“A cop—a sea captain?”
“Old veteran. Vietnam,” he said. “He wanders that area at night. The woman who found the body thought that he was sleeping nearby when she came out of the subway. He might have seen something.”
“Have you spoken with the last people to see Virginia Rockford yet?” Whitney asked.
“We’ll be going through the cast and crew from the movie next, and those who were working at the on-site location,” he said. He glanced at her. “Obviously, a sensationalist murder like this, I’m not the only cop on the case.”
“But the two earlier victims—you were assigned to them?”
“My partner and I were assigned as the lead detectives on both cases. We’ve had a decent record, even when we’ve come up against unknowns. How anyone can live in this day and age and not be missed by someone, I don’t know.”
“Well, they must be missed by people who can’t imagine they’d be in New York,” Whitney said.
He stared straight ahead; she didn’t blame him. In school, she hadn’t kept a car in the city. She wondered if she’d actually be capable of driving when everyone seemed to think that they belonged in every lane, when the streets stopped up and people were everywhere.
“I suppose someone, somewhere, misses them. But you’d be amazed by the amount of people who really don’t seem to belong anywhere,” he said.
“I understand your partner is in the hospital,” Whitney said softly, realizing she was probably treading on dangerous ground.
“He was shot. Mainly because people who don’t know what they’re doing need to stay out of police business.”
“But he’s going to make it,” Whitney said.
He gazed at her then. His eyes could be as cold as jagged gray ice. “Yeah, he’s going to live. Whether he’ll ever walk again or not, I don’t know.”
“Medicine has come far. I’m sure he has the best doctors in the world.”
He didn’t reply. They drove in silence, except when he cursed beneath his breath at the other drivers on the road.
He glanced over at her as they moved south. “Have you been to New York before?” he asked, as if remembering that he had another person in his car.
“Film school,” she said.
That drew a frown. “You are here now, with me, but you went to film school?”
“But now you’re an agent.”
“Don’t you usually work with film, then? Surveillance systems, that kind of work?”
“Sometimes. In many ways, I still work with film. We’re a specialized unit, working with bizarre situations. But you know that. You’ve had someone look up information about the team.”
He ignored that. “This is homicide. And, sadly, homicide is horrible, but not—ghostly.”
“And you don’t think it was a bizarre homicide?”
She had him there, and he knew it. He didn’t reply. She knew he wasn’t happy that his partner was in the hospital, and he was working with a girl who looked as if she might have only just gotten her degree—in film. He wasn’t pleased.
Crosby seemed to have a talent for parking in New York City—of course, he drove an unmarked car and didn’t have to worry much about parking tickets. Still, he seemed to be able to find the only street parking on Broadway, and they were quickly walking down the major street, weaving their way through the mass of humanity.
Crime tape was gone; a woman had been murdered, and speculation was on everyone’s lips—but Broadway could only be stopped so long.
Jude knew where he was going; they walked to the subway.
His pace decelerated as they reached the entrance. “Captain Tyler!” he said politely.
Whitney looked around Jude’s imposing form and saw that there was a man sitting by the entrance. He was wearing a worn peacoat, denim jeans and a cap. He had nice gray eyes—that appeared as if they had known much better days.
“Yes?” the man said. He heaved a sigh and stood up. It seemed that he did so because he had been addressed by name, and standing was the proper thing to do. “Do I know you?” he asked Jude. “Can I help you in some way?”
“Sir, you can help me, yes. I’d like very much to bother you for some of your time. I’m a detective with the police, and—”
“The murder,” Captain Tyler said. He nodded. It appeared that his thinking was clear; he didn’t seem to have been drinking, nor did he have bloodshot or dilated eyes that would indicate he was taking drugs.
“Yes,” Jude said.
“I saw her,” Captain Tyler said, staring at Jude, then noting Whitney and looking at her, his smile becoming a gentle one. “Ma’am,” he said, touching his cap. “Yes, I saw the young woman last night. She was not very nice.”
Whitney frowned; she desperately didn’t want this man to be the murderer. She didn’t know him, of course. He smelled like the street, but that didn’t matter. But there was something about his gray eyes and grizzled face that seemed to speak of dignity beyond misfortune.
“Captain Tyler? You’re certain you saw the woman who was killed?” Jude asked.
“Oh, yes, her picture has been all over the news.” Captain Tyler smiled, seeing Jude Crosby’s frown. “Pete’s Appliances, up on Reade Street. He keeps the news on all the time in his shop-front window,” Tyler explained. “They’ve been blasting that girl’s face over the airwaves all day.”
“Can you tell us, please, about when you saw her last night?” Jude asked.
Captain Tyler nodded gravely. “She was walking up Broadway. I asked her for change, or for a dollar. She was rude. I think she said that I was an old junkie. I have never sold drugs. I took some drugs. I was in the jungle. It was the only way to stay in the jungle.” He shook his head. “They say she was ripped up bad. I’ve seen men living and breathing and running into battle, and then their young bodies literally blown to bits, their limbs here and there. But they are saying that the girl was gutted… She wasn’t nice, but I hope she went quickly.”
“Captain Tyler, would you come with me to the station?” Jude asked him. “I’d like to get your statement down on paper.”
“Statement?” Captain Tyler said, confused.
“Yes, everything you have to say can help us,” Jude told him.
Whitney looked at Jude, frowning. He couldn’t believe that this dignified old man, down and out as he was, had hurt anyone.
He glared at her fiercely. So much for cooperation; this was his case.
Captain Tyler nodded, looking at Whitney with a smile. “Free hot coffee, even if it’s bad,” he said.
“I’ll get you good coffee,” she promised him. “And, are you hungry?”
Captain Tyler was hungry. Jude seemed impatient, but when she started into the nearest coffee shop, he muttered and eased past her, buying Captain Tyler a large coffee and an Italian sub, and paying for it himself.
At the station, Jude moved through the offices, pausing only briefly to rattle off a few names in introductions she couldn’t possibly remember. He directed her to one door while he directed Captain Tyler in through another door. She found herself in a small room behind one-way glass. She saw Jude sit Tyler down, and he asked the man his first name. It was Michael. As Jude politely laid out the lunch and waited for Michael Tyler to eat, an older man joined her in the room, offering his hand. “I’m Deputy Chief Green. I know that they call me D-Chiefy behind my back, and I answer quickly to Green,” he told her, his tone pleasant and easy as he studied her. “And you’re the first of the feds?” he asked.
She smiled, offered her hand in return and told him, “Yes, I’m the first of the feds. I’m Whitney Tremont.”
“Well, glad to have you. I spoke briefly to Agent Crow. He said not to be fooled by your size, that you’re as strong as a diamond. Is that true?”
She arched a brow. “Well, I’m not sure about that. I’m fascinated enough by what I do to walk boldly into the fray.”
He nodded with a small smile. “Jude met you at Blair House?”
“You and your team will be all right there?”
“It’s beautiful. We’re grateful for the lodging,” she said.
“Well, we’re glad to have any and all help on this one. We have to nip this thing right in the bud,” he said, turning to watch through the glass. She thought that he might be one man who had been raised to the right position; he had an easy manner about him, but he watched the proceedings with sharp eyes, and she didn’t think that he missed much. He’d done an assessment of her, she was sure, and he’d probably come to his own conclusions, with or without comment from Jackson Crow. But then Jackson and Angela Hawkins did have an edge over the rest of the team. Jackson had been an agent for years before becoming head of their team; Angela had been a cop in Virginia. She, on the other hand, had been sought out because she’d refused to doctor film that she’d taken of an actual ghost—because it hadn’t been doctored to begin with! And Adam Harrison, who had put them all together, had been fascinated with her abilities with film and video, and her background, perhaps. However, after they had proved themselves with the Holloway case, they’d all received training, and she was confident in the training she’d received.
However, a man like Jude Crosby would consider her too inexperienced and too young and maybe even, eventually, too emotional; maybe she was, in a way. A way that she hoped stood her well. Emotions came along with instinct and intuition, and she and the team relied heavily on intuition. When she watched Captain Tyler, she was still somehow convinced of his innocence. The man’s hands shook, perhaps due to Parkinson’s or something, but she was certain that he wasn’t on drugs. She wasn’t sure what she expected; she had never conducted an in-office police interview. The only interviews like this that she’d ever seen had been on television. But Jude was never rude to the man. There were none of the softly spoken questions followed by yelled accusations or hands beating on the table that she had seen on television shows. He just asked Captain Michael Tyler to remember everything about the night and his meeting with Virginia Rockford.