Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Deadly Gamble Chapter Four Vanished


 Legacy of Death











Chapter #4
Vanished



By Friday night the rain had given way to clear skies.  It was half pass nine when Stan joined Steele at the Sky Lounge, the rooftop bar atop his trendy club.  Stan looked rested and ready to help his friend catch the murder. 

“Hey what’s happening brother?” Stan did a 360 as he gave the new addition to Steele’s empire the once over.  He nodded slowly as he soaked it all in.  “Shakia really has outdone herself this time.  Everything looks great.”
After the usual greeting Stan placed his black laptop on the table, opened it and began typing as he talked. 

“I got your e-mail and did a little digging on your suspects before I hit the road.  Oh by the way your cousin Duce said hi.  We had lunch at the Red Roaster the other day.”
After a few minutes of tapping on the keys Stan started reading down the list of suspects.

“Okay Steele there’s nothing here that screams murderer to me but hey since you’re the PI you decide.”  
The cool weather kept most of the patrons in the club downstairs.  Stan and Steele had the corner area to themselves.  After making sure that no one was in earshot Stan began reading aloud. 

“Antonio age 59, divorced, profession chef, studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York.  Hobbies photography and botany, he’s also won a few cooking competitions.

Kevin Matthews – age 45, married, self made millionaire previous occupation computer technician. Interest gambling, golf, antique cars and gun collecting.

Pablo – age 33, divorced no known skills.  At the age of 16 he served time in juvenile prison for car theft he also served time at Holmesberg prison and the Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center for armed robbery and assault.  Known associates Nick D’Angelo.  He was cellmates with some guy called Hammer.” 

Steele nodded “I’m not surprised, Hammer is Half Dead’s younger brother.  The two ran a network of drug labs until the DEA caught up with them two years ago.”

Stan continued reading, “says here Pablo is out on parole.  That probably explains why he’s working as a gardener.  Next on the list Tara Matthews….”

Steele put his hand up after hearing the name.  Stan took one look at Steele and knew his friend was annoyed.   “Tara’s not a suspect; she’s the client and a friend. Why is her name on the list?”
Stan knew he would be stepping on Steele’s toes when he added her name to the list.  “Listen buddy, when it comes to Tara you’re not objective, hell I wouldn’t be either if she saved my life and she’s hot. I know you don’t want to admit it but she had motive.  Did you even bother asking her where she was at the time of the murder?”  Steele took a minute to gather his thoughts, deep inside he knew Stan was right.  One of the first things he learned at a detective was to never let your emotions get in the way of being objective about a case.  “Okay Stan, fine, keep her on the list but at the bottom of the list, I’ll get to her later.” 

The two rarely butted heads so Stan was relieved that things didn’t get out of control.  Now that they had reached an agreement Stan continued on to the next suspect.

“Daniela Matthews aka Kitty age 41, single, Kevin Matthews sister.  Profession poker player attended Georgia Tech’s school of chemistry before deciding that playing cards professionally were more fun not to mention more profitable.”  Steele raised his hand and practically jumped out of his seat.  “Whoa, did you just say Kitty was a chemist?”  Stan took another look at his notes.  “Well not exactly, according to what I have here she played cards to earn tuition money for college.  At some point she became less interested in school and more interested in poker.”  Steele walked around the table and peered over Stan’s shoulder at the computer screen.  “Do you know how long she attended Georgia Tech?  Stan thought for a moment but decided not to relay on his memory.  A few keystrokes later he had the answer to Steele’s question.  “About a year and a half, she quit during the second semester.”  Steele paced as he though, “yeah that’s more than enough time to learn how to poison somebody.  Come to think of it she’s always been busy every time I wanted to talk to her.”

Steele sat back down to recap the information he had gotten from Stan.  “So we have a jealous husband who doubles his wife’s life insurance policy to ten million dollars a few months before her death.  A botanist/chef, a chemist turned poker player and a wannabe gangster/gardener.”

Stan pointed to the laptop, dude you’re forgetting somebody.  What about Audrey the maid?  Wait till you hear this, she didn’t exists until four and a half years ago.  Any records of her just vanished.”  Steele leaned forward in his seat, “What do you mean vanished?  What about her work history, husband, kids, driver license, W2’s?”  Stan spun the computer around to Steele as he answer “nothing Steele, nada all we have is a birth certificate.  Audrey Rodriguez born July 10th 1981 at Mercy hospital in Miami Florida, there’s some info on what public school she went to and then she just seemed to vanish.”
Steele nodded, “that’s an old trick sometimes used by illegals.  Anyone can go to the public library and check the newspapers archives.  They comb through the obituaries to find a child who was born around the same year they were.  Once the child is dead and buried no one considers that years later someone would assume their identity.  The Matthews have probably been keeping her off the books.  Without a social security number they would have to pay her under the table. 


Steele handed Stan the SD card from Antonio’s camera.  Earlier that day he e-mailed Stan the photo he had taken of the crime scene the day before.  Steele was hoping to find something, anything that would give him a clue or motive about the murders.  It was a shot in the dark but sometimes shots even in the dark still hit their mark.  Steele meticulously examined all thirty seven photos.  One by one he eliminated the shots he felt were irrelevant.  Steele’s hopes of finding anything useful in the pictures were dwindling fast.  He was down to the last two pictures and there it was.  Steele was excited, “Stan can you do a side by side of these two pictures?”  Steele pointed to two photos of the worn-out work bench inside the shed.  He had taken the first photo at the crime scene.  The second pictures were taken by Antonio before the bodies were discovered.  It took Stan a few minutes to put both pictures on the screen at once.  Steele starred at the computer screen.  He smiled as he gently stroked the tips of his mustache.  After what seemed to be several minutes he finally spoke.  “I know why Mrs. Matthews and Sam were killed.

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ALSO:


Alexander Steele Murder Mystery Trilogy
Author Larry J
Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.

The Alexander Steele Murder Mystery series consist of the first three short stories set in Philadelphia. Philly native Lawrence Johnson aka Larry J. takes you into Philly's neighborhoods by way of his fictional,suave,detective Alexander Steele. The semi retired PI is the proud owner of the Mount Airy hot spot known as the Inner Sanctum. Steele has a problem. He just can't seem to put his past life of crime solving behind him. A seemly endless stream of new clients come to his club each with tempting new cases for the ever inquisitive private investigator.
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Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.

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The Legacy of Death from the Alexander Steele Murder Mystery Series

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