“Gregson—I need you to start talking to the dead body—see if he tells you anything,” Murphy said.
“Who was he?”
“The president of the conference.”
“A chainsaw is an unusual weapon,” Gregson speculated.
“Not when you have a totem carving competition going-on.” Murphy pointed at the lumberjacks inching-up trees, preparing to carve smiles into the wooden faces.
“Was the president married?” Gregson asked.
“No—but he had a long-term girlfriend.”
“A chainsaw is the last weapon of choice for a woman—usually reserved for maniacal masculine serial killers.”
“All she would need to do is drop it,” Murphy suggested.
“Yes—but why use a chainsaw?” Gregson asked.
“So we would suspect someone else, what else? There she is.” Murphy pointed at a woman in an orange dress. Her legs were orange— her strawberry-blonde hair was a fruit Gregson wanted to taste.”
“Look at those arms,” he admired. “Perfectly toned.”
“Able to hold a chainsaw,” Murphy suggested.
“Suspending judgement is the first rule of creative thinking,” Gregson corrected. “I want to question her.”
“Better that you question the dead body first—that way, you won’t be seduced. She’s already a widow—you don’t want to get in bed, and find an hourglass birthmark on her butt.”
“Yes I do,” Gregson said.
“I can’t help you.”
“Yes, you can. Entertain Madelynn, while I talk to the Strawberry-Blonde. The dead body will have to wait.”
Gregson walked under the staircase tape, looking-up at her, like a woman on a pedestal. “My name’s Gregson.”
He shook her fingers—they were ice cold, despite her radiant glow.
“You have warm hands—the hands of someone who investigates,” Karli said.
“And quite delicate too—I’m guessing, they’ve removed delicates?”
“Did your boyfriend have many enemies?”
“Roger loved art, and hated people. It was his way—not a nice man, but he treated me well enough. His enemies were artists. He was a critic. I guess we all can be, at times, but the weight of his words sunk careers.”
“I see. How was the health of your relationship?”
“I gave him what he wanted—and he gave me what I wanted.”
“And that was…?”
“Sex. Lots of sex. You see, Roger was an unusual man. Not beautiful on the outside, but potent. Women followed him around—wanting him, and I wanted him. He resisted me, and he resisted them, until he couldn’t any longer. If you wonder who might’ve killed him, ask the women who paint nudes.”