Skip Case (David Dean Mysteries) (Chapter IV, page 2 of 19)

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Detective Norman Hunter, who met the arriving aircraft, was unperturbed by the overdue flight. The 32-year-old detective with bright red crew cut and opened-collar sports shirt looked as if nothing short of a catastrophe would cause him a lick of concern. Dean took an immediate liking to his southern counterpart as soon as the two shook hands and left the terminal.

"No problem," Hunter responded to Dean's apology. "I'm used to planes being late more often than on time. Your return flight back isn't until 4:00 so we've got hours to grab a bite and check out that motel. By the way, welcome to God's country."

Although Dean didn't say it, he figured God must be partial to roasting temperature and off the scale humidity that quickly drenched his clothes like an afternoon shower. By the time they reached Hunter's double-parked car, Dean felt like limp lettuce at a summer picnic. He loosened his collar and tie out of absolute necessity.

"The wife wants you to give her a call," Hunter said, as he started up the automobile and turned on that miraculous inven­tion, the air conditioner.

"Mrs. Byrne?" asked Dean, somewhat surprised.

"Sure enough. I gave her a ring last night, just to tell her noth­ing's new and I mentioned you were coming down. She asked that I have you buzz her. She sure seems like a nice enough gal. Think he skipped out on her?"

"I suppose that's the 64-dollar question. At first everyone was positive he'd taken a hike, but personally, I haven't seen a thing yet to tell me he didn't just do something stupid and pay the price for it. We're about ready to close our end of the case unless you've found something that looks fishy."

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