Home > Calculated in Death (In Death #36)(2)

Calculated in Death (In Death #36)(2)
J.D. Robb

“How can you walk with all that on?”

“I hiked to the subway, then from the subway, but I stayed warm. Jeez.” One quick gleam of sympathy flicked across Peabody’s face. “She doesn’t even have a coat.”

“She’s not complaining. Marta Dickenson,” Eve began, and gave Peabody the salients.

“It’s a ways from her office and her place. Maybe she was walking from one to the other, but why wouldn’t she take the subway, especially on a night like this?”

“That’s a question. This unit’s being rehabbed. It’s empty. That’s handy, isn’t it? The way she’s in the corner there? She shouldn’t have been spotted until morning.”

“Why would a mugger care when?”

“That’s another question. Following that would be, if he did, how’d he know this unit’s unoccupied?”

“Lives in the area?” Peabody suggested. “Is part of the rehab crew?”

“Maybe. I want a look inside, but we’ll talk to the nine-one-one callers first. Go ahead and notify the ME.”

“The sweepers?”

“Not yet.”

Eve climbed the stairs, walked to the black-and-white. Even as she signaled to the cop inside, a man pushed out of the back.

“Are you in charge?” Words tumbled over each other in a rush of nerves.

“Lieutenant Dallas. Mr. Whitestone?”

“Yes, I—”

“You notified the police.”

“Yes. Yes, as soon as we found the—her. She was . . . we were—”

“You own this unit?”

“Yes.” A sharply attractive man in his early thirties, he took a long breath, expelling it in a chilly fog. When he spoke again, his voice leveled, his words slowed. “Actually, my partners and I own the building. There are eight units—third and fourth floors.” His gaze tracked up. No hat for him either, Eve mused, but a wool topcoat in city black and a black-and-red-striped scarf.

“I own the lower unit outright,” he continued. “We’re rehabbing so we can move our business here, first and second floors.”

“Which is what? Your business?”

“We’re financial consultants. The WIN Group. Whitestone, Ingersol, and Newton. W-I-N.”

“Got it.”

“I’ll live in the downstairs unit, or that was the plan. I don’t—”

“Why don’t you run me through your evening,” Eve suggested.

“Brad?”

“Stay in the car where it’s warm, Alva.”

“I can’t sit anymore.” The woman who slid out was blonde and sleek and tucked into some kind of animal fur and thigh-high leather boots with high skinny heels. She hooked her arm through Whitestone’s arm.

They looked like a set, Eve thought. Both pretty, well-dressed, and showing signs of shock.

“Lieutenant Dallas.” Alva held out a hand. “You don’t remember me?”

“No.”

“We met for five seconds at the Big Apple Gala last spring. I’m one of the committee chairs. Doesn’t matter,” she said with a shake of her head as the wind streamed through her yard of hair. “This is horrible. That poor woman. They even took her coat. I don’t know why that bothers me so much, but it seems cruel.”

“Did either of you touch the body?”

“No.” Whitestone took over. “We had dinner, then we went for drinks. At the Key Club, just a couple blocks down. I was telling Alva what we’ve been doing here, and she was interested, so we walked over so I could give her a tour. My place is nearly done, so . . . I was getting out my key, about to plug in the code when Alva screamed. I didn’t even see her, Lieutenant, the woman. I didn’t even see her, not until Alva screamed.”

“She was back in the corner,” Alva said. “At first, even when I screamed I thought she was a sidewalk sleeper. I didn’t realize . . . then I did. We did.”

She leaned into Whitestone when he put an arm around her waist. “We didn’t touch her,” Whitestone said. “I stepped over, closer, but I could see . . . I could tell she was dead.”

“Brad wanted me to go inside, where it’s warm, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t wait inside knowing she was out here, in the cold. The police came so fast.”

“Mr. Whitestone, I’m going to want a list of your partners, and of the people working on the building.”

“Of course.”

“If you’d give that and your contact information to my partner, you can go home. We’ll be in touch.”

“We can go?” Alva asked her.

“For now. I’d like your permission to go inside the unit, the building.”

“Sure. Anything you need. I have keys and codes,” he began.

“I’ve got a master. If there’s any trouble, I’ll let you know.”

“Lieutenant?” Alva called her again as Eve turned to go. “When I met you, before, I thought what you did was glamorous. In a way. Like the Icove case, and how it’s going to be a major vid. It seemed exciting. But it’s not.” Alva’s gaze swept back toward the stairs. “It’s hard and it’s sad.”

“It’s the job,” Eve said simply, and walked back toward the steps. “We’ll wait to canvass until morning,” she told Officer Turney. “Nobody’s going to tell us much if we wake them up at this hour. The building’s vacant, not just the unit. See that the wits get where they need to go. What’s your house, Turney?”

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