“You two wait here in case Annette shows up. I’m going to see if I can track down Paul Morris.”
The detective had no idea who killed Edith Morris, but he had a suspicion that her former husband had something to do with it.
Annette listened as her adoptive father told her what had happened in the recent years and months leading up to Edith’s death.
“I own the Roadside cafe, sugar. I bought it years ago, right after your mother and I divorced. I always knew I would come back and even though your life had taken you to the Cape, I knew you and your mother would spend time here, too.”
“Did you stay in touch with Mother over the years?”
“Not directly. Your mother didn’t know I bought the cafe. I kept track of you through a mutual acquaintance.
I knew Edith was supposed to be released from the hospital, today and your plan was to take her home. I couldn’t let that happen, so I went to see her. I got there around 9:30 p.m. and she was already dead. I don’t think anyone was even aware that I was there. At least I hope not.”
“Vanessa and I went to her room around 7:30. We left when a nurse came in to check her vitals. The nurse made a note that said she was alive at 8:30. I guess that means someone got to her between 8:30 and 9:30.
Paul was trying to recall his own observations. I can’t believe her death wasn’t discovered until midnight. Has the coroner come back with a time of death?”
Annette suddenly remembered she was supposed to be meeting Jack, Kat, and the detective at the cafe.
“The detective said they should have the coroner’s report today.”
Before Annette had a chance to tell her Pop that she was supposed to be meeting with everyone at his cafe, there was a knock at the door.
When Paul Morris opened the door to his hotel room, he came face to face with the detective.
“Pop, this is the detective assigned to Mother’s case. Detective, this is my stepfather, or I should say adoptive father, Paul Morris.”
“Hello Detective. Please come in.
Annette listened as Paul Morris told the detective everything he had just told her. There was something nagging at her. Should she tell Pop that she knew the woman he had been arguing with in the courtyard? He hadn’t mentioned her, which told Annette he hadn’t seen her when he looked her way before entering his room.
“Have you heard from the coroner, Detective? Has he established the time.of death?” Annette asked.
“Yes…she was found at least two hours after she died. We’re trying to determine who could have gone to her room, smothered her, and left without being seen. Where were you, Mr. Morris during the time between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.”
“I was in her room at 9:30 and she was already deceased.”
“Did anyone witness you coming or going?” The detective asked.
“No…I purposely avoided being seen by anyone. You see, I had motive, but someone beat me to committing the crime.”
“It appears there was plenty of motive to go around, Mr. Morris. I’d like to ask you a favor. Would you mind supplying a pot of coffee or two. I’d like to meet with everyone at your cafe. Maybe we can narrow this down a little.”
“Do I need to get a lawyer Detective?”
“Well, that’s up to you, Mr. Morris. I’m just an honest, small town detective. I don’t have any tricks up my sleeve or gotcha surprises.”
“Paul wasn’t at all sure this was a good idea, but in the end he agreed.
“I understand the cook didn’t show up today so I’d better check on things, anyway.” He said.
Paul rode with Annette and the detective followed.
“There is one thing you haven’t mentioned, Pop. I saw you in the courtyard arguing with a woman I happen to know. Why are you leaving her out of your explanation?”
“She’s the acquaintance I told you about. She was not a big fan of Edith, either. She was upset with me because I intended to talk with you.”
Annette had a strong feeling that Pop was still holding back something important. When they pulled up at the Roadside Cafe, she was surprised that Kat and Jack were still there.
After all the introductions were made and Sandy had poured them fresh coffee, they began to compare notes.
“We have to get somewhere with this soon,” Jack said. “I have two daughters to take care of.”
“You should really be excused,” the detective said. “You’ve already confessed and that didn’t fly. Please stick around for a while today. Maybe you can add something to what others recall.”
“You have all of our statements, Detective. Have you verified where everyone was when Edith Morris was murdered?”
“I know what everyone’s alibi is, but most of the people I’ve determined had a motive, can’t come up with anyone who saw them entering or leaving Mrs. Morris’ room. The next step is to verify when they “weren’t” there.
“Detective,” Annette said. “Have you interviewed all of the hospital staff who worked last night? Maybe they know something.”
Kat didn’t wait for the detective to answer. “That’s a great idea, Annette. Why don’t you and I go right now.”
As they were pulling out of the cafe parking lot, Kat saw a woman across the road. She was walking a dog. “That dog looks just like Spirit,” she said. “I sure do miss him.”