Chapter 34 The Long Shadow of Doubt

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Jerry frowned and his jaw tightened. "Yes it's my army pistol."

"Rompier acccosted you Friday night about your alleged relationship with Loretta Newcastle. He insulted and antagonized you. Rompier was shot with this gun sometime between 11 o'clock this morning and when Miss Lake found him at 12:15. Mr. Tannenbaum, you claim you were alone on the waterfront at that time."

"He was there," Miss Snupter said. "I was walking along the waterfront and I saw Jerry Tannenbaum."

Victoria turned to Miss Snupter and said softly, "I'm sorry, Miss Snupter, but that won't work. Whether you like it or not, Jerry Tannenbaum doesn't have an alibi for either murder."

Elsbeth Snupter's mouth opened for a moment then it closed.

"But even if he hasn't got an alibi," Mrs. Kent objected, "that gun went missing days ago. The housekeeper mentioned it to me after she cleaned the bedrooms on Monday. She specifically said that she had noticed that Mr. Tannenbaum pistol wasn't in his nightstand anymore."

Riggs nodded. "But whoever murdered Rompier knew about this gun."

Mrs. Kent frowned. "That's very logical of you, Inspector. But it wasn't me, and since it's been missing for a while it hardly matters."

Woodrow turned to his mother. "You knew Jerry had a firearm in my home? And you never mentioned it? Mother, I'm a pacifist!"

Mrs. Kent turned her nose up defiantly. "I'm your mother, Woodrow, not your personal informant!"

Riggs said, "Mr. Kent, are you saying that you had no idea your secretary owned a gun?"

Woodrow took off his glasses and began cleaning them with his handkerchief. "I am entitled to my principles, Inspector. I don't approve of firearms."

"That may be," Riggs acknowledged, "but this is your house and you may have known it was here. In fact, you may have used it yourself."

Woodrow quickly put his glasses on. "Me? Why would I shoot Bernard?"

Riggs shrugged. "Maybe because you believed he murdered the woman you loved."

"I wasn't in love with Loretta!"

"But whoever murdered Rompier," Bremer interrupted, "knew about that gun. And I certainly didn't know anything about it, so it must be one of you."

"Not necessarily," Victoria said. "Rompier himself may have taken it. We know he searched Jerry's pockets last Friday. He may have searched Jerry's room as well. If Rompier took the gun, anyone who visited him could have seen it and used it."

Roger Bremer cleared his throat. "Well, I had no reason to visit him. I deal in traditional art—real art-- not jazz music! And besides, I hardly knew the man."

"But you were present on the night of Loretta's murder," Riggs reminded him. "If you murdered Loretta and Rompier figured it out, he may have threatened you and you may have shot him."

Roger Bremer huffed indignantly and began whipping his forehead with his handkerchief.

The inspector continued. "Bernard Rompier telephoned Miss Lake this morning and told her he knew who the murderer was."

Everyone turned to Hattie.

"Did Bernard say who it was?" Woodrow asked.

Hattie shook her head.

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