the heron island mystery (part forty-one)

This story started here.

So, there we were in the living room of Heron House. Becky and Li were sitting together on a small love seat. Li looked nervous and Becky looked tired. The sheriff was on the sofa by herself. Jo sat cross-legged in a large armchair, a quilt wrapped around her. She looked cold, and even smaller than usual. My employer was sitting in a straight-backed chair I’d brought in from the dining room for her, and I’d made sure she had an ashtray within easy reach. Elsa had placed a chair next to her wheelchair, apparently for me, so I thanked her as I sat down. She had a bottle of soda, and the rest of us had coffee.

There was a deputy standing by the door — the same woman who had come with us in the boat two nights earlier. Her name was Cheryl, but I didn’t learn that until later.

My employer lit a cigarette and was about to begin when Li said, “Miss Sleet? I…”

She seemed to fold in on herself as everybody turned to look at her, but my employer nodded in her direction.

“Yes, Li?”

Li was apparently unable to speak for a moment, but then she gathered herself up and said, “This has all been very confusing — and terrible, mostly terrible — but… I know it’s complicated, yes?”

In other circumstances, my employer would have held forth for a while on the difference between “complicated” and “complex,” as she enjoyed doing, but now she simply said, “Yes, Li, it is quite complicated. Would you like the short version, the simple version, first?”

Li nodded.

“On Sunday night, Professor Drake killed Manfred and left his body on the beach below this house. Nobody from Heron House was involved. On Monday night, Kim killed Mary on the deck here, and then later pretended to discover the body. In between those two events, entirely by coincidence, Professor Drake appeared on the deck, disguised as Manfred. Last night, Marshall and Miss Peabody staged a performance on the deck to convince Kim that they knew she was the killer — Mary’s killer — and she attacked Miss Peabody and was apprehended by Marshall.

“There were two murderers and both of them are in custody. There is not now, to the best of my knowledge, any danger to anybody in this house. And, if it needs to be said, nothing that has happened has been the result of supernatural forces.”

  To be continued…

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