Dead in Vineyard Sand

Free Dead in Vineyard Sand by Philip R. Craig

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Authors: Philip R. Craig
come up with this stuff?” I asked. “I thought you only kept mug shots and fingerprints.”
    â€œThe arm of the law is long,” said Dom. He leaned forward on his elbows. “Well, what do you say now? How many 1961 Land Cruisers do you think there are on this island, anyway? Do you still say you were at home with the kitties that afternoon?”
    I glanced at Olive, saw a grim smile on her face, and looked back at Dom. “There are a lot of old off-road vehicles on the island and I was home with the kitties. Does Joanne Homlish wear glasses? Does she drive with them or just read with them?”
    â€œShe gave me the name of her optometrist and Icalled him. He says all she needs to read are those drugstore specs and that her distance vision is fine.”
    â€œWas she sober?”
    â€œAs a judge.” Then he seemed to remember some of the judges with whom he’d had dealings, and added, “I’m speaking figuratively, of course.”
    â€œWas she high on something?”
    â€œNo.”
    â€œHad she forgotten her medication?”
    â€œNo.”
    â€œIn that case, she’s either lying or imagining things or there’s another truck that looks like mine here on the island. I imagine there are several.”
    He stared at me. “You ever hear of Occam’s razor?”
    I couldn’t resist gesturing toward Olive. “Everybody but Olive, here, has heard of Occam’s razor. You’re pushing the notion that the simplest explanation that’s consistent with the facts is probably the truth.”
    He nodded. “It usually works out that way.”
    I smiled at Olive and saw that she was seething, then looked back at Dom. “In this case one fact doesn’t fit: I was home with the cats and my truck was with me.” I had a thought. “Say, Joanne Homlish isn’t one of those plover people, is she? The ones who think I’m Satan himself when I complain about the Norton Point Beach being closed every summer so the plover chicks can fledge?”
    â€œEasy, Olive,” said Dom. “No, J.W., she’s not one of those people. In fact, when your name came up, she said she’d never heard of you.”
    So much for revenge as a motive for lying about me and my truck. Of course, Joanne might have had her own reasons for doing it, but I remembered Zee saying that she believed the woman who’d seen the accident.
    Olive could restrain herself no longer. “Why don’tyou save us a lot of time and effort and come clean, Jackson? We know it was you!”
    I didn’t look at her. “You don’t even know how to spell your name, Olive. Now be quiet before Dom has to send you to your room.”
    â€œYou . . . !”
    â€œStop it!” said Dom. “Both of you!”
    â€œSure,” I said, and smiled again at Olive, who was pushing her lips together so hard they looked like they hurt, while her eyes blazed at me.
    â€œJust so you’ll know where you stand,” said Dom, “I showed her a picture of you, but she didn’t recognize you.”
    â€œBecause I wasn’t there.”
    â€œBecause all she saw was the back of the driver’s head. The reason I’m not pushing this harder is because Abigail Highsmith insisted that nobody drove her off the road, that she just had an accident.”
    We stared at each other. Then I said, “But you don’t believe her.”
    He shrugged.
    I said, “You don’t believe her, but you do believe Joanne Homlish.”
    â€œAnd we don’t believe you, either,” snapped Olive, unable to hold her tongue another moment.
    â€œWhich brings me to my earlier question,” said Dom, waving a silencing forefinger at Olive. “What have you got against Abigail Highsmith? I know that you and her husband had a scuffle, but what’s that got to do with Abigail?”
    â€œYeah,” said Olive, ignoring the forefinger.

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