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Episode 83: Murder, She Read

Norbert Oglethorpe has been living at stately Bolt Manor a mere three weeks, yet certain routines have already been established.  For example, at breakfast Viveka portions out The Crescendo Cove Times to her fellow diners according to their tastes.  Naturally, Steel is immediately given the Business Section, which he does not relinquish the entire meal.  To Norbert, Viv hands the Fashion, Lifestyle, Entertainment and Sports sections.  (He’s not really that interested in sports, but it’s where the comics are usually found.)  For herself, Viv keeps the hard news sections; usually one for international events and another for local news.

That is precisely how things had played out this particular morning when Viv came across an article so alarming, she felt compelled to break Steel’s steadfast rule against reading the newspaper aloud.  “Oh my goodness,” she exclaimed, “there was a murder in Crescendo Cove last night.”  She looked down to Steel’s end of the table, but saw only the back of the Business Section.  (She’s noticed, by the way, that recently he’s been reading that section even more obsessively than normal.)

Norbert figured he should take an interest for his girlfriend’s sake.  “Is that rare?” he asked in his schoolgirl whisper.

“Very,” Viv said.  She thought about it for a second: “The last one must’ve been the Sutter family murder back in ‘92.  The eldest Sutter boy went off to college.  Two months into his first term he got up in the middle of the night, drove all the way home, killed his parents and then himself.  Turned out he’d failed an exam.”

“I bet they wish he’d studied harder,” came Steel’s voice from behind the Business Section.

Knowing he was listening, Viv felt permitted to share the rest of her article:  “It was a girl killed last night.  She was a waitress at Le Maison D’Etre ... They found her in the parking lot ... Her skull was crushed ... Her pants around her ankles ... They don’t know yet if she was sexually assaulted ... It looks like someone ambushed her after she got off work ... She was only 21 years old ... Working as a waitress to pay her way through Crescendo Cove Polytechnic.  Oh what a shame.”

Steel folded the Business Section abruptly, as if displeased by something he’d read.  He needed to vent, and the murder was the topic at hand.  “I’m sure they’ll find it was some student she’d rebuffed.  Or an antisocial loner who’d conjured a relationship with her in his head and decided that if he couldn’t have her, no one could.”  In the course of making these comments, Steel stood and put on his suit jacket in preparation for leaving for work.  Before departing though, almost as an afterthought, he said, “Did you say she worked at Le Maison D’Etre?  I had dinner there last night.” 

Continue Reading: Episode 84: Steel's Problem Get Deeper and Wider