In the previous episode, Kristi was too late and a man at the excavation site died agonizingly. She suspected that he had been poisoned. Readers voted that she and Edmund found the torn half of a photograph in his pocket.
“Strychnine.” The police sergeant crushed the coroner’s note in his fist moodily. “Says he’ll run the test to confirm, of course, but he thinks there’s little doubt. Damned tourists.” He glanced over at Kristi. “Pardon my language, miss.”
“I was afraid of that,” Edmund said. “Could it have been an accident?”
“It would have been a da—darned queer accident. Strychnine’s not really the sort of thing tourists bring along with them. Do you use it at the excavation?”
“Not this season.”
The sergeant tugged his mustache. “Well, we’ll look into it of course, but I doubt anything will come of it. Lord Davies was a fool, but harmless. Hadn’t an enemy in the world. And his wife was the one with the money, so no dice there. I don’t suppose one of your men has a murderous bent towards interfering, middle-aged Earls?”
Edmund shook his head. “Geoffrey might, but he’d have hit him with a rock or something. Poison isn’t really his style.”
“Too bad. The higher-ups are going to want somebody to hang. It never looks good, having one of the peerage knocked off.”
“We found this in his pocket,” Kristi volunteered, handing him a wrinkled photograph. It was a picture of a young woman. She was standing next to someone, but it had been torn in half and it was impossible to tell anything beyond that it was a man. The sergeant glanced at it and shrugged.
“It’s probably nothing. He was always picking up junk; Had the collector’s mania, but terrible instincts.”
Kristi picked it up and tucked it back into her pocket. She felt positive there was more to it.
He rose, “well, thank you for bringing him in, Mr. Black and Miss–”
Edmund frowned at her. “Parker.”
The sergeant looked bewildered.
Outside, Edmund pulled her across the street, into the shade of an overhanging balcony.
“Ow,” Kristi rubbed her elbow and glared at him.
“Who the hell are you?” he demanded.
“You wouldn’t believe me.”
And so, she told him.
“That sounds crazy.”
“It is crazy. Why does everyone think I’m Lillian Parker, anyway? I’m pretty sure I don’t look anything like her.”
He shrugged. “Well, you—she arrived late last night and I don’t think anyone got a good look at her. If this is all true, then where is she?”
“I don’t know. Maybe we switched places or something.”
He sighed. “I told Geoff it was a bad idea to hire you. Her.”
Kristi felt offended on Lillian’s behalf. “Why? I’m sure she’s a perfectly good . . . whatever she is.”
“Expedition artist. Maybe. But it’s bad timing, anyway. Lord Blackstone, our patron, died a few months ago. Nobody’s met his heir yet, and we have no idea if he’s going to keep the dig open. Without his money . . . poof. We’re done for. We’d have to close the dig and go home in the middle of the season.”
“Pardon me.” A voice behind them broke in. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.