A Jump To Conclusions No. 12

“We had an argument. Arguments,” Heath said. “For the last two months. Last week, she left to stay with family. My doorman knows my face. He’ll tell you I never left home.”

“I suppose I’ll have to speak with him. That’s all for the moment, Mr. Heath. If you would be so kind as to provide an address for your wife when Inspector Baker returns with your solicitor, I’ll endeavor to find you more comfortable accommodation for the remainder of your stay.” Amber stood and made for the door. She paused as she reached it. “One more thing, Mr. Heath—are you a collector of firearms?”

“I am not,” Heath replied.

Amber nodded, then stepped out of the interview room. I joined her in the hall. “Is he a collector?” she asked me.

“I don’t think he was lying when he said he wasn’t,” I said. “There is, however, a distinction between whether one is a collector or not and whether one happens to own an antique firearm.”

She conceded that point with a tilt of her head, then said, “Do you think he did it?”

“Either that, or he’s protecting whoever did.”

“That’s something to work on, at least. We’ll look into the wife, too. I wonder when we can pay a visit to Heath, McKenzie, and Company?”


It turned out to be several hours, boring ones spent working our way down the list of firearms dealers (Tyson, it turned out, had given us a few names the information desk hadn’t), and, whenever we found someone who would wake up to take our call, learning exactly nothing of interest. They were punctuated by a few minutes of excitement, when the uniforms looking over the security footage from my building located a large man flying down the stairs at the same time Amber and I had been headed for the crime scene. He opened a window a few floors above the ground, made his way down the fire escape, and had escaped the watchful cameras just before the Police Arm had begun to build its cordon.

“Probably not the wife,” Amber observed, deadpan.

I coughed and went back to the comm. As the sun rose, filtered to a sickly yellow by the dome and the caustic atmosphere outside it, Amber summoned me down to the motor pool, leaving the less interesting job of comms calls to hundreds of firearms dealers just now opening for business to Carpenter and Baker. She also left them instructions to search McKenzie’s apartment whenever they had some time to spare.

She and I made a quick dash across Upside through light morning traffic. She parked the unmarked car across from a twenty-story tower in one of the district’s less dense neighborhoods. The nameplate read, ‘Heath, McKenzie, & Co.’ in a sturdy, old-fashioned typeface. It suggested reliability and gravitas, an advantage in an industry that had only been around for thirty years or so.

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