“I like her Lex.”
Lex groaned, “I knew you would, Shanna is your type of spastic. I know she means well, but she just grates on me Geni.”
“She did help us out at the salon.”
Lex took a left on Sycamore and said, “Yeah, I know. It’s hard to get businesses to cooperate with investigations and since she was the owner, she saved us a lot of time haggling to get that list.”
They were on their way to the station to meet Detective Newman who was picking up Mason Waltman for more questioning. After seeing that picture, Lex knew that Mr. Waltman was hiding something about the break in.
Geni said, “Do you really think Mason Waltman took part in the break in?”
“I’m not sure, but it’s worth it to speak with him again. Did you find anything more with the cinnamon bottles?”
“I checked the oil in each bottle and all that’s in them is cinnamon root oil. The labels may be off, but I can’t find anything else wrong with them. Maybe I was mistaken in thinking the bottles meant something. I don’t know.”
“This whole case is weird. There’s an oil on the back door that wasn’t there when the police first went through the scene, a half a dozen cinnamon bottles are messed up, and now the photo. What is going on here?”
“Let’s hope that Mr. Waltman can shed a light on it.”
Lex looked at the double doors of New Haven Police Station. She and Geni had walked through those doors many times since they got their PI Licenses; helping the station and walking in suspects from their own cases. After two years, the place looked exactly the same. And according to Newman, it had the same receptionist.
She looked at Geni and said with more confidence than she felt, “Let’s do this.”
Geni grabbed her arm, “I’ll speak to her if she’s here.”
They pushed the doors open and entered the station simultaneously and walked to the reception desk. Lex breathed a sigh of relief when the person behind the desk was a man in his late forties and not a tall, dark haired woman.
“May I help you ladies?”
“Yes,” Lex grinned, “we’re here to see Detective Newman.”
“Just a moment ma’am.”
Lex turned away from the desk as he placed a call from the desk phone.
“This place hasn’t changed at all,” Geni whispered.
“Ma’am, will you follow this officer back to interrogation?”
“Yes, thank you.”
The officer led them through the building to the back stairwell and down into the interrogation rooms of the station. Detective Newman was standing outside the door to the last room.
“I’m glad you made it. I have Mr. and Mrs. Waltman inside waiting for us. You will need to be behind the one-way glass in the the adjoining room for this interview.”
“Thanks Newman,” Geni said.
The adjoining room was equipped with a one-way mirror that showed into the interrogation room, a table set before the mirror with a recording system and two chairs. An officer was already sitting in one of the chairs and Lex let Geni take the other one while she stood behind them.
Detective Newman walked into the interrogation room and sat in the chair across from the Waltmans just as Mrs. Waltman said, “Why are we here Detective? Didn’t we answer all your questions already?”
“I have a few things that I need clarified,” He flipped open the file folder on the table in front of him and leaned back in his seat, “Mr. Waltman, on the day of the breakin you said you were at home until you went to work at 9 o’clock, is this correct?”
“Yes it is. Why are we going through this again?”
“And Mrs. Waltman, you said that you were at your sister’s house Monday and Tuesday and didn’t go into the shop at all, is this correct?”
She rubbed her temples and nodded, “Yes Detective.”
“Then how do you explain this?” He laid the photo from the salon on the table in front of the couple.
Mr. Waltman shoved the picture away, “That’s nothing but proof that my wife goes to that salon and I sometimes visit her there. Besides, it could have been taken anytime and anyday.”
“That’s a funny thing about this salon Mr. Waltman, they date every picture they take and since this was taken with a polaroid camera, all the photos are dated the very day they are taken. This photo was taken Tuesday morning when the salon opened at 8 AM and what is that you are holding Mrs. Waltman?”
She glanced at the picture and looked away, “It’s a shopping list. Nothing important.”
“Is that the answer you want to go with?” He pulled out another photo from the folder, “Our techs were able to enlarge the photo and reveal the paper to be an insurance document. We called the company listed on the form and learned that you took out a million dollar life insurance policy on your husband. It looks in this photo that you two are arguing--is it possible Mr. Waltman didn’t know about the policy you took out on him?”
“No, I didn’t know about the policy! I found the insurance documents Monday morning, but since Ella was at her sisters I couldn’t speak to her about it. She goes to the salon every Tuesday morning and I figured I’d speak to her then.”
“You mean yell at me. We were forced to leave the premises and I didn’t get my massage that day.” She looked at the Detective, “I took out the policy because Mason has squandered all our money on that stupid essential oil business. What will happen to me when he dies? He’s left me nothing. I’ll be destitute!”
Mr. Waltman laughed, “‘Stupid essential oil business.’ The shop was your idea Ella! I wanted to start a camping and rock climbing store since New Haven is located at the base of a mountain, but no, you said that since Shanna Burton came to town and started the essential oil craze we needed to get on that wagon. You said the essential oil market would burst and we’d be millionaires by the time we were forty.” He slammed his fist on the table, “Well news flash sweetheart, we’re nearing fifty and still ain’t millionaires.”
“Mr. Waltman, sit down!” Detective Newman said.
The Detective stared at them and clipped out the words, “This is a police station not a circus and you will behave yourselves while you are here.”
“Can we leave then?” Mrs. Waltman asked.
“You have lied during a police investigation Mrs. Waltman, and that is an obstruction of justice, which is a felony. Both of you will be booked. Officers Clark and Johnson, get them out of here.”
The both burst out with, “You can’t do this!” and “I’ve done nothing wrong!”
Lex stepped out of the adjoining room as the Waltman’s were being escorted past it.
She said, “Officers wait.”
Once they’d stopped she walked up to Mrs. Waltman and asked, “Mrs. Waltman, do you use Sea Buckthorn Oil?”
“No. Why, do you think I need it?”
“Do you know what it’s used for?”
“Of course, my sister uses it for her wrinkles. I personally don’t like the smell, but it has worked wonders for her skin. Do I need to use it?”
“No Mrs. Waltman, I just smelled it as you walked past. Thank you for answering my question.” She waved her hand for the officers to know they could proceed to booking.
Detective Newman stopped by Lex and Geni and said, “You want to speak to the sister now, don’t you?”
“You know me too well John.”
“I’ll have her picked up.”
Lex shook her head, “If you don’t mind, I’d like to meet her in her home. I want to see this oil and verify if it matches the sample we found on the back door. You did have the other oil samples picked up from New Haven Salon’s list of customers, right?”
“Yes. Trace should have them now. How are you going to convince Mrs. Waltman’s sister to let you see the oil?”
Lex grimaced, “Oh, I’ll have an expert with me.”
Geni burst out laughing.
Written by Linsay Ernst