The Penthouse Murder


    When I first walked into the apartment I felt a familiar little pang of sadness for the wasted life lying crumpled on the floor. I usually feel this way at any homicide scene , but it seems to hit me worse when the victim is young and beautiful, with so much to live for.

    Judging by the tasteful surroundings it certainly appeared that Lucy Davis had plenty to live for. A luxurious penthouse overlooking the bay didn't seem to mesh with Lucy's station in life. Do secretaries make that much moola these day? Not enough to prevent a bullet hole in her once pretty head, I'd guess.

    I jotted down the particulars: Lucy Davis, thirty-two years old, secretary to Thurston Swain, who just happens to be owner and CEO of her place of employment, Swain Chemicals Ltd.

    Swain Chemicals eh? This company had been largely featured in the news stories as of late. Thurston Swain had his feet planted in more business pools throughout the world than I could count. Everybody wanted a piece of his pie these days.

    As the forensic unit continued to dust the place for fingerprints, I wandered down the hallway to the lady's bedroom. Nice neat room. Bed still made and not a thing out of place. Except, that is, for one small drawer in the writing desk in the corner.

    It was a drawer full of bills and receipts. At first glance nothing of much interest, but then I found a copy of the apartment lease. Surprise, surprise! The place was leased to Swain Chemicals Ltd. Only one reason I could think of for a boss to pay for his secretary's lodgings. Thurston Swain just became my number one suspect.

    I was turning away, about to walk out of the room when my attention was drawn to a small photo of Lucy arm in arm with her boss. I grabbed the photo and stuck it in my coat pocket. Something about it bugged me, but I couldn't say what just yet. I would have to sleep on it.

    The following morning, after gulping down four cups of thick, black coffee and chasing them down with a cigarette, I headed for the main offices of Swain Chemicals Ltd. Thurston Swain was most amenable to answering my questions, but certainly didn't seem to be grieving the loss of his mistress. He was quite forthcoming about that too. Lucy Davis was nothing more than some "fun on the side", on the personal level, but would be a terrible loss as a secretary. Good secretaries are hard to come by you know.

    My next stop was a visit with Lucy's best friend Judy Lumston. Judy at least shed a couple of tears as she told me all she knew about the days leading up to her friend's demise, but it became quite clear that she wasn't as close to Lucy as she thought she'd been. Judy had no idea that Lucy and Thurston had been having an affair.

    As I headed to the bank where Lucy kept her accounts, the photo I'd shoved in my pocket the day before kept coming back to haunt me. What was it about that picture? Something about it was eating at me.

    After showing my badge to three different people I was finally allowed to look over the deceased's bank records. Lucy had four bank accounts. The most recent account was set up only a week before her untimely death. That was interesting enough, but even more interesting was the enormous deposit made the day before she died. A fat sum of $15,000,000.00 had been direct-deposited from the coffers of Swain Chemicals Ltd. I took the photo out of my pocket and took a good look at it again.


*******************


    Thurston Swain got out of his Mercedes and joined me as I walked into the city Morgue. He was more than happy to do what I'd asked of him, especially after finding out that a large amount of money had been embezzled from his company.

    Together we walked up to the desk and asked to view the body of Lucy Davis. The drawer containing her remains was pulled away from the refrigeration unit and I pulled back the white sheet covering the woman. I yanked the photo from my pocket and looked down at it, then back at the cold corpse. In spite of the disfiguring bullet hole in her head, it was obvious that I was right. The photo proved it. From behind me, looking a little green around the gills, Thurston Swain exclaimed, "That's not Lucy!"

    What had bothered me about the photo of Lucy was her neck. Shapely though it was, there was no birthmark on its right. The corpse, however, who was now a "Jane Doe", had a brown birthmark the size of a walnut.

    I called in an All Points Bulletin on Lucy Davis. I requested a check at all airports in the country as well. Wherever Lucy Davis is, she is alive and well, and one very wealthy woman. She is also the prime suspect in the murder of one "Jane Doe".

The End

Charmaine V.
Copyright © 2004
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