Excerpt of Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell
(Page 2 of 5)
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I remembered Marino's telling me he would drop by the scene, and I got
angrier. He gets some rookie to basically give me an order, and then if
Marino can fit it in, he might swing by and see how -we're doing?
"Fielding, when's the last time you talked to him?" I asked.
"Weeks. Pissy mood, too."
"Not half as pissy as mine's going to be if and when he finally
decides to show up," I promised.
Dockworkers watched me climb out of my car and pop open the trunk. I
retrieved my scene case, jumpsuit and shoes, and felt eyes crawl all over me
as I walked toward the unmarked car and got more annoyed with each labored
step, the heavy case bumping against my leg.
The man in the shirt and tie looked hot and unhappy as he shielded his
eyes to gaze up at two television news helicopters slowly circling the port
at about four hundred feet. "Darn reporters," he muttered, turning
his eyes to me.
"I'm looking for whoever's in charge of this crime scene," I
"That would be me," came a female voice from inside the
Caprice. I bent over and peered through the window at the young woman
sitting behind the wheel. She was darkly tanned, her brown hair cut short
and slicked back, her nose and jaw strong. Her eyes were hard, and she was
dressed in -relaxed---leg faded jeans, -lace---up black leather boots and
white -T---shirt. She wore her gun on her hip, her badge on a ball chain
tucked into her collar. Air-conditioning was blasting, light rock on the
radio surfing over the cop talk on the scanner.
"Detective Anderson, I presume," I said.
"Rene Anderson. The one and only. And you must be the doc -I've
heard so much about," she said with the arrogance I associated with
most people who -didn't know what the hell they were doing.
"I'm Joe Shaw, the port director," the man introduced himself
to me. "You must be who the security guys just called me about."
He was about my age, with blond hair, bright blue eyes and skin lined
from years of too much sun. I could tell by the look on his face that he
detested Anderson and everything about this day.
"Might you have anything helpful to pass along to me before I get
started?" I said to Anderson over loud blowing air and rotating
helicopter blades. "For example, why there are no police securing the
"Don't need 'em," Anderson said, pushing open her door with her
knee. "It's not like just anybody can drive right on back here, as you
found out when you tried." I set the aluminum case on the ground.
Anderson came around to my side of the car. I was surprised by how small she
"Not much I can tell you," she said to me. "What you see
is what we got. A container with a real stinker inside."
"No, there's a lot more you can tell me, Detective Anderson," I
said. "How was the body discovered and at what time? Have you seen it?
Has anybody gotten near it? Has the scene been contaminated in any way? And
the answer to the last one had better be no, or I'm holding you
She laughed. I began pulling the jumpsuit over my clothes.
"Nobody's even gotten close," she told me. "No volunteers
for that one."
"You don't have to go inside the thing to know what's there,"
Shaw added. I changed into the black Reeboks and put on the baseball cap.
Anderson was staring at my Mercedes.
"Maybe I should go work for the state," she said.
I looked her up and down.
"I suggest you cover up if you're going in there," I said to
"I gotta make a couple calls," she said, walking off. "I
-don't mean to tell people how to do their jobs," Shaw said to me.
"But what the hell's going on here? We got a dead body right over there
and the cops send in a little shit like that?"
Reprinted from Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell by
permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright
© 1999 by Cornwell Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or
any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.