Armed

Armed by Elaine Macko Read Free Book Online

Book: Armed by Elaine Macko Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elaine Macko
Tags: cozy mystery
slapped my forehead for being so cynical.
    “No. I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying in town. I’ll be spending Christmas with my parents and my sister’s family.”
    Detective Van der Burg nodded. “Thank you for your time, Ms. Harris. We’ll be in touch.”

 
     
     

CHAPTER TEN
     
     
    Forty minutes later, after stopping off for a sandwich at my, and it seemed, the detective’s favorite deli, I entered the factory, a place I didn’t want to ever see again.
    “Alex?” Mr. Poupée looked up from his desk “You’re here.”
    “I changed my mind.” I slipped my coat off and hung it over the back of a chair.
    “You’re just in time for what?” he asked, looking totally perplexed.
    You’ve got to love him. I touched my ear and smiled.
    “Oh, sorry.” Mr. Poupée reached a hand to his right ear and fiddled with the aid. “Sometimes I want total quiet.”
    “I can understand that. Maybe I can help out here after all. Are you here alone?”
    “We’re closed for the day. The police questioned everyone and then I sent them home. A few chose to stay.” Mr. Poupée sat back in his chair. “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve read this article four times and have no idea what’s in it.” He tossed a trade publication onto a heap on the desk.
    “Why don’t you go home? I can come back tomorrow.”
    Mr. Poupée shook his head. “I don’t know what I want you to do. Nothing like this has ever happened and if it had, well, Elvira would have gone into action and taken care of it.” He looked up through misty eyes. “Alex, Elvira is dead. The police think I’m involved. What are they thinking?” He looked at me, his old eyes pleading.
    I shook my head because I didn’t have a clue. It seemed their only two suspects were an old man with a hearing problem and me, someone who didn’t even know the victim.
    “I don’t know. You said they found out you spent time at her house. Do you want to tell me about it?” Did I really want to hear details of some sort of romantic tryst between this man, whom I had known forever, and a woman I found murdered not twenty-four hours ago?
    “There’s nothing to tell.” Mr. Poupée clasped his hands together. “When Irwin died, Dolly and I invited Elvira for dinner to get her out of the house. Over the years, she would mention something or another that needed fixing and I would drop by.”
    “How recently?” I closed my eyes and hoped it hadn’t been just a day or two before. If the police found out they had been alone together, it would diminish Mr. Poupée’s claim that Mrs. Scott had needed to see him last night.
    “About four months ago. Lawn mower problems. I told her before she hauled it into the shop, I’d take a look. Easy enough to fix. Dolly went out of town and Elvira asked me to stay for lunch. That’s it. Nothing more. Ever!” He said this forcibly. “The funny thing is, I would stop by and help her, but even though we worked so closely at work…” he paused, “Elvira always called me Mr. Poupée.”
    “It sounds innocent enough,” I said, releasing the breath I’d been holding. “I’m sure once the police look into it, they’ll drop it.” As far as I could tell they already had and were now concentrating their efforts on me.
    “Now they’ve got Ruth in the conference room being interrogated. Ruth! My word. Why on earth would she have any reason to hurt Elvira?”
    “Is Detective Van der Burg here?”
    “Yes, he arrived a short time before you.”
    “It’s just routine. The police have to start somewhere and as Mrs. Scott didn’t have any family her place of employment seems like the next logical step. Speaking of which, have they located any relatives? What’s going to happen…” I didn’t know how to ask without sounding insensitive.
    Mr. Poupée nodded. “To her body? There is no one. Dolly and I will handle all arrangements as soon as they release her body.”
    The phone on the desk buzzed.
    “I’ll be there in

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