Who Needed Killing? by Bill Fitts

Who Needed Killing?

byBill Fitts

Kobo ebook | December 1, 2014

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At eleven thirty Monday morning, I was sitting at a linen-topped table across from the university’s provost. The bud vase, linen napkin, and heavy silverware seemed a little excessive for my cup of soup and half a sandwich special, but it went well with his roast beef, asparagus, squash casserole, rice and gravy, and—his favorite—good old-fashioned southern spoonbread.

In the South, a certain amount of social conversation has to take place before business can commence. Even between men who’d known each other as long as Rufus and I had—maybe especially so. We’d met years ago, through his son. Jon and I hadn’t kept up our friendship but Rufus—well, we weren’t really friends. I wasn’t sure exactly what our relationship had become—just that there was a lot of mutual respect involved.

My respect for him was based on history. His for me was based more on my potential. Oh not all of it was on potential. I’d accomplished what he thought I was capable of two times now—three if you count the murder I’d investigated for his wife on behalf of The Festival’s board members. The fourth murder I’d solved hadn’t involved the university or the George family, except I’d had to call on him for an introduction to the district attorney of Lee County Tennessee.

“Thanks again for your help with Crystal Sterling, sir. She’s quite an impressive woman. Of course she’d have to be to be appointed district attorney.”

We both knew the truth. For a woman to have been appointed district attorney in rural Tennessee—much like in rural Alabama—she had to be head and shoulders more qualified than any male candidate.

Rufus put his fork down, patted his lips with his napkin, and then put the napkin back in his lap. “Ms. Sterling was equally impressed with your skills as an investigator.”

I blinked at him.

“She called me a day or two after you’d revealed the murderer to her. ‘Wrapped him up like a Christmas present and handed it to me’ was the way she described it.” He gave me a small, satisfied smile. “She thanked me for the introduction. Even said she might want to ‘borrow’ you some time.”

“And what did you say to that?”

“That you were not mine to lend—but I promised to put in a good word for her if she needed an investigator without local ties.”

I grinned at him. We were at the end of the meal—just a few bites left—it was almost time for him to get down to business.

Rufus wiped his lips with his napkin, folded it, and placed it on the table. “James, how much do you know about the retirement community called University Village?”

I thought about it for a second. “Not much more than that it’s affiliated with the university. They get their Internet access through the university’s technology department instead of some commercial service. Other than that, I’m clueless.”

Rufus nodded. “I want to ask you to look into University Village. As a favor to me.” Rufus held up his hand. “Oh, don’t commit to anything now—of course. It’s just that you are retired and it would give you a reason to go out there.”

Velma, the waitress who, as far as I could tell, always served Rufus, appeared at Rufus’s elbow with the check for him to sign. “Miss Victoria said you needed to be finished about now, sir. Said you had a funeral to attend.”

“Thank you, Velma.” Rufus pulled a fountain pen out of his suit jacket and scrawled his signature across the bottom of the check. “Yes, it doesn’t do to be late to a funeral. You can tell Victoria I left in plenty of time.” He handed the check back to the waitress who took it.

As she walked away, Rufus leaned across the table toward me. “Go out to University Village. Look around a little. Act interested. There’s something about it that makes me . . . well, I’d like your opinion of the place.”

I sat up straight. “You mind telling me what I’m looking for?”

“Yes, I do.” Rufus looked at his wristwatch and stood up. “I’ve got to go. There’s no need

Title:Who Needed Killing?Format:Kobo ebookPublished:December 1, 2014Publisher:Bill FittsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1941387039

ISBN - 13:9781941387030

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