Inspector Samuels had been even grumpier than usual when he called. “Crusher,” he said, “I need some help with this one.”
We met at the Village Coffee Shop that had recently moved into Starbuck’s abandoned storefront. Like the mall opening which it flanked, there wasn’t much pedestrian traffic. In fact, that’s probably why Inspector Samuels liked it. He didn’t exactly want to advertise the fact that he was consulting me about a case. Plus, of course, here he could use the discount coupons that had rained into most of the mail boxes in town while an indulgent postman looked the other way. Or maybe the postman had moonlighted and distributed the coupons illegally along with the mail—there are all manner of benign, everyday mysteries which go unsolved.
He sipped his coffee to cool it while I ordered a latte. When the hovering waiter left, Inspector Samuels leaned over and half whispered, “This is a tough one, Crusher. And it won’t be kept quiet much longer. Not with a payroll to meet next week.”