Heidi, Geek Girl Detective

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Chapter 7: Conspirators

By the time I got home, it was almost seven and Peter had already collapsed on the couch for the evening. I bounced back out the door with a “Off to fix a friend’s computer. Be back later.” I felt bad for fibbing to him but it was better that he didn’t know. Although, if I didn’t come back, it would be nice if he knew where to look for the body. He didn’t even say good-bye.

Alexy was meeting me at a coffee shop a little south of our apartment. As I drove down Delridge towards Fauntleroy, I saw a lot of new construction. It looked like this part of town was gentrifying. After this project and hopefully a promotion, I should look into buying something down here. In the midst of the houses and brick apartment buildings, I noticed a big dirt lot with a one-story building next to it. A black and orange wooden sign on the sidewalk advertised “Le Voleur” with a pictogram of a coffee cup below it.

As I pulled into the dirt lot, I spotted a black Lincoln Navigator in the back. Sitting against the front bumper was Alexy in expensive-looking jeans and an olive polo. I pulled up beside him and hopped out. He shook my hand, smiling. “Ah, you made it. Coffee?”

I declined and Alexy responded by lifting a cup with a large head of whipped cream. He took a drink and then wiped away the white flecks clinging to his lips. “Sure? Love this place, they make good latte.”

I shook my head and said, “No, I’d be up all night.”

“Not me” he said with a big goofy grin, “Let’s go, yes.”

I climbed into his massive SUV. Alexy slid into the leather seats and turned the engine over. The stereo system immediately kicked in with something loud and twangy. Alexy grinned and turned it down about one or two decibels before launching the vehicle out of the dirt lot.

He steered with the right hand while his left cupped the latte. It made me nervous when someone else drove—and Alexy’s breakneck pace didn’t help. This suburban part of town was quiet, but he drove as if he was rushing a bleeding victim to the hospital. I realized I was gripping the seatbelt with both hands.

As he drove, he casually chatted with me about the Mariners and the hopes he had for Ichiro. During the pauses of his happy baseball monologue, he turned his head from the road to take long slurps from his latte. My side of the conversation consisted of pointing out pedestrians for him to dodge.

We went maybe two miles south, deep into the slightly-ghetto neighborhood of White Center. We pulled up at a paint-peeled building in a row of paint-peeled buildings. The bottom floor windows were all covered with cheap-mirrored vinyl that sagged down at the tops of the glass. Alexy got out and stalked towards the building. I unclenched and climbed down out the Navigator. He fumbled with a jangling mess of keys and cranked one into the lock. I gently shut the car door and padded after him.

We climbed a creaky row of wooden stairs to the second floor. A dimly lit hallway featured one of those ancient porcelain water fountains that we used back in grade school. Alexy pounded down the hall and rapped at the glass of a door at the end, then turned the knob and entered. I followed.

It was a small office with a desk and dozens of large boxes of laser toner stacked against the far wall. There were two men in the room, both smoking. One was middle-aged and balding, with heavy-rimmed glasses. The other was maybe college age, with a severe buzz cut. Alexy introduced the older one as Andy and the younger one as Nick. I wondered if Nick got his name from the weird scar across the back of his hand. Maybe he had a problem in wood-shop as a kid? Then again, maybe not. Andy had on crisp slacks and a dress shirt with a khaki tie, which made him look like a PRB manager. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Nick was in a worn denim shirt and Chinos. Everyone had better shoes than me.

Nick slouched on one of the toner boxes while Andy sat behind the desk. Alexy put his arm on my back and introduced me as “Heidi the computer wizard.” I smiled weakly as the two of them looked me over, lingering on the usual spots of male interest.

Andy slid a drawer out, and put a laptop on the desk. He casually tossed a few CDs on top. “We need you to set up Internet to this.”

Before I could answer, Alexy piped up with a “She can do it, no problem.” He emphasized his point with a thumbs-up sign.

As I inched towards the desk, Andy threw me a smile and vacated the chair. I eased into the chair and turned on the laptop. It was a Windows box, kid’s stuff to set up. As the startup sequences scrolled by, I thumbed through the CDs. They appeared to be home-burned copies of various software packages, no labels except some Sharpie writing on the front. Most likely pirated wares.

Nick pulled out a cigarette and flicked open a fat silver Zippo while Alexy bummed a smoke from him. The laptop’s software set up looked pretty vanilla. Andy came back to the desk and reached down by my knee. I flinched reflexively, but he just pulled open the bottom left drawer. He retrieved a little television the size of a paperback. I kept my eyes fixed on the laptop as he closed the drawer and walked back to the two other men. The TV lit up to the Huskies game.

One of the CDs had the hand-written word “Glenda” on it. I loaded the disk into the laptop and it contained a standard Internet service provider installer program. I leaned aside and called to the boys, “Hey, is this Glenda-network the thing what you want me to use?”

Alexy answered by pointing his cigarette in my direction with a quick “You got it, Wizard.”

It took me about ten minutes to get it all loaded. I looked but there was no phone cable to connect the laptop to the wall jack. I opened the top drawer to check but I found nothing but a box of letter-sized envelopes. Andy jerked his head towards me. “Hey, what you need there?”

“Cable?”

Andy hustled over, closed the drawer and then opened the bottom right one. Inside was a small yellow athletic bag. On top of the bag sat a jumble of power cables and other assorted laptop accessories. I pointed gingerly at the phone cable. He nodded and I took it. He closed the drawer for me and walked back to watch the game. Sheesh.

I plugged in the phone cable and ran the Internet connection script. Voila, it worked perfectly. I wondered why they needed me for this. “Alexy? Internet connection is good.”

Alexy walked over and looked down at the laptop screen. I opened an Internet browser and surfed over to the Slashdot web site. As the green and white lettering materialized on the screen, Alexy grinned. “Very good. Now, can you show me hacking?” He put his hands on the keyboard and randomly tapped away, laughing.

My response was merely “uh?” Alexy continued laughing and raised his hands, “Never mind, I’m sure you only save that for special people, eh? Anyway, good job!”

He patted me on the back so hard I was sure my vertebrae had been bruised. I suppose this was a good sign, but this was too easy. Maybe this was an easy legal way to get me roped in. The nasty stuff could come later. I vacated the chair and stretched my legs. It had only been about fifteen minutes but my clenched muscles made it feel like hours.

Andy trotted over and reached down to pull open that right drawer again. This time the athletic bag came out and was plopped onto the desk. With a quick snap of the wrist, he undid the zipper. Inside, it was filled with thick white envelopes. Andy casually removed an envelope. It was stuffed full of cash.

I exchanged glances with Alexy, who gave me a big grin. Andy handed me four bills. As I gingerly accepted the money from his palm, he placed his other hand on top of mine. The sudden clutching of my hand shocked me. He smiled and squeezed my hand before releasing it. None of this was making me too comfortable.

Alexy walked me back downstairs and drove me back to Voleur. During the drive back, I finally looked at the four bills that Andy gave me. They were fifties.

It was much darker now and I barely noticed the surroundings. As Alexy pulled up in front of the coffee shop, he said, “Thank you for helping my business associates. If you like, we do more work together.” I said nothing and slid down the seat to the sidewalk below. I caught myself saying “You’re welcome” and Alexy sped off.

———

I wasn’t ready to head home. After that visit with Alexy and the dash through the building earlier, I really needed chocolate. I decided to see if Alexy was right, so I walked into Le Voleur.

It was a cozy place with round cafe tables adorned with couples quietly chatting and sharing thick wedges of rustic pies. The overstuffed couch in the back held a clutch of students engrossed in their textbooks and big neon highlighters.

I ordered my fix from the tall blond working the register. She quickly made my drink and didn’t spoil it with whipped cream. She even squiggled a flower pattern in the milk foam with the chocolate syrup. Cute.

Sweet and rich, the cocoa was just what I needed. I tossed an extra dollar in the change jar and headed to my car. I could get to like this place.

As I rolled home, I realized this was the first moment of peace and quiet I’d had all day. It gave me time to ponder. Alicia had interesting relatives. I wondered if she had done computer work for these guys. Seemed unlikely though: she wasn’t a techie—just another user. However, Alexy’s friends didn’t have sophisticated needs.

I returned home to the apartment and found a semi-decent parking spot. I swallowed the last of my drink as I walked through the lot. As I passed by the large garbage containers in front of the apartment complex, I hooked the empty cup high over the fence into the bin. Two points.

The warmness of the drink seeped into my body. Lifting my legs up the stairs to my apartment took most of my remaining strength. Opening the door, I found Peter still on the couch, watching TV. He turned his head to acknowledge me and then settled back to the screen.

I shucked my fleece jacket and snuggled into Peter. We didn’t exchange a word. I just cradled my head into his shoulder. He put his arm around me.

I didn’t sleep, but I didn’t follow the TV either. The pictures just flickered by while the sound bounced around inside my head. The warmth and firmness of Peter pressed against my side was the only thing that mattered.

Around ten, Peter looked down to make sure I was still awake. I smiled lazily at him and he turned off the television. We both rose and quietly padded off to bed.

———

It was dark when I awoke. I slipped on my glasses and the red blur by the table focused into 4:13 AM. It was the third time I’d woken up. I figured I might as well give up.

I inched out from under the covers and slipped out of the bedroom. The chill numbed my limbs. I was just in a t-shirt and underwear. As I sat down at the computer, I flinched at the cold seat under me. While my machine booted up, I grabbed a blanket off the back of the couch. The dark living room became illuminated by the blue glow of the monitor. The buzz of the cathode ray tube and the grind of the drive seemed uncomfortably loud in the still apartment, but Peter snored on from down the hall.

The DVD I made in the duplicator fit neatly into my drive. I opened the contents and found the standard PRB desktop suite of software. Yep, this disk belonged to user A.Lyons. Rubin must have swapped it the day her body was discovered.

Her PRB e-mail inbox was there, but I found nothing significant. I scanned deeper into the contents of the browser’s cache folder. There was a nice record of all the Internet web sites Alicia visited.

There was a trace from a stock trading website. Maybe she wanted to invest some money? Scrolling around, I saw saved pages from her visit to an Internet travel agency. It looked like she was booking a trip up to Canada. The reservations were for a few days at a hotel in Victoria, British Columbia.

There was also a leftover map file in her cache folder. She must have looked up an address on the Internet and saved the map. I opened the map file. It was north of downtown near the Ballard Bridge. For a second, I thought this could be where she jumped in the water. No. Too long around Magnolia to where her body was found. I scanned it carefully but found nothing specific on the map.

There was an additional data folder off the main drive. Many of our more savvy users created a private stash of files on their computers. It’s totally against the rules, but we techs pretty much turned a blind eye. No big deal if someone saved a digital picture of their dog or a few recipes on their drives. Although, I guess Lee wasn’t so lucky.

What did Alicia have in her personal folder? No pictures, no recipes. But there was a script file there. A script file that shouldn’t have been there. I could feel the blood throbbing through my head. This was some kind of hacking script. It still didn’t make me happy. I opened it.

It definitely wasn’t something from our IT staff. It looked amateurish but its purpose seemed straightforward. The commands were grouped into three routines.

The first routine looked nasty; it was a MYZRE screen scraper. It logged into our main banking system using the terminal program on Alicia’s computer. Then it did a basic lookup: account number, current credit rating and all activity over the past three months. It hunted on in a completely random fashion like rolling electronic dice to select the digits of the account.

The second routine analyzed account data. If the credit rating was low, or there had been more than two transactions in the past ninety days, the routine said go fish and pick again. It repeated until it found an unused account with a juicy amount of credit. If it found one, then it awoke the third routine.

The third piece of the script did a complete lookup of the account and transferred the data via e-mail to Glenda.net. This had to be the thing running on Alicia’s computer that created those bounced e-mails. Someone was using it to exploit our lookup hole to harvest account information and smuggle it out via e-mail.

Fruit Cup Boy once said that hacking was like sex. What you lack in feeling, you can make up for with technique. This script had neither feeling nor technique. The random account scan routine was sloppy. There was nothing to prevent it from accidentally snatching the same account twice. I suppose it was unlikely, but a more orderly search of accounts would make more sense. Maybe they thought the randomness would fool an internal auditing system. We didn’t have one anyway.

Using e-mail to transfer the booty out of the bank was really careless. I guess these guys never expected e-mail to bounce back to a network admin. Why not dump the data to floppy disk or USB stick? It could mean that this was supposed to run without Alicia having to do any work. Was Alexy the one at the other end of the e-mail transfer? I had enough answers and new questions for the night. I went back to bed.

———

I felt like a pile of bleah. I slurped a triple shot mocha as fast as my mouth could handle the heat. Some twit scheduled an Apollo project meeting first thing today. This on a morning when I got all of three hours of sleep. Running up and down the stairs yesterday didn’t make my knee feel so great either. It throbbed away as I sat alone in the conference room wondering why no one else was there yet.

The door popped open and I jumped, dribbling brown spots down the front of my beige knit top. Great. Roger sauntered into the room and plopped his fat portfolio onto the table with a smack. “Morning, sorry I’m late. Got hung up finding parking.”

I returned his greeting with a grunty “morning” of my own. The caffeine in the mocha just wasn’t enough. And where the hell was everyone else? Roger spent a full minute organizing his papers and folders before realizing, “Just us, huh? I wonder where the others are?”

“Maybe it’s too early. We usually have one or two things to deal with when our day starts. Servers that failed overnight, mail clogged up—-”

“Network housekeeping? I thought senior technical staff didn’t deal with piddly stuff like that.”

“In the ideal world, maybe, but we’re far from that.”

After a few seconds of internal processing, Roger lit up. “I’d be glad to help you guys out with a few tricks I’ve picked up. Could be a real—”

“Float a proposal in front of Warren. I have no authority to approve consulting or training dollars. We usually don’t get much training anyway.” I stared down at the table for emphasis and added, “We’re usually too tied-up running to project meetings.”

“At Dragoon, we go off for a week of hard-core technical boot camp every three months. It’s company-mandated, so we can stay bleeding edge.”

Now he was just being cruel. I had no reply to this.

“Where is everyone anyway? Did the meeting get moved?”

I took another swig of mocha and shrugged, “I came directly to the conference room. I haven’t checked my e-mail or even been to my desk.”

“Let’s give them another five minutes...then let’s skip out.”

Best thing he’d ever said.

“There’s a coffee shop down the block, wanna go and grab a cup?”

My answer was an icy stare at my steaming mocha.

Roger traced the circle of his shiny diver’s watch. “I’ll buy you a fresh one. Mostly it’s so we can chat. Since PRB is already paying for me to be here, I could tell you about the XML class I just finished. Heck, we can stretch it out into an early lunch.” He gave me a grin and added, “I know a great sushi place near Westlake.”

Oh God, do not tell me he was hitting on me. I was just so not in the mood this morning. I decided to deflect it for now. Maybe he’d get the hint and back off. “I’d rather stick to business. Let’s at least go over one or two of the things we’re supposed to.”

He pondered something for a second and then handed me a report out from his folder. As I looked it over, he explained that it was a list of damaged bank accounts.

I scanned down the list of twenty names and numbers. “So what do you mean by damaged?”

Roger leaned back, “When we loaded that new round of changes, these accounts got flagged as damaged. They’re going to need to be rebuilt.”

The caffeine must have kicked in. Suddenly my mouth was full of questions. “Wait. How’d they get damaged? And what do you mean by rebuilt?”

Roger wrinkled his nose as if he smelled something unpleasant, “When the data came over, some accounts were missing. Something failed in the translation from the old format. They’ll have to be re-keyed by hand.”

“Why only these accounts and not all of them? Shouldn’t they all have failed if the translation was wrong?”

The conference door swung open and Mitch leaned into the room. He eyeballed me and announced the obvious, “There you are.”

“Yes. We’ve been waiting. Are we having this meeting or not?”

A look of bewilderment bubbled into his face but he dismissed it with a short shake of the head. “Heidi, the internal routers are down. We’ve been trying to reach you all morning.”

I slapped my hand to my waist and felt for my phone...nothing. Crap, I must have left it at home. I hated it when I didn’t get enough sleep.

With a not-too-smug-of-a-smile, I excused myself.

As I bolted from the room, I heard his parting words: “That’s okay. We can rain check that lunch.”

Lunch? Did I agree to that?

———

After a few hours of frantic troubleshooting, I finally made it to my desk. My throbbing knee had spawned a sister in the back of my neck. I creaked back in my chair and closed my eyes to think.

The more I unraveled, the more tangled it got. Rubin had Alicia’s drive. Did he know what she was up to? He must have suspected if he grabbed the drive, locked it away. But what did Tracy and the FBI know? Were they just trying to draw out her accomplices? With my recent extracurricular activity, I could look quite guilty.

The big question that chewed at me: Did Alexy kill Alicia, his own cousin, to shut her up? Or was he just a pawn? And just what was I to him? On top of all that, Roger was getting all friendly with me, too.

Remembering that I never followed up with Rubin on those deposited payoffs, I retrieved the ATM code number. Well, I didn’t dare bring it up with him now. Our ATM system was probably online. Maybe I could just see what I could find myself.

I fished around the PRB network for the remote teller services department. It didn’t take long to find the program interface for the ATM maintenance system. I selected configuration and put in the location code. A Port Angeles address came up, but the inventory showed no camera. Port Angeles? I didn’t even know we had an ATM out there. Port Angeles was over a hundred miles out of Seattle on the Olympic Peninsula. It was also a departure point for the ferry that crosses the Strait of Juan de Fuca into Canada. The town was definitely too far for Alicia or her husband to use on a regular basis.

I got an idea and popped open the MYZRE menu. Whoever deposited at this ATM might have used it for other accounts as well. I typed parameters into the advanced query screen to show me all the ATM transactions at that location within five minutes of a deposit into the Lyons account. The system thought about it for a minute before spitting out an answer. There were six instances in the past few months of another account being accessed right before a Lyons deposit. If this were an ATM in downtown Seattle, back-to-back transactions probably wouldn’t be related, but Port Angeles was pretty remote. Of the six transactions, three were from the same bank code. What cinched it was that the other transactions were withdrawals, all for the same amount as the deposit for Thomas. Someone was doing a money transfer by hand.

I did a big ole search on the other account code. Unfortunately, the account wasn’t a PRB account. It belonged to another bank that shared ATM services with us. I didn’t have sufficient access to look up any information on it. Maybe Rubin or Tracy did, but I wasn’t ready to bring this to them yet. Heck, all of this was pretty tenuous evidence anyway.

I had another inspiration and did a master query across our entire transaction system. I wanted to know if this account ever deposited money into any other PRB account. It took nearly ten minutes to come back with nothing.

Buweeng! I jerked in my chair like a spazz. My phone was ringing. Too little sleep, not enough answers.

Buweeng! All right, all right. I reached for the phone and saw on the LCD panel that it was our lobby reception. Oh yeah, Tracy. I answered, “This is Heidi. My guest here?”

The syrupy diction of the front desk staff came on, “Yes, a Special Agent Martins is waiting for you.”

“Be right down” I said, hanging up. Rest time was over.

———

Tracy was waiting, perfect posture and all. I waved and then lowered my hand to a pointing finger at the main door. She cocked her head as I walked up to her. With out breaking stride, I passed and said “Let’s grab lunch while we talk.” She shrugged and fell in step next to me. “Good enough. I haven’t eaten since yesterday.”

We walked out into Belltown and down Second Avenue. There was a bit of foot traffic since it was nearly lunchtime, and the sun was beginning to break through the clouds. Heading down the sidewalk, we stepped aside for a young woman with a large silver ring hanging through her pierced nose. Tracy gave me a disapproving look. “What is it with people here? Don’t they have any self-respect?”

“She’s making a statement.”

Tracy shook her head. From the mid-western accent and formal manner, it was a safe bet that Tracy had been raised far from here. “How long have you been in Seattle?”

Tracy eyed two ratty teenaged boys in Seahawks t-shirts sitting on the curb, apparently waiting for nothing. “Three years. When the bureau assigns you to a field office, you don’t get much of a choice. So I got stuck with Seattle. I’m still waiting for my transfer to the Kansas City FO”

Eff Oh? Field Office? So many acronyms. “Are you from there?”

Tracy smiled, “No, I’m from a small town a few hundred miles away. I could drive home to see my family on weekends.”

“That’s a helluva commute. Your family?”

Tracy’s smile broadened and she gazed up at the fissures of blue in the gray Seattle sky. “My parents, my brothers, sisters. We’ve got a big family and we’re all pretty close. I’m the nut who left home. They say they’re very proud of me, but I know they worry.”

I tried to lead Tracy into an open doorway, heavy with the smell of a roasting turkey. She kept walking down the sidewalk, lost in thought and still speaking of her brother, who was a dentist or something. “Tracy! Over here.”

She stopped with a bobble and backtracked to join me at the doorway to the small deli. I told Tracy, “We’re early. This place has great stuff but it’s totally packed by noon.”

A middle-aged Korean man with huge eyebrows stood behind the counter. I came here all the time, but we had one of those relationships where we knew each other’s faces but not names. “Hey there! The usual, please.”

I got a big smile. “Pasta salad coming right up. For you, young lady?”

Tracy turned her head and puzzled a bit before responding. “What kind of sandwiches do you have?”

In a cheerful voice, he read the selections off the large menu on the back wall, “We got ham, roast beef and turkey. The turkey, we roast right here.” He pointed to the far corner of the counter where a woman sliced off slabs of white meat from a large bird.

Tracy studied the turkey with a pathologist’s eye and said, “I’ll have roast-beef on white with yellow mustard.”

He bent down and pulled a plastic container full of brightly colored pasta and vegetables from the refrigerator. Then he and the woman worked as a well-rehearsed team to assemble Tracy’s sandwich. I turned to Tracy and said, “Sorry, but I haven’t had any time to look at that list of account names yet.”

Tracy held a finger to her lips. Yes, we probably shouldn’t discuss this in public.

The register awoke with clicks and beeps as our lunch order rang up. The Korean man sang, “That’ll be eight dollars, thirty cents.”

“Let me get this.” I pulled out my wallet. “Uh, can you take a fifty?” I asked, realizing my hand was full of nothing but large bills.

I felt Tracy’s stare. I forgot to break the money from last night. But a fifty shouldn’t be enough to draw attention. I mean, it’s not that unusual. Right? Tracy put a hand on my wrist and I flinched for a second.

“It’s okay. I’ll pay.” She handed him a ten-dollar bill.

Sheepishly I returned my wallet to my pocket. Tracy put her change back in her massive purse, but nothing went clinking into the tip jar. The Korean man’s smile never wavered for a second. As we walked out, he jovially wished us a good day.

We walked back to the bank in silence. I led her to the lunchroom on the second floor. Since it was still before noon, there were plenty of tables. Tracy picked a nice corner location. As I unpacked my salad, I explained again in a low voice that I hadn’t had time to look over the data yet. “What exactly do you need?” I added.

Tracy unfolded the wax paper and inspected her sandwich carefully. She seemed distracted but still answered, “I need the name of every individual who’s accessed the accounts.”

“Yes, but I can’t really give you that. All the system keeps is the username of the person logged into the terminal when the account was accessed.”

I couldn’t tell Tracy that I already knew about the account stealer script on Alicia’s computer. Although, maybe she already knew?

Tracy looked serious as she said, “People aren’t supposed to share their usernames, right?” Then she stuffed the corner of the sandwich triangle in her mouth.

She chewed, I explained. “Our users frequently log in and then let other people jump on their machines. The username we find in the report may not represent the person accessing the data.”

She swallowed and answered, “You tell ’em not to do that, right?”

“Yes, it’s part of our standard computer usage policy: no sharing.”

Tracy pointed her finger at me like a gun and winked.

“You mean that if the report says they accessed it, then they’re responsible?” I shook my head in disbelief, “Well, I guess the legal world is different than the computer world.”

“And neither are necessarily the same thing as the real world.” She added a shrug. “So can you get me that report?”

I took a quick look around the room. The lunch crowd had filed in and was collecting their lunches from the large shared fridges in the back. “Yeah, in a few days. You really think the information was stolen from here?”

“That’s why I need your help.”

“So all the people on that list, they got ripped off?”

Tracy removed the quarter wedge of dill pickle packed with the sandwich and squeezed it slowly. “They were about to.”

“What do you mean? This isn’t a list of people who reported fraud?”

Tracy took a nibble from her pickle and put it back on the wax paper. “RCMP boys came across the data in a big software piracy bust—passed it to our guys to check out.”

“RC what? Another FBI squad?”

“Not quite. Mounties.”

“Oh...huh?”

She waved her hand as if to brush away an invisible fly. More cop language, I figured. If the list didn’t come from people complaining about getting ripped off, then—I verbalized the rest of my thought, “So you had to deliver the bad news to the people that got ripped off… That must have been ugly. Did they blame the bank?”

“Most of them were just in disbelief. I don’t think they thought things through that far, much less even considered a problem at the bank.”

I figured this was as a good a time as any. I leaned over and lowered my voice. “Do you think Alicia Lyons was involved?”

Tracy inspected the second half of her sandwich. “Can’t say at this point. It’s too bad she suicided.”

“Are you sure she killed herself?”

She took a bite and said, “Autopsy turned up a lot of diazepam and alcohol in her system.”

“Dye-ah what?”

“Valium. Looks like she took some before she went into the water.”

“Oh.”

Tracy nudged my uneaten salad bowl and said, “Don’t worry about it. Hurry up and eat. I need to get back to my office soon.”

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