The Sholes Key (An Evans & Blackwell Mystery #1)

The Sholes Key (An Evans & Blackwell Mystery #1) by Clarissa Draper Read Free Book Online

Book: The Sholes Key (An Evans & Blackwell Mystery #1) by Clarissa Draper Read Free Book Online
Authors: Clarissa Draper
Tags: Mystery & Crime
Sophia insane. “Why would he send you a picture of a dead girl?”
    “What?” she asked. “To whom are you referring?”
    “Marc didn’t send me that photo. If he is who you say he is—”
    “See?” Liam raised his eyebrows to Vincent. “This is what I’m talking about. Look how she behaves.”
    “What are you two going on about?” Vincent said.
    “Shut up, Liam.” Sophia put her hands on her hips.
    “She’s becoming too attached to the Masters case, to Marcus,” Liam went on. “I want her pulled from the case. She’s obviously in way over her head.” He held up the photo.
    “Marc did not send me the damn photo. If he were trying to threaten me or scare me or if he is part of the terrorist group, he’d blow up my car. It’s not him.”
    “Well then, who do you think did this?” Vincent said, yawning. “Could it be one of your other code-breaking assignments? I’d start there. As for me, I need to go home—I should’ve been gone ages ago.”
    “I could be dead by tomorrow morning and you want to go home and sleep?”
    “What do you want me to do?” asked Vincent. “The Geek Group will be of more help to you than I.” He pointed into the large office. It was Christmas year-round at the code-breaking unit with flashing computer buttons, screens, and their attached LED cables.
    Everyone knew Vincent hated working with The Geek Group and she understood why. The Geek Group loved their work, and everything they said went over his head.
    “If it’s any consolation, I don’t think this has anything to do with the Masters case,” Vincent replied as he looked over the photo and code. “We have no reason to suspect Marc knows anything new. This code is nothing like his emails. This is related to another one of your cases.”
    Sophia groaned. “It doesn’t match any of my active cases.”
    Liam and Sophia stood together and poured over the code on the sheet until a hand landed on her back. Vincent pushed them out of his office, shut the lights off, and closed his door behind him.
    “Look, Evans,” Vincent said as he donned his overcoat, “don’t get angry. You’re assuming the woman’s dead, but she may not be—this may be a hoax, a practical joke.”
    “I work as a code-breaker, and someone sends me a page of code. The killer knows what I do for work. This isn’t a hoax.”
    “I give you permission to figure it out, just do it at your desk. Oh, and the Masters case needs to be resolved, pronto. Find that key.” With those words, Vincent left.
    “Walk me through your other cases,” Liam suggested. “You have Yuri the Russian and—”
    “Marc. Those are my major cases. Perhaps my other cryptanalyst projects somehow interfered.”
    “Okay. I know what you need.” Liam pushed her toward her desk and sat her down forcefully. “I’ll bring you a coffee, and then you can tell me about Yuri.”
    “It’s not him,” Sophia called after him. “Yuri has me running across England finding messages. He would never leave anything anywhere close to where I live, work, or pick up coffee—it’s too bold. If someone in the Russian mob suspected him, he would turn up dead. They wouldn’t bother sending me a picture of a girl I don’t know.”
    Liam shrugged and continued to walk toward the coffee machine.
    A thin, redheaded woman holding a file stepped between her and Liam. Using British Sign Language, she signed, “I have the identity of the woman.”
    Sophia signed, “Crystal, you’re still here. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. You know you’re allowed to go home and sleep, don’t you?”
    Crystal Priestly smiled. If anyone needed information, Crystal could find it. Arrested for hacking into H.O.L.M.E.S. for information on her missing nephew, she was immediately recruited to the Unit. Sophia learned sign language just to communicate with her.
    “Who is she?” Sophia signed.
    Crystal waved a piece of paper in the air, put it on Sophia’s desk and signed, “She

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