I had several places to go, but first I stopped off to check in on Sam. The chief and I had agreed to keep his whereabouts on the lowdown. Somebody had wanted the chimp dead, and we figured it was safer not to let on that he was still alive, let alone where he was. So as far as anyone else knew, this was just another chimpanzee in a hospital ward.
By this point I was fairly convinced our perp was Lulu, as much as I hated to admit it. There were just too many threads pointing to her. The murder of Winthrop was an obvious clue — I was starting to think that was more than self-defense. For one thing, the shooting of Whiskers, given that I now knew him to be a forger, suggested an attempt to change Winthrop’s will. Only Sam, keeper of the records, would know for sure, and he wasn’t talking.
Then there was the death of Manny the parrot — just about to sing when his wings got clipped.
None of this would have swayed me, until Sam got shot. It wasn’t just that my best friend was now lying in a coma, with the evidence he’d found gone missing. It was also just one too many shootings for all of this to be a coincidence, and the Smellephant does not believe in coincidences.
And it all led back to one place — Rebecca’s elusive sister. I was starting to think Lulu had been taking me for a ride. A great ride, sure, but one that wasn’t going anyplace I wanted to be.
If only I could figure out how that sequence of numbers fit together. I was still adding up the angles in my head, trying to piece it all together, when the chief came in.
“Smellephant?” he said.
“Yeah Chief?” I said, lost in my thoughts. I hadn’t been expecting any visitors.
“Sorry to do this, but I’ve got to bring you in.”
“For what, Chief?”
“For the murders of J. Chesterton Winthrop, Whiskers the hare, and Manny the parrot. As well as the attempted murder of Sam the chimp. Smellephant, you’re under arrest.”