Chapter 15 Clams, Critics & Cons

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"I could wait," Amy suggested as she turned onto Jackson Street.

Michael Riggs shook his head. He never liked to work on Sundays anyway, but he especially didn't like to mix his family with his work.

"I'd prefer to walk," he said. "Besides, if you drop me off at the pergola, I'll be able to have a look around the neighborhood."

From the backseat, their oldest daughter eyed him suspiciously. "Dad, are you trying to keep me from seeing the murderer?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I am trying to keep my family away from murderers." Lately, Rosie had been taking a keen interest in her father's work, and he didn't entirely like it. Amy had assured him that Rosie just wanted to have something impressive to tell her friends at school, but it still made him weary.

Rosie leaned forward and rested her elbows across the bench seat between her parents. "I really don't mind going with you, Daddy," she suggested sweetly. "I won't say anything at all and I'll even pretend I don't know you. The murderer will think I'm just a normal person."

Michael Riggs pushed the brim of his hat up so that it slid an inch back on his head. "Listen Rosie, First of all, I don't know who the murderer is yet. I'm just talking to folks to get more information. Second, you have to go help your mom with the digging or we won't have enough clams for the chowder."

Rosie huffed with disappointment and flopped herself onto the seat. "I'd be a great detective," she moaned immaturely. "Girls always make the best detectives anyway! Just look at that lady who solved that case for you last summer. She was a woman and she figured it out when no one else could."

"That's right," Riggs said turning around to face her, "and when you're grown up you can be a detective if you really want to, but right now your job is to go to school and do your chores without grumbling."

Rosie crossed her arms and grumbled, "Anything's more fun than digging up stinky clams."

"That's enough," Amy said pleasantly but firmly. Rosie huffed and accepted defeat by laying down on the back seat.

Amy pulled the old brown Plymouth over to the curb and stopped in front of the Tlingit totem pole. "Here you are, Sir, Pioneer Square."

Riggs kissed his wife, straightened his hat, and got out of the car.

"Should I pick you up later?" Amy asked.

He opened the umbrella. "No, thanks. I'll catch the bus. I'll try to be home by two-thirty, but don't wait for me." He tapped on the window glass of the back seat and Rosie sat up. "Don't forget, Rosie. If you get a gooey duck, I'll give you a silver dollar."

Rosie beamed. She bounded into the front seat with her mother and the car drove away.

Riggs pulled out his notebook and checked the address. Pioneer Square was one of the city's oldest neighborhoods. The tree-lined streets weren't quiet charming enough to offset the run down brick buildings nor the patches of streets that were exposing cobblestones from the last century. Every time Riggs passed under a tree the steady drizzle on his umbrella was replaced with a few engorged drops of rain.

Despite its old-world appearance, the neighborhood wasn't exactly the nicest part of town. The unrespectable businesses of Seattle's early logging days had left Pioneer Square with a mixed collection of flop houses, taverns, and pawn shops.

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