The coroner’s office was in a small building that didn’t give much consideration to the living. The magic, as Lu Jones said, happened on the first floor; everything above them was administration. The break room was up there, too, but most people hung out in the death investigator’s office. Lu said it was more fun there. Vince wasn’t so sure about that.
Nobody was in the office when Detective Carthos and Detective DeMarte arrived. Which was a shame. It would have been an excuse not to go into the autopsy room. And Vince could have used the comic relief from Lu or Jerome. He was still reeling from the stunt DeMarte pulled with Christabelle Calder. Absolutely astounded by the fact that he actually insinuated that she was somehow involved in Lister McKinney’s death. This was the excellent detective that all other detectives in the Munsterville Police Department were held up to in comparison. This was supposed to be the gold standard.
Gold standard of crap. The only thing Detective DeAndre DeMarte was concerned with was making himself look good and he had no reservation about bludgeoning people with his authority while he did it. Detective Carpenter might have been tripped up by the Winchester Harmon case, but he was nothing but thorough and respectful. He’d never once been embarrassed to be associated with him.
Vince followed DeMarte into the autopsy room. It wasn’t his favorite place in the world to be, but it was all part of the job. The room was brightly lit and smelled strongly of disinfectant, which was better than what it had smelled like on other occasions that he’d been there. Dr. Pascal stood at a table on the other side of the room, an old woman laid open before him. Vince was surprised that he’d gotten through the autopsies so quickly to get to the old woman that Lu had bumped. It wasn’t even ten o’clock yet; he wasn’t supposed to get to her until after lunch.
There were three other tables between Vince and the autopsy in progress and he still felt too close.
“Good morning, Dr. Pascal,” DeMarte called across the room. He didn’t look like he wanted to get any closer and for the first time since his two weeks of DeMarte hell had started, Vince agreed with him.
“Good morning, detectives,” Dr. Pascal called back. He was a short man with wild eyes. To this man, everything was interesting, everything was an adventure. “I’ll be right with you.” He muttered something in Russian -his mother’s language, according to Lu- and looked at the assistant weighing the woman’s organs. “Grant. I need you to do a full toxicology work up on Mrs. Jefferson here. Include all of the heavy metals and known poisons.”
Vince shrunk back a step. Lu said the old lady’s death looked natural, but Dr. Pascal wanted to test for poisoning. He hoped Lu wasn’t going to get into trouble for bumping the old lady’s autopsy back.
“Now, gentlemen,” Dr. Pascal said as he stripped off his gloves and dumped them in a biohazard disposal bin. “You’re here about Mr. McKinney, yes?”
“That’s right, Doc,” DeMarte said.
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