“Yeah, he’s dead as a doornail.”
Lucinda Fontaine gave her partner a droll stare as they stood across from a body that was pinned to a garage door by a giant spike through his chest. You’re not funny.”
Sam Lopez grinned. “Sure I am, cher. You just can’t appreciate it.”
“And I need both of you to be serious right now. We got reporters showing up, all over the place. Last thing I need or want is for any of them to start saying that Orleans’s finest is treating this matter with anything less than all due respect. You hear me?”
“Yes, sir,” they snapped in unison.
“Good. Now get your gear on, and don’t be contaminating my crime scene or compromising my evidence log.”
Lucinda pulled a pair of latex gloves out of the roll she kept clipped to her belt loop. She’d already put the plastic protectors on the bottom of her shoes. Something she’d learned to do as a rookie, since the last thing anyone wanted was to track contaminates or evidence back into their car or home.
She shivered at the thought of having that ick in her house.
Covering her blonde hair and face, she quickly set about examining the garage while the coroner and others did their jobs.
Sam stepped carefully around the broken glass on the ground so as not to slice through his shoe coverings. “Who called it in?”
“Wife. A uni is taking her statement inside.” Lucinda sighed. “Apparently, she came home from work to find him like this.”
“That’s what she said.”
Sam frowned. “You believe her?”
Lucinda shrugged as she glanced up at the heavy-set man hanging from what appeared to be a piece of the garage door track that had somehow broken off and pierced him straight through his heart. “I don’t think a four foot ten, ninety pound Cajun woman could do that to him. She couldn’t even reach that high, standing on a chair.”
“Yeah, you got a point.”
Lucinda swept a smirk over his body. “And you call yourself a detective.” She adjusted her mask as she leaned over to pick up a piece of crumpled paper. Straightening it out, it appeared to be a bill of some kind.
Sam came over. At five-six, he was almost even to her height. But in her tall rocker Sketchers, she had an inch on him. “What’d you find?”
“Credit card statement. Looks like he’s been spending a lot of time at the casinos.”
“And hotels.” He pointed at the charges for the Hotel Monteleone.
“Yeah, look at the amount.”
He wasn’t wrong. Strange for a man who lived locally to be spending that kind of dough for a luxury suite in the Quarter.
Lucinda listened idly at the chatter around them as her lieutenant walked past. “Hey, boss? What you doing?”
“There’s no need in keeping everyone on scene. This is an easy open-and-shut accident. I’m going to make a statement.”
They were just beginning to pull the man down from the wall when she and Sam headed inside to find the man’s widow sitting on the couch.
Visibly shaken, the tiny woman sat with swollen eyes. She blew her nose into a Kleenex. “I just can’t believe this happened while I was away. Oh my goodness, what a terrible, awful day!”
“Mrs. Marchand? Were you aware of your husband’s gambling?” Lucinda wasn’t sure why she felt the need to ask that when her boss had already closed the matter.
The tiny woman nodded. “Tony couldn’t help himself, you see. In fact, it was in a casino where he first met me.” She looked up with a wistful smile. “But he wasn’t always about the lights and broads. He just really wanted to play the odds.”
The doorbell rang.
“If you’ll excuse me now, I must go. I’m sure it’s ma mere to comfort me in my time of woe.”
Lucinda nodded, perplexed by the woman’s strange use of verse.
Mrs. Marchand got up and walked off. The moment she did, the color faded from Sam’s face.