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60

Fleeced

At the 13th Precinct, Detective Ronald Brier greeted Regan like an old friend. She had called ahead to see if hed be there. The New York World was on his desk.

I understand you had quite a night.

Oh yes. Regan nodded and pointed to the newspaper. Wait till that reporter finds out about the little visit to Nats apartment last night.

She already has.

Already?

She came by this morning and was digging around for recent incidents in Gramercy Park. Boy, was she shocked when she read in the reports about what happened to you.

Oh, great, Regan said.

I know. But Ive got some good news. Theyre doing a rush job on the fingerprints that we lifted from Ben Carneys and Nat Pemrods apartments last night.

What about the red box the diamonds were in?

He shook his head. Theyre working on it. But it looks like all the prints are smudged.

Regan pulled several lists out of her purse. Here are the names of the people who were guests at the singles party, the student butlers, and everyone who lives and works at the club, including Lydia Sevatura, the woman who owns the dating service. There was some question about her after she received this windfall from her neighbor in Hoboken. I was hoping you could check it out.

Brier took the list from her. You dont have a social security number or date of birth for her either, so it will take time. But she did rent the Settlers Club apartment, so well be able to find out something.

Theres even more of a reason to check those names out other than the break-ins, Regan explained. Im really beginning to believe that Nat Pemrod was murdered.

Brier looked at her.

I know that no one thought so the other night. But a lot of things are suspicious. First the diamonds owned by Nat and Ben were missing. Then the break-ins at both Nats and Bens apartments. Now the maid tells me that not only did Nat never take a bath, but special appliqu'ed towels that he never used, because they belonged to his dead wife and he didnt want to ruin them, are also missing.

Towels are missing? Brier asked.

According to the maid, Nat took a shower every night. Maybe the killer used the towels to dry the stall so if Nat was found in the bathtub not too long after he died, it wouldnt be suspicious that the shower was all wet.

We didnt have any indication that this was anything but an accident. With all the people, including our cops, who have traipsed through there since Pemrod was found dead, any crime scene would be tainted. I think the chance of getting relevant physical evidence is nil.

I know. Lets see what we can get from that list. In the meantime, I have a couple of other leads to work on.


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