When All The Girls Have Gone(8)

By: Jayne Ann Krentz

“People like that are usually looking for drugs, as well,” Max said.

He tried to say it without any inflection. Just an observation, not an accusation. But Daniel got mad anyway.

“I’m telling you, my cousin wasn’t using,” he said.


Daniel looked hesitant. “But there is one other fact that bothers me.”


“On the day she . . . died . . . she cashed in a bank CD. According to the receipt I found in her handbag, she withdrew ten thousand dollars.”

“Huh. Check?”

“No.” Daniel’s jaw tightened. “Evidently she took the money in cash. I know that looks bad. Who needs ten grand in cash, right? People in the drug business, that’s who.”

“There are other reasons why someone would withdraw that kind of money in cash,” Max said. “I assume you didn’t find any of it?”

“No. The killer must have taken it.”

“So he takes ten grand, but he doesn’t bother with the cash in her wallet.”

Daniel looked at the open handbag. “Maybe after finding the big money he simply ignored the little stuff. He would have been in a hurry.”

“Maybe. Any theories about why she took so much money out of the bank that day?”

“No.” Daniel shook his head. “I didn’t tell the cops because I was afraid they would see it as more evidence of a drug connection. They would have assumed she was laundering cash for drug dealers.”

“The police found an empty syringe next to the bed and a baggie filled with what they told you was probably some new designer street drug.”

“Yes, but—”

“There were no signs of physical violence. Your cousin was not beaten or shot or stabbed. There was no indication that she’d had sex before she died. But ten thousand dollars and her laptop and phone are missing.”

“Maybe she was set up,” Daniel said quickly. “Maybe someone slipped something into her drink and then tried to make it look like an overdose.”

There were no empty glasses sitting around, but Max decided not to mention that. It was possible, after all, that the killer could have taken time to wash a couple of glasses before leaving.

“What else did the cops say?” he asked.

Daniel’s eyes narrowed a little. “They didn’t actually say it, but it was pretty clear they think that Louise brought home the wrong guy. I think their theory is that she and her bad date did drugs and Louise OD’d. The bastard probably panicked. Instead of calling nine-one-one, he grabbed her tech, searched for any stashes of drugs she might have hidden, and then split. And that’s the most charitable scenario because it doesn’t include the missing ten grand.”

“What’s the other scenario?”

Daniel exhaled heavily. “It was suggested that Louise might have been working off the books as a high-end call girl. Drugs are often part of that lifestyle, they said. The conclusion would be the same—she OD’d and the client stole her tech and maybe her drugs, as well. Except that I know she wasn’t doing drugs, she was not hooking and she wasn’t laundering money for some dealer.”

“Tell me about Louise and why you’re so sure she wasn’t into drugs and prostitution.”

Daniel shoved his fingers through his hair. “She was my cousin, but I didn’t see much of her until she was in her teens. She was raised back east. Her father died when she was just a little kid. Her mother married an asshole who molested Louise for a couple of years. When Louise’s mother found out what was going on, she thought Louise was lying. But eventually she realized the truth. She divorced the creep and she and Louise moved out here to Washington. But Louise’s mom told her that she shouldn’t ever talk about the abuse.”

“That advice usually backfires.”

“Yeah. Louise was pretty messed up when she was younger, but none of the rest of us knew why at the time.”

“Was she into drugs at some point in her past?” Max asked.

Daniel reddened angrily and looked as if he was going to deny it.

“For a while,” he said finally. “In her late teens. She ran away from home a few times and finally just disappeared into the streets for months. I’m not saying she didn’t hook or sell drugs to survive in those days. It was a bad time and I think everyone in the family just wrote her off as a lost cause. Looking back on it, I feel guilty because I didn’t do more to help her.”

“She was several years older than you, which means you were just a kid at the time,” Max pointed out. “There wasn’t anything you could have done.”

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