Bobby threw a glance over his shoulder at the TV vans.
“In about ten minutes, Deputy Chief Tommy Thompson is going to blow my investigation to hell and gone.”
“He’s going to tell the media that Katherine Katzmark’s boyfriend is our only suspect.”
“Is he your only suspect?”
“Are you going to arrest him?”
“Hell, no! Right now there’s plenty of evidence to prove that he was in Kansas City when the murder took place and absolutely none to prove that he wasn’t. He’s the one who discovered the body. He’s the one who called 911. He’s cooperating. He’s answering questions. But once he hears what Thompson has to say, you just know he’s gonna lawyer-up and then I won’t get jack from him.
“Bastard Thompson—he wants his fifteen minutes of fame so bad. I begged him, Mac. I actually begged him not to mention the boyfriend. ‘But we have to give the media something,’ he says. Yeah, right. Something that’ll get him on the evening news before the chief comes back and takes over.”
“Where is the chief?”
“Fishing. In Florida.”
“Lucky him,” I said.
“You know what this means, don’t you? From now on I’ll be expected to prove that the boyfriend killed Katherine. Forget developing other leads or investigating other suspects, just get the boyfriend.”
“Maybe he did it.”
“What do we know? We know that Katherine was a white, upper-class female who was killed in one of the safest neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, so right away we figure she was killed by someone she knew.”
I had the distinct impression that he was talking more to himself than he was to me.
“We know that in spite of everything the bastard did to her, the ME says she was strangled—manual strangulation—which means the killer probably had a strong personal attachment to her.
“We know that the killer was unafraid of discovery. He did nothing quickly. He spent hours in that house, which indicates that he knew something of her habits. What’s more, everything he used came from Katherine’s kitchen—the twine, duct tape, steak knife—he knew it was available to him before he arrived.”
Bobby was on a roll now.
“And we know the way he hacked her body, the way he displayed it, concealing nothing—he wanted people to see what he had done to her. That indicates rage. A crime of passion. And yeah, all that would seem to indicate the boyfriend.”
“He wouldn’t be the first killer to”—I quoted the air—“‘discover’ the body.”
“Except he was in Kansas City for a convention. He flew down there Thursday morning and we know he flew back early Sunday afternoon. In between …” Bobby shrugged. “Kansas City is four hundred fifty miles away. That’s a lot of hard driving there and back in the amount of time he had.”
“Unless he flew.”
“Doesn’t matter. Fly or rent a car, he’d still need a credit card—after nine-eleven no one’s accepting cash. We’re checking. So far nothing. But we’re still looking. In the meantime, I sent Jeannie down to KC to interview hotel employees and any conventioneers she can find, check his alibi.”
“My new partner. You haven’t met her yet. You’ll like her. Young. Beautiful. Smart as hell.”
Bobby stopped walking. I was two steps past before I realized it and turned toward him. He was pointing a finger at me.
“I’ll tell you one thing—I don’t care what Thompson tells the media. I will not play favorites. I’m not going to arrest just any dumb moke to clear the case. I’m going to get the right person for it and I’m gonna put him away forever.”
I draped my arm over his shoulders and led him across 10th Street. I tried to recall my first impression of Bobby Dunston and failed. I couldn’t remember how or when we met—probably school. It seemed we were always in the same class together, always played on the same baseball teams and hockey teams. We even went to the same college—the University of Minnesota—each selecting the school independently, not at all surprised to learn the other had made the same choice.
“We’ve sure come a helluva long way since we played ball at Dunning Field,” I told him.
“Naw,” he said. “It just seems long.”
We continued walking together in silence. Finally, I asked, “Where are we going?”