How to Succeed in Murder

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Book: How to Succeed in Murder Read Online Free PDF
Author: Margaret Dumas
Tags: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
gotten offers, Stokes was sure of that. But she never showed any interest in them. She was already a VP at Zakdan, and Stokes was about to promote her again, to Executive Vice President. He was also going to give her fifty percent of his shares of the company when they got married.”
    “I’m guessing that’s a lot of shares.”
    “I checked the stock price. As of today, they’d be worth about three hundred and forty million dollars.”
    “Yikes. And he was just going to give them to her?”
    “He said he wanted them to be full partners in everything they did.”
    I thought about the devastated man we’d met just the day before. “How’s he doing?”
    Jack paused. “About how you’d expect.”
    “Jack.” I had to approach the next topic carefully. “Had he told people about his plans to promote Clara, or about the stock?”
    I looked up to find Jack regarding me with an unreadable face. “Why?”
    I was utterly nonchalant, picking up a spoon from the box next to me. “I just wondered.”
    “You mean you wondered if anyone had a motive for killing her.”
    Ah ha! “So you do think she was killed!”
    Jack frowned. “Charley, we’re not getting involved.”
    “We already are involved.”
    “Okay, then we’re not getting more involved. We’re not detectives and we’re not going to—”
    “Who did he tell?”
    “Charley!”
    “Oh, come on, I’m not going to do anything about it. But I know he told you who else knew about the promotion and the stock.” I waited expectantly.
    Jack blew his breath out in exasperation. “Then can we drop it?”
    “Of course.” I used my most reasonable voice.
    “He only told the Chief Technology Officer, Lalit Kumar, and the Executive VP of Engineering, a guy named Jim Stoddard.”
    “Lalit Kumar and Jim Stoddard,” I repeated. “What are their stories?”
    “They have no stories,” Jack said firmly. “There are no stories, and there are no reasons for us to talk about this. It’s none of our business.”
    “Right,” I said. “You’re right. Let’s leave it up to the police.” I removed all expression from my face. “What are you making for dinner?” Something with a side of mashed potatoes, no doubt.
    I ignored the way he was looking at me and gave my husband a bright, trustworthy smile. Then I left him to make some calls.
    ***
    “I’m so glad you called!” Brenda was on my doorstep at noon on Monday. “I mean, I was so upset about Clara after we talked on Friday, but I didn’t know what to do with that energy —it was so good to have something constructive to focus on.”
    She came into the foyer lugging a satchel bulging with papers, her oversized coat swirling around her shoulders and her long straight hair sliding out of its clip. “I found out so much—” She stopped suddenly and looked around.
    “Charley, you don’t have any furniture.”
    “I know.” I grabbed my purse from its place on the floor.
    “No, but I mean…” She looked through the arched doorway to the large living room, then backtracked across the entrance hall to open the doors to what would eventually be a library and a dining room. “Charley, I knew you hadn’t decorated , but I thought you’d have something—there’s not a stick of furniture in here!”
    “We have a bed,” I told her.
    “But it’s been weeks !” She turned around, as if expecting to see a set of leather club chairs materialize. “Where do you live?”
    “We have a bed,” I said firmly. “Now come on. We’re going to be late.”
    Brenda stopped squinting into empty rooms. “Oh! Right!” She suddenly seemed to notice that I was standing at the door, coat buttoned and bag in hand. “Where are we meeting Eileen?”
    “At her office.”
    “I thought you hated going to her office.” She stepped outside, and I closed the door behind us.
    “I do. But desperate times call for a trip to the financial district.”
    ***
    Brenda spent the trip downtown trying to get at the deep
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