Novel 3: Act II, Chapter 1, Scene 2

TOC page here.

Diana has found “a way out” of the predicament of two bodies in two months, killed in the same way—the second one someone who’d tried to help them solve the first. She goes out to make some phone calls:

Ninety minutes later, Diana was leading Captain Jenkins and Chief Purcell back down the stairs into the lobby. Purcell said, “I need to apologize to you, Detective Siddall, for giving you a hard time on the phone back there. Too many years at high rank have made me dismissive of too much, and I’m old and need my sleep. You did the right thing, by getting us out here at this hour. Let’s keep this very quiet, for now. Curtis, what’s the likelihood of solving a six-day-old homicide?”

“Like this one? Even miracle workers like Detective Siddall here can’t work miracles.”

“That’s what I thought. So, Detective Siddall, do your job as best you can. But the last thing we need is a media circus, after what happened last time. Let’s keep this fellow out of the news. Curtis, get Dave Keller in here personally, do the same with Doctor Dhandha, find this man’s next of kin and persuade him that a quick cremation is in everyone’s best interest.”

Diana herself speak. “Wait for the next crescent moon.”

Purcell stopped in the middle of the lobby. “Excuse me?”

“I was out on a homicide call last week, and saw the crescent moon—the waning one, in the morning. Our victim here was killed a couple of days after that. Alex Dawson was killed a month earlier. I can look it up, but I bet you both men were killed right after the new moon.”

Purcell looked baffled. Diana continued. “Arabic writing, sir. Qur’anic verses. The Islamic calendar is lunar: each month begins with the first sighting of the moon in the evening sky. So, two days or so after I saw it in the morning. It’s why they have a Red Crescent instead of a Red Cross.”

Jenkins nodded. “Right. New month, new murder. So we got three weeks or so.”

Purcell said, “I see. Do your best work, Detective Siddall. Let’s make this victim vanish, and find this killer without panicking the city. Come on, Curtis: I’ll give you a ride home.”

He walked from the entranceway, Jenkins and Diana in tow; but just at that moment, a patrol car pulled up and Brown and Slaughter got out. Brown said, “I saw the entrance was unguarded, and… Chief. Captain.” A pretty crisp salute. “Everything all right?”

Purcell didn’t miss a beat. “Never better. Captain Jenkins and I were on our way back from a scene, and wanted to make sure the detectives knew they have our support. Keep up the good work, Sergeant.” A smile to Slaughter. “Officer.” He and Jenkins walked around the building to Purcell’s car.

Brown gave Diana a long look before shrugging. “Come on, Slaughter; you want to make sergeant, you learn to stay away from the brass.”

Now we see why Diana saw the moon way back at the beginning of the chapter. It gives a base for this to stand upon. The murders are on a lunar cycle. Note that Purcell is concerned more with the media reaction than the death of Mario, who we don’t even see him seeing. Everyone here understands that reaction and perception are the important thing, except maybe Slaughter, and she’s certainly had her eyes opened in recent days.

But Slaughter has a body camera, and whatever else we may think of Brown, he’s no dummy. Now, he’s got footage of Purcell and Jenkins, the chief and a captain, coming to a third-rate homicide scene. He has to be wondering what for.

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