That made me laugh. Bobby said it wasn’t funny. I asked him if my alibi checked out.
“Yeah, much to everyone’s disappointment.”
“I’m allowed to leave town, then.”
“Need a ride to the airport? There are a lot of angry and bitter people over here who’d be happy to take you.”
Now it was Bobby’s turn to laugh, although I didn’t get the joke.
“What else did you and Kelly talk about?” I asked. “Her big brown eyes or yours?”
“I liked the way she called you Bobby instead of Lieutenant.”
“C’mon, McKenzie,” he said. “I don’t necessarily like these people, but it doesn’t hurt to have friends in the media. Sometimes they can be quite helpful to us.”
“Really? I’m sure Shelby will be happy to know that Kelly Bressandes is your friend in the media. Handsome woman, our Kelly.”
“The less said to Shelby the better, okay?”
That made me chuckle.
“What do you want?” Bobby said.
“I have another suspect for you.”
“I don’t need another suspect.”
“You’ll like this one.” I described Boston Whitlow and told Bobby that he was looking for some letters that he thought Berglund had shared with me and carried a .32 wheel gun.
“Anything else?” Bobby asked.
“Yes. Whitlow said he didn’t know Berglund, said they had never met, yet he described Ivy as ‘the lovely Ms. Flynn.’ ”
“So? She is, isn’t she?”
“How did he know what Ivy looked like?”
Bobby thought about it for a moment. “I love it when you give me these little tidbits of information,” he said.
“Just doing my civic duty, Officer.”
“I wish you’d stop.”
I picked up the tail almost immediately after I pulled out of Rickie’s parking lot. I couldn’t guess if he was Whitlow’s man or Heavenly’s, but he seemed to know his business. He drove a beige Toyota Corolla—is there a vehicle that’s any more ubiquitous?—and stayed well back, alternating between the left and right lanes, while allowing other cars to come between us. He even disguised his license plate so I couldn’t get a read. Very smart. I might not have noticed him at all except that it’s extremely difficult to maintain a loose tail with only one car if the subject is suspicious, and I’d been suspicious for two days now.
“I am so damn tired of being followed,” I said aloud.
Still, I didn’t want him to know I had spotted the tail. That would make it harder to find him next time. So I drove normally until I stopped at the light at the intersection of Selby and Snelling, not far from the apartment building where the cartoonist Charles M. Schulz grew up. There were two cars between us, all four turning right off Selby. In Minnesota you can make a right turn on red, and that’s what I did at the first opportunity. The traffic on Snelling was brisk, and the other cars couldn’t immediately follow. I accelerated, took three quick rights, and managed to get behind the Corolla just as it also turned right onto Snelling. This time I went left.
I continued on, halting twice to see if other cars would stop with me or drive by and try to pick up my Audi a couple of blocks down the road. None did.
Ivy Flynn opened the apartment door as if she were expecting someone. “Oh, it’s you,” she said. “Sorry, McKenzie. I was sure it was the police, again.”
She wrapped her arms around me, but it had none of the exuberance of her hug two days earlier. This time it felt like she needed something to hold on to to keep from falling. Ivy seemed exhausted. Her eyes were bloodshot, her face was swollen, and she was wearing the same clothes as the day before. I directed her to a chair.
“The police were here for a long time,” she said. “They kept asking me questions, the same questions over and over again. Did you and Berglund have an argument, were you seeing other people; they even asked me about life insurance. They dusted for fingerprints, too. Took my fingerprints so they could eliminate them from, well, from the other fingerprints, I guess. They searched everywhere, went through all of my things. I told them they could, didn’t say they couldn’t, but—they were searching for a gun, weren’t they? They think I killed him, don’t they?”
“Precious few people are killed by strangers,” I said. “Ninety percent of the time we’re murdered by people who know us. The police always start with those closest to the murder victim and then work outward. It’s SOP. Don’t worry. The cops will be moving on to other suspects, if they haven’t already. They’ve interrogated Heavenly Petryk and her pals; they’ll be talking to Boston Whitlow soon.”
“Do you know him?”
“No, I … It’s the name. Who calls their child Boston?”
“Probably the same people who name their children Rushmore.”
“Or Ivy. They called me Poison Ivy when I was a kid. Beware of Poison Ivy. I hated it.”