"Brittany's out with friends posting flyers," Susan Ciscoe told him.
Finn hoped that was true. Belatedly, he realized he should have assigned someone to tail the girl. His career had been filled with moms and dads who had no inkling that their Ethan made pipe bombs with his friends, or that their Emily traded sex for the latest fashions from The Gap. In one shocking case in the 'burbs, eight teens had formed a vampire club, drinking each other's blood. The parents had gone blithely about their own lives while their seventeen-year-olds spread HIV around their intimate circle.
He detested this stage of an investigation. Dealing with the initial confusion was like wrestling an octopus. It was hard to keep track of what every arm was doing; hard to constantly juggle all the possibilities in his head. After a clear suspect emerged, building a case would be much more straightforward.
"So Brittany's out posting flyers," he repeated. There was a stack beside them on the front porch, weighted down with a smooth rock from the stone borders along the Morgans' front walk.
"I believe so," Susan said, confirming his suspicion that she really wasn't keeping tabs on her daughter.
"And your son, Danny?"
"I sent him over to our neighbors." She pointed to the white house across the street. "They have an eleven-year-old boy, too."
Eleven. Certainly old enough to get rid of an unwanted squalling niece. Another possibility he needed to check out. He made a note on his pad.
"Is Brittany your husband's child?"
The glare Susan gave him could have melted a glacier. "Of course. Danny, too. Just because a woman doesn't change her last name on marriage doesn't mean she's got a wild past, Detective. Good lord, what is it with this town? Is everyone stuck in the 1950s?"
Ouch. He knew that the Morgans had moved to Evansburg five years ago from Denver. "I know how you feel," he said. "But I have to ask these questions."
She reached a hand up under her shoulder-length auburn hair to knead the back of her neck. "I didn't mean to bite your head off. I didn't get much sleep last night."
"Me neither," he sympathized.
"We were sorry to hear about your wife, Detective Finn."
He stared at her for a long awkward moment. Did the whole frigging county know? Had he missed an announcement Wendy had placed in the paper? Hey, Evansburg, I'm ditching my clueless husband Matthew Finn to run off with the love of my life! –Wendy Mankin
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