Murder in the Gunroom HTML version

Chapter 16
It was raining again as Rand parked his car about a hundred yards up the street from
Karen Lawrence's antique-shop. The windows were dark, but Karen was waiting inside
the door for him. He entered quickly, mindful of the All-Seeing Eye across the street, and
followed her to a back room, where Mrs. Jarrett and Dorothy Gresham were. All three
women regarded him intently, as though trying to decide whether he was friend or
enemy. There was a long silence before Mrs. Jarrett spoke, and when she did, her words
were almost the same as Karen's when she had spoken over the phone.
"Colonel Rand," she began, obviously struggling with herself, "you must tell me the
truth. Did you have anything to do with my son's being arrested?"
Rand shook his head. "Absolutely nothing, Mrs. Jarrett," he told her, unbuckling the belt
of his raincoat and taking it off. "I have never seriously suspected your son of the Rivers
murder, I had no idea that McKenna was contemplating arresting him, and if I had, I
would have advised him against it. Besides causing annoyance to innocent people,
McKenna's made a serious tactical error. He was misled by appearances, and he was
afraid I'd break this case before he did, which I intend to do." He turned to Karen
Lawrence. "I talked to McKenna after you called me; he as much as admitted making that
arrest to get in ahead of me."
"I told you," Dorothy Gresham flashed at the others. "I knew Jeff wouldn't stoop to
anything as contemptible as pretending to be Pierre's friend and then getting him
Rand permitted himself a wry inward smile. He hoped she would not have an opportunity
to observe his stooping capabilities before he had finished his various operations at
"I certainly hoped not." Mrs. Jarrett relaxed, smiling faintly at Rand. "Pierre likes you,
Colonel. I hated the thought that you might have betrayed him. Are you working on the
Rivers case, too?"
Rand nodded again, turning to Dot Gresham. "Your father retained me to make an
investigation," he said. "After that trouble he had with Rivers about that spurious North &
Cheney, he wanted the murderer caught before somebody got around to accusing him."
"You mean there's a chance Dad might be suspected?" Dot was scared.
Rand nodded. The girl was beginning to look suspiciously at Karen and Mrs. Jarrett.
Getting ready to toss Pierre to the wolves if her father were in danger, Rand suspected.
He hastened to reassure her.
"Rivers was still alive when your father reached home, last evening," he told her. "That's
been established."