the heron island mystery (part forty)

This story started here.

I was fairly sure that there were deputies on the island, which was one reason I fired the shot. Of course, it could have put me in a bad position, at least for a while, being the one who was armed (with a licensed firearm, I hasten to add) and threatening another man. But I did not want to let the fake Manfred get away, and when I pulled the trigger I’d had no idea if my employer or anybody else knew who this guy was.

Two deputies showed up a few moments later, at a run, and, fortunately for me, the sheriff was with them. I immediately surrendered my gun, and submitted to a body search and a careful examination of my pistol license.

While this was going on, I could see my employer and the sheriff talking quietly, and then the three of us adjourned upstairs to Mary’s room, where Rhonda closed the door and asked (“demanded” might be a more accurate word) to hear, in detail, how I’d been spending my afternoon.

While I told the story, my employer sat at Mary’s small desk, smiling and looking out the window, doing her best to give the impression that everything I was saying was old news to her.

Rhonda made a face at my employer’s back at one point, having perhaps guessed that this was at least somewhat false, but she didn’t say anything out loud.

When I was done, the sheriff turned to my employer. “Are you going to lay it all out now — can you explain everything?”

My employer turned from the window. “Yes, I can, and we should go downstairs for that. I think the remaining residents here should learn why this house has been the center of so much trouble.”

Rhonda stood up. As she left the room, she said over her shoulder, “You just want a bigger audience for your performance.”

My employer used her cane to get to her feet, moving more slowly than usual. She didn’t react or respond to Rhonda’s comment, but her expression told me that she wasn’t entirely pleased with her handling of the case.

Mary had come to us for help, she’d been turned away, and now she was dead. It was a lot more complicated than that, of course, but those facts were true nonetheless.

The great detective was not so distressed, however, that she didn’t pause for a moment to study her reflection in Mary’s dresser mirror, to make sure that her hair, her necktie, and her pocket handkerchief were all in proper order.

  To be continued…

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