43 The Party’s Over

Mrs. James and Gervase took the elevator up and, alone together for those few moments, he asked and was re-assured that she was fine and that what she most wanted was a bracing cup of tea, a hot bath, and a little peace and quiet. He waited while she printed out two copies of the most recent yet ever changing list of unit owners, then left to return Pocano to his aerie, all the while lavishing praise and promising another walk this afternoon.  Gervase returned to the meeting room, noted those reportedly away, mainly snowbirds not yet back for the summer season or those not yet returned from shorter jaunts. They highlighted the names Mrs. James had mentioned. Gervase added a few more likely pool users, then heard his instructions.

“No-one is admitted to the garage or to the lobby unless they show an ID to the officers outside. Anyone arriving is asked to check in with you in the lobby. Direct them to this room or ask them to wait, if we are with someone. Please let us know if you need to leave the lobby for any reason.”

*   *   *   *   *

Chapter 43

Upstairs in her unit, Kitty spent Monday morning researching new jobs and real estate and by noon she was completely fed up with both topics. She sent off her application, complete with an astoundingly creative resume, to a twirler’s organization down south. She’d made up her mind to move out. Even after all the business that realtors had given her over the years, it was aversive to pay one to sell her place. For Sale By Owner (FSBO) was the way. It would be a piece of cake to sell it herself, very amusing to make it look easy and snub the collective realtor nose. If she was going to change gears and get out of the speaking business, she wouldn’t need to be nice to them, not anymore. Her phone rang. It was the concierge.

“Miss Doyle, the police detectives asked me to call you down to the meeting room to speak with them.”

“What are you talking about?”

“They’re interviewing residents, about the dead man.”

“What dead man?”

“Surely you’re aware of the police being here?”

“No…this is inconvenient. What do they want from me?”

“I’m sure I couldn’t say. They want to talk to you as soon as you can come down.” Kitty hung up on him and went to dress, intending to keep them waiting. She was at nobody’s beck and call.

*   *   *   *   *

Guy knocked on the meeting room door. Martinelli invited him to sit down and after a few preliminaries, began to ask him questions. Guy was listening very carefully.

“Where were you, yesterday evening?

“I was in the exercise room for quite a long time.”

“Did you see anyone else?”

“There were a few others. Wasn’t paying that much attention. I was wearing headphones.”

“Were you aware of any activity in the pool or the hallway?”

“No.”

“Did you see the TV cord in the hallway?”

“TV cord?”

“It would have been pretty obvious. It’s bright orange.”

“Wasn’t wearing my glasses. I’m a creature of habit. I’m usually mopping my face on my way to the elevator. I probably wouldn’t even have been looking at the floor. Might not have thought anything of it, even if I had noticed. People are always moving that TV. That’s why it’s on the cart.”

“Are you a swimmer? Do you regularly swim as part of your workouts?”

“Occasionally. Often I just come down with my daughter.”

“And last night?”

“As I’d already had a long workout while my sister Carrie was giving a party upstairs, I went up to take a shower.”

“At what time?”

Some condo association amenities include an equipped exercise room.

Some condo association amenities include an equipped exercise room.

“Nine-ish. I work out to forget about the time. Our room’s open 24/7, not like getting kicked out at nine like in a lot of gyms. Don’t know precisely. Maybe somebody upstairs might have noticed when I came in.”

“So the guests knew you had returned home?”

“I popped my head in to say hello but didn’t mingle.”

“And did you stay in after that?”

“I looked in on my daughter, showered, and went to my room. I didn’t rejoin the party or go out again.”

“These guests of your sister’s, were they all residents?”

“Some of them might have been. There were certainly others who were not.”

“And are you able to give us a list of names of these guests?”

“I know some of them but not all of them, no. That you would have to get from my sister.”

“And this party, was it held entirely in your unit or was any of it in another part of the building?”

“As far as I know, they were in the condo the whole time. It was a wedding shower.”

“Were the guests all women?”

“Yes.”

“And who let in the guests?”

“I suppose my sister would have buzzed them in as they arrived. I was already downstairs.”

“Would she have let in anyone else?”

“Never. We talk about that, especially with my daughter. My daughter lets herself into the lobby after school and we have stressed to her the importance of never ever letting anyone in she doesn’t recognize as living here. ‘If in doubt, keep them out,’ we always tell her.”

“What time would the guests have left?”

“Not sure. I was in my room. Carrie told me she was hoping they would be gone by ten, as Monday was a work day and a school day.”

“When your sister’s guests left after the party, how do you know that they didn’t let somebody in?”

“Short answer is that I don’t. We usually remind guests when they leave not to do that, or escort them out ourselves.”

“Do you know anyone who would let a non-resident in?”

“It’s really not very likely. The association warns us against it.” Martinelli laid out a photo on the table in front of Guy.

“Recognize this man?” Guy glanced down at the image.

“Possibly.”

“Possibly?”

“I don’t actually ‘know’ him. Or, this man may be someone else that reminds me of the person I possibly recognize. In any case, I’ve only seen that person once.”

“Go on.”

“The developer who is proposing a development next door held a meeting to explain the project. This man, possibly, was affiliated in some way and spoke briefly that evening as a representative of the development company.”

“And the name of the development company?”

“Wrested Development.”

“And the developer?”

“Morris Mangold.”

“Thank you, Mr. Karon. We’ll be wanting to confirm some of these details with your sister. Please don’t discuss this with her until we do. What time is she home?”

“Her salon is closed on Mondays but she goes in until she’s caught up with her paperwork so it varies.”

“Your daughter is how old?”

“Sixteen. I intend to be here when she arrives home from school this afternoon.”

“At this point, I see no reason why we will need to speak with her.”