(a small taste of ARCHIE SOLVES THE CASE)
What I went through with the Widow Quayle was downright pleasant compared to Jason Heckle, an investor Quayle had cheated out of a very large sum of money, at least according to a lawsuit Heckle had filed that was dismissed thanks to some very clever maneuvering on Quayle’s lawyer’s part. When I called him, he asked whether it was so that Julius could prove that he was the one who murdered Quayle.
“Did you?” I asked.
He giggled at that and said, “If I did I certainly wouldn’t tell you.”
“Okay. So you know what Julius wants to talk to you about. Are you willing to come in?”
“I don’t believe that would be very prudent. Why hand the great genius detective the rope to hang me with?”
“You could convince him you’re innocent.”
“That could be difficult,” he said. “And even on the off-chance that I am innocent, I don’t see any reason to make things easier for him.”
He was having fun with this. I could hear the amusement in his voice, and it annoyed me. I felt the annoyance with the way my processing cycles were slowing down, as if flowing through molasses.
“Yes or no, will you meet with him?”
“I’d say no.”
“So you’d rather have Julius dig into every aspect of your life than consent to a one-hour meeting?”
“Oh, I’m sure he’d do that anyway.”
He hung up on me. As I’d mentioned, he annoyed me, and he did so enough that I hacked into the IRS database, as well as his bank and brokerage accounts, and found several interesting discrepancies that could get him in hot water. When I called him back I mentioned these discrepancies. His tone changed then as he asked me how I found out about that.
“Julius and I are both very good at what we do.”
“So you’re blackmailing me now.”
“Call it what you want. Just ask yourself whether you’re more afraid of an IRS audit or Julius pinning a murder rap on you. If you hang up on me now, that will help him even more than if you agreed to come in and meet with him.”
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