A Jump To Conclusions No. 24

We waited another half an hour before the technicians had our last piece of forensic evidence ready: the revolver the uniforms had found in the alley was a match for the bullet that had killed McKenzie, and it had been handled recently by Heath.

We prepared our interview room. Amber filled a few boxes with unrelated case file hard copy, and gave them all the prominent label ‘Dalton Heath’. Any experienced criminal would have dismissed it as amateur hour, but Heath didn’t fit that profile, and although I didn’t expect him to cave merely because we appeared to have evidence, I counted it as a factor that would work in our favor. I set a sheet of soft copy to cycle through a few photographs and left it on the table. Baker made a quick run to the evidence department and returned with a pair of revolvers matching the weapons involved in our case, bagged and labeled as though they did. Amber ran over the plan with me one more time, though she hardly needed the help after five years of experience with my methods. With our preparations complete, Baker and I retreated to the observation room, and Amber called for Heath to be brought in.

He sat with his head held high. Carpenter gave him a minute to confer with his solicitor, then ushered the solicitor out. Pausing in the doorway, the solicitor looked over his shoulder and said, “Don’t say anything. Not a thing!”

Before he could get anything else out, Carpenter closed the door on him. Baker looked from the window to me. “Won’t that make this a touch more difficult?”

“If I read him right, I wouldn’t think,” I said. “We’ll see, though.”

“Hello again, Mr. Heath,” Amber said, revealing nothing by her tone or expression. “I don’t believe you’ve met Inspector Carpenter. We’ve a few question more for you.”

“My solicitor has advised me to answer nothing. Do you have a writ?” Heath said. Outwardly, he was calm. He was talking, though, and I relaxed a little. If he would talk to us, we had an in.

Amber shook her head. “We’ve chosen not to compel testimony at this time.” Heath sat back while Amber continued. “Some new evidence has arisen.” She moved one of the revolvers into Heath’s line of sight. “Are you familiar with this weapon?” she asked. Heath remained mute. “This one, perhaps?” she said, sliding a second revolver over to its twin. “We have it on good authority that these weapons were purchased by Abbot McKenzie—and also by you. They were to commemorate the founding of your company, were they not?”

The sight of the two guns together had drawn a reaction from Heath. He unfolded his arms and placed his hands on the lip of the table before him, and his posture shifted, straighter and further from Amber and Carpenter. “He might nearly have said something there,” I said into my mic. “He’s on the defensive.”

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