Vendetta in Death (In Death #49)

“Hey, Roarke!”

He moved back to Eve, leaned a hip on the desk. “Caro will send you a copy of the data,” he began, speaking of his own efficient and trustworthy admin. “In the meantime, I can tell you McEnroy and his company have had their New York headquarters here for about six years. They’re in the first year of their second five-year lease, and have routinely paid the rent and fees in a timely manner. They have opted for the building cleaning service—nightly—as well as our IT services and maintenance. They brought in their own decorators, but employ our live plant care service and often use our floral company, bakery, and other craft services.”

“Did you know him?”

“I did not, though one hears what one hears.”

“What does one hear?”

“He enjoyed golf, tennis, boating, and sex. His wife wasn’t always his partner in any of those hobbies. He preferred high-end clubs for all his sports. Give me an hour, I can tell you where he ordered his suits, his shoes, where he bought jewelry, and so on.”

Roarke glanced around the office. “He wasn’t as discreet as his office decor might indicate.”

“So cheating on his wife wasn’t a secret?”

“He had a reputation. He also had one for being almost preternaturally good at matching clients, so the less savory business was often overlooked. His wife’s business more than a client’s, after all.”

“Looks like somebody disagreed with that.”

“And is that what killed him?”

“Early evidence indicates. Somebody who disagreed left his body, naked, mutilated, castrated, essentially on his doorstep early this morning.”

“Well then,” Roarke said mildly. “That would be a very severe sort of disagreement.”

“Bet your fine ass. Whoever that was took some time letting McEnroy know she—most likely she—disapproved of his hobbies. Which, early evidence indicates, included drugging targeted females, some of whom worked for him.”

“Ah, well then.” Rising, Roarke studied the view. “ ‘Less savory’ doesn’t quite come up to it, does it now? Do you suspect his wife?”

“Unlikely, at least not directly.” You had to look at the spouse, Eve thought. Always. “She and their two kids were in Tahiti. I confirmed that before I notified her. She’s heading back. Whoever did it—and there’s the possibility the wife was complicit—left a poem, and signed it Lady Justice.”

“A poem. And a poetic signature.” He turned back to her. “Intriguing.”

“You could call it that.” She’d already determined the ’links and memo books were passcoded. And he was right there.

“Seal up.” She pulled a can out of her field kit. “And open these, will you?”

He studied the can with resignation. “I hate this bloody stuff, but anything to serve.”

He had the ’links and book cleared in a very short and annoying amount of time. Eve checked the book first.

“He’s got the wife’s schedule, each daughter’s schedule in here. Travel, music lessons, blah blah, even playdates. What is it with making dates to play? Why don’t kids just, you know, play?”

“I couldn’t say. But from the looks, he was either a very involved father, a conscientious husband—in this area—or having the schedules so outlined helped him find his windows for his own version of playdates.”

She’d thought exactly the same. “It can be both. His schedule, too—family stuff, work stuff. And those a lot less savory playdates. Right? See here, he’s got dates and times, names of clubs—or bars, or venues of some kind. Here in New York, in London, Paris, Chicago, New L.A., and so on. All carefully documented.”

With a hand on her shoulder, Roarke leaned down. “Mixing them up—it seems he didn’t want to repeat locations, not too closely on his calendar. But from the number of locations and dates, this was a man with a serious addiction.”

“First names of women—just first names—and some dates with two, even three. So he liked to keep track there, too. Jesus, he’s got notations in here when he used drugs on them, what kind, where he took them after. If and when he paid them off.”

“Perhaps Lady Justice had a point,” Roarke suggested.

“Murder doesn’t have a point, and it’s not justice.” Eve closed the book. “McNab’s heading in to take care of the electronics, and I’m getting full cooperation around here.”

“And so I’m no longer useful.”

Since the door was closed, and Peabody occupied, she rose, pressed her lips to his. “You’re always useful, but I’ve got places to go, people to grill. I’ll look for Caro’s data, it’ll add.”

“Then, unless I prove useful elsewhere, I’ll see you tonight.” He glanced at the disc. “Are you thinking he might have memorialized some of his rapes? As rape is what they were.”

“I’m thinking that wouldn’t surprise me, since he had a cam set up in his bedroom. All-directional vid cam, on a tripod, already cued for voice activation. So I’ll take the discs in, view them at Central. Appreciate the assist.”

“You’d have opened the rest. Take care of my cop,” he added, then called out a goodbye to Peabody as he left.

Yeah, she’d have opened the rest. But, she admitted, she’d probably still be at it.


As Roarke walked out, Peabody walked in.

“A quick look,” she began, “nothing to see. The kind of business stuff, scheduling, contacts, and all that you expect to see on an admin’s e’s. He keeps his personal schedule, contacts, separate. It’s all flagged for EDD.”

“Good enough. The vic kept his personal separated, you could say. His personal schedule includes regular visits to a group of clubs, and his memos include first names of women, dates, what drugs were used, where he took them after he dosed them.”

Peabody’s puppy-dog eyes hardened like marbles. “Jesus, what a slime sack.”

“Yeah, but he’s our slime sack now. We’ll talk to the staff here, see if we get more buzz. And let’s arrange to have conversations with the two targets from here we know of. Let’s see if Quirk had any travel to New York in the last few days. We’ll also check the partners’ travel.”

By the time they’d finished at the offices, Eve believed Brant had it right. The threats had pushed McEnroy out of the company pool.

As they rode down to the garage, Eve calculated. “We get another woman who admitted—or claimed—McEnroy acted inappropriately toward her around about a year ago. To her recollection. But then backed off completely.”

“Sylvia Brant’s ultimatum.”

“It fits. And she didn’t report it, as he stopped. Or she says he stopped. Let’s run her, Peabody, and keep her on the list for now. Then we need to take a good look at another pool. Clients.”

“Yeah. Oh, you want this position? I’m going to personally review your qualifications. Slime sack,” Peabody repeated as they stepped out of the elevator, started toward the car.

Eve checked her wrist unit as she slid behind the wheel. “We’ll split up interviews with the partners, but first, we’ll have that conversation with Leah Lester. Plug in her work address.”

Peabody programmed the in-dash. “I did a quick run on Allie Parker already—the no reporting since he stopped. No criminal, no change in finances that shows on the speedy first-level. She came on at PP right out of college, is midway through her second year as an administrative associate. The timing works, doesn’t it? She’s new, McEnroy rolls into the office, sees the fresh meat, gives it a little squeeze. Before he can do more, or before the meat really decides how to react, Brant comes down on him, and he decides to shop elsewhere.”

“Agreed, and there wasn’t an Allie in McEnroy’s book. But she stays on the list. Next run, for everybody on the list, any payments to the clubs McEnroy favored. That’s where his killer picked him up, so she—or he if that’s a blind—likely stalked him first.”

Peabody made notes as they went. “I get, sort of, why the ones he went after in his own firm settled for the money and walked away, but …What would you do if a boss or superior tried the grab-ass on you?”

“First year on the job a detective—second grade—tried to corner me in the locker room—shoved me back against the lockers, grabbed my tit with one hand, my crotch with the other. I’d just started in Homicide under Feeney, and we’d been out on a long one. It’s about two hundred hours, and he comes in while I’m changing. Big guy, asshole, figured he’d initiate the rook his way.”

“Jesus, Dallas! Did you report him to Feeney?”

“Didn’t have to. While I was busting the asshole’s nose, bruising his balls, Feeney heard the commotion and came in. Detective Fuckface starts going off on how I came at him, lost my shit, and he was filing charges. While he’s spouting off, I’m thinking how I’ve been in Homicide a handful of weeks, I’m the rook, and this guy has a gold shield, so I’m screwed. Why would anybody believe me—he’s bleeding, I’m not. And while I’m thinking that, while the asshole is spouting off, Feeney gives him a shot in the gut that drops him.”

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