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September 21, 2014
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A summer mystery—Part 2: the victim


“Just a few preliminary questions and then I’ll be out of your hair.”

“Sure,” answered Mrs. Johnson.

“Can you tell me what time you returned home?” Brown asked. He flipped out his notebook.

“Around 11 p.m. I was actually surprised that Peter wasn’t home yet.” Brown nodded and scribbled notes. “There was nothing out of the ordinary.”

“Can you think of anyone who would want to harm your husband?”

Mrs. Brown thought for a moment and shook her head. “No.”

“Any strange things going on? Prank phone calls? Anything at all?”

“Not that I can think of.”

Mrs. Johnson told him that things between them hadn’t been great for the past few years, I mean, if she was being honest which she had no reason not to be. The recession had hit Peter particularly hard at work, and with the kids in college they had just gotten their heads above water. They had almost had to pull out of the apartment renovations.

“Did your husband have a life insurance policy?”

“I suppose he did.”

“Who’s the beneficiary?”

Mrs. Johnson stopped and looked into Brown’s eyes. “I suppose I am. Why do you ask, detective?”

“My apologies, Mrs. Johnson, I mean no disrespect. It’s getting late. I should be going. If it’s alright with you. I’ll swing by tomorrow with the crime boys to do a search of the apartment.”

“No problem.”

“Thanks, ma’am.”

And then at the door he stopped. Another door to the right of the main one.

“What’s in here?”

“Oh. Those are the back stairs. They lead straight to the basement.”

“Oh perfect.” said Brown. “That’s right where I am heading.”