So now I had, potentially at least, two suspects in Ms Engel's murder—Carlo Donati and Frank Milano. No motives though—so far.
Okay, no concrete motives. Sure, Donati might have wanted to keep her from looking for their son. He knew I'd dropped the case, but that wouldn't have stopped her from hiring someone else. Was it possible she was blackmailing Frank Milano? Sure. With luck Caiazzo might be able to either confirm or erase that as a motive. Then there was Whitmore, although I couldn't think of any reason why he'd want her dead.
As I drove back to the office, all those thoughts took my mind off of my surroundings. Not totally of course. After all I did want to make it there in one piece. But enough that I wasn't aware of the motorcycle until it was right beside me. I slowed down. It slowed down. I sped up. So did the biker. When I made a sharp turn onto a side street, the bike was right behind me and then beside me again. Now my hand was on my gun. By the time I pulled it he was gone, but not before he tossed something into the car.
I'll have to give him one thing, his aim was good. The missive—it looked just like the last one—landed on the passenger seat. Swerving to the curb, I parked and reached for it. If it had been an explosive I'd have lost a hand, but it wasn't. I unwrapped the paper from around the rock.
'Second warning' the message said. 'Keep your nose out of things that don't concern you. Otherwise someone else will die.'
My immediate thought was of Ricky, so I was on the phone to him seconds later. He sounded worried when he answered, asking if something was wrong.
"Naw, I just missed you is all," I told him, trying to sound like I meant it—which I did, but… It occurred to me that telling him what had happened would only frighten him. Not what he needed while at work. Better to talk about it face to face tonight. I doubted that, whoever the biker was, he would go after Ricky in the next few hours. If that's what the threat meant.
"Miss you too," Ricky said in reply. "And as soon as we get home you're going to tell me the real reason you called."
I sighed. "You know me too well. It's nothing to worry about though. I had lunch with Caiazzo and… Well, yeah, I'll tell you tonight."
"I know. And since you called, I have something to tell you too." He paused a long beat. "I love you."
"Love you back."
That ended our conversation. Five minutes later I was walking into my office. Chelsea greeted me with a stack of messages. "In an hour?" I grumbled, thumbing through them.
"An hour and a half and don't blame me. You're popular."
Two of them were requests for appointments. I handed them back, telling her to set them up for tomorrow morning. The rest were from on-going clients. I called them, asked two of them to email the names of the people they wanted background checks on. The third one was a man who'd hired me to check out his fiancée. I told him I had the final report, and that he could come in whenever was convenient for him to pick it up. He said he'd be here within half an hour. He arrived looking worried—and left a happy, if somewhat poorer, man.
Then I got on the computer and began putting together a file listing everything I knew about the three men—because I decided to add Whitmore just in case—who might be responsible for Ms Engel's murder. I was tempted to call Detective Sharp to ask what he'd found out about them, but decided I wanted to stay on his good side.
As I worked something occurred to me. What if there was a fourth person? Benjamin Donati or whatever he was calling himself now? It wasn't beyond the realm of possibility, if he didn't want his mother to find him. That would presuppose Carlo had told him she was looking for him. Only one way to find out.