breakfast meeting?” she asked.
“It won’t embarrass me.”
“It might embarrass Shelley, to see me here.”
“So, let’s embarrass her.”
“Where do you stand on your investigation?” Holly asked, changing the subject.
“Oh, you want to talk dirty now, do you?”
She slapped his cheek again. “Just give me your opinion.”
“Well,” Stone said, “we haven’t been able to prove that Brixton Kendrick didn’t murder his wife, and, I must say, it was very unhelpful of him to leave a note taking responsibility for her death. Somehow, you didn’t mention that.”
“It was in the report I gave you.”
“Yes, I finally found it, afte ^siz c="1em"r I had been told it was there.”
“Don’t blame me.”
“Why not? I’m certainly not going to blame myself.”
“I didn’t expect you to,” she laughed.
“Somehow, I don’t necessarily equate his taking full responsibility with a confession of murder.”
“The FBI does,” Holly said.
“Shelley mentioned that,” Stone said. “Of course, the FBI wants desperately for it to be true, because that way they don’t have to find a murderer.”
“Have you got a candidate for that title?”
“Well, I don’t believe it was the president, the vice president, or the secretary of state—or either of the secretary’s associates,” Stone said.
“That’s very patriotic of you.”
“Each of them has the others for an alibi, and that’s tough to shake.”
“You have a point,” Holly said.
Stone crawled up the bed and rested his head on the pillow next to Holly’s. “Dino found the murder weapon, though.” He told her about the brick. “We’ll get the lab report in the morning, so I guess we can hope the murderer spat or bled or sweated on it.”
“That would certainly simplify things, wouldn’t it?” Holly said.
“Yes, but life is rarely that simple, and murder, even more rarely.”
“Can I quote you on that? Or are you stealing from Sherlock Holmes?”
“That was entirely original,” Stone said, “or at least, I can’t remember anybody else ever saying that, and I haven’t read Sherlock Holmes since about the eighth grade.”
Holly didn’t reply, and her breathing had become slow.
Stone’s breathing followed hers, and shortly, he was asleep, too.
STONE AND HOLLY APPEARED for breakfast in robes and found Dino and Shelley, in robes, already attacking their meal.
“We ordered for you, too,” Dino said.
“Good morning, Holly,” Shelley said, without apparent embarrassment.
“Good morning, Shelley, Dino,” Holly replied, shaking out her napkin and pouring herself and Stone some orange juice. “I hear your conclusions in the investigation are holding up.”
Shelley nodded. “I expected them to, thank you.”
“Don’t thank me,” Holly said. “This wasn’t my idea. Actually, Stone and Dino were my idea, but only after I had my orders.”
“I like your choice of investigators,” Shelley said, pulling Dino’s earlobe.
“So do I,” Stone said, helping himself from a platter of scrambled eggs and bacon.
“Then nobody has any complaints?” Holly asked.
“I didn’t say that,” Stone replied. “First, I want to see the lab report on the brick.”
Shelley got up and went to a telephone, held a brief conversation, then hung up and came back to the table. “The lab report is on my desk,” she said.
“And?” Dino queried.
“The blood on the brick is that of Emily Kendrick, so we have the murder weapon.”
“Okay,” Stone said. “What else?”
“There was no deposit of DNA by another individual,” Shelley said.
“Shit!” Dino muttered.
“However,” Shelley said, making sure she had everybody’s undivided attention before continuing, “there was something else deposited.”
Everybody stared at her in silence, waiting for the news.
“Lipstick,” Shelley said. “Don’t you want to know what kind of lipstick?”
“I’m just dying to know,” Dino replied.