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Alicia shook her head. "I went to sleep in my car. I've got a mattress I throw in and a sleeping bag. I wanted to be up early. What happened Monday night?"

Again ignoring Alicia's question, Russo threw a sharp glance at Juhle, then reached under her jacket and pulled a color photograph out of her breast pocket. She placed it on the table in front of Alicia. "Do you recognize this?" she asked.

Alicia's eyes lit up briefly, then closed down as she looked at Russo to answer her. "Yes. That's my scarf. I lost it a couple of weeks ago. Where did you find it?"

"Her name is Linda Colores." Tamara had Hunt sit down in the one chair across from her in the reception area as soon as he'd arrived back at the office. "The Hang-Up Lady."

"I'd forgotten all about her," Hunt replied. "What'd she have to say?"

"That she was out by the Palace on the night Mr. Como was killed. Like maybe ten or ten-thirty. She was just walking by herself after dinner on the path by the lagoon and two people were having an argument right in front of her."

"Tell me she saw them."

"I wish I could, but she didn't. They were around where the path turns right down there at the end, near where Mickey found the body. But the point is that she heard them, really clearly."


"A man and a woman. The man telling the woman he didn't love her anymore. Then, maybe, the sound of her hitting him. At least this grunt of exertion and then this kind of sickening sound."

"So what'd she do then? Your witness."

"She got scared and turned and got out of there as quickly and quietly as she could."

"While our murderer," Hunt said, "made sure Como was dead, then got him into the lagoon and tucked him away in the roots."

"Linda didn't know anything about that, but I'd say probably."

"I would too."

"Anyway," Tamara said, "I don't know if that tells us anything we don't already know, or think we know, but it seemed important to me somehow."

"It's d.a.m.ned important," Hunt said. "If only because that was really the end of it. If that's when Como was killed."

"That's what it sounded like to Linda."

"And if that's the case, it's not part of the money issues, is it? In spite of what Gina would have me believe."

"And it's also," Tamara said, "not a guy."

"Maybe not. Not unless our woman here hid Como away and then called somebody to finish up."

"So two of them?"

"Not likely, I admit, but not impossible. Alicia and her brother-"

"No, Wyatt, no."

"I'm just saying . . ." But then other possibilities sprang into his mind-Ellen Como and Al Carter or Ellen Como and Len Turner; or even Nancy Neshek and an accomplice who'd wound up then killing her. Then back again to Alicia and . . . almost any man who would do anything for her and her favors, which, after only a quick glimpse of her at the memorial service, Hunt figured would include most of the male population of the known world.


If Mickey had turned left,

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