N Is for Noose
a lethal velocity. The normal football-shaped muzzle flash out the front of the gun and the vertical fan-shaped flashes at the cylinder gap seemed to be enhanced, a dazzling yellow. Brant had apparently packed the first cartridge with an overload of fast powder. I thought I knew now who Judy Gelson's lover was the night she blew a hole in her husband's chest. The chamber and the top strap ruptured. The blast unlatched the cylinder and drove it out to the left side of the gun. The brass cartridge case shredded and tiny bits of brass peppered Selma's hands, flakes of unburned powder peppering her face as well. Simultaneously, as though by magic, all the glass in the cabinet doors, including the crystal goblets and the bone china plates, exploded like fireworks and formed a glittering starburst of falling glass and debris.
"Fuck. That was great. You should try that again," I said.
Selma was weeping as I walked to the phone and dialed 9-1-1.
Later, the Nota County Sheriff gave me permission to read the file on the Ritter/Toth murders. Rafer and I sat down together and by comparing Tom's notes with other reports submitted in the case, we managed to piece together the course of Tom's investigation. The irony, of course, was that the evidence he'd collected was not only spotty, but entirely circumstantial. None of it was sufficient to result in an arrest, let alone a conviction. Tom realized Brant had committed double murder and he knew it was something he couldn't keep to himself for long. Revealing the truth would destroy his marriage. Concealing the truth would destroy everything else he valued. Tom had died in silence, and if Selma had been content to leave it there, the case might have died, too.
Brant is currently out on bail on a charge of attempted murder for what he did to me. Selma's hired a fancy-pants attorney who (naturally) advised him to plead not guilty. I suspect if we get to court this same attorney will find a way to blame the whole thing on me. That's the way justice seems to work these days.
In the meantime, Selma 's house is on the market and she's leaving Nota Lake. The town is unforgiving and the people there never liked her anyway. I guess what it all boils down to is a lesson in personal insecurity and low self-esteem. If I'd been clairvoyant-if I'd been capable of seeing all of these events in advance-I'd have told her to have her teeth capped instead of hiring me. She'd have been better off that way.
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Document ID: fbd-dfcbf1-6751-3d41-9989-e4ab-d8dd-fdb0db
Document version: 1
Document creation date: 26.02.2009
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This book was generated by Lord KiRon's FB2EPUB converter version 184.108.40.206.
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