Chapter 13 Fishing for Answers

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Victoria and Riggs found Hattie as she was walking towards the docks at the Shilshole Bay Marina. She was with Jerry, who was carrying a box of fishing tackle and a picnic basket. Hattie had two fishing poles and a bucket. She was wearing a cardigan, trousers that were rolled up at the ankles, and her hair was tied into a pony tail with a scarf.

"Hello, Inspector," Jerry said in a friendly voice. "I was just telling Hattie that it's bound to start raining the second we cast out. What do you think?"

Inspector Riggs looked over the marina. The overcast gray sky covered the wide blue sound and the far foothills of the Olympic Mountains. "Likely as not."

"Hattie told me how kind you and Mrs. Forester were to her last night," Jerry said to Victoria as he shook her hand. Then he looked them both us and down. "Since you forgot your poles, I'm guessing this isn't a chance meeting of fishermen."

"I'm afraid not," Riggs said. "Mr. Kent told me you were here. And I was hoping to have a quick word with Miss Lake."

"Not for too long, I hope," Jerry said. "It's taken me all morning to convince Hattie to get out of the house. When tragedy strikes, it's important to try to keep busy."

"I'm doing my best," Hattie said. "But I didn't sleep very well last night. Actually, I wouldn't have minded going to work today. At least, it would have been a good distraction."

"Where do you work, Miss Lake?" Victoria asked.

"I'm a tour guide for Canfield's City Bus Tours. I'm the girl who sits at the front of the bus with a microphone to point out all the sites. Of course, this is the slow season."

Jerry turned to Hattie. "Since the inspector wants to talk to you, I'll go ahead and get the boat set up."

Hattie nodded and Jerry picked up their gear and the poles.

"Before you go, Mr. Tannenbaum," Riggs asked. "Are those your only pair of boots?"

"They sure are," Jerry said as he looked down at his feet. "I bought them at the Lake Union Fishing and Tackle last spring." He lifted his right foot and bent his knee so Riggs could see the treads. "Does that help or should I take them off?"

Riggs smiled. "Thank you, Mr. Tannenbaum."

Jerry smiled as he turned to the dock. "And try not to keep her too long," he called back, "We only have about an hour to fish."

Hattie glanced at her watch. "There's a party tonight at the Art Museum," she explained. "Personally, I don't' feel like going, but Jerry thinks Loretta would have wanted me to carry on."

They decided that coffee was in order and that the little marina shop was their only hope. It was barely more than a shack and it was filled to the brim with fishing and boating paraphernalia. The bare wooden floor planks creaked with every step. It smelled of rubber, salt, and motor oil. They ordered three cups and took them outside to the wooden picnic table outside.

Riggs set his hat on the table. "Were you and your cousin very close, Miss Lake?"

Hattie took off her sweater and sipped her coffee. "Yes, since she and Clyde move back to Seattle last year, we had been seeing quite a lot of each other. Before that, we mostly only saw each other on holidays. Loretta was usually away and school."

Victoria asked gently, "Do you happen to know what legal grounds she used when she filed for the divorce?"

Hattie shook her head. "She mentioned it once but we were at a party and I didn't quite catch it. I think it had something to do with Clyde's past. She said something about him almost going to jail or something. I'm sorry, I just don't remember. I know he wanted it kept a secret, but Loretta said it would help her get the divorce."

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