Murder in Peekskill
“The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them.”
Lois McMaster Bujold
Diplomatic Immunity 2002
Following a particularly harsh winter, on the first warm day with melting ice and receding snow, a body was found floating in a small pond within the expansive rolling grounds of Depew Park, Peekskill, N.Y. It had been precisely nine months since the New York Senator’s daughter was declared missing. A maintenance worker had spotted a strange object slightly submerged in the murky pond waters almost directly underneath the towering statue of John Depew and local authorities were immediately notified. The body was unrecognizable, but the media converged like locust at the coroner’s office.
The prior months were a media circus due to the magnitude of the Senator’s celebrity status, a political heavyweight. New York had always required its political representatives to possess a formidable portfolio. The Empire State requested quasi-emperors to represent it…ordinary people need not apply. Today, media interest remained unrelenting due to the family’s prominence.
The local chief coroner immediately took control, and by morning the medical result was known. Several missing females were normal statistics for an area nestled next to New York City, so initially uncertainty prevailed. At 11:05 A.M. that morning, the press conference was officially held. Afterwards, as though scripted from a public relations playbook, Senator James Benjamin McThellan’s family went into seclusion because the remains of their daughter, Abigail Ruth McThellan, the youngest child of three offspring, were identified.
The investigation officially moved to homicide status. There had been no breaks…no evidence. The prior missing person’s investigation was at a dead end, but the political pressure and media exposure continued rising like a summer breeze lifting nature’s lightest particles upward and outward. Public interest whetted its insatiable appetite for more information.
“Crime butchers innocence to secure a throne, and innocence struggles with all its might against the attempts of crime.”
Maximillien Robespierre 1758-1794
Detective William Monroe Lincoln stepped out of the unmarked security vehicle and was escorted to Senator McThellan, who was located at his vacation mansion. The family remained in seclusion mourning their daughter. The Senator, in his second term, had become an institution and was considered a viable presidential candidate. The election, with no incumbent running, was two years out and would soon require a decision. He wanted it, badly, but he was intelligent enough not to allow his emotions to dictate his decision. He was born into wealth, but had also made savvy business decisions to dramatically increase his financial position. His wife of thirty-five years, Barbara Baker Adams- McThellan, from Mayflower ancestry stock, oozed personified dignity and grace. The marriage was the union of old school stock and the new money representing the latest American Aristocracy hegemony.
The McThellan family had immediately hired private investigators to find their daughter, but they had failed. Detective Lincoln was brought in as a fresh set of eyes to work with the original detective firm of The Miller Group, led by Hambone Miller III, grandson of the founder, Hambone Miller I.
The Miller Group had performed textbook detective work and had established several paths of interest. The small sleepy town of Peekskill, N.Y. had produced not one, but two professional athletes of celebrated stature discussed on sports news shows who were friends of the deceased. Marcellus Mathew Jackson was a prominent National Football League running back on the New York franchise team in the national title hunt. Jackson was in the same high school class as Abigail Ruth McThellan and they were close friends. Johnathan Francis LeCurk, two years ahead of both Jackson and Abigail Ruth, was a world class marathon track star. LeCurk currently was considered in the top ten world class marathoners and had been recently engulfed in drug use rumors. A third line of investigation was Abigail’s friend Antonio Rico Vargas, an up and coming actor occasionally on the Broadway stage; he was also the son of alleged N.Y. Mafia boss Tony ‘Hit Man’ Vargas. It was speculated by the N.Y. tabloids that Antonio and Abigail Ruth were dating and that a secret investigation by the powerful Senator into the father’s business activities had prompted the father to order a hit on the Senator’s family. Of course, there was no evidence supporting this allegation, but the rumors persisted.
Detective Lincoln stepped into the living room where Senator McThellan, his wife, and an unidentified man, waited. The Senator was standing by the window talking with the other man and turned when he heard people approaching. He was relatively tall at six foot two and had striking good looks. He had the ruddy complexion of an outdoors adventurer and was in excellent shape. The Senator walked over to meet the detective and shook his hand firmly.
“Detective Lincoln, it is my sincere pleasure to meet you although I wish the circumstances were different.”
“Senator McThellan, it is an honor to meet you, and I concur with the circumstances.”
“Detective, let me introduce you to my wife, Barbara.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mrs. McThellan…and let me convey my condolences for the loss of your daughter.”
Barbara Baker Adams- McThellan was dressed in black; she had classic beauty. As she stood to greet the detective, her good breeding was as natural about her as the air they were breathing. She radiated elegance.
“Thank you, Detective Lincoln, and please call me Barbara.”
“And it’s Bill.”
“Detective Lincoln, let me also introduce a long time friend and business associate of our family, Hambone Miller. Mr. Miller has been in charge of our private investigations.”
Miller was a large man both in length and bulk. His hair was completely white which was typical for the Miller males once they hit middle age. He also exuded a bearing from his long line of prominent ancestral roots. He saw no reason to bring an outsider into the investigation, but his argument was now overruled by Barbara Baker.
“Detective Lincoln, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve read up on some of your cases. You’ve done some good work.”
“Thanks…your agency is one of the best in the business.”
They shook hands.
“Gentlemen, please, let’s all sit down and discuss the matter,” Senator McThellan interjected.
“Detective Lincoln, my wife and I are interested in bringing you aboard to help us find the person responsible for our daughter’s death. We have full faith in Mr. Miller’s talents, but I think the more people on our team the better. We heard you were available…”
“What do you have so far?”
The Senator briefly went over the status of the case. There were possibilities, but no firm evidence leading in any particular direction. Although The Miller Group had made progress, they had been friends of her husband’s family for ages and Barbara Baker wasn’t sure if she was getting a full accounting. Since money was not a problem, why not get more expert opinions? After another half-hour, Barbara Baker excused herself from the meeting to attend to a family matter.
“Senator, I do have one question for you since your wife has left,” Detective Lincoln stated.
“And what is that, Detective?”
“Are you or were you involved in any activities that could have brought harm to your daughter? The types of activities I’m talking about are any affairs, drug use, or dealings with unsavory individuals trying to pressure you?”
“Absolutely not,” the Senator quickly responded without hesitation.
“Then I’ll come aboard the team; hopefully I can be of some service.”
“Great…I’ll inform my wife. Hambone can set up a meeting and provide the details of what they have.”
“That sounds like a good first step. Mr. Miller, when can we meet?”
“Call me Hambone; let’s get together tomorrow at my office. How about 3 P.M.?”
“I’ll see you there.”
“And Senator, what’s the best way to reach you..?” Detective Lincoln asked.
“I’ll give you my Chief of Staff’s number. Rolly Paul can reach me at any time.”
As Detective Lincoln was leaving the house with the security agent, he asked for a quick tour. He wanted to understand the young victim’s background by seeing her surroundings. The mansion sat on twenty acres with all the comforts including an immaculate pool, tennis courts, a stable holding six beautiful horses, and a polo field. The place kept two full time grounds personnel busy. The two maintenance men had been employed by the family for over fifteen years and had seen the young lady grow up. The security agent informed Detective Lincoln he had another appointment to make and he drove the detective back to his home.
“The power to question is the basis of all human progress.”
Detective Lincoln entered the brick building, on the upper East Side, seven minutes before the meeting. The Miller Group had occupied this building for the last thirty years, and the only description of the business was its name located with all the others on the building index. There was no business description behind its name. The Miller Group was on the thirty-fourth floor and occupied the entire space.
The detective was escorted to Hambone’s office where the white-haired principal motioned him to a long exquisite masterful work of art mahogany table with several manila folders stacked upon it. The entire room was filled with expensive paintings and artwork. The display suggested The Miller Group did not appear struggling to pay its bills. After Bill took in a full view of the room, the two gentlemen sat at the table.
“Detective Lincoln, where do you want to start?”
“Please, call me, Bill. Can you give me a brief summary of each lead that you have?”
“Sure… The three persons of interest are the two major sports figures she knew and her friend, the son of the alleged Mafia boss.”
“How far has each taken you?”
“Not as far as we’d like. Everybody is hiding behind their attorneys. The track star keeps brushing us off. He talked with us, but didn’t say anything helpful. The football star and the Mafia son have done the same. I’m so tired of hearing, ‘Talk to my attorney,’ that I could scream.”
“Why would any of them want to kill the girl?”
“Don’t know…that’s why we want to talk to them further.”
“So, there’s no obvious reason?”
“Well, we think there might be a motive. She kept a diary; we think the answer is in those pages.”
“And no one knows where the diary is?”
“If the killer has the diary, then it’s destroyed,” Bill reasoned.
“I would believe so.”
The detective sat there thinking…what could be in a diary that would invoke murder. The victim was in her early twenties…what could she have done to bring about her death?
“Hambone, what about her siblings..?”
“She’s got two…both older…a brother and a sister.”
Bill remembered the newspaper articles talking about the family several years ago. The children were all outgoing and not camera shy. The son, a Jr., was an Assistant District Attorney trying to make a name for himself in N.Y.C. The daughter was a fashion model. She had inherited her good looks from her mother and she was paid top dollar for the body and the name.
“What are they like? Could they be involved indirectly?”
“I don’t see any involvement. They are educated and ‘hang out’ with an affluent crowd. There’re no skeletons.”
“How about the mother..?”
“As pure as the driven snow…”
“And the hired help? Anything there..?”
“No…they’ve all been with the family for years. They had extensive background checks years ago and we ran current ones on each and nothing came up.”
“Who do you think did it, Hambone?”
The white-haired gentleman sat back in his chair and crossed his legs. He had been trying to answer that question since he took the case.
“I don’t have anyone that the circumstances fit. I keep thinking about her friend’s father, the Mafia connection, but there’s no evidence.”
“And the Senator..? Any skeletons there..?”
Bill wondered how can this family be so unsoiled? He’d never experienced any group of people being this free from any societal imperfections. So now he was wondering about the family investigators…were they too close to the Senator?
“Did the daughter have a sexual relationship with the young man, the Mafioso’s son?”
“I don’t know; no one is talking. The young man refused to answer the question and her siblings didn’t know.”
“So, the victim, what was she like?”
Hambone stood up and went to his desk. He pulled out a cigarette and lit one. Before he set the pack down he offered one to Bill, but the detective declined.
“She was a nice young lady; all the children are good people. Abby liked to have fun but could also be very straightforward. I’d say she was part of the vanguard for the ‘politically correct’ establishment. She had her views and could articulate them; she was educated. Abby was very well rounded and played sports. She was a good athlete and was on several college and high school teams. She played tennis and golf at very competitive levels; her equestrian skills were also formidable. What else do you want to know?”
“What type of men did she hang out with? What was her level of social activities?”
“Normal things for a woman her age… I never saw anything unusual.”
“She didn’t date older men?”
“Not that I’m aware of… I think she dated mostly men around her own age.”
“Did she have sexual relations with the two star athletes she knew from high school?”
“Don’t know, neither would answer the question. As I said, each met with us briefly and they had their lawyers with them.”
“What does your gut say, Hambone?”
“I don’t have any feelings one way or the other, and there’s no evidence pointing anywhere.”
Bill saw the huge gaps in information. If these gaps were inches of space, he’d have enough room to park an eighteen wheeler truck.
“How did the Senator and his wife feel about their daughter hanging out with the son of an alleged Mafia boss?”
“They weren’t thrilled, but realized she was friends with the son and not the father.”
“Is there any legislation against crime families pending or being written?”
“There’s always something being contemplated, but nothing really that the Senator is doing individually.”
“Tell me about the night she went missing; what happened?” Bill inquired.
“She went out, but never said for what reason other than she had to meet someone. Her parents were the last to see her alive. She was visiting them and she left from their mansion, in Westchester County, where you just met the Senator and his wife. We know now that she traveled to Peekskill that evening. She was raised in Peekskill and went to school there. Her father was Mayor of Peekskill before advancing in his extraordinary political career. She knows the little town well.”
“So, Hambone, what’s your next move..?”
“We’ll continue trying to meet with people, although we’re not making any progress. But that’s why you were brought in; we’re hoping you have some ideas.”
Bill knew that was a lie. Other detective agencies don’t want their competition being brought in.
“I’d like to see the murder scene, read the files that you have on the case, and talk to her siblings.”
“That can all be arranged.”
Two days later, Detective Lincoln and Hambone’s Chief Investigator assigned to the case, drove to Peekskill, NY to view the crime scene. Later that evening, Bill would meet the elder sibling, the son. Peekskill is a small sleepy community, just big enough to be a city, located on the Hudson River about thirty-five miles from the Bronx. The body had been discovered in Depew Park, the city’s local park where deer are not infrequently seen and the locals come to walk their pets and themselves around two tracks. High School football games are played there in the fall, and the community pool attracts hordes of children during the summer. There’re numerous trees and foliage and many long term residents retain fond memories of Saturday night romantic encounters with their mates.
Hambone’s man parked near the crime scene and led Lincoln to the murder site. Two ponds, one large and one small, were filled with murky water. The body was found in the smaller pond. Above the small pond was a hill where a statue of John Depew stood overlooking the Park. There’re two stone benches for people to sit and both men felt sure the victim and her killer had sat on one of those benches before the murder. Sitting up high on the hill would allow the murderer to see anyone who might be in that area. After the killing it would be relatively easy to drag or carry the body down the hill and put it in the water since the small pond was so near.
“Was any blood found up here?” Bill asked while standing near the John Depew statue.
“No, remember, she was missing for months. We didn’t know where to look. Once the body was found, winter was just about over. If there was blood, the melting snow washed it away.”
“Who found her?”
“A guy on the maintenance crew; he called the Police. The local coroner identified her the following day from dental records.”
“Any sexual activity..?”
“Couldn’t tell, the body was in bad shape…”
“She wasn’t pregnant?”
“Was there any ransom note?”
“There was a letter sent, but it was never disclosed to the public.”
Bill waited for the investigator to go on, but he didn’t.
“And what was in the ransom note?”
“He wanted a million dollars in cash.”
“No…just the money. There was only the one note; no follow up on cash distribution. That was strange…”
“How sophisticated was the note?”
“It was straight forward…typed on a word processor; it also said, ‘don’t tell the Police.’”
“How’d the family get the note?”
“By mail… It was sent from Peekskill the next day after she was listed as missing. I think the guy already had the note written and, after he murdered her, he just dropped the note in the mailbox.”
“When were the Police brought in?”
“Immediately, as soon as the family received the note they called the Police.”
“Who knew the Police were involved besides the family?”
“Hambone and myself were the only two from our agency…and I think the Senator’s Chief of Staff. As far as I know, that was it for non-family members.”
Detective Lincoln found it curious there was only one note. He didn’t know what to think of it, just that it was curious. There weren’t enough facts to objectively ‘weigh’ the information. The two men spent another half-hour walking and driving through the park before hea
At 8:01 P.M., the detective knocked on James Benjamin McThellan II’s door, the eldest and brother of the victim. The young man was an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan and was slowly making a name for himself. He started in the Family Support Group, but now was working in the Criminal Division. He was handling murder cases and other serious crimes. Although he wasn’t the Lead Attorney yet, he was the First Assistant in two cases.
As the door opened, Detective Lincoln saw the younger version of the Senator. He had the rugged good looks of his father with the outdoors complexion signaling an adventuresome spirit. He stood six-three and had the body of an athlete.
“Come in Detective Lincoln. I’ve seen your pictures in the papers several times over the recent years. You’ve done some marvelous work.”
“First let me convey my sympathy to you. This is not the condition that I want to meet people.”
“I understand, Detective, but it’s been almost a year. I’ve known my sister was dead; she’s not the type to go missing like that. Let’s get on to why you’re here.”
“Mr. McThellan, you look like your father, and please, call me Bill.”
“Thanks…please have a seat. I’m Benjamin; I’m glad you’re on the case. We’re not making any progress.”
“Who do you think killed your sister?”
“I don’t know; it’s a mystery. I’ve racked my brain trying to answer that question.”
“What was she like?”
The brother sat back and thought reflectively before speaking. He missed his baby sister. The pain was evident in his body language.
“Abigail was up front and personal. She was your best friend or your worse enemy, in an intellectual sense. She hated hypocrites, loved people, liked to have fun, and loved her family. She was outgoing and personable; I really miss her.”
“Did she have any enemies?”
“Not physically, but if you were a liar or the type of person who says one thing and does another, she’d go after you if she could. Like with politics…if a politician said something and ended up doing the exact opposite, she’d be writing letters and sending emails. She’d call her friends and urge them to do likewise.”
“But, no physical enemies..?”
“No, not that I’m aware of… that’s totally unlikely.”
“Who was she dating?”
“Well, I’m not sure…do you mean just hanging around or being sexually active?”
Benjamin sat back and thought about his answer before responding. He was discussing his sister and he wanted clarity. The detective was forming an opinion and wanted information to help him solve the murder. Everyone wanted to know what happened to Abby…especially him. But he still felt like he had to respect Abby’s personality, which was formidable at times. Although she was physically gone, he still felt her presence.
“Look, my siblings and I are all adults. I just didn’t usually ask her about her sex life. I’m living my life, and she’s living hers. Now, of course I’ve asked occasionally ‘How’s your love life?’ and sometimes she’d answer specifically and sometimes not. I know her and Rico were doing things together recently because she’d mention things about his father. Rico’s father is the alleged Mafia man.”
“After a play they attended in N.Y.C., he brought her by his parent’s house for a family celebration. She felt it was like the ‘Godfather’ scenes. There were tons of people, but the menfolk seemed odd. She’d ask in general conversation ‘What they did?’ and so many replied they’re in the family business, but never specifically saying what type of business that was. She’d ask Rico questions, but he really didn’t know what his father did either, but knew he was in ‘the business’. Rico was like the young Michael Corleone…part of the family, but he wasn’t allowed to be part of the real ‘Family Business’. Abby enjoyed talking about Rico’s family with Rico.”
“Were they sexually active?”
“I don’t know.”
“Was your family concerned about her being friends with a person who had that type of family?”
“Of course, but Abby was Abby. She said that he’s an individual and must be judged on his own character. You know, we’re part of the ‘Political Correctness Generation’.”
The detective nodded with understanding.
“Any shady characters in your sister’s life..?”
“Not really, unless you’re counting the superstar folks…”
“You mean the track and football star friends of hers?”
“Why do you mention them?”
“Well, Abby hinted at each of them having some problems.”
Benjamin once again had that reflective look. He didn’t like to talk about allegations, but his sister was dead; this was different.
“After any race, LeCurk, the track star, is always flirting with disaster after his blood test results. The labs are always throwing up flags. If he’s using drugs, he’s working with someone who’s got a lot of chemical knowledge of how to beat the system.”
“Have they ever dated?”
“I don’t know; they were buddies. Again, it’s that friendship thing. They’ve hung out, but I don’t know whether it ever got sexual.”
“And the football player..?”
“There was something going on in Marcellus’ life. She’d met with him a couple of times to discuss things but she didn’t say what it was. She believed in keeping confidences; that’s one of the reasons she was so well liked.”
“Did they ever date?”
“Again, I don’t know. They’d meet, but I really don’t know in what capacity.”
“Has your sister ever dated interracially?”
“Yeah…remember, this is the break-through generation. She’s the type that would go out of her way to date interracially just to break down barriers.”
“How’d the family feel about that?”
“Well, the older generation thinks one way and the younger generation has a different opinion. It’s like any other family…but Abby wasn’t going to date ‘trash’ if you know what I mean. She wasn’t going out with the criminally inclined. They had to have something going for them.”
“I understand… Listen, I’d like to talk with your sister.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem; she’s changed her schedule and is in town.”
“And what’s your opinion of the job your father’s investigative company, The Miller Group, is doing?”
“They’ve done what’s expected. When you can’t get to the people you want to talk with, it’s a problem. I’m a D.A., I know.”
“Benjamin…again, any ideas on who killed your sister?”
“Bill, we now know she was never missing, but killed that day. She was murdered in Peekskill, where we used to live. She met the killer there; there’s a good chance this guy has Peekskill ties or that he knows the area. I think it suggests we need to talk with at least three people, and I think we’ve discussed those three tonight. I want to question Rico, LeCurk, and Marcellus.”
Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed
US author (1856-1915)
Detective Lincoln had received a message on his phone last night from a reporter from the NY Globe, one of the main ‘rag’ city newspapers. The paper spent tons of energy and money writing stories that, for most, appear bizarre. But, like anything else, the paper kept a certain segment of the population reading. Normally, Bill would’ve ignored the message, but the caller was one of their top reporters, and part of the message was that one of her good ‘friends’ was home right now…supermodel Mary-Michelle McThellan, sister of the victim. The detective had returned the call that morning and was currently getting ready to meet the reporter at the Cold Cat Bar in Lower Manhattan. After his meeting, the reporter would bring him to the supermodel’s place where he would talk with Mary-Michelle.
At 4:58 P.M. he walked inside the Cold Cat Bar. It was more than a neighborhood ‘drinking hole’. The place was quite large and could hold several types of functions at once. The décor was dark wood with lots of light fixtures that gave off limited light, but added to a warm atmosphere for the patrons. It felt comfortable. Bill walked to the main bar area and saw Mavis Bentley sitting at a table. Ms. Bentley was an attractive woman looking no different in person than on television. She wore a Tam, and her thick hair flowed down to her shoulders. She was writing when he saw her. As he approached she looked up and stopped.
“Please sit down, Detective Lincoln.”
“Ms. Bentley, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Most people don’t say that, Detective. Many start moving away when I approach,” she smiled and patted the table wih a hand gesture for where she wanted him to sit.
“Is this an interview, Ms. Bentley, that we’re having? I see your note pad, and I believe I said I’m not interested in being interviewed.”
“No, I’m preparing another story…but I would seriously like an interview for the record whenever you’re ready.”
“I’ll let you know. Ms. Bentley, how do you know Ms. McThellan?”
She smiled and sat back.
“Detective Lincoln, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll tell you everything you want to know if you’ll just answer a few questions about the case that’s definitely not on the record. I assure you, you’ll probably have no problem answering any of them.”
“Alright, and please, call me Bill.”
“Four questions…first…Is there any evidence she was killed by space aliens?”
“No…not to my knowledge.”
“Second, any evidence of the victim being a lesbian and her lover killed her because she wanted to end the relationship?”
“Third, any evidence of illegal aliens kidnapping her for ransom and that plan went bad?”
“And finally, any evidence of Senator McThellan having an affair with the mobster’s wife and this was the husband’s revenge?”
“No, Ms. Bentley…”
The reporter had made a check on her list after each of Bill’s answers.
“Please, call me Mavis. Now, you wanted to know how I know Shelley.”
“That’s Mary-Michelle McThellan?”
“Yes…we went to college together. I’m quite a few years older, since I had attended college before and didn’t finish. Sidetracked by life…I went back over a decade later. We became good friends in an English class. I was an English major and eventually did the journalism career. She was going to do law, but got steered into modeling; she’s making a ton of money right now. I was headed into real journalism, but got sidetracked into this nonsense. They kept throwing money at me. A little money is a hard thing to ignore…Big money is impossible.”
“So, you can do real journalism?”
“Of course…it’s just that this stuff pays unbelievably better. It’s like a drug; you get up, use half your brain, and then they dump wads of cash into your checking account. It’s rather hard to go do serious work and make barely more than the minimum wage. I asked you those silly questions to cover the basis for our Globe readers. They have bizarre tastes.”
“I assume your looks have helped you succeed in the business.”
“Are you saying I’m attractive, Detective?” she smiled.
“Interested..?” she asked with a glint of sparkle in her eyes.
“Let’s get back to business. How have the Police performed?”
“Well, you’re sitting here talking to me. What’s the next question?”
“What does Shelley think? Does she suspect anyone?”
“You’ll be asking her that question soon. I’ll let her answer it.”
“Did you know, Abby?”
“I’ve met her, but I really didn’t know her.”
“And what about the three possible suspects…the three young men in her life? Two are famous by their own achievements in sports, and one is the son of an alleged Mafia Don.”
She sipped on her drink while observing the detective. She’d like to spend more time with him professionally and perhaps socially.
“I’ve been trying to interview them like the Police. I haven’t been successful. Let’s face it, few will allow my type of paper interviews even without controversy.”
“Have you written anything about them before?”
“Oh sure, we’ve printed the drug allegations with the track star, the partying with the football player, and of course the alleged crime family. These types of stories fill our papers constantly. They’re all speculations from anonymous sources. We’ve never personally interviewed any of these people other than throwing out questions from some press conference.”
“Do any look more suspicious than the others?”
“Not really, but you’ve got to wonder about the Mafia family. But again, the son was the friend and he seems normal.”
She checked her watch. It was time to bring the detective to meet the sister of the murdered victim. They drove to mid-Manhattan and the doorman easily recognized Mavis and opened the door. Two minutes later they arrived at the top floor of the building, the penthouse suites. Mavis rang the doorbell.
An English butler, in his sixties with a stiff back and a refined manner, opened the door and Mavis and Bill walked in. The apartment was huge and superbly decorated. Expensive art hung from the walls. Beautiful statues and vases from various places in the world stood everywhere.
“Ms. Bentley,” the Butler stated in a refined voice, “I regret to inform you that Ms. McThellan received an emergency call and is on her way out of the country for a shoot. I believe someone became ill, and they needed a replacement. Normally she would’ve refused, but this assignment is for one of her good friends in the business. She called and left a message on your cell-phone.”
“Thanks, Niles… I haven’t taken any messages since I’ve been with Detective Lincoln.”
She introduced the detective to the butler.
“Detective Lincoln, it is indeed a pleasure. I followed that case in California; it was quite remarkable.”
“Thank you, Niles… Tell me, do you have any opinions on this case? Do you suspect anyone?”
“I’m very sad over the death of the younger sister. She was very nice; I don’t know who did it. I hope you will be of great service to the family and solve this dreadful thing.”
“I’ll do my best.”
Since the Supermodel was gone, Mavis Bentley asked Detective Lincoln to take her to dinner. He obliged…
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