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.We’ll be back tomorrow.”“You at the Holiday?”“Nah, we’re staying at a little ma-and-pa place in Battenberg.Pretty handy,” she said.“All right.I’ll see you out there tomorrow.Try not to destroy any evidence.”He called Coakley back: “Got a piece of information for you: the crime-scene guys have a pair of uniform pants at Crocker’s, with a snag and a smear of blood.Probably Tripp’s, I expect.”“Good.That really does take my other people out of it,” she said.“Pretty much,” Virgil agreed.TWO INCHES of snow fell overnight, kicked out of an Alberta Clipper that swung down through the state and just as quickly departed.Virgil could hear the winds coming up as he went to bed, and then the muffling effect of the snow.He thought about God for a while, and the early and traumatic end of expectations: Bobby Tripp “would have been something,” his father said, and those expectations were now gone and might never have existed.And he thought about the commonality of comfort, stretching back over the centuries and millennia, a guy lying alone in a warm space, listening to a clipper just outside the cave, igloo, hut, teepee, motel, whatever, a long thread reaching all the way back to the apes.Then he went to sleep.IN THE MORNING, he’d just gotten out of the shower when his cell phone rang, and Coakley said, “Why don’t we hook up at the Yellow Dog? Get some pancakes.”“Half an hour,” Virgil said.He got dressed, checked e-mail, packed up his computer, and put on his parka.The clipper had slipped away, and the day would be sunny but cold: he brushed the light, fluffy snow off the truck and, by the time he was done, could feel the sharp near-zero temps on his cheekbones.He pulled into the café just as Coakley did, and she asked, as she got out of her truck, “Any more ideas?”“I think you had the best one—go out to Battenberg and stir around, see what happens.”They went inside, got a booth, peeled off their parkas.Coakley was wearing a plaid wool shirt over a black turtleneck, with just a hint of lipstick.They discovered a common interest in blueberry pancakes and link sausages, and after they ordered, she said, “Kelly Baker—it has to be local.I mean, local-local.Here, not Estherville, not Iowa.”“Close to here,” Virgil agreed.“The killers weren’t travelers.”The pancakes arrived with the café owner, who introduced himself as Bill Jacoby, and asked if there was anything new in the case.“Maybe,” Virgil said.“We think whoever killed Deputy Crocker was a woman, and we’re looking around for whoever may have had an ongoing sexual relationship with him.”“He was killed by somebody he was sleeping with?”“We think so,” Virgil said.There were a couple of dozen people in the café, and the nearby tables had gone quiet.“We’re kind of looking around for someone who knows who that might be.”“Well, I don’t,” Jacoby said.“Be an interesting thing to know, though.”“And something else,” Virgil said.“You know that Kelly Baker girl who was killed down by Estherville a year ago? We think that murder is tied into the new ones.”“Really,” Jacoby said.“Man, that’s freaky.That’s a lot of dead people.”“Sure is.We’re looking for all the connections we can find,” Virgil said.A grizzled, rancher-looking guy in the booth behind Coakley said, “You know, you should talk to Son Wood.He used to hang around with Crocker, some, and they go back a ways.He might know who Crocker was going with.”Virgil leaned sideways so he could see the guy past Coakley: “Son Wood.S-O-N? Where’s he at?”“He’s got Son Wood’s Surface Sealers out on 15 South,” the rancher-guy said.Coakley said, with a little razor in her voice, “Virgil, eat your pancakes.They’re getting cold.”Virgil said, “Hey.I’m just trying to be a friendly guy.”“Come in anytime for a cup of coffee,” Jacoby said.“We don’t have doughnuts, but we got twelve kinds of pie.”“I’ll do that,” Virgil said.WHEN JACOBY HAD GONE, Coakley leaned into the table and said, “What? You’re a talk-show host?”He said, “What good does it do to keep the information private? The killers know everything we do.Why shouldn’t the taxpayers know it?”She said, “Well [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]