"I've been thinking about it for a week now. It's driving me crazy. I don't know how you knew."
Hunt chewed. "I didn't. Not till the last minute. Before that, I was wrong on every guess. Turner, Ellen, Alicia. I was all over the money. I never even looked at Hess."
"So what changed?"
"She snagged herself. At Como's memorial, she pretended she had barely heard of Neshek's death, but then a few minutes later, before anybody had said anything about it, she asked me if the cops had found anything at Neshek's house."
Juhle spoke up. "And she shouldn't have known that soon that Neshek had been killed in her own home."
"See? You can figure things out, after all. But I didn't figure it out. At least not then. I just thought somebody might have included that detail before I went over to talk to them. You know, 'Did you hear Nancy got killed at her house last night?' kind of thing. So I didn't put too much on it. She possibly could have known. So I gave her the benefit."
"Okay, so the next day, Mickey's up at Sunset talking to her about her alibi for Monday night and she tells him she's got a son she's helping with homework all night, but then she lets drop that she doesn't even know where Neshek lived. So I get this little 'ding ding ding' in my brain and wonder how likely that is. I mean, she's worked with Dominic like for a decade and all these execs go to the same functions." He raised a hand and stopped one of the waiters going by. "You ordering?"
Juhle nodded and told the waiter he was going to walk on the wild side and have the Special and a Diet c.o.ke, and then he came back to Hunt. "So she said she didn't know where Neshek lived?"
"Right. At the same time, she tells Mickey how she's hurting for money. Big bills, medical stuff. But somehow before that she had the money for a full-time caregiver and a tutor. Anyway, that sticks with me a little bit. But still, I mean, possible, I suppose. And she's still got her kid as an alibi. Plus, there's absolutely no hint of a motive, so I let it pa.s.s again. Strike two."
"All right, the oh two pitch."
"I'm talking with Alicia Thorpe, trying to bust her story wide open, and she tells me that she'd met Ellen Como at a Sanctuary House benefit at Neshek's place."
"Ellen Como? Am I missing something?"
"No, hang on. So Alicia's talking about this first meeting with Ellen and then she lets slip-I mean, really just an aside, pure luck-that Dominic pulled her away from the Sunset staff to introduce her to Ellen. And she mentions Hess specifically, at Neshek's house."
"Getting there. Then it occurs to me that the reason Ellen is sure that Dominic is s.c.r.e.w.i.n.g Alicia is because Hess told her so. She said she caught them in the act a couple of times. Now, there's no doubt that Dominic was s.c.r.
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