Isaac was working a protection case. The lovely, if somewhat self-absorbed, Ms. Bethany Parker felt threatened by her former boss, a minor mob enforcer who was under the impression that Ms Parker had done him wrong. Exactly why she (or he) felt that way was unclear to both Izzy and me. Now that Isaac had been murdered and the whereabouts of Ms Parker unknown, we decided that our first approach was to assume the two facts were related. So Izzy was to go through Isaac’s notes and see if he could locate Ms Parker while I would investigate the murder scene.
It sounded reasonable at the time.
The alley in which Isaac was gunned down was still an active crime scene. The body had been removed, but the police tape was still in place and the forensic people were busily working inside the cordoned off area. I decided I didn’t need to bother them. I could look at the scene when they were done. I was confident that Corrizo would share anything they found with me.
Assuming he believed I wasn’t the shooter.
I went around the corner to see what shops emptied into the alley. There was a Chinese takeout, an Antique shop, a pocket newsstand, and a chain Drug store. Above the storefronts were some seriously low-rent apartments.
I wrote all of this down in my clue book then proceeded to one at a time, to interview the store owners. None were interesting with the sole exception of the antique shop. The first interesting thing about it was that the shop owner was still there. It was close to ten pm by this time and while there other shops were still within their stated store hours, this place should have closed hours ago. The sign on the door indicated that business hours were 9am to 6pm Tuesday through Saturday.
The next thing that was interesting was the shop owner. He was a tall, thin, bespectacled gentleman who spoke with a British accent. He wore a tweed suit. With a vest. And he was cool. A little too cool to my sharp detective senses.
“Working late?” I asked after he graciously allowed me to enter.
“Yes. I received a rather large shipment of merchandise today and it must be catalogued before I can put it out for display.”
I looked around and noticed the third interesting thing: It looked more like a magic shop than an antique shop. And I don’t mean Harry Houdini magic. I mean spooky magic.
“So did you hear or see anything unusual tonight?”
“Excuse me, but I answered these questions already, I thought you said you had to ‘follow up’?”
I picked up a rather large crystal globe that was sitting in a base that resembled a bird’s claw, and looked at it. It seemed dormant sitting there but when I held it up, it began to cloud up and give off a faint bluish glow.
“Uh, well,” I said, “Um did I give you the impression I was with the police? ‘Cause I’m not.”
He took the globe from me and he placed it carefully back on its base, saying “Yes actually, you did give me the impression you were with the authorities. So exactly who are you?” Sitting back on the three claws that supported the globe, the blue glow was now extinguished and it reverted to its former clear as glass color. I thought to myself: “Huh.”
“I’m a private detective. The man who was murdered tonight was my partner.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry.”
“So you see, I have an interest,” I said.
There was silence between us.
“What is this thing?” I asked referring to the globe, “Like a crystal ball or something?”
“Yes, something like that. It’s a 12th Century artifact. An antique,” he paused, “I sell antiques.”
“Yes, I see.”
“It’s very rare and expensive,” he said, “Hence my apprehension with people handling it.”
I nodded. “It seemed to glow. Did you see that?”
“A trick of the light,” he said and smiled.
“I saw and heard nothing,” he said. “Um, to answer you question. That’s what I told the police. Now if that will be all…”
I looked him in the eyes. Something….
“One more thing: Did you have any visitors tonight?” I asked.
“Not since around five in the afternoon.”
“Sure,” I said, “Thanks.” I took out a business card. “If you think of anything, please call.”
“I will put you card right next to the Police Detective’s card,” he said taking it and herding me in an unhurried way towards the door.”
“Sure.” I said and I stepped back out into the night. The door closed firmly behind me.
I turned to look at the store front. Some nice furniture pieces were in the window. I didn’t see much by way of furniture inside. I looked up at the sign. “Antiques” was all it said.
I wrote some more stuff in my clue book and reviewed it.
Yep, no clues yet.