Home > Devoted in Death (In Death #41)(6)

Devoted in Death (In Death #41)(6)
J.D. Robb

“Was Dorian alone when he deactivated you?”

“He was, aye. He was going out to the rehearsal hall, he said, before the evening’s performance. It’s Giselle they’re doing right now. He said not to wait up for him – he liked to joke with me – and that he’d wake me himself in the morning as it might be late on both counts. He thought to have a late supper with friends. He often did so.”

“You could give us a full list of his friends, of people who’ve been on his guest list here for parties.”

“I could certainly. I could generate that for you, print it as well if that would help you. Or I can interface with any computer and create a disc.”

“Intimate friends, too,” Eve said.

“My Dorian had a large and lively group of friends, of all manner. He enjoyed having parties and musicales here, or quiet evenings with just a few, or the one of the moment.”

Like a doorman, Eve thought, a house droid could be informative. “Anyone get pissed when they were no longer the one of the moment?”

“I never heard of it, and sure I would have. He talked to me, my Dorian, and would have said if he’d been troubled by a difficult ending. For those intimate friendships, as you say, he tended toward those who wanted as he did, of the moment. He wasn’t ready to settle down. His music came first, always. When he worked, Lieutenant, he worked.”

The droid actually let out a little sigh.

“Many’s the hour I’ve passed doing my duties here and listening to him play. He was writing an opera himself, and worked on that as well when time allowed and the mood was on him.”


“I’ll miss him.” When Eve raised her eyebrows again, the droid shook her head. “It’s not as you would understand, not a human emotion. But his mother had me made to resemble, in all possible ways, the Maeve who was nanny to him as a boy, and who loved him dearly. As he loved her.”

Weird, Eve thought, but there were plenty of the flesh-and-blood variety who couldn’t muster the sincerity of Maeve the house droid.

“Then I’m sorry.”

“His mother. I can be of comfort and help to her, should she wish it. Sure they were devoted to each other.”

“We’ll ask her. If you could provide that list, both hard copy and disc, it would be very helpful. My partner and I need to go through the apartment.”

“I’m glad to be of any help. Can you tell me, Lieutenant Dallas, why humans kill humans? It doesn’t process.”

“It never will,” Eve said.

Eve gave Peabody the computers and ’links, took the master bedroom on the second floor.

She found his goodies drawer as she thought of it, fully stocked with sex aids, toys, protection. That showed her he’d been adventurous and open in that area of his life. The scarcity of drugs – all she found legal – indicated he’d been in good health.

Plenty of high-end skin and body care, grooming tools, so he’d taken care with his appearance. And his extensive closet showed a range of styles – formal to grunge – that said he’d had a flexible sense of fashion.

She found the small wall safe in the closet, and found herself pleased when – in probably triple (at best) the time it would have taken Roarke, who’d been teaching her – she got it open.

Some cash, she noted, his passport, a small collection of wrist units, cuff links, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing over-the-top.

He kept a small office on the second floor, but it didn’t take long for her to discover he did only the absolutely necessary work there. He paid his bills promptly, kept an up-to-date calendar, for rehearsals, performances, travel, social engagements.

She found nothing of particular interest in either of the two guest suites, only a continued reflection of the victim’s taste and style, and apparently his droid’s exceptional skill for maintaining cleanliness and order.

“I’ve got the list from Maeve, and a copy on disc. It’s a long list,” Peabody added as Eve came back down to the main level. “And I deactivated her. She requested it, and said she’d be available for Ms. McKensie, whatever she needed or wanted.”

“We’ll let her know.” Eve glanced at her wrist unit. “Now’s as good a time as any. Nothing upstairs that rang. Comps, ’links?”

“Lots of communication. Conversations with friends, arrangements to meet up, orders out for party supplies, wine. I tagged for EDD, but I didn’t come across any threats, arguments, anything that seemed hinky, like someone trying to track him. Work stuff, too.”

“Work?” Eve repeated as they lowered the lights, went out into the hall. “He’s got an office upstairs, does bill paying and so on there.”

“No, music work. He has a comp in the music room. I thought it was a closet at first, but it’s a small work area. He’s got music on there, compositions he’s working on, and recordings he must listen to. No other business or communication on it. Music only.”

“Okay.” Eve fixed a police seal to the door. “You might as well have EDD pick up the electronics, go through them.” She didn’t think any of the geeks in the Electronic Detectives Division would find anything relevant, but it paid to be thorough.

“Send a query to the officer who caught the missing persons. Give him or her the status, take anything he’s got, which at this stage is likely nothing.”

“Got it.”

“It’s 508 for the mother, right?” Eve got in the elevator, requested the fifth floor while Peabody sent the email. “Anything back from IRCCA?”

“It’s early, and we only sent it about an hour ago. They’re always a little backed up. You’re thinking he wasn’t the first?”

“Why does somebody torture, for what looks like about forty-eight hours, and kill a cellist? Maybe it was personal. Maybe one of those of-the-moment types wasn’t as happy to keep it that way as the droid says. Maybe some other big, fat violin player wanted that first chair. Maybe the vic knew something about something or someone that somebody else wanted to know. Lots of angles yet. And one of them is he wasn’t the first. The heart’s bugging me. How many E’s on the list?”

“Can’t say right off, but I saw an Ethan, an Elizabeth, an Edgar, an Ellysa at a quick glance. Since there’s a couple hundred names on there, we’ll probably find a few more than that.”

They walked out on five, where Mina McKensie had the unit closest to the elevator. Same security, Eve noted, and pressed the buzzer.

In short order the light on the security cam blinked to green.

“Good morning. May I help you?”

The voice was rich and fruity and British.

“Lieutenant Dallas, Officer Peabody.” She held up her badge for the scanner. “We need to speak with Mina McKensie.”

“Yes, of course.”

Locks disengaged; the door opened.

Another droid, Eve thought, this one created to mimic a distinguished gentleman with a shock of dark hair silvering at the temples. He wore butler black.

“Please come in. Ms. McKensie hasn’t yet come down. I’ll inform her you’re here.”

He escorted them into the living area where the vic’s mother had gone more contemporary than her son. Still classy, Eve mused, but sleeker, slicker, more primary colors, bolder art.

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