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“Thanks,” Sam said glumly.

“No problem,” Jake said cheerfully. “And here, children, is something that you should know.”

“Spit it out, Jake!” Jenna warned.

“Be nice, Miss Duffy! All right, your two prospective buyers are in business together.”

“What?” Sam said, staring at Jenna with disbelief.

“Oh, yeah. There’s a lot of ‘doing business as’ going on in both of their lives, but Andy Yates and Samantha Yeager are in business together. One of his company’s companies is called Magic Madam. In any other state, it might have been a cleaning service—I think Magic Madam and Her Gals is the name of a cleaning corporation somewhere in Georgia. Sorry, never mind. Anyway, seems like the money to start up came from Yates. He’s the investor and she’s the workforce.”

“Well, Andy Yates did say that he knew her and that she was an impressive woman,” Sam said drily.

“Well, she is impressive—I’m just not sure what her impression is!” Angela said.

“Ah, think about it,” Sam said. “With the right guy…you never know.”

Jackson glanced at him. “You mean someone with a repressed home life and a wife who’s kind of a delicate flower but longs to be supermom and probably has no time for her husband?”

“Yep. Exactly what I was thinking,” Sam said.

“Jake, you’re brilliant!” Jenna said.

“I’m even more brilliant. I looked up the school’s football team. And I can tell you this. On the afternoon that Peter Andres was killed, Councilman Yates and his son were at one of the school’s major football matches—in Revere. There’s a newspaper picture of the councilman with his arm around his son after the school won against Lynn, Mass. I tried all the timing—the kid was in the game all day, and the whole team, along with Dad, celebrated at a restaurant in Peabody that evening. That accounts for daddy Yates, baby boy Yates and even Joshua Abbott for at least ten hours, and, according to the medical report, Peter Andres was killed between two in the afternoon and six in the evening.”

Jenna looked at Sam, who appeared frustrated. “Thanks, Jake, you’re still brilliant, you know, despite that.”

“Well, thank you there, Miss Duffy. I’m still on the list of members belonging to the Old Meeting House.”

“Jake,” Sam said, “what I’d like you to find out is if you can cross-reference members with people who have children in the school. We’ll be heading there tomorrow when the police go in to question the kids and drama department.”

“I’ll be on it. Should have more answers for you later in the day.”

When they hung up, Sam glanced around. “I wish he was my researcher.”

Jenna smiled. “Jake’s the best,” she said. Her mind, however, was reeling with what the researcher had told them. She didn’t want to share her suspicion yet, not until she had done a little sleuthing on her own. With Sam, despite the fact that he seemed to have accepted her and the others, she wanted facts. “So, Sam Hall, Esquire, where do we go from here?”

Sam drummed his fingers on the table. “I say it’s time to pay another visit to Madam Samantha. The clerk said that she was working during the Covington murder and the Smith family murders. I still want to talk to her again. Obviously she knows much more than she’s shared so far. We could try to catch up with the councilman, but it’s Sunday, and I bet Mrs. Yates won’t let him let any of us near him at this point. That leaves Madam Samantha.”

“I could go to church,” Angela suggested.

They all looked at her.

“Well,” she said. “No one knows me yet at the Old Meeting House. If it’s a fundamentalist group, I’m willing to bet that they meet all day.”

“I can go with Angela,” Jenna said. She didn’t really want to go, but she wanted to make sure that Sam didn’t rope her into going with him. She needed to do what she wanted to do on her own, at first. She had a hunch, and if her hunch was right, the crime-scene photos might prove it.

“No, too many people know that you’re working with me. None of the church members would have seen Angela yet, so she could go,” Sam said. “Except, of course, I think you’ve all had your pictures in national magazines at one time or another.”

“If they recognize me, they’ll kick me out,” Angela said.

“All right. Angela, you head to church,” Jackson said.

“What about Joshua Abbott?” Jenna asked. “He was one of the people wearing the horned god costume at the ball last night.”

“We’ll get to Joshua tomorrow at school,” Sam said.

“You could try to speak with him today—his mother never threatened you,” Jenna pointed out.

“Ouch!” Sam said. “All right, I can try to get that in today, too. If not, I’ll have John Alden make sure he breaks up the two—David Yates and Joshua Abbott—tomorrow. Even if we’re considering them cleared, they know something. Call it a hunch.”

“A hunch, huh?” Jackson said, smiling. “Just messing with you. I can do my part and try to get to the rest of the Abbott family.”

“I’d like to speak with Milton Sedge’s son,” Sam said. “But I don’t want to intrude so immediately on his grief, especially since none of us can do so now in an official capacity. This evening, maybe. John Alden isn’t going to give me any help with that. He’s convinced it was an accident that killed Milton Sedge. But I don’t want to sit around, either, and with what we know now, I think that Madam Samantha could answer a few more questions.” He looked at Jackson. “Madam Samantha definitely has a bold edge to her, and she seems to like to taunt men. Jackson, you and I will go to see if we can’t get in for more readings.” He grinned at Jenna. “No offense—you’re not her type.”

“No offense taken,” Jenna assured him, relieved. She hesitated.

“Madam Samantha, Joshua Abbott—and Sedge’s son,” Jackson said.

“Sam, do you have the police photos taken at all the murders?”

He shook his head. “Just the Smith family crime scene.”

“Then I think I’ll pay a visit to the police station. Can you call John Alden for me? At his level, he’s probably typically off on Sundays—probably rushing home after having been called in this morning.”

Sam groaned. “If you want the photos, I should go with you.”

“Maybe it’s best if I just go,” Jenna said. She smiled. “John Alden is a good guy, like you said. I think he’ll help me. You call, I’ll talk. I have a hunch. I just want to see something. I’ll go to the station, see the photos, and then I’ll just hang around on the street and watch Will’s form of magic. We can meet up there.”

The bored clerk still liked Sam. She probably knew exactly who he was by then, but she still seemed to like him.

And she still turned him down.

“You know, we’re in full swing here these days,” she noted. “Halloween is just two days away. You’ve got to understand. Madam Samantha is in the highest demand. She’s doubled her rates for these last few days, and we’re still turning people away. I can’t possible slip you in today.”

“She must come out to breathe…. Maybe I could take her for lunch, coffee, drinks…something?” he asked hopefully.

“And I haven’t had a chance for a reading at all,” Jackson said.

“No. No, no and no—and I’m so, so sorry!” the girl said. “Look, I do readings too, you know.”

Sam was thinking quickly of something courteous and politic to say in return when a client in Gothic attire came out from behind the curtain. Madam Samantha followed, stopping dead when she saw Sam and Jackson.

“I was just telling them how busy you were,” the clerk said.

Madam Samantha smiled slowly. She pointed at Sam. “You. You, come with me.”

“Go get her, buddy,” Jackson whispered lightly to Sam. “I’ll talk to the charming clerk for a bit and see if I can’t still verify our tarot reader’s whereabouts, see if there was any way she might have slipped out during the murders.”

Sam followed the sultry “psychic” to the back. He was curious that she had decided to see him. She knew who he was, and she had to know he was trying to trip her up. What the hell was it that gave her so much confidence?

They went back to her curtained area. She took her seat behind her table with its crystal ball and tarot deck. She indicated the chair in front of the table.

“Getting tired of Red already?” she asked him.

“Maybe,” he said. “I’m just trying to figure you out.”

She lifted her hands and offered him one of her overtly sexual smiles. “What’s to figure out, Mr. Hall? I’m an open book. You want to accuse me of murder because it’s always the sexually unabashed and brassy woman who turns out to be the murderer. Come now, Mr. Hall, you’re a renowned attorney! You know the world doesn’t work that way. I was here, right here. I have a dozen witnesses to testify that I was working when the Smith family was killed. What? Do you think you’re in Salem and you can use spectral evidence? My astral self went out and committed murder while I was here, in the flesh, with a dozen clients?”

“No,” Sam said. “I believe that you didn’t kill the Smith family.”


“I want to know about your partnership with Andy Yates.”

She lowered her eyes and smiled slowly. “Hmm. Yes, well, someone dug deep to find out about that.”

“Business agreements like that are public record,” Sam reminded her.

“Yes, but…never mind. We weren’t trying to hide assets from the government or anything. Yates just wanted it all…well, he’s a councilman.”