Finally, people began to leave. She was glad to see that it hadn’t taken long for everyone to get back into the spirit of a normal workday. If nothing had been discovered that could allow the state to dismiss the case against Alistair, it would still be weeks—perhaps months—before his trial began. In the meantime, work was necessary, and work was good. It kept everyone sane.
She stayed behind, pretending to finish stitching in the pads for Oliver’s costume, as others said good-night and trailed out. She knew that Logan Raintree was near the door that led out of the work area—almost like a farewell committee of one.
But by six-thirty, everyone had left the building except for Mike Greenwood, Andy Simons, Eddie, the cops and agents and Colin Bailey, who’d replaced Winston Nash. Even Helena had gone; she’d gotten her moment with Eddie, shown that she supported him and the studio, and taken her hand-pup home.
Madison felt sorry for the little dog. Helena treated him more like an accessory than a pet.
She realized the agents didn’t like to speak about their investigations with anyone else present, and she decided she wasn’t going to report what she’d learned about Oliver Marshall until they were alone again—wherever and whenever that might be.
Eddie sighed as they stood in the reception area together. It seemed crowded since everyone who remained was there.
“What now?” Eddie asked.
“Go home,” Sean said. “Or go see Alistair. Get some rest.”
Eddie gave a weary nod.
Mike set a hand on his shoulder. “It was a good day, Eddie. Not a single employee refused to come in. They started off nervous and chatty, and ended up tired and ready to move forward. Oliver and his agent were in, and the fitting went as per usual. We’re going to get through this.”
Andy clasped Eddie in a hug for a minute and patted him on the back. “Partners,” he said. “And as Mike says, we’re going to get through this fine.”
At last, they all walked out together, except for Bailey. Everyone said good-night and headed to their separate cars.
“Sean, what did you find?” Madison asked anxiously once she was in the passenger seat of the borrowed Prius. Logan and the rest of the crew were in the SUV they’d rented at the airport, but Madison was sure they’d be connecting soon. “Are we going back to the hotel?”
He looked at her, arching a brow as he put the key in the ignition. “I was planning to go straight to your house to take care of Ichabod.”
“Oh!” she gasped, stricken. “Ichabod!”
He smiled. “It’s okay. I’m betting we’ll see Bogie there—with Jenny Henderson. He wants to make her comfortable. Make sense to you?”
“Absolutely. So, we’re going to my house. That’s great. But what did you find?”
He glanced over at her. “We found a robe. A robe that’s an exact copy of the one worn by the Egyptian priest.”
“In the tunnel?”
He nodded. “It was stuffed in a broken crypt. It’s with the forensic experts at the police station now. There’ll be officers on duty in the basement all night, just to make sure no one messes with the tunnel. Officers will also be posted at the entrance to the Black Box and the studio itself.”
“Does that mean they’ll let Alistair go?”
“I doubt it’ll happen that fast. Alistair’s lawyer has to petition the state and get the state’s attorney to drop the charges. Before he does that, we need more proof. I think we’ve proven that someone else might have done it, but finding the robe doesn’t exonerate him with one hundred percent certainty.”
“So what now?”
“We feed Ichabod, get Bogie and Jenny and meet back at the suite.”
They did, in that order. As Sean had assumed, Bogie had taken Jenny to Madison’s place, where Jenny was learning the fine art of watching I Love Lucy reruns. But when Sean explained what had been happening, Bogie was happy to come along to help.
“I wasn’t there—and my memory isn’t much better dead than it was when I was alive—but I’ll do my best,” Bogie said, when the six agents, Madison and the spirits sat around the suite’s table. “What do you want to know?”
“You believe the accidental death that occurred on that set in 1942 wasn’t an accident, that it was murder,” Sean began.
“Yeah, but I don’t have any evidence,” Bogie said. “It just didn’t seem right to me when I heard about it. I wasn’t there, remember—I’m just telling you what I thought and felt at the time. The head electrician was a man named Richard Wilson, and the key grips were two fellows who worked on lots of films. Donnie Riley and Kevin Baker. I was stunned that anyone could’ve been electrocuted on their watch. There was an investigation, of course, but it turned out there was a freak power surge—or that’s what the police and the insurance company came back with.”
“Sounds reasonable,” Kelsey said.
“Do you really think what’s going on now could have something to do with that movie?” Bogie asked, frowning.
“Hey, strange things, really strange things, seem to be popping up,” Madison put in. She looked around the table. “I found out today that Oliver Marshall is really Oliver Marshall Claymore. He told me this in confidence. He dropped the Claymore when he went for his Actor’s Equity card.”
Silence followed her announcement.
“We should have known that,” Sean said sheepishly. “Except, of course, we haven’t investigated Oliver yet. He’s not an employee and there was no reason to suspect he might know anything about the cemetery, the grounds or the studio. The police didn’t question him and we hadn’t gotten to it yet, although we would have eventually.”
“The Claymore who first came out here was a great-great-uncle, from what I understand. Oliver’s father is a scientist,” Madison said. “His great-grandfather’s brother was the Hollywood Claymore.”
“Let’s follow up on that,” Logan said. “We’ll question Oliver tomorrow. Madison, is he due back in the studio?”
“No, but I can make something up about wanting to check the padding for his costume,” she said. “I did promise him I’d keep this quiet,” she added in a worried voice.
“We’ll respect that. No one else needs to know—unless he turns out to be guilty.”
“I can’t believe Oliver could be a vicious killer,” Madison said. “And even if his name is Claymore, why would he be interested in hurting Eddie? It doesn’t make sense. We’re working on his costume for what’s anticipated to be a number-one box-office hit!”
“The human mind can be a very scary place,” Sean told her.
“And,” Logan said, “he does have a connection to the studio, and it was the studio back then—Claymore Illusions—that did the effects for Sam Stone and the Curious Case of the Egyptian Museum.”
“That still doesn’t make him a murderer,” she said.
“You volunteered the information,” Sean reminded her. “Information that may allow us to eliminate him. Let’s find out if any of the other principals surrounding the studio have any associations with the original movie or any of the actors in it.”
“I don’t know what you’ll learn,” Bogie said. “I just know I wasn’t the only one back then who was skeptical about what they said caused that accident on the set. If it was an accident…”
“What happened after Krakowski died?” Sean asked.
“They were filming at the old Waterton Studios farther east on Sunset. I think the accident brought the officials in and that led to the structure being condemned. Waterton Studios was used way back in the days of the silents. Right after Krakowski’s death, the studios were closed down for a few days while the investigation went on, and then the filming continued,” Bogie said. “When it was completed, Waterton was torn down—there’s a shopping mall there now. And Krakowski’s widow was paid off—some pretty big bucks for the time, I understand.”
Logan motioned to Jane. “Find out more about anyone associated with Waterton Studios tomorrow, please. Anything at the police station?”
As Jane began to speak, Sean got up and hurried into his room, returning a moment later with his laptop. He keyed in a few words while Jane described the eliminations she’d been able to make, which included most of the people working at Archer’s studio. The majority of them had airtight alibis that she’d been able to check out.
“What about alibis for our key players?” Logan asked.
“Although it was Sunday, Eddie Archer had meetings during the day. Mike Greenwood was at his club in the late afternoon. He was seen there by the bartender and various friends. After that, he claims he went home. He lives in a condo, and the security footage shows him arriving at 7:30 p.m. and doesn’t show him going back out. Andy Simons attended a charity event that started at about eight. He was a keynote speaker.”
“Anyone see him after the keynote?” Sean questioned.
“I just know that he was there at eight and that his speech lasted about twenty minutes,” Jane said. “I spoke to a few people who were at his table. He did eat his dinner, but then friends stopped by and pulled him away and the socializing began.”
“Guess who else has a history that relates to this whole thing?” Sean asked.
“None other than the ex–Mrs. Archer, Benita Lowe.”
“What’s her connection?” Logan stood and walked over to the bulletin board they’d covered with pictures and information, thoughts and theories.
Sean looked up from his computer. “Benita Lowe was actually born in Mexico—the police gave us that much, and I’m pretty sure I knew it already. It was her mother’s country of birth. Benita’s parents were Austin Lowe, an American casting agent, and Maria Juarez, a seamstress. And Maria was the daughter of Juan Juarez of Mexico City—and Janet Krakowski, daughter of Pete Krakowski, killed in the making of Sam Stone and the Curious Case of the Egyptian Museum.”