A Woman In A Spotless Kitchen
Shakespeare: My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man, ...
That function is smothered in surmise, And nothing is but what is not.
Monday, who enjoys Monday? The first day of the week that starts the early mornings and the late work hours. The twenty-four hour period that everyone wishes for time to roll back to Saturday. Mondays were always the worst, especially if the day started horribly wrong...which was the case for Allison Dale...
There was a knock on the glass, behind it a familiar face. Henry smiled, getting up from where he was playing chess with his son. They had woken up really early since Abe had a shipment of antiques coming in at the break of dawn.
"Henry. We've got a case, let's go." Jo said, staying outside, in a rush to leave. She had an investigation to attend to.
"Good morning to you too Detective." Henry smirked, putting on his jacket. "Couldn't have just called me?" The doctor mused, shutting the door behind him as he bid his son goodbye.
"I came to pick you up personally since it's faster this way. Also, I'm surprised you're awake, it's five thirty in the morning. I was anticipating seeing you all drowsy and in a state of grogginess." Jo had assumed, getting into the car.
"I guess I am unpredictable." Henry replied, sitting in the passenger seat.
"Your actions are defiantly surprising at times, but the word unpredictable doesn't exactly suit you." Jo replied, an entertaining look on her face, enjoying his company.
"Really? Care to elaborate?" Henry asked incredulously, smirking.
"For example, you always dress posh and gentlemanly, always carry a pocket watch, wear a scarf, get to work for 8:35 A.M sharp, on many occasions get yourself into imminent trouble or danger―" The driver listed, counting with her fingers on her free hand (the one not on the steering wheel), stopping at five since Henry shushed her.
"I get your point detective, I did not want that much elaboration, but it seems I am worthy to be called predictable. However, I do not know if that is a complement just yet." Henry pondered.
"It is...mostly." Jo answered, trying to say it the nicest way possible. Half succeeding.
"Now, what is our destination?" The awaiting doctor inquired, wondering what the cause of mortality might be and if it was an accident, medical issue, suicide...or homicide. Too many possible deaths to think of. Almost anything could have been used as a deadly weapon, it only depended on how it was used. Overdose, drowning, blunt force trauma, asphyxiation, poisoning, strangulation, cancers, and many more were the causes of casualty every day. All it took to solve the scattered puzzle was to glue all the pieces together by strategically observing the surroundings and autopsying the body.
The dead always had a story, a reason why, along with clues written hypothetically all over them. Fitting everything together, that's what Henry loved...the mystery. But most of all, it was solving it and letting the dead rest in peace, and the family members accept what they had lost. Being a medical examiner allowed to consult murder cases never got boring and Henry guessed it helped him a lot to remain sane. He was also content that Jo's job had the same advantage. But, she had only became immortal two weeks ago.
The detective answered Henry question. "5th Avenue. House number..." She checked a yellow post-it inside her jean pocket, to make sure. "645. I hear it's quite a nice upper-class neighbourhood. Safe, but I guess not safe enough." Jo shrugged, like she was thinking of another case she had worked on in the past, braking at a traffic light.
"Indeed. Crimes are executed everywhere since everyone has problems they want to keep hidden, especially secrets." Henry added, glancing at the approving detective. They both understood the meaning of secrets. The conversation prevailed, Henry chatting, centering ron his abnormal facts and topics from both his strange and historical area of knowledge; starting from micro parasites in elephant dung and ending at where he was the day John F. Kennedy was shot. Jo barely listened, only nodding a few times.
They arrived outside the crime scene. Numerous people went in and out of the condo; police men, photographers and a few forensic scientists waiting for the medical examiner to come and rule the body as a homicide, or not. If so, they would have to dust for fingerprints, analyse the whole apartment for evidence, and bring the body to the Medical Examiner's office.
"Detective Martinez, homicide. Where's the body?" Jo asked a policeman, holding up her badge and heading inside the house.
"In the kitchen ma'am." The cop said, staying in the front of the door, and not letting Henry pass before knowing who he was.
"Doctor Morgan, medical examiner. Now please, I have a body to examine." Henry said showing his I.D. The cop nodded, letting him in.
The condo was spacious and big, having three floors. Cream walls accommodated many pictures of paintings and photos. A few with a woman with short light hazelnut hair alongside a darker haired man.
The duo entered the kitchen which was connected to a small salon that had a two piece couch and a television. The kitchen was stainless steel and a large marble countertop fitted with a stove and dishwasher was placed in the middle of it. The area was spotless...except for the dead woman strewn on the floor.
Henry squatted next to the body, putting some latex gloves on and figuring out how she died. If the victim didn't have any physical markers of death, he would have to do an autopsy in the lab for more information whether it was a suicide or a homicide.
Martinez went up to the main police officer on the scene. "Who's the victim...Mr.?"
The man shifted through a notepad. "The name's Hudson. The victim is one Allison Dale. She was found by her husband Anthony Dale. She's...uh...a wedding planner." The patrol officer finished.
"That's it?" Jo asked rather annoyed.
"I was waiting to see the cause of death. Don't want to waste my time asking questions if this is just an accident or a suicide." The lazy man countered.
"Officer, this is a murder, so this is Detective Martinez's case from now on." Henry called from the body, telling the cop. Jo went next to the M.E, knowing he was going explain the how.
Henry bent extremely close to the face of the body, smelling inside the dead woman's mouth, people around him had disgusted and uncomfortable faces. That happened a lot with Henry around, Jo seemed used to it by now. "Don't you smell that?" Henry questioned, motioning for his partner to smell. Reluctantly, she sniffed, but at a farther distance. Henry seemed too close with his corpses.
"Don't I smell...burnt almonds?" Jo pondered, not sure. Almonds had a difficult sent to detect.
"Precisely detective. And if I do a toxicology screen, I would find cyanide in her system. Quite a lot of it." Henry said.
"You know she was poisoned by cyanide just by her morning breath?" The officer inquired, laughing. He did not know how good Henry really was.
"Of course, you can smell bitter or burnt almonds in the mouth if cyanide has been ingested. Also, look at her neck. There are numerous scratches on her neck and her blouse is quite dishevelled which means she had respiratory failure, and lifted her hands to her neck to try and breathe." Henry explained, showing where she would have put her hands.
"I guess this is the murder weapon. Death by poisonous tea." Jo said, picking up an empty blue china teacup from the marble countertop with her gloved hands, then talking to one of the medical assistants. "Bag it and test it."
"But are you sure it's murder? There wasn't any struggle or anything." Jo inquired
"Yes. Cyanide can be deadly in five minutes, and even before that you fall unconscious. Everything shuts down one by one. Allison didn't even have time to fight with her murderer. If she wanted to kill herself why would she have struggled so much?" Henry asked Jo, still believing it was a homicide.
"What about those bruises on her body?" Jo asked, pointing to a few on her arms and legs.
"They were made by the convulsions she had before falling unconscious." Henry answered.
Jo went to one of the crime scene investigators. "Did you find any suicide note? Or anything of importance?"
"No note, but we found a few different finger prints and hairs. We'll get them tested." The woman said, going back to work.
"Thanks." She went back to talking with Henry. "So you sure it's a murder?" Jo asked once again, needing him to be positively sure.
"To be one hundred percent sure, I'll do an autopsy. But, no one would want to kill themselves with cyanide, it's extremely painful, shooting herself in the head would have been a much better option." Henry winked at her. "Trust me."
Jo smirked, understanding what he meant. He then added, "It couldn't have been an accident. Who accidently puts cyanide into their morning tea?"
"No one. I checked the kettle, the water wasn't hot anymore, so I can tell you that she wasn't killed this morning." Jo told him. "Do you think she was killed in the evening?"
"Can't say yet. I'll have to figure out her body temperature. "Henry answered, going back to his examination.
After ten minutes, he got interrupted. "Doctor Morgan, can we take the body back to the lab?" A man asked.
"Yes, I can do everything else there." He responded, then looking at Jo. "I'll see you later and tell you my findings." He then went with the body to the New York Medical Examiner's office.
Martinez stayed, trying to understand the victim and the reason for the murderer's involvement. She suspected Allison probably knew her killer since the house hadn't been broken into. The door was actually locked. And the murderer already knew his intentions on killing the victim since nobody carried cyanide around with them. She now needed to talk to the husband.
"She had a husband named Anthony. Where is he?" Jo asked one of the uniformed policemen.
"He was really shaken up and said he didn't want to answer any questions yet, so we let him leave and he gave us the address of a friend he was going to stay with. He looked devastated."
"Can you give it to me?" Jo asked taking out a pen and paper and giving it to the officer.
"Sure." The man wrote the address.
"Remember to search thoroughly for evidence. I'm going to go speak with the husband and see if he knows anything." The detective said, walking out of the crime scene and loading the address into the GPS. She wanted to take Henry with her to question the husband, but she knew he had an autopsy to fulfill and it didn't only take half an hour to finish. So, she went to question Anthony Dale by herself.
The address was only a few blocks from the Dale's residency. Parking, she went up to the front door and rang the doorbell, waiting patiently. A late thirty-ish dark brown haired man around 5'9 opened up, who looked like the person in the pictures she had noticed at the victim's house.
"I'm a homicide detective with the NYPD. Is there an Anthony Dale here?" The woman asked flashing her badge for the second time that day.
"Um...yeah...that's me." Mr. Dale made a pained face, surly knowing why Martinez was there. "Oh, come in." He opened the door wide, letting the detective inside. "My friend is still at work, so it's just me here. I had the spare key." His voice sounded strained.
"I'm sorry for your loss." Before she could continue the husband bellowed something wavering off topic.
"She didn't kill herself! Alli would never do that to me. We had a happy life!" He balled his fists tight, sitting down on the sofa.
"I never indicated she did Mr. Dale." Jo said with a calm voice.
"Please, call me Tony." Anthony sighed, breathing slower.
"We don't need to do this now if you need more time, but can you tell me what happened? When was the last time you saw your wife?" Jo sat down next to him, all ears.
Tony ran his hand through his hair, depressed. "Last night, I saw her last night." He paused for a moment trying to continue. "I came home from work, we ate dinner together. I...decided to go for a jog around eight since I like to stay in shape. I'm a gym teacher."
"Didn't you come home yesterday night? How could you have not seen her after that?" Jo inquired. He couldn't have slept through his wife being poisoned by a killer.
"Wait, there's more. On my way home, I get a call from my pal Johnny, asking if I wanted to hang out. I said yes, so I came here, staying till four thirty in the morning." Mr. Dale tapped the couch, strained voice never leaving his vocal cords.
"You were there all night, came home and found your wife. Didn't you call her? Tell her where you were?" Jo asked, trying to answer all her unanswered questions.
"No I didn't. Must have forgot." Mr. Dale stated loudly, putting his guard up; a sure sign that he was hiding something. Jo let it go, knowing she couldn't get anywhere if she were to make him angry. Jo hated it when people lied to her.
"Sure." She responded, showing small signs of sarcasm, which the husband didn't pick up on.
"Tony, I have to ask you this, but do you know anyone who would have wanted to kill your wife? Maybe a co-worker or an ex-boyfriend?" Jo waited, letting the husband ponder for a moment. In his state, she knew it was hard for him to think.
"No, absolutely not. Everybody loved her. She was nice to everyone." Tony shook his head. "We've been married twelve years, I know my wife. But she's dead anyway." He slumped his shoulders, putting his face into his palms.
"Thank you. That's all for now. I recommend you not to leave town, and I'm going to have to speak with your friend...Johnny is it?" Jo spoke, getting up from the seat.
"Yeah. Johnny Milano, I'll give you his number." He gave the detective a piece of paper. Before giving it he added. "Just to put it out in the open. I did not kill my wife, because I know you see me as a suspect." He menaced, but didn't offend Jo in any way.
"I'll keep that in mind Mr. Dale. As I said, don't leave town." She replied with also an intimidating tone, giving her the last word.
She strode into the quiet street, ready to go back to the precinct and write her findings down somewhere observable (on a white board), but her phone rang indicating that it was Henry.
"Doctor Morgan, find anything?" She said with a playful tone.
"When have I not? There are a few things extra I have found for you since I have finished a complete autopsy on the victim." The Englishman said with a proud tone.
"I'll be there in ten." She ended the call, heading directly to the place that stored many overly chilled corpses.
What Henry had found was probably useful and positively linking the victim to a murderous