Nighttime Is My Time: A Novel

Nighttime Is My Time: A Novel by Mary Higgins Clark Read Free Book Online

Book: Nighttime Is My Time: A Novel by Mary Higgins Clark Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Higgins Clark
Tags: Fiction, General, Suspense, Thrillers
counting the hours until ten o'clock when she would visit Alice Sommers and tell her about Lily.
    The same thoughts kept racing through her mind. In all these years I've never mentioned her to a soul. The adoption was private. Dr. Connors is dead, and his records were destroyed. Who could have found out about her? Is it possible that her adoptive parents know my name and have kept track of me? Maybe they told someone else, and that person is the one contacting me now. But
why
?
    The window facing the back of the hotel was open, and the room was getting cold. After a moment's debate Jean sighed and pushed back the covers. If I have any hope of getting some sleep, I'd better close it, she thought. She got out of bed and padded across the room. Shivering as she cranked in the open panel, she happened to glance down. A car without its lights on was pulling into the self-parking area of the hotel parking lot. Curious, she watched as the figure of a man stepped out and began walking quickly toward the back entrance of the hotel.
    His coat collar was up, but when he opened the door to the lobby, his face was clearly visible. Turning away from the window, Jean thought, I wonder what in the name of God one of our distinguished dinner partners found to do until this hour of the night.
    12
    The call came into police headquarters in Goshen at 3:00 A.M. Helen Whelan of Surrey Meadows was missing. A single woman in her early forties, she had last been seen by a neighbor. Whelan had been walking her German shepherd, Brutus, at or about midnight. At 3:00 a.m. a couple living a few blocks away at the edge of the county park were awakened by the howling and barking of a dog. They investigated and found a German shepherd trying to struggle to its feet. It had been savagely beaten on the head and back with a heavy instrument. A woman's size seven shoe was found on the road nearby.
    ***
    At 4:00 a.m., Sam Deegan had been called in and assigned to the team of detectives investigating the disappearance. He stopped first to talk to Dr. Siegel, the veterinarian who had treated the wounded animal. "My guess is that he was knocked out for a couple of hours by the blows to his head," Siegel told Deegan. "They came from something about the size and weight of a tire iron."
    Sam could visualize the scenario. Helen Whelan had let her dog off the leash for a run in the park. Someone seeing her standing alone in the road had tried to drag her into a car. The German shepherd had rushed to protect her and had been beaten senseless.
    He drove to the street where the animal had been found and began ringing doorbells. At the fourth house an elderly man claimed he heard a dog barking frantically at about 12:30 a.m.
    Helen Whelan was, or had been, a popular physical education teacher at Surrey Meadows High. Sam learned from several fellow teachers that her habit of walking her dog late at night was well known. "She was never nervous about it. She'd tell us that Brutus would be dead before he'd let anyone hurt her," the principal of her school said sadly.
    "She was right," Sam told him. "The vet had to put Brutus down."
    By ten o'clock that morning he could see that this case was not going to be an easy one to solve. According to her distraught sister who lived in nearby Newburgh, Helen had no enemies. She had been seeing a fellow teacher for several years, but he was on a sabbatical in Spain this semester.
    Missing or dead? Sam was sure that anyone who had so savagely injured a dog would have no mercy on a woman. The difficult investigation would begin, and he would commence his share of it in Helen's neighborhood and at her school. There was always the chance that one of the weirdo teenagers the schools were spitting out today held a grudge against her. From her picture he could tell that she was a very attractive woman. Maybe some neighbor had fallen in love and been rejected.
    He only hoped it wouldn't turn out to be one of those random crimes, committed by a

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