“This and that.”
“It’s true, of course. His business affairs were handled by a firm in Arden Hills—I believe that’s where he met his wife. However, I was his personal attorney.”
“The night he disappeared you called him. You left a message on his answering machine. ‘Something’s gone wrong. Better call me ASAP.’”
“The police already asked about that.”
“It was about the ball, the Entrepreneur’s Club Ball to be held tomorrow evening. We were having trouble with one of the bands, but it was straightened out.”
“So, your call had nothing to do with the Family Boyz.”
“The Family Boyz? What’s that? A rock band?”
“A street gang, a little more interesting than most.”
“I know nothing about them.” Casselman looked me straight in the eye, not daring even to blink. I took it as proof he was lying.
“Bruder had dealings with them. So did Cook.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“Don’t believe it or don’t want to?”
“I can’t imagine what kind of business dealings David and Napoleon would have had with such people.”
“You were their lawyer.”
“But not their keeper.”
“Do you have any proof of their involvement? Any evidence that would stand up to scrutiny?”
“In court, you mean? No.”
“Then, Mr. McKenzie, you should be more careful with your accusations.”
“Sounds like good advice.”
“It was meant to be.”
And here I always thought lawyers were supposed to be subtle. I went back on the offensive.
“Where were you Tuesday night, the night Jamie was murdered?”
Casselman waited one, two, three, four, five beats and said, “You should be a trial lawyer. Excuse me.” He moved to the entrance of the kitchen. He called, “Lila? Lila, would you come down here for a moment?”
Casselman took another pull of his beer while we waited. Lila was wearing an oversize black T-shirt that barely brushed her thighs and nothing more that I could see. I tried not to stare.
“This is Mr. McKenzie,” Casselman told her. “He’s investigating Jamie’s murder.”
“The paper said David did it.”
“Apparently the paper is wrong.”
“Well, who then?”
“That’s what he’s here to find out.” Casselman asked me to repeat my question. I knew I was wasting my time but I asked anyway.
“I was here, with Lila.”
“Is that true, Mrs. Casselman?”
“Yes,” she said without hesitation.
“How about Friday night between eleven and midnight?”
“Friday night? Isn’t that”—Casselman looked to his wife—“The night we went …”
“To the movies and for a drink afterwards,” Lila finished. “We went to see the new Tom Hanks film. It was a date. We hardly ever have time for dates anymore.”
Casselman nodded in agreement. He and Lila danced well together. I knew I wasn’t going to get anything more out of either of them until they were separated.
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Casselman. Mrs. Casselman. I can let myself out.”
Casselman wasn’t as anxious to see me depart as I would have guessed.
“Mr. McKenzie, do you own your own business?”
“I’m self-employed,” I admitted.
“Then you certainly qualify for the Northern Lights Entrepreneur’s Club Ball. It’s tomorrow night at the Minnesota Club. Have you received an invitation?”
“It must have been lost in the mail.”
“Please plan on attending,” he told me. “I’ll arrange to have an invitation sent to you by messenger.”
“That’s gracious of you.”
“It’s going to be a great party. A great send-off for Napoleon and the others.”
“I’m sure it will be.”
“I’ll be looking forward to seeing you there.”
Through all of this, Lila stood mute, looking first at her husband, then at me, watching our conversation like it was a tennis match. Just for the hell of it, I decided to serve her a high, hard one. I glanced at my watch even though I had no interest in the time and said, “I have to go. I promised to meet someone at Rickie’s.”
I looked directly into Lila Casselman’s eyes when I said that last part. Her smile froze and her face went pale.
“I’m unfamiliar with Rickie’s. Is that a club?” Casselman asked.
“Yes. In St. Paul.”
“I confess that I rarely get to St. Paul.”
“You should make more of an effort,” I told him. Lila stared at me without blinking. “Thank you for your time and trouble.”
“No trouble at all,” he replied.
Lila didn’t say anything and probably wouldn’t until the blood returned from her feet.