The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 34

I didn’t get much writing done in November. For the first time since pre-Covid, I was doing booksignings, talking about writing, the usual marketing stuff. The holidays came and went and we were busy with those. Also preparing Search for release (the second-round print format is on my desk for review. still waiting for the final cover).

In short, busy.

But I did lots of pissing and moaning about The Alibi in November, mostly to myself, some to others. Lots of plotting and strategizing. Realized a plot point isn’t going to work last night, going to take it out this morning.

Don’t worry, it about twenty chapters from where you are now. You’ll never notice it’s absence. I hope.

Anyway, on with the show!


The Alibi – Chapter 34

Cranston nodded at the crowd control officers who waved him through the gawkers, news crews, and internet-wannabes shoving and jumping with mobiles in hand. He spotted Rhinehold moving slowly through the crowd, alternately TXTing and talking on his mobile, and generally paying no attention to anything but the emergency services vehicles, triage units, and crowd control. Once or twice Cranston saw Rhinehold dip his head towards some people pointing at the destruction and talking but otherwise paying attention to nothing at all.

Cranston nodded. Yeah, Marete was right. Tonto handled this kind of undercover pretty well.

Go figure.

Cranston walked up behind a petite woman covered head to foot in a white Tyvek forensics suit. “Mary Frances.”

The petite woman turned, removed her right glove, her mask, offered him her hand and smiled. “William.”

“What’s a good looking woman like you doing at a crime scene like this?”

Mary Frances kept her eyes on Cranston and nodded in Rhinehold’s direction. “Today’s Tonto?”

Cranston snickered. “John Rhinehold. Shall I introduce you?”

“Won’t that blow his cover?”

Cranston watched forensics personnel come and go from SkyHook’s garage. “When will you be able to talk?”

“Maybe five, ten minutes. They know what to do. I’m just here for the unexpected.”

“Buy you a coffee?”

“Large double-double. And from the coffee shop around the corner, not from Starschmucks.”

“Meet you there.”

Cranston sat on a concrete bench outside the coffee shop, a large double-double and a bag containing a single maple-cream donut beside him.

Rhinehold ambled up with an iced something-or-other from the same shock and sat on the other end of the bench. He took a few experimental sips and tossed his cup in a floral pattern painted city trash can a few feet from where they sat. “Should’ve stuck with real coffee.”

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