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"I'm not even so sure of that."

"No? Why not, pray?"

"Because even if it's hers, we don't know if it's his s.e.m.e.n."

"Granted. But we will know in a couple of days. And?"

"And you just seem to want to be building this case on one flimsy lead after another. You really don't see this?"

"I see what you're saying, sure. First we get the tire iron. We know it's Como's hair on it, but we don't know it's from Como's limo, although the tire iron from the limo is missing. Right? Right. There are a lot of tire irons in the world. Close, but not proof positive. So then we search the limo and guess what? We find the scarf. And sure, it might not be the Thorpe girl's scarf, and it might not be Como's masculine essence on it, either, but-"

"Jesus, Dev, you think you could just say 's.e.m.e.n'?"

"I doubt it. I don't even say 's.e.m.e.n' when I'm talking to Connie."

"So what do you . . . no, never mind. Forget I asked. Go on."

"So I agree with you, is what I'm saying, in theory. We've got all these things we don't know for sure. Could be but might not be. The tire iron, the limo, the scarf that might not be hers, the s.e.m.e.n-see, I can do it-that might not be his. But let's say-let's just say-that the elements of the trail I see here all turn out to go in our direction. I mean, it turns out the tire iron came from his limo. It's her scarf and his s.e.m.e.n. Then, in that case, she's definitely lied to us, which tells us something new, doesn't it? Now, add to that that she had daily access to the limo, that he fired her that day-"

"We don't know that. Only maybe that he said he was going to."

"So we ask her that too. She tells us yes, she's got a motive. And all this is not even talking about Monday night, where she slept in her car out by the beach a couple of blocks below where Nancy Neshek breathed her last." Juhle took the last loud slurp from his iced tea, held up a hand until he'd swallowed it. "I'm not saying we're ready for an arrest here, Sarah. But come on. Put a little press on her, get another statement, see if she answers the same as last time. What have we got to lose?"

When the service was over, Al Carter hung back over in the corner of the downstairs lobby of the War Memorial building while Hunt corralled Turner, the Sanchezes, and Lorraine Hess into a circle off to the side at the bottom of the steps. Carter listened in while Hunt pinned down each of them in turn about their whereabouts the night of Neshek's death. It seemed to take some of the wind out of Hunt when he learned that they'd all been at a meeting with one another on the Monday night when Neshek had been killed. But then when he learned that Nancy Neshek had been there with them all, too, he picked up again. So, Hunt asked, what time did the Communities of Opportunity meeting break up? Where had every one of them gone afterward?

This last question got Turner hot enough that n.o.body wound up having to answer. Maybe, Turner had

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