the deacon mystery (part eighteen)

This story started here.

Rhonda got out of her car and walked toward the steps to the porch.

"Sheriff," I said, rising. "We're short on chairs here." I looked at Miss Lane. "Shall we three adjourn to the rear deck? Coffee is available, and I could use a refill myself." I gestured with my empty mug.

We went into the front hall, where I refilled my mug and they filled theirs, and then we went back outside and around to the rear deck, where we sat at one of the tables. Everything on the deck was damp with dew, but I had anticipated this and I'd brought a stack of napkins from the supply in the hall.

When the three of us were seated and sipping our coffee, I wondered who would speak first. It was pretty clear that each of my guests would have been much happier if the other one had not been there.

For me, I was thinking how pleasant it would be if I managed to finish my entire cup of coffee in silence. That did not seem likely.

The reporter finally turned to the sheriff. "Rhonda," she said, "do you have any comment on the death at the college?"

Rhonda shook her head. "Not yet." She turned to me. "Is your employer going to look into that?"

I shrugged. "She may not even be aware of it. I do know that she is writing against at least one pressing deadline."

The sheriff was regarding me thoughtfully. "It does seem like it's her kind of case. The death of an exchange student, in a locked room, apparently with no way in or out."

"And the knife," Kate Lane put in. "With the word 'Revenge' on the handle in Spanish."

"How did you find out about that?" the sheriff demanded.

"I do have my sources," the reporter said happily.

Rhonda frowned. "I have no comment on that case."

The reporter continued to look pleased. "Any update on the Deacon case?" she asked.

"The Deacon sisters and Prescott Owens are in the hospital, recovering from their injuries."

"Are they in custody?"

"Nobody is in custody at this moment."

"And Dr. Deacon–"

"Right now, all indications are that he and his brother killed each other."

She did not raise the question of which brother had died first, and nobody asked. If Kate Lane was not aware of the possible significance of that information, I didn't see any reason to send her in that direction.

Some minutes later, after I had put the dirty coffee mugs in the kitchen, I went back to the room. My employer had finished her coffee and she was taking her shower, so I did a quick check and the knife which had been thrown at our porch two nights before, the one with "vingança" on the handle (which was Portuguese, by the way, not Spanish), was no longer where I had hidden it.

To be continued...

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