A Jump To Conclusions No. 7

“Evidently. He went on to found Heath, McKenzie, and Company with Dalton Heath, who is listed here under known associates as an Academy roommate.” I looked up from the papers. “Could you pull up Mr. Heath’s Naval Arm records?”

“One step ahead of you,” Amber said. She typed at her terminal, and after a minute said, “He doesn’t have any. He comes from money, then, I would think…”

“Evidently,” I repeated. She ceased looking up Heath’s financials, presumably, and gave me the look which meant she was unsure whether I was in jest. I ignored it. “McKenzie was the brains, given his background. What could Heath bring to the table?”

“Money it is,” she said, “evidently.” She turned the terminal to me. “The Heath fortune isn’t big enough to turn their family into household names, but it is big enough to register.”

I nodded. “Does he have a criminal record?” She fiddled with the terminal, and it showed a new list. “He seems an aggressive womanizer, according to the complains.” I scrolled through the list, and something caught my attention. “Hmm.”

“What?” Amber said. I held up a finger for a moment and read on. She rolled her eyes and drummed her fingers impatiently on the table.

Eventually, I found the information I wanted. “Alright,” I said.


Unperturbed, I went on. “Heath’s wife is Anneli Marchand.” To Amber’s querying look I said, “She was an actress in the twenties, a very popular choice for casting directors on romance films. She made something of a comeback in war epics in the late thirties, and has been on a decline since then.”

“I assume you’re coming to the point where this bears on my case.”

“Yes. Two years ago she was divorced from Abbot McKenzie. Shortly after, she took up with Dalton Heath.”

“Some bad blood between the two, then,” said Amber.

“Potentially,” I agreed. “It was certainly messy. The society pages would not stop going on about it.”

“I wouldn’t have marked you as the type to read such dreck,” she said.

I lifted my shoulders helplessly. “My clients expect me to be up on the latest happenings. The young ones see their childhood heroes torn down daily, and the old ones wonder when the scandal-hounds will catch up to them.”

“Strange creatures, actors.”

“You have no idea.” I shook my head. “It’s the sort of situation that might drive a man to kill another. Is Mr. Heath a suspect?”

“I’m inclined to call him a person of interest for now,” Amber replied. “We’ve no more than conjecture against him so far.”

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