I rushed upstairs, changed back into jeans and a top, and seated myself in front of my computer. I had about an hour to review the alerts and find out more about the homicide still unsolved. The second alert provided the man’s name, with very limited detail, and a call for information.
The construction crew found the body of Chance Corcoran, age 43 years, when they arrived at the site. The alert only noted murder. Questions popped into my head. Was it a mugging? Were they even able to estimate a time of death with the weather factor?
I smiled when I pulled up a map and found where Northside was located. Very close to Halcyon Springs where I investigated a murder the previous fall. I smiled because I’d met Henry Jacobs then. He was the Uber driver I used and had been a police officer until injured on the job. Henry provided helpful information and connections. Maybe he could tell me more about this murder.
“Hi, Henry. How are you? How is your detective course going?”
Because of his injury, Henry’s only option at the police department had been a desk job. He found that boring and, hence, the Uber thing. Once he started helping me out, he decided to take the steps to get licensed as a private detective in Maryland. He already had a BA in criminology, so he met most of the education requirements. Only he’d never worked as a detective and hadn’t completed the state required detective training.
“I’m good, Izzie. The detective course replicates a lot of what I learned at the police academy. The instructor’s good. Sometimes, she brings in real case information.” He chuckled. “Some yahoos in the class have some strange ideas and they can be entertaining. I think their knowledge of how the system works comes from Law and Order.”
“What do you consider interesting? Something bugging you?”
About my age, Henry had brown hair and brown eyes that sparkled when he laughed. He kept to an exercise program after his injury and I found him attractive. Aside from the one murder investigation when we met, we’d enjoyed a few dinners and each other’s company on multiple occasions.
“Ever hear anything about the Corcoran murder over in Northside last month?”
“We discussed it in my class when it happened. Like I said, the instructor likes to bring in actual cases to give some relevance. What stands out in my memory is that they found the man, at that point not identified, on a construction site. Well-dressed, he still had his wallet. Someone removed his credit cards and license, yet left his cash. They also took his phone. Based on the evidence, the killer shot him at close range.”
“Wait. Whoever did this left the cash, but took whatever could identify him? That’s odd.”
He chuckled. “Not a mugging and minus a name, they couldn’t even identify him for several hours, never mind notify next of kin and confirm his identity. They eventually found his car keys in the snow and that sped the process up.”
“Like I said, the instructor used it to discuss how police could identify him. Also, if they’d determined he’d been mugged or died of hypothermia. What prompted a well-dressed man to go to a construction site? Why did the killer leave the cash?” He snorted.
“I’m almost afraid to ask. What did they come up with?”
“The wife, assuming he was married. The mistress or girlfriend. A drug deal gone south. An undercover cop. Someone wanting his identity, not his money. Someone suggested he was a detective and the person he was following killed him. Organized crime.”
I chuckled. “That covers a lot of options, except the drug deal. A dealer or user would have taken the money.”
“Izzie, you’re just too logical.”
“Any other discussion?”
“Nope. There wasn’t much more in the local news on the case and the instructor could only access limited information to share. Class moved on with ways and means of gaining information and limits to what the police could do and what private detectives could do.”
“Does he always bring in actual cases?”
“She. Kathleen Lucci. She’s a retired police detective. The most interesting case she’s brought up was a high profile divorce with both parties slinging mud and how to separate fact from fiction. What made you ask about this case?”
“Another alert this morning asking for any information on the murder. Sounds like they made little progress. Beyond identifying him.”
“More interesting than my course. Maybe you could come visit. We could meander to the building site and see if anyone wants to talk about finding a dead body. It’s not Wheeling’s jurisdiction, but maybe he knows something.” Evan Wheeling was the police detective on the case in Halcyon Springs and had been helpful.
I laughed. “I’d love to do that. When would be convenient? I don’t want to interfere with your course.”
“How about Wednesday? The class is in the evening to accommodate people who work full-time. We can go to our favorite lunch place and you can get the lobster mac and cheese.”
My first Uber trip with Henry, he’d introduced me to his favorite lunch place, the Healthy or Not Eatery. The lobster mac and cheese landed on the not so healthy side, yet, oh, so delicious. My mouth watered thinking about it.
“Great. In the meantime, I’ll do some more research on this end. I’ll let you know for sure tonight after dinner. I’m sure we can find someone who’d like a bump in their paycheck this week. Heather keeps asking when I’m going to work on a fresh case.”
We ended the call and I smiled. Even if there was no story, I wanted to see Henry again and hear more about his training. He was full of surprises from his collection of cars to the historic home he was restoring. As yet, he hadn’t opened up about his injury. That would be another surprise, in his own time.
Brook and Chloe graciously allowed me to take time off to chase my investigative dream. The stalwart of the restaurant, Brook had worked thirty hours per week for years. Scheduling me off for a few hours in the afternoon or a full day once in a while meant a change in her schedule, as well as mine.
Adding an assistant to help Chloe with the food preparation to the schedule made that even easier.
Other employees stepped in to cover for me as hostess if needed. I could do the bookkeeping any time of day. It reminded me of dominoes. When Heather took over my duties, we then had to find someone to fill Heather’s slot. Most of our employees worked part time and were more than willing to step up.
I searched the internet for anything I could find on Kathleen Lucci. I wasn’t ready to admit any possible jealousy, but I relaxed when I found her to be in her sixties. Then I started the search for Chance Corcoran.
A nice looking man, his obituary yielded little. Born in New York, he married and they had three children. His parents still lived there. There was no mention of where he worked. The obituary requested friends to make donations on his behalf to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. That made me wonder.
Excerpt from The Itch of Murder. Copyright © 2022. All rights reserved.