"Good afternoon," Calder greeted the Garda station secretary behind the slate gray counter. "May I speak with Superintendent Murray, please?"
"Let me see if he is available," she said as she rose and disappeared down the hall. Voices could be heard behind the counter, although the desk area was only granted the sounds of a ticking clock. Calder drummed his fingertips along the counter as he leaned eagerly over it to see if anyone was coming. He recovered himself a moment before a man with thinning chestnut hair and a moustache appeared.
"Mr. McCallister," he reached out his hand with a grin for Calder to shake. "What can I do for you?"
"Well, since I was last here, I become a licensed private detective. I'm curious to know if there might be a cold case or two I can endeavor to make some progress with."
"I see. Gain experience, and maybe a little reputation, is that it?"
Vincent Murray chuckled. "Initiative – good start to a career. We have a couple really interesting ones you can take a look at back here in the conference room. Come with me."
Calder entered the slender corridor and pursued Murray down to the conference room at the back of the station. He dropped his satchel on one of the seats and meandered about the room until Murray returned with a stack of two cardboard boxes.
"We have a couple real interesting ones in here," he said as he dropped them onto a desk. "By all means, look into any of them. We can always use the extra set of eyes and ears."
"Much obliged, sir."
Calder removed the lid of one box and removed one file. Reports within revealed that a bride disappeared on the morning of her wedding and was never seen again. Her groom was suspected of domestic abuse and had a criminal record. People who knew the bride were unsure if he killed her, or if she disappeared of her own free will to avoid the marriage.
He replaced the reports in their folder and pushed it down into the box. He pulled out another file and read about a home invasion robbery in Dublin that involved a couple being bound and blindfolded as their treasures were stolen.
Another case recorded a criminal who escaped prison decades ago and was suspected to have attempted an escape to Mexico after hijacking a private boat at knifepoint. Calder contemplated this one, but picked out another file out of curiosity.
Reports described a married couple assassinated in their home. Their son was due to arrive home from school around that time, but never arrived home and was never seen again. Classmates last saw in detention. Teachers reported that he took the bus home. The bus driver promise the boy exited the bus close to his house. Neighbors claim to have not seen him arrive, and not one reported hearing gunfire.
Calder remembered the story on the news the February before his family moved to America. He reached into his satchel and seated himself at another desk with the file and a journal and pencil. Garda reports explained the discovery of two .38 caliber bullet casings beside the bodies, who were shot at close range. The crime scene photos made Calder sense the blood drain out of his cheeks. He flipped them upside-down.
The bottom of the house was lined with a trellis, the corner of which was snapped away. There were scrape marks in the dirt at the entrance of the crawlspace.
He wrote down the names of the officers and witnesses, then removed his computer from his satchel and started it up. As soon as he was able, he entered the password for the internet and searched out contact information. The moment he was able, he wanted to schedule appointments with each one.
. . .
Detective Garda Steven Dunne seated himself across the wire mesh table and picked up a menu. A minute or two after scanning his options, he said, "I get the same grilled roast beef sandwich every time. I don't even know why I look at the menu anymore. So," he set it down and leaned his elbows on the mesh, "Are you investigating the disappearance of that boy nine years ago, or his parents' murder?"
"All of it," Calder answered. The patio area behind the brick restaurant was crisp, despite the clear skies and sunshine. There was a praying mantis perched on a vacant chair at the table beside them, its triangular head cocked at him with inquisition.
"May I take your order?" asked their waitress as she approached them with her pen and paper ready.
"Yes, Debra, I would like a grilled roast beef sandwich and iced blackberry tea," Detective Garda Dunne raised his menu up to her, and she accepted it with a teasing sneer.
"I should have assumed so! And what would you like, sir?" she asked Calder.
"Iced blackberry tea and a salad, please."
"Certainly," she reached for his menu. "I'll be back!"
"And where shall we start on this?" Detective Garda Dunne asked as he returned his keen eyes to Calder with an expression of determination suitable for a man of his position.
Calder positioned his pencil above his journal. "What were some of your first impressions of the crime scene and the family?"
"Well," the man crossed his arms and eased back into his chair, eyes raised up to the sky as he recalled that afternoon, "I remember there were no photos of any kids or drawings on the walls. The entire house seemed plain and stripped of his memory. There was the occasional photo of the parents, but we never realized there was a boy until we cleared the house and saw his bedroom.
"Then we asked the neighbors some questions, and they said their son was named Ryan and that he hadn't returned home yet from school. The school said they put him on the bus after he earned himself detention after class, and the bus driver swears he exited at his stop at the corner near the house."
"There were never any photos released to the public?"
"No, there were no photos at all."
Possibilities swirled in his mind. The parents were killed and their bodies abandoned in their home, but extensive searches and investigations never found the body of the boy. Perhaps he was not their own, and they kept him hidden in case his identity was revealed to the police. "Is there a possibility that the boy was a kidnapping victim and the Cogburn couple wanted to keep him a secret?"
"We got a description from the neighbors, and he wasn't a match for any missing children."
Calder reached into his satchel for his computer, which he positioned on his lap and started up. In minutes, he searched birth records and came up with the assurance that one Sybil Andrews Cogburn birthed Ryan Morgan Cogburn on December 29th 1994.
"No, he was born to Sybil," he murmured. Maybe one of the parents was involved in criminal activity. That could explain why there was such animosity toward the adults, but the kid seemed to be a separate matter. He searched their records, but to no avail. He released his breath with frustration. Could it be that the two were never caught? "Were the Cogburns involved in any crime that you know of?"
"We have never seen them before," the detective answered as Calder started searching arrest records. "And we made sure they weren't in the system before we dismissed that idea. Although, that doesn't mean they weren't involved in something we didn't know about."
"That might explain why they were killed execution style and the boy wasn't."
"We have no idea what happened to that boy," the detective emphasized. "He seems to have vanished without a trace in the world. And they seemed to want to keep him a secret before they were killed. Sometimes I suspect all this revolves around him, and sometimes it seems more that he was caught in the crossfire, so to speak."
"What about Samuel and Sybil," Calder raised his eyes to the detective. "Were there any next of kin that were notified of the murders?"
"Not one. We even suspected that maybe the family was in some sort of witness protection program, but there has been no evidence of that. There was a woman who came up when the news of the murders was televised. She was a case worker who said that Samuel and Sybil were children in her foster program from the time they were born, in the case of Samuel, and a toddler, in the case of Sybil. She said they aged out of the system and married at the age of eighteen, and last she heard, there were rumors of a son the next year."
Calder wrote as rapidly as he could. "Do you remember the name of this woman?"
"Darla Parker," he answered. "Case worker at the Hearts of Love adoption and foster agency. I will remember that as long as I live, after this case."
Calder reviewed his notes and set them aside. "Detective," he said, "what do you believe happened?"
"Honestly, all I know is that there is a lot we don't know."
"Here you are," Debra appeared suddenly with a tray on one palm. She set a tall glass of tea ahead of each man and then the salad and sandwich. "I apologize that took a little longer than expected. More customers than usual at this time of day."
. . .
The house was a small cream rectangle with the lower quarter of siding comprised of robin egg shingles. The bottom was lined with an ivory trellis that reconciled the house to the earth. Two wilted sunflowers stood on each side. Calder crossed his arms and analyzed the house, striving to imagine the bloody horror that happened there almost a decade prior until a silver car pulled into the driveway beside his, and he emerged to greet its driver.
"You must be Calder McCallister," said a woman with short auburn hair as she stepped out of her car and closed the door. She reached out her hand as she approached him. "Charlotte Banks, the realtor."
"I appreciate your time," Calder replied as he shook her hand.
"Not a problem. I'm thrilled to show someone the house, even for this reason. It has been on the market since the crime. No one wants to live in a house where people were murdered and the killers were never caught, you know. It ruins any sense of security one should have in their home."
She made her way to the door as she spoke and sorted amongst her keys to unlock it. She then swung it open to reveal an empty home with chestnut wooden floors. The entryway was small, and behind it was the living room.
"The woman was murdered to the right of the room," Calder mused as he meandered to the area. "And the man ahead of her. He must have attempted to shield her."
Charlotte clicked her tongue in sympathy. "And who says chivalry is dead?"
Calder raised his eyes to the rear of the living room, where a large sliding glass door led to a spacious lawn enclosed with a high wood panel fence. His shoes creaked beneath him as he moved closer. The windows on each side of the door were seamless and appeared to be painted shut. He compared this to the closed front door and saw multiple locks.
"There are a lot of security measures."
"Yes. The couple had an appreciation for privacy, I hear. That lock there," she pointed suddenly at the door, "was picked on the day of the incident."
"I read that," Calder agreed. He examined the distance between the door and the area where the bodies were discovered. To the right was a small kitchen and dining area, where the crime scene photos showed three plates with sandwiches in the background.
So as the couple prepared for their son to arrive home from school, someone picked the locks of their home and sneaked in to murder them. There were no photos of their son in the house at the time, and the fence and locks made him suspect the couple was scared of a threat to him.
"It really is a charming house," Charlotte mentioned as she meandered into the kitchen and dining area. "The eating area is rather quaint, but only to accommodate this cozy bedroom behind it."
Calder decided to appease her and enter the door behind her into the bedroom. The wallpaper was the color of pale parchment with painted scarlet and sapphire stars. He imagined the superhero posters and the shelved books and the toy cars that were once scattered about the room. The two windows were on the north and east sides of the room. Each was painted shut and locked.
"This room was the boy's. The master bedroom as well as a bathroom and utility room are on the opposite side of the house. Although relatively small, the space is well-used and –"
"You know I don't plan to buy the house," Calder stated drily.
"I make money selling houses. You can't blame a woman for making an attempt."
Silent, he pivoted out of the room and strode out of the house. The western corner of the trellis that lined the bottom of the house was ripped away and cast aside. He examined the stripped natural wood edges where it was snapped apart as Charlotte appeared behind him.
"What are you looking at?" she asked.
"Be right back," he removed a pocket flashlight and dropped to his knees. Light streamed across the dirt beneath the house and illuminated cobwebs. There were scattered marbles and a couple rusted painted metal cars he could easily drop into his pocket, which he did as he crawled beneath the house.
"Have you lost your mind?" Charlotte called after him.
There was a clear path to the opposite side of the house. He gathered treasures as he crawled until he planted his palms in the lawn and emerged into the sunshine. He looked behind him to see a neat square of trellis beside the opening. The crawlspace must have served as a fortress for the boy as a child. He supposed he may have scrambled beneath the house for refuge after seeing his parents.
He pushed himself up and approached the fence, then examined each panel as he moved about the perimeter.
"Are you about done?" Charlotte shouted out front. "I should lock the house up again."
"Done," he answered as he dropped down to scramble across the crawlspace again. She stormed to the door in silence and swiveled the key in the lock.
"You are one strange investigator," she announced when she started toward her car, "but it was a pleasure. Good luck with your case," she added and reached out to shake his hand. Then she climbed into her car and pulled away from the mysterious house.
Rushing water made Calder peer over his shoulder at the house to the west of the Cogburn home. A middle-aged woman with braided cinnamon hair stood above the vivid array of cosmos planted against her house with a watering can.
"Are you the one who phoned me about the boy?" she called as she set the watering can down and smeared her palms on her pants. "Come on over and I can see what I remember."
Calder crossed to where she stood and said "Yes, I am. I presume you must be Brittany Hart."
"I am," she confirmed. "Come inside with me and have some tea. My son is home from university, as I promised. He is about to graduate in June," she continued as she started into the house and held the screen open for him. "Time sure does pass before one knows it. Dylan, have you got the kettle ready?"
"Yes, Ma," replied a lad with cropped sandy hair as he came toward them with an extended hand. "I suppose you're the private detective Calder McCallister. My name is Dylan Hart. I knew Ryan before... all this," he gestured vaguely. "Have a seat and we can answer whatever questions you have."
Calder seated himself on the pastel plaid couch against the west living room wall. The mother and son each claimed a recliner opposite him and searched his demeanor as he retrieved a sort of journal from his satchel. "Can you tell me about the Cogburn family?"
"As much as anyone," Brittany raised her shoulders and peered at her son, who nodded his agreement. "They were private. So much so that I sometimes wonder about Samuel, whether that was all by his decree. He was the more aloof of the couple."
"No, I am sure he was shy," Dylan disagreed as he shook his head. "There was one time I caught a Frisbee on the corner of their porch by accident. I sneaked over there, but came home as soon as I was at their door. He looked at me, and he looked at the Frisbee, and he sort of smiled and said 'You must have a strong arm, son. Don't look so startled! You're all right.' And then he went into the house."
"No matter his reasons, Sybil was definitely a warmer soul," Brittany recalled. "She loved to visit across the property line as we gardened. She and I sometimes exchanged recipes as well, or borrowed ingredients. She was also private. They never once had company, never once let Ryan play with kids in the neighborhood. She would always come up with some excuse: he needed to catch up on chores, start on an assignment, get rid of a cold or flu."
"Yeah, he always had to go straight home from school," Dylan confirmed.
"What else do you remember about Ryan?" Calder asked.
"He was smart," Dylan answered. "Sometimes he would correct a teacher during class because he could. Entertained the students each time he did, so I suspect that made him use every opportunity. He was rather strange, you know, because he could never play sports or with the kids in school anywhere outside school. He always missed school picture day. Some older kids really bullied him about it, but not many. People seemed to like him, but no one knew how to act around him, so he really had no mates."
"I suspect he was lonely," Brittany mused. "Sometimes I would hear him out in his backyard, alone, pretending to be Superman so he could save the world and everyone in it. He had this red cape he would wear everywhere he could. Sometimes I saw him reading or playing cards on the porch, until Samuel called him inside. There was a border collie named Daisy that they had close to a decade, until she died. Ryan must have been at a terrible loss."
The kettle whistled shrilly as she concluded her sentence, and she rose to retrieve a tea tray. When she returned and everyone assembled their tea, Calder ventured to ask "Do you know any reason why someone may have wanted to kill them?"
"No," Brittany seemed startled. "That was the most private, unassuming family I've ever known."
"Has there been a fresh lead?" Dylan asked as he raised his teacup to his mouth. "I mean, is that why you're here? Do you have something you want to confirm?"
"No. But each mind has its own set of eyes, and I hoped mine might see something that's gone unnoticed. Ryan ever mention anything about why his parents were so strict?"
"No," Dylan answered as he considered all his discussions with the boy. "He seemed startled anytime someone asked and he shut down. He could retreat completely inside his own mind, but engage a person in an attentive conversation as well. Really, there was no one else like Ryan."
"Poor child," Brittany touched the corner of one eye as a tear emerged. "As a mother, any possible situation he discovered himself in that day breaks my heart. I hope he is at peace, whatever happened."
Calder remained silent as he etched the remainder of his notes in the journal. Then he reached into his satchel and extracted another book. "Do you remember enough about him to describe him for me?"
"Right, there were no photos," Dylan remembered.
"I'm not visual, so I'll leave that to my son," Brittany rose and gathered the dishes to take to the sink.
"Well, it's been nine years, but I can give it a go," Dylan rose and seated himself beside Calder.
"Might help to remember situations where you conversed with Ryan or connected with him in some manner and describe what you see. So," he positioned the pencil in his grasp, "describe the structure of his face soon as are able."
Dylan searched his memories and discovered the one distinct conversation he remembered with Ryan. As soon as he asked why his classmate could never come to his house, Ryan met his eyes.
"Sort of oval, I suppose."
Calder started the preliminary lines, but Dylan interrupted.
"No, more subtle oval."
Calder erased the first attempt and eased the curve, to the approval of his witness. Dylan closed his eyes and continued, opening them as soon as he started to recall more and more.
"He was small. His hair was dark and cut above his eyes, similar to your own. It was a bit messy sometimes. And he had these interesting eyebrows. You know that one character on a keyboard, right beneath the escape key? They resembled that a bit, only more subtle and downturned on the outside corners. No," he stopped Calder and pointed at the shape, "more subtle, and a little thicker. He always seemed to be deep in thought. He probably was. Yes, there."
Calder shaded each side a bit upon amending each tilde accordingly, and Dylan continued with excitement that comes with recognition.
"He had these dark blue eyes that really caught attention. And dark eyelashes. Man, this is strange to look at him again," he covered his mouth with his palm.
As soon as the portrait was completed, Dylan called his mother into the room and propped it up so she could see. She covered her mouth and tears misted her eyes.
"That is him. We're seeing him again, Dylan."
Calder stared at the almost mischievous expression peering back at him and a wave of eeriness washed over him. It was strange to see a boy no one else had seen in a decade, and it made the case personal in a sense.
"You two have been of great assistance," he promised the mother and son. "This is something investigators have never had before. This could lead directly to a fresh lead."
. . .
"Calder McCallister. I'm the private detective who asked about the Campbells."
"Yes, I remember," the Dove Village Assisted Living receptionist peered past him at a passing brunette nurse and said "Jacqueline, could you show Mr. McCallister to the Campbell apartment?"
"Sure. Come with me."
Calder pushed his identification back into his pocket and accompanied the nurse down a corridor donning a cream carpet patterned with aquamarine and gold paisleys. They passed a dining hall with many people, and several closed apartment doors.
As they reached the end of the corridor, Jacqueline stopped and said in a murmur. "I should warn you that Mr. Campbell is not the warmest person. You might not be well received."
"I appreciate the warning."
"Well, there it is: room 312. Good luck."
"Go raibh maith agat."
He stopped at the door and gave it a gentle knock, pulling the portrait out of his satchel.
"What is it?" came a rasped masculine voice. "Open the door!"
Calder pushed the handle down and eased the door open. A heavier man with wispy ivory hair sat on the cream couch with the television on a cricket game.
"Who are you and what do you want?"
"My name is Calder McCallister, and I'm a private detective." He raised the portrait up so the man could see it. "Do you remember a boy—?"
"You mean the Cogburn boy who disappeared? That's him."
"Yes, sir. I wanted to ask you about that case." Calder evaluated the man as he approached, but he stared with anticipation and some contempt. Eventually, he leaned toward an open door behind him.
"Maolisa!" he shouted. "Get in here!"
He eased back against the couch and crossed his arms. A woman wearing her hair up in an ivory bun came out of the room and met Calder with a pleasantly surprised sparkle in her aqua eyes.
"Goodness! I hadn't realized we would have company. Get a chair over there and sit down with us."
"I came as a surprise," Calder assured her and retrieved a chair from the kitchenette table and placed it ahead of the couch as Maolisa seated herself beside her husband.
"He is investigating that missing Cogburn boy," Odhran Campbell explained.
"Ryan!" Maolisa smiled up at him. "Have you any leads? Has anyone come up with information?"
"No, but I am searching for something to go on."
"But he's dead!" Odhran snapped.
"Do not say that," Maolisa hissed to him.
"That's the truth, if he really wants it."
"Excuse me," Calder interrupted, and earned their attention again. "Why are you so sure?"
"Everyone is dead after nine years. What else could it be? The boy was thirteen. He disappeared at the same time his parents were murdered. He was about to return home from school, I imagine, since he was already late. He could have been killed already somewhere else!"
"Stop saying that! You don't know!" Maolisa covered her ears.
"So what do you want to ask, son?" Odhran continued.
"Your statement said that you were outside prior to the murder and saw an argument in the home—"
"After my retirement, I made signs out of my garage. When I came out to start on that afternoon, I saw movement behind the screen door and Sybil was speaking. She sounded upset, but I couldn't hear any words. Samuel started to argue more loudly, so I assumed it was between them and went inside. It wasn't until…" he breathed in and out to maintain his composure. "It wasn't until sirens came wailing up the street that I suspected everything got out of hand. But when two bodies came out on the gurneys…"
"But tell him about the angel," Maolisa touched his arm.
"There was no angel," he jerked his arm away.
"What angel?" Calder asked.
"When Odhran said the two were having a row, I looked out the window and saw an angel standing on their porch. All I could do was blink, and he was gone!"
"Stop that. You imagined it, or you saw the killer."
"No, the person who did it was already inside!" she insisted. "Besides, he couldn't have gone anywhere in the moment it took me to blink."
"My wife is mad. I apologize."
"No, I am not!"
"Look," Odhran said plainly, "the boy is dead. That's the way it is. Hope you find out who did it."
"I appreciate your time," Calder rose and bid them good-bye.
. . .
The stars were scattered in a bountiful array, concealed by the streetlight close to the brick apartment that night. Calder searched for answers in the radiance of the laptop screen, legs beneath his covers as the apartment dropped to the coolness prior to dawn. The lime numbers on the alarm clock beside him read close to five. But what could this all mean?
He researched the agency mentioned by the detective. Darla was a case worker about a decade before the murders, but became the supervisor by the end of her career. He searched out her contact information, which required some patience as she seemed to keep a low profile.
Structures became silhouetted and shadows were visible on the streets as the sun started to rise above the horizon. A sparrow could be heard outside the window, and cars became audible on the streets. Calder searched out the names of the murdered couple in an attempt to learn anything about them, but discovered only an article about a fifteen-year-old girl who entered a contest that involved completing a writing prompt themed with a mystery. She wrote a love story about two spies in the French countryside during World War II and won, earning her a vacation in said countryside. Beneath the smiling portrait of a wavy blond with a lovely smile was the name Sybil Andrews.
Sleep was restless for Calder, but he managed to doze a couple of hours to pass the time until he could reasonably call the retired case worker. When he did, there was no answer. He recorded a message on her machine and meandered into his kitchenette to make himself some tea.
After he seated himself at the table with the morning paper, his phone rang and he answered.
"This is Darla Parker. I'm returning the message you left about twenty minutes ago." She added with a hopeful tone in her rather shrill voice, "Are you really investigating the murders of Sybil and Samuel?"
"That's right. You knew them well?"
"Yes, I did. I was their case worker. Sybil was vibrant and imaginative, but she became suspicious of the program after she spent some time with a couple verbally abuse families. She started to shut down whenever a couple took her in, until she was sure that they would treat her well. I promised them both when I became the director that I would vet all prospective foster parents myself. Sybil was an optimist, always sure that she might be adopted someday. Instead, when she aged out of the program and graduated, she married Samuel and that became her permanent family."
"And what about Samuel?"
"More a pessimist. Sullen. He stayed with rough families during his first ten or so years, and then it was hit-and-miss from there. He started to believe that there were no prospective parents out there that would actually treat him as a son, so he shut down and closed himself to almost everyone. Sybil was the exception. She always saw the best in him. She said all he wanted was to be loved, and when someone loved him, he would open himself up to them. She and I were the only ones who got to see that side of him. After a while, he would smile when he saw me and looked after me like a mother—"
The last words dissolved into tears. Calder listened in silence until she gathered herself.
"I am so sorry," she said as she steadied her breathing. "I haven't talked about them in so long. I wish I adopted them when I could. By the time I was in a steady relationship and landed a permanent house, they were ready to age out of the program."
"I am sure none of this was because of you," Calder assured her. "Were you in contact with them after they graduated?"
"Not the first two years," she said with more composure. "Until I saw Samuel at the store. He said that he assumed I was too occupied about the kids still in the program to hear from him and Sybil. I put my arms around him and scolded him so that he would never say that again. Then he said that they had a son named Ryan and wanted to move into a nice neighborhood someday.
"After that, they would send an annual Christmas card with updates and a photo. I suspect I'm the only one they sent one to. Sometimes they would call and check up on me, and I on them. Sybil stayed at home mostly, unless she had a job at the grocery store, but Sam became an accountant. One day, he called me and said they fired him because he was framed for embezzlement. He was concerned about how it would affect his wife and son. After that, I only heard from them occasionally."
"When was that?"
"About maybe eight or nine years before their deaths." Darla released her breath and said sadly, "I am in my sixties now. I don't know that I should ever know what happened to them."
"As soon as I know, I will make sure you do as well."
"Thank you," she said gratefully. "That couple lived on hope, even when there was only a grain of it. So will I. And I sure do hope you learn who did this to them."
. . .
Calder approached the counter at the garda station with a solemn expression. Superintendent Murray met him with a smile and motioned for him to come to his office. Calder trailed behind him down the hall until they came to an office on the right side.
"Any success?" Murray asked as they seated themselves. He clasped his hands eagerly together.
"I haven't solved anything, but I made progress," Calder admitted with some remorse. "This is the journal of notes I made in my investigation," he passed it to the superintendant. "I have a copy of them myself, as I hope to continue investigating on the side."
"You think you have enough to go off of?" Murray asked curiously.
"We might get more to go with after this," Calder reached into his satchel and unrolled the portrait of the boy. "That is Ryan Cogburn. Confirmed by multiple acquaintances of his. You get this out into the media, and we should hear if he's out there."
Murray accepted the portrait and examined it.
"I also heard that Samuel Cogburn was fired some time before he was killed and he was worried about how he would provide for his family. To my knowledge, after searching as many records as I could, he never really managed to get a stable job after that. Sybil sometimes worked at a market, but that was the extent of it. I suspect he got involved in something we don't know about to help support them, and that may be what led to the crime."
As he recited the research he had done, Murray listened with great intent. When he relayed all the information he could remember, Murray stared down at the portrait on his lap again.
"We may get something out of this," he mused. "We might actually get to solve this one."
"The answer is out there, sir. Someone has it."
"And now we have hope," Murray set the portrait aside on his desk and met his eyes. "I will see that we distribute this picture as much as we can. Anything else you learn will be of great value. Well done."
"I appreciate that, sir."
Murray rose to leave, but stopped to shake his hand. "The more you learn about what activities they may have gotten themselves into, the closer we will be to solving this. Keep your eyes and ears alert! You never know where you might get information. I will get some of my people on this sketch. You solve this, and you will have a reputation that will exceed most careers!"
Calder stared after him as he disappeared down the hall. Strange that the idea of a reputation seemed pale in comparison to discovering the truth after everything he learned.