April 13, 2020
This time the police and I sit, deck chairs widely spaced, on the porch. Sergeant Romano’s partner has a pen and writing pad at the ready. Romano nods out the window toward Angus’s house. “I see you and Mr. Mink were talking. Are you good friends?” His tone is chatty. He makes it sound like a simple question with no hidden significance, but I know better. He is mentally adding another line on his map of Victor’s neighbors. A line connecting me and Angus.
“I wouldn’t say that. We’ve lived across the street from each other for several years. We say ‘hi’ now and again, but that’s about it.”
Romano nods. “I understand you are the proud owner of a brand-new Mercedes.”
This surprises me. Not the fact that he must now know the contents of Victor’s will, but the flippant attitude. He may as well have said, Aren’t you lucky? I’ll bet you’ve never owned a prestige car before. He may want me to tell him just how close Victor and I were, that he leaves me a car.
Instead, he says, “We are looking for a man named Frank DiPonte.”
I try to keep my face straight. “I know the name well. My husband was instrumental in exposing the illegal dumping of hazardous wastes he allowed at his landfill. I understand he disappeared to avoid prison. That was some time ago.”
“Right. But now we hear that he is back.”
I merely raise my eyebrows, but I don’t say Marian Curtis has already told me.
“Now, Mrs. McKenna, I’m sure you remember that Frank DiPonte and his allies threatened your husband’s life. Threatened to kill him if he testified in court. So Victor Anderson—Judge Anderson—found a way to convict DiPonte without your husband’s testimony.”
“Now DiPonte is back in town and Judge Anderson gets murdered. Coincidence? I don’t think so, Mrs. McKenna.”
I feel my face reddening. Did Romano actually use the word murder? He did. This is progress.
“But we can’t find him. We had a tail on his car for a while, but he gave us the slip and left the car at the rental agency. We need to find out what he’s driving now, and where he’s staying. You seem to be friends with everyone on this block, as well as with Judge Anderson’s sister and his daughter-in-law. We need you to watch carefully and if you learn anything that might help us find him, call me. Will you do that?”
“Of course. I’ll do anything that will help. But may I make another suggestion?” I didn’t wait for an answer. I saw the tall, young, policeman raise his pen from his notepad, anticipating something important. “Talk to Angus Mink. I doubt that he knows Frank DiPonte or where he is, but he makes note of every car that goes down this street. He uses binoculars, too.”
One comment on “Quarantine Mystery, XIX”
I’ll be back tomorrow 😊