Only then did she remember the phone call that shed been on her way to answer when shed glanced up to see the little body clambering high above the hardwood floor. She went over and punched the playback on the machine, and heard the dispatcher ask for her to call back, then add that she was going to call Al Hawkin as well. Kate didnt bother calling Ops, just hit Als number on the speed dial. From the sound of the background noise when he picked up, he was in the car.
"Hey, Al," she said. "What did the Ops center want?"
"Theres a body in the park but its the other side of the bridge."
"In Marin? So why call us?"
"Jurisdiction over theres an absolute bitch, but the vic lives over here and it looks like the parks just the dump site. So until we find the murder site, the Park Police investigator, and his supervisor, thought we should be brought in early, in case it ends up in our hands. Theyve already called our Crime Scene out for the site."
"Marins going to have a fit."
"Our sides going to have the fit. Id say, if youre doing anything, dont break up your Saturday."
"No, I should come if youre going, and I think Lees finished with her clients for the day. Let me just check with her."
"Why dont you call me if you dont want me to come by? Im about twenty minutes out." Which meant hed not been home when he got the call he lived about an hour south of the city, but knowing Al, he had his full kit with him wherever hed been, briefcase, forms, gun.
"Will do. Do you want anything to eat?"
"Jani and I had a big breakfast, so no thanks."
"Oh, and Kate? The guy said to wear sturdy shoes and a warm coat."
"Thanks for the warning."
Lee scowled at the news that Kate would be leaving, but shed known that Kate was on call, and shed been with Kate long enough to know that sometimes life came first, and sometimes death did.
"Can you call if youre not going to be home for dinner? I told Nora wed make pizza."
Nora was neatly distracted from the disappointment of Kates departure by the reminder. "Yay, pizza!" she cried with a jubilant dance.
"It should be fine, it may not even be our case, depending on how the lines are drawn on jurisdiction, but the d.b. lived here, so they offered us a look-in."
"Oh, what a treat," Lee said dryly.
"Whats a deebee?" Nora piped up.
Kate gave her partner an apologetic glance and opened her mouth to try for an explanation about dead bodies that would satisfy the child without planting macabre images in her impressionable mind, but Lee had already begun with, "Well, you see, sweetheart . . ." Kate slipped away, letting Lee deal with that particular matter.
Seventeen minutes later, Kate was out in front of the house, waiting for Al Hawkins car to round the corner. A neighbor came along the sidewalk at a snails pace, a dog leash in one hand and a toddlers hand in the other. She greeted Kate, reminding Kate of the planning meeting the following week at the preschool, inquiring about the acupuncturist Lee had mentioned a while ago, and tossing out ideas for the upcoming street fair. The entire conversation was held with the woman moving slowly past, never quite coming to a halt while dog and toddler explored the street; the trio continued at the same pace until the corner, when they turned toward the park.
Excerpted from The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King Copyright © 2006 by Laurie R. King. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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