“Oh, thanks.” He was kidding, but it was a deep, dark worry of mine. Discovering murder
victims was both aggravating and frightening, so much so that I’d finally gone to
my parents’ spiritual advisor, Guru Bob, for advice and counsel. He had suggested
that the gods may have decided that I was the Chosen One, so to speak, who’d been
designated to obtain justice for these victims.
The Chosen One. Really? That’s what I got for seeking the advice of a guru.
Wasn’t it the job of law enforcement to obtain justice for crime victims? Of course
it was. But it was also true that the police I’d dealt with could always use some
extra guidance. So if tonight was any indication, it seemed I might be stuck with
this role for a while. Because sure enough, here I was again, staring at another suspicious
It wasn’t fair. I had a day job. I didn’t want to be involved in another murder.
But this was no time to whine about it. Poor Baxter lay dead on the cold floor a few
feet away, and I was making it all about me. Yes, Baxter had been an odious pest,
but that didn’t mean he’d deserved to be murdered in cold blood in his own restaurant,
for heaven’s sake.
“I didn’t kill him,” Savannah blurted. “Why should I go to jail?”
Derek and I turned and stared at her. The dullness was gone. She appeared irritated
now. It was a much better look on her.
“You shouldn’t,” I said, moving toward her. “But they’ll want to talk to you because
you were the one holding the knife that killed Baxter.”
“But I didn’t kill him,” she said again.
“I know. But how did you end up holding the knife?”
“It was sticking out of his…ugh.” She grimaced.
“Out of his stomach,” I coaxed.
She rubbed her own stomach. “I’m going to be sick.”
“No, you’re not.” I jumped closer and gripped her arms, holding her upright. “Come
on. Deep breaths. Don’t lose it now.”
She took a couple of fast, deep breaths, then her head wobbled. “I feel faint.”
“No!” I looked at Derek in dismay and the muscles of his jaw tightened in response.
All he needed was another weak-kneed Wainwright woman on his hands. But what could
I say? I couldn’t stand the sight of blood and, admittedly, had fainted on more than
one occasion. Savannah had even more right to faint, but that didn’t mean I would
Frankly, the stronger reason why I’d felt woozy was because for a minute there, seeing
Savannah kneeling on the floor in front of the bloodied body of Baxter Cromwell, I’d
experienced an alarming case of déjà vu.
I’d flashed back to the night I found my old bookbinding mentor, Abraham Karastovsky,
dying in a pool of his own blood. Kneeling next to him, I’d discovered he was barely
alive and had tried to revive him, but failed. With his last breath, he had whispered
the clue that ultimately helped me solve his murder.
Derek had found me kneeling there with Abraham’s blood on my hands. I’d taken one
look at those red smears on my palms and blacked out completely.
I shook the memory away.
“I’m fine,” Savannah muttered finally. “It’s just…all that blood. And Baxter. I can’t
believe he’s dead.”
“Can you tell us what happened?” I asked again, as gently as I could.
She swallowed some more water and I took the glass from her to refill it.
“I—I went to the ladies’ room while everyone was saying good night. It took me a while
to wash up. I was exhausted, but I wanted to clean myself up a little. You know how
it is after a long night of cooking. I felt like food was jammed into every one of
“Mm, nice image,” I said, being careful not to mention that I had no idea how it was
after a long night of cooking. I didn’t cook, remember?
She granted me a wan smile. “My food is healthier and I use less fat, but I still
need to wash my face at the end of the night. Anyway,