I wasn’t sure what we were looking for, or confident we would find anything of value-value to the investigation, that is. At first glance, I was just seeing the sorts of things one finds in the back of anyone’s closet. The hand-painted wooden figure that was probably made by one of his sons while they were in Boy Scouts, the framed certificate denoting his twenty years in the Lion’s Club, a weirdly-shaped bottle opener. There was even an old Timex watch in one of the boxes, but it wasn’t the one I was looking for. If all the accumulated things told me anything, it was just that Conrad Carroll was just an average guy.
An idea popped into my head (I have no idea why) and I asked Angela, “Do you know if Kevin Jefferson ever hit your husband up for a loan?”
“Not that I know of. Why?”
“Just grasping at straws. I’m thinking your husband’s a banker. Jefferson needs some money, so he hits up his friend from the archeology club-”
“Jefferson wasn’t in the club,” she corrected.
“Oh, right. Anyway, I’m just thinking maybe he asks Conrad for some sort of friendly deal. Half the normal interest rate-or no rate at all, maybe. Conrad says no, Jefferson gets mad and kills him.”
Angela was shaking her head as Jody replied for her, “That would be kind of a stretch, wouldn’t it? I mean, he might hold a gun on him until he could produce some money, but what good would killing him do?”
“And no money was ever missing,” Angela injected.
“Murderers aren’t always logical,” I defended. “And, like I say, I’m just grasping.”
The boxes had a lot of mementos and a few documents-some in frames, some not-but none of them sent up a flag for either Jody or I. And we didn’t come across anything that led Angela-as in a mystery movie on TV-to jump forward and exclaim, “That’s the thing the mysterious stranger gave my husband the night before he [the stranger] died from an acutely spastic colon!”
My mind kept getting drawn back to that notebook of baseball cards, but I chalked it up not to intuition but just obsession.