Orchid Beach

Read Orchid Beach for Free Online

Book: Read Orchid Beach for Free Online
Authors: Stuart Woods
Tags: thriller, Suspense, Mystery
waiting beside the steps. “Everything under control?”
    “Not exactly,” Holly said. “Daisy, this is Jimmy. I want you to stay here with him. Jimmy, pet Daisy, and get to be friends.”
    Daisy allowed herself to be petted by the policeman.
    “Daisy, you sit down right here.”
    Daisy sat down.
    “Keep her here with you. I’m going back inside.”
    “What’s going on in there? Is Hank passed out?”
    “Hank is dead,” Holly replied. “I’m going to phone it in, and when people start arriving, you keep Daisy here, and keep talking to her. She’s very upset, and I don’t think she’s the kind of dog you’d want to upset any more than she already is.”
    “Yes, ma’am,” Jimmy said.
    Holly went back into the house, gingerly picked up the phone on the front desk and punched in 911. She didn’t even know if the town had 911 service, but now was the time to find out.
    “Orchid Beach Police,” a woman’s voice said. “What is your emergency?”
    “This is Deputy Chief of Police Holly Barker,” Holly said. She picked up a business card from a little stand on the desk and read out the address. “I’ve got a death by gunshot at this address,” she said. “I want you to find Bob Hurst and get him out here right now, ready to work the scene. Is there a medical examiner in this town?”
    “Yes, Chief, but not full time.”
    “Find him and get him out here, too. I’ll need anambulance later, but there’s no hurry about that.”
    “Yes, ma’am. Have you got an ID on the body?”
    “His name is Henry Doherty.”
    “Hank? Ohhh, I liked Hank. Is Daisy all right?”
    “Daisy is all right. Now you get moving.”
    “Yes, ma’am.”
    Holly hung up and looked around the room. She hadn’t noticed it before, but a pump shotgun with a short barrel lay beside the body. She didn’t touch it. Apart from the dead man on the floor, the room was in good order. A desk stood in a corner, and its top was neatly arranged. She walked over and, using a pen from her pocket, poked among the papers on the desk. There was some mail—bills, mostly, but one from a Mrs. Eleanor Warner, at an Atlanta address. Holly walked around the room and looked at the rest of it. A small safe stood behind the desk, its door ajar; she’d go through that later. When she had seen the room, she walked through an open door and down another hall to a bedroom. It contained the usual furniture, except for a hospital bed with some sort of trapeze bar hanging above it. In a corner stood a pair of prosthetic legs and two canes. Apparently, Hank Doherty had not always used the wheelchair.
    Out the back door was a series of kennel houses, surrounded by a chain-link fence. She was impressed with how neat everything was. Only the front yard seemed neglected. She went back into the house and then out again, via the kitchen door. Jimmy stood patiently holding Daisy’s leash. She petted the dog. “Jimmy, do you think the chief’s car would have some rubber gloves in it?”
    “It might.”
    Holly took the leash from him. “See if you can find me some.”

    Jimmy went to the car, looked into the glove compartment and came back with the gloves.
    Holly had a thought. “Did the chief carry a shotgun in his car?”
    “Yes, ma’am; all the patrol cars have shotguns.”
    “Go see if there’s one in the chief’s car.”
    Jimmy checked the car, looked in the trunk and returned. “No, ma’am, there’s no shotgun in the car.”
    Holly handed him Daisy’s leash and went back into the house, slipping on the rubber gloves. Back in the office, she turned over the shotgun and jotted down the serial number on the back of a glove, then she called the station and asked for Jane.
    “Jane here,” she said.
    “It’s Holly. Do you have a list handy of the departmental weapons’ serial numbers?”
    “Right here in my computer.”
    “Look up the serial number of the chief’s shotgun, the one he carried in his car.” Holly heard the tapping of computer

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