Skip Case (David Dean Mysteries) (Chapter II, page 1 of 17)


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Wednesday, May 5th Afternoon.

Dean usually devoted the solitary time behind the wheel to sorting out details of a case, putting little facts in their slots like letters in a country post office. But after two hours with Cynthia Byrne, he had to fight the inclination to take all of her comments at face value, thereby kissing off any degree of objectivity. There was far more to learn about Jeffrey Byrne before he could report an informed opinion on the happenings in Norfolk two nights earlier.

Dean made surprisingly good time driving to Philadelphia in spite of having taken longer than he had planned interviewing the wife of the missing man. He knew the return trip would be far different, crawling his way back in the snarl of rush hour. His route to Philly looked like a drunkard's path, zigzagging a series of country roads that were at times crowded with local traffic. The hills and farmlands gradually turned to inner suburbia and then to the harshness of urban streets, choked tightly with the crush, smells and sounds of the city. He grabbed an order of French fries and a burger at the drive-in of a national chain, eating on the road, licking the salt from his fingers as he searched among the glass and steel structures for the address he had jotted down earlier.

World Wide Insurance Company was in the heart of Philadelphia, occupying a towering structure that glared down on city hall and a thousand tired buildings, many dating back to the horse-drawn carriage days. Parking wasn't a problem if you didn't mind paying the price of a good country dinner, but Dean didn't have time to hunt down a bargain so he reluctantly pulled into the closest lot. He'd fight the expense account battle at the end of the month.

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