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Hotel Murder: The End
teacherpaul
Chapter Seventeen
Hood spent his time going to the car trying to marshal arguments that would convince his chief to not send him out of the city. Unfortunately, the Chief was thinking like a politician, which mean the logic of the investigation wouldn’t mean much to him.
Even as he sat down in his car, his cell phone rang. “Yes?”
“Detective Hood?”
“Bancroft. Good to hear from you.”
“Meet me at the bar.”
Bancroft hung up, but Hood was pretty sure he knew which bar, so he drove all the way back out to “Ladies for the Tramps.” Joe Bancroft was sitting at the far end of the bar with Honcho, near an exit, and had a good view of the entire room.
Definitely a survivor, thought Hood as he crossed the bar, ignored by the large patrons. As Hood approached, Honcho went to the nearest pool table. “Mind if I sit down?”
“Go ahead.”
Hood made himself look purposely comfortable. “What do you have for me?”
“I know the secret Eric Longstreet was killed over.”
“How?”
“He hired me to dig up dirt on his father. It’s what I do.”
“And now they’re after you.”
“I’m going to disappear, Hood. You’ll never see me again, if we’re lucky, but I’m going to kick up a dust cloud behind me.” He took a memory stick out of his shirt pocket and tossed it on the table. “On that stick are photos I took of an affair between Victor and Janet Longstreet.”
“What?” Hood snatched up the memory stick. “You’re kidding me?”
“Nope. This is what Eric was going to blackmail them with, after his bombshell of revealing Janet’s parentage went down like a dud.”
“But sleeping together?” Hood looked around to see if anyone was listening, but the biker gang was preoccupied with pool and strippers.
“Victor is obsessed with making sure the money stays in the family, but Janet is the only one with the brains to run his little empire.”
She’s been going to the hospital. “She’s pregnant, isn’t she?”
“Yes.”
“Couldn’t he have just adopted her?”
“But she’s not their blood.”
“How willing is Janet in this?”
“I don’t know, but to inherit his fortune, I’d have sex with him myself.”
“Did this start before or after…”
“The bombshell? I’m pretty sure it was Eric’s big reveal that started Victor and Janet’s affair.”
“And Victor’s wife?”
“Is out of town most of the time.”
“Charity work, according to your files.”
“Yeah, the files I gave to Victor, anyway.”
“You have dirt on Mrs. Longstreet?”
“There’s a lot more to know about her than meets the eye, but it’s nothing to do with the homicide. At least, not of Eric.”
“Are you trying to get me to arrest you?”
“Nah. Just a friendly warning. Anything you’d like to ask, because this is your last chance with me.”
“Do you know who actually killed him?”
“I would hope Janet had the satisfaction, so it was probably Victor.”
“But you can’t prove that.”
“No. All I have is your motive.”
“What about Eric’s pals?”
“Blackmailing their parents? Don’t take any of them seriously. I’ve been keeping an eye on Eric for Victor-“
“While keeping an eye on Victor for Eric.”
Bancroft shrugged. “And I can assure you, nothing those guys told you is true. Not a whole lot they say to each other is true. They all have Plan A of getting back in power in their families, but their Plan Bs are all to stab each other in the back and take over this town. They’re constantly juggling their stories, they’ve all made secret alliances with each other that they are willing to break on the spot for their own advantage. This quiet little city with its century of détente would have turned into an economic and political war zone if Eric and his poker buddies had their way, which your investigation is likely to stop.”
Hood imagined himself getting the Chief off his back by telling him how to arrest all these cast off heirs for attempted blackmail, which would save their Families the mess Bancroft predicted. “Thanks for the tip.”
“I like good cops, but I don’t envy your decision.”
Neither did Hood, but he had some checking to do first.
Chapter Eighteen
Hood and Gasconi drove out to Victor’s lakeside mansion, and were ushered to the balcony overlooking the water. Victor and Janet were both there, wearing modest bathing suits, playing chess, but swiveled in their chairs to better see the detectives.
“What can we do for you, detectives?” asked Victor.
“Come quietly,” said Hood. “It’s over.”
To Victor’s apparent surprise, Janet stood, but Hood shook his head. “No, Janet, not you. Victor Longstreet, you are under arrest for the murder of Eric Longstreet.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Victor.
Hood held up the memory stick. “This is documentation of the affair between you and Ms. Longstreet, the evidence you murdered Eric to cover up.”
“That’s motive,” said Janet, “but not evidence.”
“I know, but this morning we used a court order to see the GPS records for your vehicles, the same ones in your garage right now. One of them was parked by the apartments within the time frame of Eric’s death.”
Victor and Janet held still, waiting.
“Janet has done an interesting job of trying to lure attention towards herself, I imagine she thought that if we arrested her and failed to convict, it would discourage our investigation, but manipulation isn’t really her area of expertise.”
“Grab your attention how?” asked Victor.
“Besides suggesting that she herself was the best suspect? She has us meet near a hospital. I imagine that when we investigate her medical records, we will discover that she is pregnant. She will claim from Eric’s sexual abuse, which I believe did happen, but quite some time ago. You are the more likely father.”
“Your murder was messy, Mr. Longstreet,” said Gasconi. “You would have gotten blood on your clothes. I’m sure you’ve disposed of them, but I can get police officers down here to comb the grounds, dig through the ashes of your furnace, whatever it takes. We’ve found skin under the nails of Eric Longstreet from when he defended himself from you. It might be a couple of weeks before the DNA results come back from the FBI, but that’s just a matter of time.”
“So why are we talking about this?” asked Victor.
“But I’m willing to cut you a deal, Mr. Longstreet,” said Hood.
“Which is?”
“You plead guilty to a lesser homicide charge, and the prosecutor will not use the evidence on this memory stick against you. I’ll dump it in the box and it will be filed away in the evidence room never to be seen again. Nor will I subpoena the medical records and point out that while it is possible the Eric is the father, it is more likely you. Do we have a deal?”
Victor glanced at Janet, then stood. “I’ll go quietly, Detective. Thank you for your consideration.”
Janet turned on him. “You don’t have to for my sake.”
He took her hand. “I’m doing this for … your child, Janet. I have legal wheels in motion that will secure the Longstreet fortune for the both of you, including an allowance to Hope and Joy to get them off your back, but since the fall out from Eric’s death is inevitable, I will take all of it and leave you clean.”
Janet shook her head. “I’ve never been clean.”
“Don’t mistake our dirt for yours.” Then Victor offered his wrists to the detectives to be cuffed.
“That won’t be necessary, Mr. Longstreet,” said Gasconi, who escorted the wealthy murderer away.
Hood faced Janet. “I understand why you’d want to cover for him, Ms. Longstreet, but I suggest you keep a low profile.”
She crossed her arms. “Why?”
“Because you’re already very close to being charged with accessory and obstruction, given your attempt to mislead us away from him.”
“He’s treated me better than any other man.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, but it doesn’t change the facts. He is going quietly, but if you don’t play along, his sacrifice to protect you from the legal consequences will have been in vain.”
“You’re really good at blackmail, aren’t you, Detective?”
“It’s a contagious vice around here.” He wanted to tell her that he felt sorry for her, was relieved that she wasn’t the one being led away to jail, but didn’t want her to think she had an emotional lever to use against him. “Good bye, Ms. Longstreet. For the record, I hope it’s a girl. This city has had enough of Longstreet men.”
Surprised, her hands went to her belly, but before she could say anything, he bowed slightly and left.

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