective,” Susan said. “Dr. Wendell is busy at the moment. May I take a message?”
“I see. No, that’s O.K. I’m actually calling about a body that should have been delivered to your office by now from Swaithe County. The coroner, Mr. Schwenicke, was to have brought it up himself. Can you help me?”
“Let me check our logs,” she said. “Can you hold on just a minute?”
She clicked her into a telephonic limbo.
“Hello,” she came back on the line within a minute. “Yes, a Mr. Schwenicke did deliver the patient shortly after noon today. How can I be of further assistance?”
Phoebe thought for a moment.
“Is there somebody else there I could talk to about this matter?”
“How about Dr. Wendell’s assistant, Dr. Szreny?”
“That would be great.”
“I’ll transfer you. Extension 034. Please hold.”
The transfer was immediate.
“Dr. Szreny here.”
Phoebe repeated her introduction and the nature of her call.
“Yes,” Dr. Szreny said heavily, as if every new guest in Pathology were a personal insult to his sensibilities, “the body was delivered.”
“Can you tell me anything at this point?”
“Not really. Aside from the wound to the head, which looks like it may have been the cause of death. Of course, that’s not official at this point. Nothing is until we’ve done a thorough gross, histology, and run the tox screens.”
“Will you be doing the autopsy?”
“No. The coroner who brought it in said Dr. Wendell was supposed to do it. And his schedule is full until late tomorrow at the earliest.” Again, the faint distaste that Dr. Wendell was kept busy by so many breeches in civil decorum. “Besides,” he added, “the body has to thaw out first. You’ll have the full report by the weekend, I’m sure.”
Phoebe thanked the doctor and asked that she be informed as soon as any information was available. She checked off the first item on the list.
She got up from the chair and stood by the window looking out at the park. She had an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. She was not happy with the almost negligible evidence they had about the identity of the victim. Evidence that was no doubt important, but baffling. She hoped that somebody at the meeting would come up with something better than she had.
Maybe she should touch base with Jay Crowley, her immediate supervisor, before they met in the conference room. Sort of fill him in on the little that was known so far.
She’d gone over her notes from the morning and organized her thoughts about how to proceed. She found it difficult to forget the hauntingly beautiful face of the victim.
Her crew was waiting for her, and they all trooped into the War Room. “For the record,” she began once they had seated themselves, “this is case number H-2004-01-12-01.”
Before she gave them a summary of the morning’s events, she thought to herself, no, not ‘The Ice Case’. But a human being murdered. A beautiful young woman, dumped like trash in a roadside ditch at 20 below. That just wasn’t right. Pure and simple. Just not right. Someone was going to answer for this. Phoebe swore it to herself.
When she’d finished, her lead investigator, Willard Garrett, asked, “You’re telling us there isn’t a single clue about this woman?”
TO BE CONTINUED