Murder in the Supreme Court (Capital Crimes Series Book 3)

Murder in the Supreme Court (Capital Crimes Series Book 3) by Margaret Truman

Book: Murder in the Supreme Court (Capital Crimes Series Book 3) by Margaret Truman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Margaret Truman
be… difficult.”
    “How so?”
    “He worked for Chief Poulson, he was chief clerk. Sometimes he made the other clerks pretty mad. Some of them thought he was cruel—”
    “I see…” And rather obviously, Susanna thought, Laurie was one of them. She decided to pursue that sideways… “I’ve seen pictures of Clarence Sutherland. He certainly was a handsome man.”
    Laurie’s face had seemed to sag, her buoyancy flatten out.
    Their lunch was served. Susanna chatted about her job at the Justice Department, about her background and the events that led her to Washington and to her present position. Finally, almost abruptly, she decided it was time… “Laurie, were you in love with Clarence Sutherland?”
    It was as though she had kicked her. Laurie’s face turned to stone, she looked abstractedly around the crowded restaurant.
    “Shouldn’t I have asked?”
    “You can
ask
anything you wish. You’re investigating a murder and I understand I’m a suspect. I also know you know I haven’t an alibi. I was caught in the traffic at what I’m told was the approximate time of the murder. I was by myself.”
    “Yes, I do know that, and it’s true you,
along with many others
, are a suspect. But I also want you to know that I’m not interested in hurting people in the process of helping to solve this thing—”
    “I’m sure… All right, you’ve asked a question… as one lawyer to another, I’ll tell you our relationship was more than professional.”
    “As one woman to another,” Susanna said, “was he in love with you?”
    She grimaced. “Clarence was immune from such weakness, vulnerability…”
    “I’m told Clarence was a womanizer.”
    “How quaint, old-fashioned…”
    “Choose your own poison.”
    “Immature might be closer.”
    Susanna smiled. “Yes… well, he was young—”
    “He’s a dead young man now.” Laurie’s voice was cold, her face ice. “If it’s all right with you, I think I’ve had enough discussion about Clarence Sutherland.”
    “I’m sorry if I’ve pried too much into your personal relationship.”
    “I realize full well your job, but…” Laurie stared at the tabletop, then looked up, a smile applied like makeup now on her face. “Look, Miss Pinscher, I’m sorry… I’m a grown lady… I’ve got degrees that say so, and I am a clerk of a Supreme Court judge. Fire away, ask anything you want. I’ll try to be as truthful as I know how.”
    Susanna took the check from the waiter. “All right, Laurie. Did you kill Clarence?”
    She started to answer, lost the words, then said with a short laugh, “Of course not.”
    “Good. Any notion who did?”
    “None.”
    “Possibilities? I mean at least in theory?”
    “Do we have time?”
    “He was that disliked—?”
    “Hated, I’m afraid, would be more accurate.”
    “But not by you.”
    “They say the two emotions are close—sometimes indistinguishable.”
    “Laurie, do you think a woman killed him, a woman who’d been hurt by him as you obviously have been?”
    “I don’t know. There were so damn many. But there were plenty of men who hated Clarence’s guts too.”
    “Husbands?”
    “I guess, but I wasn’t thinking about them especially…Frankly—” her tone became more confident, and confidential—“It was a mystery that Clarence was even able to stay on as chief clerk.”
    “Oh? My understanding was that, whatever else, he was brilliant, competent and knowledgeable.”
    “He was all those, one of the brightest people I’d ever met. He had a sadistic side that set others against him. The things… he could be cruel for no reason… even toward his superiors… The other clerks constantly expected Chief Justice Poulson to fire him, but of course it never happened—”
    “Why not?”
    She hesitated. “Justice Poulson is a gentleman, a decent human being. But, in confidence, he’s also weak. Some said that Clarence played on his weaknesses to keep his job.”
    “What

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