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Detective Lang pulled up to the Flanagan estate to find that the perimeter had already been taped off by uniformed policemen. A hell of a way to start the day. He couldn’t remember the last time there had been a need for a taped off perimeter and this many cops on the scene for a crime in Darien.
Outside on the curb, a visibly upset woman in heels, tattered jeans, and an oversized New York Giants crewneck sweatshirt appeared to be giving a statement to an officer that Tom didn’t recognize.
Lang had gotten the call that Tuesday morning while pouring himself a cup of coffee at the police station – a home invasion and subsequent homicide was what it sounded like – and he surmised from the woman’s outfit and general demeanor that she was merely the housekeeper, put in the unfortunate position of discovering the body when she arrived for work that day.
The heels were an interesting choice for someone who presumably spent a lot of time on their hands and knees, but in the moment Lang didn’t really think anything of it.
He walked past the interviewer and his subject without saying a word and made his way to the front door, where his partner, a burly woman by the name of Althea Cromstock was already inspecting the scene.
Lang loathed the way that his profession was portrayed on television shows and in movies. In his opinion, tired tropes and generic phrasing plagued murder mysteries, and the lead detective at a crime scene always seemed to say the same thing – “What do we got?”
The jargon that they used was so phony and yet the first thing he found himself saying as he walked up to his partner was precisely that.
“What do we got?” Lang said to Cromstock. He shook his head with a little smirk on his face and looked down at the floor, mentally kicking himself for the gaffe and realizing that he was part of the problem.
“Nothing, yet. I just got here. But from the looks of it we’ve got the owner of the home fending off a guy who wanted to rob the place. I’ve got forensics in the kitchen right now and it sounds like the master bedroom upstairs got ransacked. Haven’t been up there yet.”
With Cromstock behind him, Lang walked into the kitchen to take a look at the body. There was dry blood all over the wooden floor and splashed onto the glass kitchen cabinets. This guy had been dead for quite some time, the blue in his face matching that of Lang’s Jos A. Banks oxford button down.
He admired the kitchen, an aesthetically pleasing design that reminded him of the mid-90s. White marble countertops with crown molding on top of the glass cabinets, which allowed for a peak at the fine glassware and fine china within. A massive Viking stove with a refrigerator to matched the cabinets. You want to measure the personal wealth of someone? Take a look at their kitchen. This guy – whoever he was – was clearly well off, and they needed to get ahold of next of kin as soon as possible to ID the body which was very much in rigamortis.
“We have a name on the victim yet?” Lang mumbled to Cromstock as he placed yellow post-it notes on blood splatter around the kitchen.
“Terry Flanagan. Wallet was in his back pocket and apparently the woman outside told first responders that’s who he is.”
“And what’s her story? Housekeeper? Wife?”
“No idea, Tom. I got here five minutes before you and I don’t feel like consoling her right now. You go talk to her if you want – I need to call the station and see if they’ve got anyone in the tank who fits the bill for this.”
Lang sighed and gave his partner a look which told her that the last thing he wanted to do right now was talk to a hysterical witness regarding the guy with half of his head caved in. He walked out of the kitchen, back through the foyer and onto the front lawn, where the woman in heels was now sitting on the curb smoking a cigarette.
He went over to the officer he had seen talking with her beforehand. He was sitting in the front seat of his car drinking a cup of coffee.
“I’m Detective Lang, Officer. I don’t think we’ve met before. You want to fill me on who this woman is over here?”
“I just started last week, sir. My names Beaufield Nutbeem, it’s nice to meet you. Um, woman over there says she’s a friend of the victims. Apparently she was supposed to meet him last night for drinks at his apartment in the city….she tried calling him a few times with no response and she drove to the house this morning to see what was up.”
“So not the housekeeper?”
“No, sir,” said Officer Nutbeem, speaking with a faint but recognizable southern twang. He flipped back to the first page of his pocket notebook running his index finger from the bottom of the page all the way to the top. “Her name is Rose, sir…er…hold on. Rosie. Rosie Schwartz.” .