Marta spied a curved white shape under one of the little tables, thanks to the new angle of perspective. Curious, she bent to retrieve what turned out to be a china teacup, mate to the one Simms had found on the end table, a brown stain dried on its bottom and side. Marta took a curious sniff, only to detect something bitter, hinting of almonds. “Oh my.”
“I’m still not going to let you shoot the dog,” Simms grumbled.
Marta crouched down, looking from table to corpse. It was too far for the cup to have rolled there on its own unless Miss Nimowitz had flung it in some final seizure, and that seemed unlikely since a few drops of tea had remained within. But perhaps it had been prodded by an unwary foot and sent skittering aside. More importantly, she somehow doubted that Miss Nimowitz would have prepared tea with two cups if it was just a final drink for herself.
“I’m less inclined to shoot it now,” Marta said, rising back to her feet. “The dog is a witness to murder.”
Simms gave her one of those looks at which he seemed to excel, his expression caught somewhere between disbelief and resignation. “Did you really just say that with a straight face?”
“I’ve rarely been more serious in my life.” Marta waggled the teacup at him. “Miss Nimowitz was poisoned.”
“Tough old bird.” Marta smiled. She checked the teapot on the end table, but could detect no hint of poison in the liquid still within. “Unless our little friend there has developed opposable thumbs, she had outside help with at least one of those activities.”
“Murdered twice and then robbed. Not a good week for her,” Simms commented, but his expression had become markedly less grudging. While the man wasn’t averse to firefights and throwing the occasional security guard off a train, his feelings about murder were generally in line with Marta’s—it was the sort of thing that gave honest criminals a bad name.
I loved writing this novella. I loved it. I do so hope you love it too.