Third Degree (A Murder 101 Mystery)

Third Degree (A Murder 101 Mystery) by Maggie Barbieri Read Free Book Online

Book: Third Degree (A Murder 101 Mystery) by Maggie Barbieri Read Free Book Online
Authors: Maggie Barbieri
who sounded as if she were inside an amp. “Hi, Max!” I shouted, even though I was sure she could hear me.
    “Hear you have a black eye!” she hollered back into the phone. “How did that happen?” To someone in the club, she yelled, “Ketel One! Up! With three olives!”
    “I didn’t know you drank martinis,” I said.
    “I don’t. Queen does.”
    “Queen who?”
    “Queen Martinez.”
    As usual, we were off topic the minute we had gotten on one. Was it worth it to ask who Queen Martinez was? Or why Max was with this person in a club on a Saturday night? Probably not, so I returned to the subject of my black eye. I could only assume that Queen was a Hooters waitress. “So, my black eye …”
    “Yeah! I’m coming over tomorrow to see it,” she said and promptly hung up. I rolled over on my side and grabbed a pen and paper next to my bed and wrote, “Find out who Queen Martinez is. Max coming over on Sunday.” I knew that when I woke up in the morning, I would have forgotten all about this phone call and to ask about the identity of this royal friend of Max’s.
    Trixie was now wide awake and standing next to the bed. Rather than give her a complimentary middle-of-the-night walk, I pulled my comforter aside and patted the bed next to me. “Come on in,” I said. She wasn’t Crawford, but she would have to do.

    I was right. I had no recollection of my phone call with Max until I looked at the paper next to my bed that said “Queen Martinez.” And then it all came back to me. I looked at the clock and saw that it was almost nine; I had no idea what time Max was coming over, but figured it wouldn’t be before noon. I had a little time to get provisions for her, her caveman husband, and Crawford, who always showed up around two on Sundays.
    While I was showering, I reviewed the previous day’s unpleasantness. A year or so ago, I had found my ex-husband’s dead body, but I hadn’t seen him die. I decided that watching Carter Wilmott die was much more unpleasant. To see someone have life, and then lose it, was completely disconcerting, and I cried a little bit while the hot water beat down on my face. For about the hundredth time, I wondered how Crawford did what he did for a living. Although he didn’t see people die, he certainly examined his share of dead bodies. Besides being gross, it had to take its toll on you emotionally. How could it not? I wondered if that was why Fred, Max’s husband and Crawford’s partner, was as distant and crabby as he always seemed or if his personality was just a congenital birth defect. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
    Definitely a birth defect.
    One of my birth defects, discovered later in my life than most, was that I had become extremely nosy. I knew when it had started—right after I had almost been accused of murder—but it was something that I thought would go away with some introspection and self-reflection. Alas, it was still present and it revealed itself to be quite chronic. So, it was when I was sitting on my bed, drying my hair in a nice fluffy towel, that I realized that I needed to pay my respects to Mrs. Wilmott. After all, I had been there when her husband died. It was only polite.
    Truth was, I wanted to know what it looked like when a presumably happily married woman, or so proclaimed Lydia Wilmott in her blog postings on Carter’s site, lost a husband. She had looked extremely composed yesterday when she had come to Beans, Beans to identify the body, but her eyes had been covered with sunglasses so I wasn’t sure if they were red-rimmed from crying. Maybe she had been in shock. Or maybe her blog posts covered a more serious problem, which was that while she was crazy about him, he wasn’t crazy about her. But after seeing both of them for the first time yesterday, it wasn’t hard to tell that he had gotten quite a good deal. The lady was a looker and Carter … not so much. If I were Carter—and right now, I was

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