Well, sorry for taking a few days
longer than I wanted
to...work. As always. Anyways, I'm not sure enjoy is
the right word, but enjoy...
DISCLAIMER: we know the drill...
THE TRUTH SHALL STEELE SET YOU FREE
Kelly curled up on her sofa, Samwise
next to her feet.
The recordings were pretty mundane. Just general
conversations between Melissa Brannigan and people
calling looking for Roselli and Mike Ashton. And the
other girl would occasionally answer the phone. Her
name was Desi. Kelly kept jotting down occasional
notes, rubbing her tired eyes. The recordings droned
on. "U.S. Immigration. Fraud Department, Anthony
Roselli speaking...Tony, this is Laura..."
She sat up, causing Sam to whimper. She hit rewind
and listened for something, anything. The recording
played, a scratchy piece of the past.
"U.S. Immigration. Fraud Department, Anthony Roselli
"Tony, this is Laura."
A long pause. "Laura?
"We've got to talk...are you in a secure place?
"Yeah...hang on. Let me go to my office, where the
recorder isn't on."
That was it. Kelly fell back on the couch. *SMACK*
She rubbed the back of her head ruefully. This had
to be like what? The fiftieth time she had cracked
her skull on one of the walls the couch was squeezed
between? She rewound the tape, listening to vocal
tones, frowning. The evidence for the original theory
behind Laura Steele's murder was mounting. If she
were to take all the evidence at face value, Laura
Steele and Tony Roselli had been involved and the
murder had been nothing more than a lover's quarrel.
If...except that wasn't what her gut was telling her.
And then there had been Jarvis's words, still rattling
around in her brain. /Damn. It would be nice if
Roselli had recorded his private conversations. The
conversation had an air of intimacy about it, but
nothing too intimate. Still, if she matched it to the
photos, that's exactly what it looked like. Why had
Laura called Tony Roselli? She played the tape again.
Roselli, if she didn't know better, had sounded
somewhat surprised. Or maybe she was misreading.
Flopping off the sofa to the floor, she spread all
the photos out and pulled out the SFPD report. On the
day of the murder, Roselli had told his two assistants
he was leaving for the day. A hotel, the Martine
House Hotel, some ritzy upscale place (definitely
something Laura Steele could afford), recorded both
Roselli and Laura as checking in. It was exactly as
it looked...she studied the murder photos. Or it was
an excellent illusion.
Kelly nibbled on her pen thoughtfully. She pulled
out some pictures the SFPD had gleaned from
Immigration. A photo ID of Tony Roselli. His
documentation. A casual pic of the whole office
staff. They were all crowded around the desk and
Roselli appeared to be signing something interesting
judging from the smug smiles they all had. The photo
was dated a few months before Roselli's death.
Nothing much there. Kelly laid out the murder photos
out one beside the other. She had looked these over
so many times she was starting to see the images in
her sleep. Picking up her magnifying glass, she
scanned, furtively, carefully.
The image of Laura's dead face stared up at her.
Apparently the Coroner had done his or her job well.
Laura's forehead had a huge open gash on it, swollen
and busted. Apparently, her head had hit something
hard, with a great deal of force. Kelly turned her
eyes back to the murder scene photo. Through the
magnifying glass, she could see a bit of blood smeared
across the intricately carved headboard. Probably the
carving was why the cut had been so messy.
/Theorize. The police said more than likely, they
were in a physical struggle and Roselli threw Laura
face first onto the bed. Her head hit the headboard,
causing the lesion./ She read the report again. More
than likely, Laura had been dazed and attempting to
push herself up when she had been plugged in the back.
Kelly's chocolate eyes narrowed, scribbling notes on
/Well, wha-/ Kelly leaned against the sofa. /If he
was physically assaulting her, why shoot her? And why
bring a gun in the first place./ Okay, Mike had
answered that one. /Still, if he had thrown her that
hard, why is there no indication that her neck snapped
Remington Steele walked out to his
hired limo, trying
to get away before any of his busybody neighbors
decided to question his moves. A hand grabbed him,
tugging on his arm. Steele turned with a start and
then relaxed. Old man Henshaw stared at him with
empty eyes, mumbling to himself, lost in his memories.
Steele shrugged him off. "Go home sir. Or need I
call you a cab?"
The old man stared at him. "It's coming. I messed
it up. I need to fix it."
Frowning, Steele backed away. "What are you talking
about, old man? Do you need me to call your
His eyes clouded over and then cleared. "My
daughter? I need my daughter! We have things to do!
She promised me!"
His rants were getting louder and louder. Steele
could see the nosy eyes of neighbors peering through
the windows. He didn't like attention, not any more.
"Go away, Mr. Henshaw. Go home to your daughter."
"Where's my daughter? I want my daughter!"
He spied Mrs. Chatsworth stepping outside to let her
dog out. "Mrs. Chatsworth, call whomever you need to.
An old hand, surprising in its strength, grabbed him.
Old grey eyes met dead blue ones. "She used to have
angel eyes. She's coming! She don't like being
For a second, a sanity showed in those Alzheimer's-
afflicted orbs. Steele back away, practically jumping
into the limo.
Lillian Chatsworth tapped the old man on the
shoulder. "Mr. Henshaw?"
They both watched the limo speed away, the sun
glinting on the hood.
Eyes narrowed at the fading vehicle.
scared. Could it be more perfect? I couldn't have
planned your suffering better. Hell is here, Mr.
Steele. And I'm leading its minions. And you can
drown in its pits with the bitch you married./
"Hey Gena! Whatcha want?"
Kelly closed the door.
Gena Matheson walked in, grinning as she scratched
Sam's ears. "Geez! Just wantin' to see if you were
alive! Evie said you had disappeared off the face of
"Nah...just working on a paper. It's kinda taking up
a lot of time."
"Yeah, Evie said that too...bucking for a 4.0 again?"
"Hey, one of us has to keep up a scholarship here,
"Whatever." Gena flopped on the floor, studying the
gruesome pictures laid out on the floor. Kelly leaned
against the door, grumbling, "I'm start to see a dead
woman in my sleep."
"Man...My grandma would remember this thing."
Kelly perked up. "Oh yeah, I keep forgetting you're
Gena nodded. "Yeah. But this was so way before I
was born. I think my grandma thought her husband was
Plucking out a picture of a young Remington Steele
and Laura, Kelly shoved it in Gena's hand. "Y'see
Whistling, Gena grinned. "Heyyyyy...Grandma's got
good taste." She began flipping through the other
photos, concentrating on the goriest ones.
Kelly grimaced. Gena had a thing for slasher movies,
true crime, and college classes that involved the
subjects war, sex, and blood. In other words, the
murder photos were like pin-ups. Probably why she
wanted to be a homicide detective like her uncle.
"Ha! Man, he must have thrown like a girl!"
Kelly leaned over her. "Whatcha mean?"
Gena shrugged. "I'm just saying. He-"
"Whatever. Anyway, for a guy with meathooks like
his, I'm surprised she's not flung across the room,
since he threw her and all."
Snatching the picture out of her hand, Kelly studied
it. "Nah. According to the report he threw her on
the bed. Musta thrown her pretty hard. She cracked
her forehead on the head board."
"So? C'mon! We both took a class in domestic
violence. A fairly strong guy in a rage could easily
kill someone as little as she looks."
Kelly shrugged. "He did. He just shot. He probably
didn't mean to throw her any particular way. Anyways,
the police would have figured that out."
"True." Gena grinned, holding up the image of
Roselli with the back of his head blown off. "Man,
check out the spray pattern! What the hell made it?
A .44? It must have cocked his head back into the
Kelly smirked. Gena's love of true crime could be
really freaky, but hey, she was hunting out a
thirty-year-old murder case, so they must both be
freaks! "Actually, it was a .38 and I gotta get back
to my paper."
Gena punched her arm. "Man girl, we're all going up
to San Francisco this weekend. Shrug it off for a
"Loser." Gena opened the door. "When you come out
from your rock, give me a call, kay?"
Steele walked back into his tomb
of a house, ignoring
the light laughter coming from the garden room of his
neighbor. Ah yes! The daily afternoon meeting of the
biddies and gossips, the ones who had felt the need
to, when he first took up residence here, give comfort
in the form of, "Why you're Remington Steele! Such a
pleasure to have such a distinguished presence in the
neighborhood! None of those beastly reporters to talk
about that sordid incident!"
And then he heard the comments behind his back, the
comments that had rubbed salt into his wounds. That
his unfaithful wife had been a golddigger. That
Roselli hadn't been her first affair (which made him
even angrier, suggesting that he was both stupid and
that Laura had given no feelings toward him).
He walked into his office, some of the old fire of
anger lighting within him again. Who was he really
mad at? Roselli? The woman who had broken his heart?
Himself? Deep down, he had always known he wasn't
good enough for Laura, with her impossible standards
and her need for ultimate trust. He should of seen
it, the familiarity of common ground between them.
Why had she stayed with him then?
Steele laughed bitterly. It had come to him years
ago, when he had closed the investigation, when he had
read the last of the journals. She had stayed because
of pity, damn her! Pity the poor con man who had
never had a chance at being anything other than names
given to him. She had pitied him so much that she had
given Remington Steele to him even as she gave herself
to Roselli. When all he had ever wished was for one
shred of evidence that the murder photo had been a
lie. /Damn you, you heartless witch. I could take
anger from you, but damn you and your pity! I never
wanted your pity or your sense of duty./
Kelly munched on her Cheetos, staring
at the photo
she and Gena had poured over. It always came back to
that photo. Weird, though, that Roselli had leaned
back to shoot himself. Like, was he trying to be
military? Most people who shot themselves tended to
slump forward because they leaned over the gun.
Whatever. Suicide was weird in itself. She flopped
onto the couch again. *CRACK*
"Ow! Shit!" Again! Kelly rubbed the back of her
head, leaning it against the wall-"Oh my God!"
She sat up, grabbing at her magnifying glass.
Grabbing her ruler and pencil, she measured the spray
pattern. Her mind drifted back to Forensics 101. The
basics. Most people who blew their brains out tended
to place the gun in their mouth, blowing a hole
straight through the back of their heads. The spray
pattern tended to go about 2" above the crown of the
head, with a deviation of two or three inches, give or
take. Others, like Roselli apparently had, popped the
gun at an angle under the mandible, with a spray
deviation of 5" above the crown. Kelly grabbed a
pencil and measured. The spray pattern extended 7" up
and about 3" longer on the right. Kelly slumped back,
defeated. A little unusual, but nothing that would be
anything but a quick note in the police report. She
looked over both SFPD's and LAPD's reports.
/Yep. There it is. Spray pattern noted as slightly
out of usual radius, but suggests Roselli probably did
not position himself and shot immediately, causing the
gun to drop slightly off-center to the left by an inch
between his feet----wha?/
Kelly pulled out a picture from the file Mike Ashton
had given her. It consisted of lots of memos and lots
of casual pictures. Something with the pictures she
had flipped through. What was it? She threw back
picture after pictures. This was it! A picture of
the entire office staff. Her eyes ran over the photo
picking out Melissa Brannigan, Mike Ashton...the other
girl...what had been the name Melissa had said?
Desi...Desi...something that had began with an M?
Malancon? Matthews? Mal-some really common
name...Majors! That had been it! So what...Roselli
was what she was interested in. He was sitting on the
desk, the pen in his /right/ hand. The watch on his
She stared at the murder photo with new eyes. A
spray pattern higher than the given radius, but not
high enough to cause anything other than a note in a
file. A gun fallen between his legs, slightly off to
the left, but not enough to cause comment. His
position. Not a usual way to blow your head off, but
not unheard of either. Roselli and Laura had known
each other. Enough to cause speculation, due to a
recorded conversation that he had taken into privacy.
Once again, nothing out of the ordinary, but enough to
give a red flag.
And then there was Laura. If there had really been a
domestic dispute and Roselli had been REALLY angry,
with his training, he could have killed Laura simply
/by/ throwing her. Or at the very least, given her a
massive concussion. There was no indication of a
concussion. Why throw her to only bust her head open
and then shoot her. That wasn't how domestic disputes
went...except in rare cases. Once again, things
slightly off-kilter, but not anything to provoke a
deeper investigation. And then Roselli's death pose.
As if he had flung himself into the chair and waved
the gun under his jaw. Odd, but it had been done
before. /But by a guy who probably had the hots for
the woman he had killed? And who knew the easiest way
to kill with the least amount of pain?/
Little things...nothing to question except in a
passing way, and so unnoticeable, anyone could have
missed it. Police, forensics, anyone, especially a
grief-stricken husband trying to restore sanity to his
/Even the great detective Remington Steele./
Kelly pulled the photo of the Steeles she had found
in Laura's box out of the folder. Two
mischievous faces, arms wrapped around each other.
One destroyed by grief, the other one murdered in the
prime of her life, destroyed by lies.
She placed it next to the murder photo, looking at
Laura's body and Roselli's corpse. His position was
that of, if she didn't know better, of a person
surprised by his own death. Kelly's mind began to
run...too many things that /seemed/ normal, as if
everything was deliberately placed by a phantom
hand....maybe Laura had shot him? But then, who shot
Laura? Why would Roselli shoot himself lying back?
Too easy for an unfinished job. Unless he got
somebody else to pull the trigger. It couldn't have
been Laura, though. The autopsies said she had been
dead first. But...
/A third person?/
Piercing eyes watched an old man
through his office
window, broken down by grief. A smile. Revenge was
truly worth savoring, even after thirty years.
To Part 11