Harlan Granger was first and foremost a detective, but that didn’t mean he didn’t want to be in a relationship. He didn’t have a lot of free time to look for a girlfriend, and most women that he knew weren’t interested in dating a police officer. His ex-girlfriends said that they didn’t like worrying about him when he was at work, or his long work hours. Despite assuring them that they had nothing to worry about, they all bailed on him using a similar excuse.
Now he had a huge murder investigation going on, and the very interesting and beautiful Dixie Carver. For once the shoe was on the other foot – his love interest was more in danger than he was.
While he was 99% sure that she wasn’t the killer, he couldn’t figure out what she had done that attracted such trouble. Did she have another secret life that she hid from friends and family? Did she owe a loan shark money? Maybe her crazy ex-boyfriend had decided that if he couldn’t have her, no one could.
The facts of the case were simple: the murder victim had been an older woman who had been a long time customer of Beauty Maven Cosmetics. Miss Holly was a new client of Dixie Carver. Why someone wanted to hurt Miss Holly, or Dixie was anyone’s guess.
When he went to work that day, he had no idea what would be waiting for him at the office.
Chief Beauregard was sitting in his office chair, and he didn’t look too happy.
“Morning Harlan,” he said. He was holding a cup of coffee with one hand, and a newspaper was in the other. “Have you seen the morning paper?”
“No, I just got here,” Harlan said. “What’s up?
“The Beauty Maven case is in the news again. Who is talking about it to the press? I sure hope it isn’t you,” Beauregard said, raising one eyebrow.
“No sir, it wasn’t me. I want to get this case solved as soon as we can. I wouldn’t jeopardize it by talking to the press,” Harlan said, not blinking.
“Someone is giving away information that only we should know. The person told the press about the pink lipstick kiss on the victim’s cheeks. They’ve dubbed the murderer the ‘Killer Kisser’ now,” Beauregard said.
“What? That’s the dumbest name I’ve ever heard,” Harlan said.
“We need to find out who the leak is,” Beauregard said. “I want you to talk to the person who wrote this article, and find out who it is.”
“Sir, I can’t believe it is anyone at the station, or at the morgue,” Harlan said.
“You’d be surprised at how many people want to be the center of attention during a murder investigation,” Beauregard said, standing. “Get me the information and call me when you find out who is behind it.”
Chief Beauregard slapped the paper down in his chair and walked out of the office without a backward glance.
Just then Officer Thompson tapped on the door and walked in. “What was that all about?” he asked.
“Someone has been leaking details about the Beauty Maven case to the press. Please tell me it wasn’t you,” Harlan said.
“Hell no! You know I wouldn’t do that, don’t you?” Thompson asked with a hurt expression on his face.
“Yeah, of course I know it wasn’t you. I just can’t imagine who would spill the beans during an investigation,” Harlan replied. “It could be anyone involved with the investigation, including anyone working at the morgue.”
“What are you going to do?” Thompson asked.
“For starters, I have to call the reporter and find out who gave them the information, that is assuming they will tell me,” Harlan said.
“Should I go drop off the food at the cabin? I don’t have anything to do this morning, aside from writing parking tickets,” Thompson said. Greenlea probably would like to go home and change since he stayed at the cabin overnight.
“Sure, go ahead and order some food for the gang. Tell Dixie and Angie I’ll stop by later, okay?” Harlan said.
“No problem. I’ll let the ladies know,” Thompson said before leaving.
Satisfied that Dixie and Angie were taken care of, Harlan turned on his computer and began searching for the newspaper’s police blotter phone number. Once he found it, he quickly punched in the numbers and waited for someone to answer.
“News desk,” the man’s voice said unenthusiastically.
“Officer Granger from the Friendship Police Department. I’m looking for the person who wrote the police blotter on the ‘Killer Kisser.’ The byline says A. Stuart,” Harlan said.
“Please hold. I’ll transfer you,” the man said, cutting Harlan off before he could say another word.
Another phone rang, and a woman answered.
“Amanda Stuart, how can I help you?” she asked.
“This is Officer Granger from the Friendship Police Department. Did you write the article on the ‘Killer Kisser’?” he asked.
“Um, yes I did. Why?” Amanda asked.
“Where did you get the information about the pink lipstick kiss mark on the victim’s cheek? We didn’t release it to the press,” Harlan asked.
“Well, that was a tip we received. It came from a reliable source too,” Amanda replied.
“Who was your ‘reliable source,’” Harlan demanded.
“I don’t have to reveal my sources,” Amanda countered defensively.
“You do if I say you do,” Harlan said. He knew that he had overstepped the line, but he hoped he could intimidate her.
“Look, Officer Granger, I didn’t just fall off of the turnip truck. I don’t have to reveal my sources, and there is nothing you can do about it,” Amanda said, smirking.
“We will see about that,” Harlan said.
“Feel free to talk to my editor,” Amanda said, and then she hung up on him.
“Nice,” Harlan said to his dead phone.
Harlan then dialed Chief Beauregard’s office. He picked it up on the first ring.
“Chief, this is Granger,” Harlan said.
“What’s up, Granger? Did you find out who the leak is?” he asked.
“Unfortunately, no. Amanda Stuart is refusing to tell me who gave her the information. She was a real charmer too, and hung up on me after telling me to talk to her editor,” Harlan said.
“Sounds like you’re losing your touch,” Beauregard said. “We’re probably chasing our tails with her and the paper. Ms. Stuart doesn’t have to reveal her sources, at least for now.”
“How do you want me to handle this?” Harlan asked.
“Only the people investigating this case should know any of the details going forward. Need to know basis only. If you have any questions, come to me first,” Beauregard said.
“I’m hoping that we catch the ‘Killer Kisser’ before they find another victim,” Harlan said. “You can count on my men to keep the investigation in house.”
“Ditto. I thought working in a smaller town would be easier, not like my hometown of Chicago. Boy, was I wrong,” Beauregard said. “Well, I’ve got work to do, and you’ve got a mystery to solve.”
“Roger that,” Harlan said, and then he hung up.
Harlan was annoyed with the case, and he was angry with the reporter. He felt sorry for Dixie and Louie, and he prayed that no one would get a chance to hurt them.
What he wanted to do at that moment was to punch the killer straight in the proverbial kisser.