The "12 Shots" mystery anthology is now on pre-order, so here's a sneak peek of one of the scenes from the new Fenway Stevenson short story, "The Coroner and the Body in the Bath." The story takes place between books one and two. In this scene, Fenway interviews the victim's wife, who seems to be giving mixed signals. Is she just a grieving widow? Or is the woman scorned actually a murderer?
Paul Austin Ardoin
Lydia seemed to expend a lot of effort to tear her gaze from the nothing she stared into. She settled her attention on Fenway’s face.
“What’d you say?”
“I’m sorry to make you go through it again, ma’am, but I need to hear it directly from you.”
Lydia cleared her throat. “Not much to tell. I got off work. Then I went to the grocery store. Came home, put everything away, then I found two coffee cups on the kitchen table.”
“Two coffee cups?”
“Yes. They weren’t there when I went to work.” She looked down. “And there was lipstick on one of the cups.”
Fenway nodded. “Am I correct in assuming you thought your husband was having an affair?”
“I know he was having an affair. About a month ago, I found credit card statements for fancy dinners and some jewelry that I didn’t recognize. We had it out when he came home late one night. Of course he was with her.” She closed her eyes. “He said he broke it off with her a few weeks ago.”
Fenway walked around Lydia and took a seat in a matching chair. “Just like that?”
“We had a long, painful conversation about it. He slept on the sofa for a couple of nights.”
Fenway watched Lydia’s face. Her breathing was measured and even.
“So you think the woman he broke it off with was back here today?”
“Yes. I was pissed off, let me tell you. I stormed all over the house, screaming that Gus explain himself. I thought I’d catch them in bed together.”
Lydia stared up at the sky and swallowed. “When I didn’t find them in the bedroom, I passed the bathroom and the door was ajar. He was just sitting in the tub.”