Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Writing Wednesday

                     Who is Roland Kemény?
WARNING: This is all fiction and part of my novel "Rubato".

Roland Kemény was born in Budapest in 1945 and was a musical prodigy as a young boy. His family suffered during WW2 but regained their status because his father invested wisely in the rebuilding of the infrastructure in Eastern Europe. Roland wanted to become a pianist from a young age. He studied at the University of Performing Arts in Vienna and began a career as a pianist after that. His musical hero was Vladimir Horowitz. He became a teacher at the Liszt Conservatory and received recognition for his efforts in acquiring autograph manuscripts for the museum. He was obsessive about buying back the autograph manuscripts of Franz Liszt held by the Library of Congress in the United States but has been unsuccessful. 
He has salt and pepper curly hair with a beard and mustache. His eyes are dark and the folds over his eyes create a downward slant giving him a sad but kind face. 

Roland Kemény stared at the computer screen. A colleague from America wanted to teleconference with him tomorrow morning. The last call he had with her was when he talked about his relationship with Judith Whitesides. Now he knew that Judith was dead. Would she want to talk about that? What additional information would she want?
   He went to the window and looked out at the fall leaves drifting down into the courtyard outside his office. Autumn was especially beautiful in Budapest. He could hear visitors downstairs going through the house on a tour. As one of the oldest tenured teachers at the Liszt Academy he was honored to have an office inside the home of Franz Liszt. Downstairs many of Liszt’s furnishings were displayed, including his carved wood Bechstein piano. At that piano Liszt taught many talented pianists for free.  The winged lion carvings on each end of the keyboard were Roland’s favorite reminder of his mission. He was the lion that fought to conserve Liszt's legacy. 
   His mind went back to the day he first suspected that Judith had found something important on her recent research visit to Budapest. They met here in his office and she teased about the disarray downstairs in the Liszt Museum. She told him the dust and mold were destroying some old forgotten relics. Her frivolous comment that he needed to hire help to organize the basement made him angry. It was just like an American to assume money was available whenever a project was proposed. Would she like the job? That made her laugh and she said something that was still haunting him. “I have enough to keep me busy for a long time." He reminded her that everything in the basement belonged to the museum. Defiantly she answered that Budapest did not have all the important documents related to Franz Liszt. 
    As it turned out she did have an autograph manuscript. Now with Judith gone where was it? 


A piano teacher is found dead and a lost autograph manuscript of Franz Liszt is discovered. Who wanted that document enough to kill? 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Consistency Versus Quality

Doing Something Every Day, No Matter What?

My meditation app had a sunburst circle in which the number ninety-seven was pulsing. Ninety-Seven days of sequential meditation. Then I got sick. I was so disappointed when that streak was disrupted simply because I forgot. The morning I started over with a new 'day one' I realized that my pride was caught up with that number. I was equating consistency with quality.

Although consistency provides more opportunity for quality it isn't the same as having a fully conscious meditation session everyday. My goal hasn't changed. I am just starting over. There is 'umkehr' to my meditation practice. I may start over again one day when I reach 150 days of consistent practice. That is alright. I am looking for awareness of what meditation offers to my sense of peace not just being one hundred percent consistent.

And, I thank-you for reading my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith, a piano teacher extraordinaire, makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others and ends her own life. Detectives Stevie Dangerfield and Reggie Watts investigate her death and find musical intrigue that started in Eastern Europe.

Friday, February 23, 2018


Does understanding beauty take an educated eye or an educated heart?

Judith closed the lid of the Steinway piano. The light coming through the window was off-center. Her practice was suffering due to the disturbance of harmony in her room. She readjusted the vase of roses. She would have to wait a few minutes until the light shifted before she could continue playing.

Judith is a character in a book I am writing. Living in beauty is an obsession. Creating her gave me an opportunity to explore beauty under the umbrella of 'perfection'. Does something have to be perfect for us to find beauty within it? Can it be flawed and still be beautiful? Can there be perfection and we don't see the beauty?

Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

As the spirit of the Lord touches and educates our heart, He becomes more attractive. His beauty lies in his constancy, in his tenderness, in his submission to justice, in his focus, in his mental strength, in his open heart, in his mercy. I could go on but I have a time limit. He is beautiful to me not because he is perfect but because he sees beauty in my imperfection. I know, it shouldn't always be about me.

Praise be to Him.


And, I thank-you for reading my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith, a piano teacher extraordinaire, makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others, not for the better.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Writing Wednesday-

New Edits to "Rubato"
Introducing Harry Watts, retired homicide detective, father of Reggie Watts

Included in chapter 10

Rubbing his eyes he pushed the vision of Stevie out of his mind and turned over. He had a dream last night. It was about his father. They were working a case together and Reggie was very frustrated that the suspects all seemed to be lying about one thing or another. His father, also a homicide detective, was pragmatic in his approach to interviewing people. In the dream he said very calmly, “Every person tells their story as if they were the hero. Even if they are innocent of any wrong-doing, they are always going to spin the tale to justify their actions. You must learn to ask questions that challenge their story. The questions often reveal the parts they’ve made up to protect themselves.  Between their story and the truth, a gap develops. A smart detective excavates the gap to look for motivation.” Reggie pondered his father’s words and how well they applied to this case.

Included in Chapter 15-
   Reggie went to church on Sunday, too. His worship was really a gratitude session each week at the care home where Harold Watts lived. Harry, his preferred name, had been a  resident since his stroke a few years back. The retired detective went from decorated officer to being wheel chair bound in just a few moments. The first year after the stroke Reggie despaired at seeing his father fight to regain mobility. Harry felt his life was over and he would never be of use again. When it felt that Harry needed more help than his daughter and son could give him, they started the process of looking for a home that might keep his spirits up and his physical body from deteriorating. They found just the place. It took Harry longer to feel comfortable than it did his children.
   Once a week Reggie sat with his father and talked. Sometimes it was Harry doing most of the listening. He liked knowing how Reggie’s homicide cases developed. He asked really insightful questions, many of them used later in the interrogation room. Today he asked about the new case. 
   “I can’t tell you much, Dad. It involves people visiting the United States from eastern Europe. The issue is over a lost and found manuscript of music by a composer named Liszt, like…. shopping list.  Stevie has been most helpful because believe it or not she studied to be a concert pianist.”
   Harry’s bushy eyebrows raised in surprise.
   “Yup, that little tidbit of information was astounding to me, too.”
   Harry began mouthing words which Reggie couldn’t understand. The stroke had affected his speech. “See…. there?”
   “That man, over there.” Harry pointed to a man sitting with his head down across from them. “He,… he is a musician.”
    “Okay. What about him?” Reggie asked.
    “He needs help.” Harry looked expectantly at Reggie as if he would know what to do.
    “What kind of help?”
     “He needs music. Ask your partner to help him.” Harry was very serious.
     “What do I ask her?”
      “She can bring him music.” They were interrupted by a nurse with a wheel chair asking if they might like to go to the solarium. Harry changed the subject back to the case and Reggie dodged questions that he shouldn’t answer. He thought about what Harry had asked. What would Stevie make of that request?

Included in Chapter 16-

   Now that he was sure he was forgiven, he ventured into a longer conversation with Stevie. He looked over at her, watching her maneuver through evening traffic. It was unusual for him to bring up a personal subject. He waffled.
   “What is it?” she said quietly.
   “I’d like to tell you about my father.”
   “Okay, go ahead.” She sounded encouraging.
   “My father, Harry Watts, was a homicide detective for thirty years. Some years ago he had a stroke which left him unable to walk and paralyzed on one side of his body.” Reggie stopped and had that recurring feeling come over him of deep despair. He knew if he felt it instead of squashing it down it would subside sooner.
    “That’s terrible for him. Where is he now?”
     “In a care home which he likes fairly well. When I saw him Sunday he asked me the strangest thing.”
     “What did he ask?”
      “He wanted me to help a new patient who seems very depressed.” Suddenly Reggie felt stupid going on with his request. What could Stevie do?
       “How could you help him?”
       “Actually, my father thought you could help him.” He watched her expression to see if he detected any annoyance.
        “What can I do?” Her tone sounded like she was asking sincerely with real interest.
         “The man is a musician and my father thought he needed music. I mean I don’t expect you would go there and play for him, or anything like that.”
        “That is an interesting request because my mother coordinates musicians to volunteer at nursing homes to go and have a singing, listening experience. She has told me how effective it is with Alzheimers and Parkinson disease. I will certainly ask her about it.”
      “Really? That would be great. I would like to know more. I apologize for being awkward. It wasn’t an easy thing to talk about.” 
      “Well, we are around people all the time who tell us awkward things. You are a pro at reading between the lines.” She laughed. 

Included in Chapter 22
   “Is that you, Stevie?” her mother called from the kitchen.
   “It is. I’ll be right there.” She walked through to the kitchen and gave her mother a hug. “I’ll change my clothes and come back down.” Upstairs in her bedroom she changed her clothes wishing she could take off the heavy emotional memory of the interrogations. The case would be in the hands of the prosecutors now. It was possible she would be called to testify but her responsibility was over. She washed her face and hands. Downstairs she heard her mother playing Liszt. The sound replaced her frustrations almost immediately. On the way through the kitchen she gathered up a snack of cheese and crackers, then settled herself onto the sofa and put her head back. She closed her eyes. The music slowed as the thirds cascaded down into the bass clef. Tears dropped off the edge of her chin. Stevie did nothing to stop the flow.
   The music stopped but neither Stevie or her mother broke the silence. After a while Stevie straightened up and looked at her mother. Angelika was still sitting quietly on the piano bench. 
   “Reggie has a father.” 
    Angelika moved to join Stevie on the couch. “Well, most people do.”
   “He told me about him yesterday. Harry Watts is in a care home recovering from a stroke. He has asked for my help.”
    “Doing what?” Angelika asked.
    “There is a patient there who is very depressed and he wanted Reggie to ask me if I could bring him music.”
      “Are you still in touch with the people from California who started Music Mends Minds?” Stevie asked.
      “Yes, there are two facilities here in Seattle who have volunteer musicians come in once a week to do music. I could query my friends and see if that could happen in Mr. Watts’ facility.”

       “I’d like to help with that. You taught me that music heals.” Stevie walked over to the keyboard and started the same Consolation by Liszt that her mother had played. Their touch was almost identical but it was even more nurturing to press into the keys and feel the vibrations through the wood. She felt renewed.


And, I thank-you for reading my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith, a piano teacher extraordinaire, makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others, not for the better.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Returning To Past Successes

Some practices, oft repeated get stale
Bring them back...

Like many people I have occasional bouts of insomnia. I found relief in sleep stories. My Calm App has stories, recorded by various popular personalities, made to lull you into peaceful slumber. The stories aren't boring but they become slower and quieter as the narrative progresses. I rarely hear the whole thing. 
  Somewhere along the way I forgot about the success I had falling asleep. This month I'm working on meditating everyday and coming back (Umkehr) to sleep stories is such a good idea. 
  What do you use to fall asleep?


And, I thank-you for reading my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith, a piano teacher extraordinaire, makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others, not for the better.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Rubato- Chapter 23


                                                          Chapter 23

“Tempo rubato,“this irreconcilable foe of the metronome,” as Paderewski calls it, is one of music’s oldest friends.”

The precinct was quiet for a few days. Friday morning Stevie came to work feeling more energy. Today she would tie up loose ends. Reggie’s desk was still empty. She noticed a piece of blue paper on top. She came around her own desk to take a peek. The note was from their boss. A call related to the Whitesides murder had come in from a woman named Linda Taylor. She requested that either Reggie or Stevie call her back. It was still early but Stevie was too curious to wait. 
The cold, wet wind pushed Stevie’s hair away from her face. Waves were foaming around the boat, churning the water into peaks of white meringue. She and Reggie were standing on the car deck of the ferry holding onto the green railing. This was hopefully their last visit. 
 “Could you ever live on an island with access only by ferry boat?” Stevie asked. 
 “Obviously no, with our job. But, I could retire here.” 
 “I wonder why Judith chose to live here instead of the city. She would be able to build a much larger group of students there. Although, waterfront real estate is pricier in the city. She could never have the same view from her music room along waterfronts in Seattle.” Stevie brushed the hair off of  her face once more.
  Reggie turned and asked. “What do you think Linda Taylor wants to give us? If she has withheld evidence she could be charged as an accessory to a crime.”
  “Whatever it is, she is not likely to have withheld evidence without good reason. Let’s hear her out, Reg.”

  Linda Taylor greeted them at her door. Her face was serious and as she brushed her hand through her hair Stevie noticed a slight tremor in her hand. After asking them to sit she retrieved a shallow box from her office. The box was tied with a red ribbon and it looked sealed from what Reggie could see. 
“I suppose I need to explain.” Linda clutched the box to her chest. “The night before Judith was killed I came to see her.”
 “So you were the Tuesday night guest?” Reggie was surprised.
 “She asked me to come over. I’ve never been invited as a guest to socialize with her so I was very curious. We had some tea and cookies and then…,” Tears glistened in her eyes. “She asked if I would take something home. She presented me with this box and made me promise to never open it or let anyone see it. Keeping it safe was my only obligation. I don’t know what it is or if it could help your investigation.”
Reggie let a huge sigh escape his lips. “Linda, it is a criminal act to withhold evidence.”
“But I made a solemn promise and I always keep my promises.”
“So why are you giving it up now?” Stevie wanted to sound patient and caring. 
 “Have you arrested her killer?” 
 “Well, we have three suspects in custody and there is evidence that Mr. Horak came back to the island on the night of the murder. But, I really shouldn’t tell you any more.”
  “Her husband? Did he kill her? But, why?”
   Reggie and Stevie sat quietly while she wept. When she regained her composure she handed Stevie the box. The three of them were held together in a suspenseful waiting while Stevie untied the ribbon and slipped the lid off the box. 
  “Wait!” Reggie cautioned. “We shouldn’t open this. It is most certainly evidence.”
   Stevie avoided Reggie’s eyes. “Linda, I’m going to give the box to you. You and I need closure before we turn this into the big, black hole called evidence.”
  Linda picked up the top sheet in the box. “It’s a manuscript. ‘Finding Beauty In A Lost World’ by Judith Eleanor Whitesides.” She passed the first page to Reggie and continued reading. The pages went around the circle, each person silently reading the story. The first section was a biography, including highlights of her musical achievements and professional positions. The second section was a personal account of Judith’s love of Franz Liszt. The third section left them speechless. Among the pages detailing the finding the autograph manuscript page, a plastic sleeve appeared. It was another Liszt original.
 “Whoa! Is this what I think it is?” Stevie held the document up into the air. “It looks like the same handwriting but, again it is not the whole score.”
 Linda reached over to see it for herself. “Gosh, can you tell what it might be?” Stevie passed it over to her and motioned to take it to the piano. 
Linda settled onto the bench and with very slow deliberate movements she played the right hand. The piece was in F# minor with cascading triplets coming down the keyboard. The rhythm moved like a dance but it didn’t sound familiar to Linda and it was too difficult for her to play at the correct tempo. 
“It has the sound of another Hungarian Rhapsody. The minor key is feeling like gypsy music. Do you have a complete copy of the Rhapsodies?” Stevie said.
Linda went into her office and when she came back she had a thick book of music in her hand. She handed the book to Stevie who started leafing through the pages. They sat together at the piano and stopped several times to compare music to the manuscript. Reggie was still reading Judith’s book. He glanced over at the two women playing and talking. He thought of the detective work going on across the room. The truth of the matter was, all of this would be entered as evidence and would be unavailable until the trial was over. Who would finally take possession of Judith’s work?
“Got it!” Linda triumphantly opened the music book wider and started playing quiet, mournful, minor chords from the beginning of the score.
“So, she found another fragment; this time from the Hungarian Rhapsody No.18.” Stevie stopped to listen to Linda play. When she reached the section which the fragment encompassed, she stopped and sighed. “The first section is straightforward but the middle is crazy hard. I don’t think I can sight read it. Look at the angular ink marks all over the page. It seems unbelievable that Liszt had a plan in this frenzy of notes.”
On the couch, Reggie reached a part in the book where Judith described how she found the manuscripts. What he suspected was true. Judith was working in Budapest, researching in The Liszt Museum. She was given access to the basement storage areas and there she found a box of haphazardly collected papers and memorabilia . To her amazement and delight she found the autograph manuscripts of both Hungarian Rhapsodies. An intense inward struggle ensued. She described how she knew she should immediately report her findings, but the joy of seeing Liszt’s hand written music overcame her rational thinking. Her actions left the rigid tempo of law and she acted from her feelings instead of her head. She robbed justice, just like a pianist robs a measure of it's strict beat by holding on to certain notes intentionally longer than prescribed. 
“Listen to this. ‘I hinted to Professor Roland Kemény about the autographs, although I never told him what I found. He immediately demanded that I was forthcoming. I felt trapped by what my profession demanded and what my heart yearned to possess. The more he pressed me the more uncooperative I became. Then he came to visit me in Prague and against my better judgement, I showed him one of the autographs. He began talking about paying me for it, which was ridiculous. He worked for the Liszt Academy. Why would he want to own the autograph himself? I thought he would demand that I turn it over to the museum.’
Stevie looked up from the piano. “Does she give details about receiving a payment from the professor?”
Reggie cleared his throat indicating that he was going to continue reading. “I heard from my colleagues in Prague that the professor announced  at a press conference that he was acquiring a new Liszt autograph for the museum. How could he openly lie about what had not happened. Rather than be called out I decided to sell it to him. He sent a contract and I received the first twenty-five thousand.. Something inside me panicked. How could I let this piece of art go. It moved me to do a very irrational thing. I quit my job in Prague and sent a letter to the director of the Liszt Museum stating that Professor Kremény was lying. Going back to Washington State was an effort to leave everything behind me. It was likely that he was going to come after me but when I went to the bank to wire the money back, the transaction failed. I made the choice to keep the money until I secured the music. I was going to return all the money to Roland very soon.  It was never my intent to put the manuscript at risk.”
Linda and Stevie came back to sit by Reggie. They were quiet for a while. 
Reggie took out his phone and suggested they take pictures of the pages they particularly wanted to document. “Can we photograph the music?” Linda sounded hopeful. 
“The archival sleeve should protect it. I’m going to.” They laid the papers out on the floor and passed the phones around snapping shots.
Finally, Linda gathered up the pages of the Judith’s book and sorted them by page number.
“Can I keep these a while. She did give them to me.”
Stevie looked with compassion at this woman who cared very much for her colleague and friend. She explained that the book and music autograph would now go into the custody of the police department and be instrumental in convicting her husband of murder. 
“We can’t keep them, even overnight. I learned that lesson.” Stevie said very seriously, trying to comfort herself as much as Linda. “The autographs have an indefinite future, as well as Judith’s book. We can monitor their safety but the prosecutor will make decisions about when they will be released and who will receive them.”
  “Can I show my son the pictures?”
  “I won’t tell. How is Jon?” Stevie remembered the young man from the first day. 
 “He was a little freaked out. We talk about it often. It still all seems a little unbelievable.” Linda handed Stevie the box.
 “Are you disappointed in Judith?” Stevie asked.
 “Disappointed? In her decisions? Maybe, but I learned so much from her about music. I am more resolved to be an inspired musician because of Judith.”
Reggie signaled that they needed to leave. He was amazed at how long they had stayed. 
Stevie reached into her pocket and handed Linda her card. “Call me if you have any concerns. I will let you know how the trial ends up.”
“Thank you. I will be thinking about Judith’s book. Someone should publish it. And, I hope the autograph manuscripts are made available online.”
Stevie couldn’t help herself. She reached out to Linda and pressed her into an embrace. 

As they drove through town Reggie laughingly quoted a television show. “Rule Forty-Five, don’t get emotionally involved in your investigation.”
Stevie punched his arm. She watched the scenery pass by. A wooden statue of a man holding a chainsaw caught her eye. “What’s the story there?” 
She was about to give her impression of the island when her phone rang. Her boss at the station was giving directions to her. She said goodbye and turned to Reggie, “We are needed in South Seattle. There’s a suspicious suicide. They have notified the ferry system to let us board the next vessel first.”

Reggie put his foot firmly on the gas pedal and they were off.

                                         THE END

 Yes, there will be a sequel. Writing Wednesday's will continue. Thank you so much for reading and especially for those of you leaving comments on Facebook and Instagram.
I am @gabyburg on Instagram.


What Is The Back Story?
We are all wondering why? Why would that man kill those students? I am sitting with that question this morning even as I am in the editing process of my own murder mystery. Why am I writing a story about murder?

   I don't read murder mysteries to glory in death or because I am fascinated with the act of taking human life. It actually repels me. What draws me in is the story of "why". What brings a person to take the life of another? 
   That story is in the first book of the Old Testament. What brought Cain to kill his brother Abel? Was he overcome by evil or did his narrative need evil to be realized? We are all the hero in our story. It is when we stop questioning the truth of our tale that deception finds a foothold. I can usually tell when I'm spinning a yarn. The need to rationalize my actions is the clue. "I had to do it." "I saw no other way out."

“We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.”
                                                                     ― John Steinbeck, East of Eden


And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel, Rubato. Judith, a piano teacher extraordinaire,  makes a decision which, upon reflection, changes the lives of others, not for the better.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Writing Wednesday- Rubato Chapter 22


                                           Chapter 22

“Life is only a long and bitter suicide, and faith alone can transform this suicide into a sacrifice.”
Franz Liszt

Tomorrow would be another day to deal with the confusions around her. Tonight she would sleep. She opened the amber colored plastic bottle, took out two pills, and drank from the glass of water on her night stand.

     Before they entered the small, dingy room where Dominik and his attorney waited, Reggie suggested reviewing the medical examiner’s report one more time. He knew Stevie had the file in her backpack. While she looked through her pack Reggie slid down the hallway wall, bending his knees and lowering himself wearily to the ground. He was too tired to find a chair. The new evidence that Stevie had brought with her was more definitive and damming than what they had before. If Dominik went to the island and killed his wife in the early hours of Wednesday morning it would have been well planned. How could he have been sure Judith would take the sleeping pills so that she was asleep enough when he injected the Fentanyl into her thigh? And where exactly did he get the drug?
    “The medical examiner found a puncture wound on her right thigh. We could take the syringe and needle to him and see if it fits the wound. What do you think?” Stevie haphazardly shuffled through the papers in the folder. Reggie saw that fatigue was setting in on Stevie, too.
   “Blast, I forgot to ask you.” He turned and looked at her. “Did the lab find any fingerprints on the syringe?” 
    “Not yet. They’ve only had it a few hours, however, they were able to verify that the syringe did contain traces of Fentanyl. That syringe is the murder weapon, Reg, I’m sure of it. We are a step closer.”
   “Before we go in with Dominik let’s go back and press Yolanda into telling us where they got the drugs. We need to know if they had access to Fentanyl.”
   Stevie helped Reggie to his feet. “Take it slow. She might clam up if she thinks we are going to slam her with a drug charge on top of accessory to murder.” 

   They entered the room where Yolanda Valenta was waiting and found her weeping. She looked up anxiously. “What is going on?”
   Reggie sat across the table from her. He smiled reassuringly. His first question was soft and imploring. “We need to know if you, Adrián, or Dominik purchased drugs here in the United States?”
   “For what? We don’t use drugs.”
   “But… you told us previously that you and Adrián stole from drug companies in Eastern Europe. What drugs did you buy and sell?”
   Yolanda sat mute. A minute past and finally she asked, “Will you get me out of this mess if I help you?”
  “The district attorney will know that you assisted us willingly. I’m sure she will take that into consideration.” Reggie tapped his fingers on the table. He knew there was little he could do to keep Yolanda out of prison.
  “But you can’t promise me anything?”
   He shifted in his chair. “In my position I can’t make you promises. Let’s come back to the fact that you and Adrián stole drugs and sold them.”
   It was silent again. Reggie looked over at Stevie and saw a flicker of a smile cross her face. He thought she knew that he wanted to wring the truth out of Yolanda with his bare hands but….he held back.
   “Adrián knew the market for opioids in Eastern Europe.” Yolanda sat up straighter and sighed. “He stole Fentanyl most often because he knew he could turn around and sell those easily.” 
   “Did he sell them as pills or injections?” Reggie asked.
   “The syringe injections were most popular but more dangerous than the pills.”
   “Did the two of you bring any into the United States?”
   “I did not!” Her words echoed off the walls of the tiny room. “I don’t know if Adrián had any with him.”
   Stevie picked up the conversation next. “Were you aware of Judith’s use of sleeping pills?”
   “Yes. They were always on her night stand. Dominik asked me to report back to him if I noticed her using any prescription drugs.”
  “Do you know why he would want that information?” Stevie asked.
   Yolanda was silent and then shrugged her shoulders. “He was concerned for her health, I suppose.”
   “Or maybe he planned to murder her?”
    Reggie looked at Stevie in surprise. It was abrupt and, in truth, it was the very question he was wishing he could ask. Yolanda knew more about how Judith died than she was revealing so far. 
   “Well, I suppose I should tell you.” Yes, you really should, Reggie thought. He waited keeping his eyes on Yolanda the entire time. He was watching for signs of deception; very little blinking of the eyes or dilated pupils.
  “Adrián asked me to take a picture of her sleeping pill subscription bottle with my phone and then to bring him two of the capsules from the bottle. On Tuesday morning when I came to work I made an excuse to go upstairs into Judith’s bedroom and emptied out her sleeping pills and replaced the exact number with the ones Adrián gave me.” She lowered her head and brought it back up abruptly. “But, I do not know what he put into those capsules!”
   Reggie heard Stevie release a long breath out of her mouth. “It never occurred to you that Adrián was trying to harm Judith?” she asked.
   “I stayed out of that part." Yolanda looked down at her hands. "I just did what I was asked. The end reward was was going to be worth it.”
   Reggie stood up and walked over to the mirror with his back to the women. All three of them were walking around the truth like hyenas circling a carcass.
   “Yolanda, can you give us anymore information about how Judith Whitesides died?” He asked and turned back around to look at her tearful face.
   “There is nothing more I can tell you.”

   Before going back into the room with Dominik and his counsel, Reggie wanted to observe the two of them. He caught Stevie’s sleeve and pulled her into the adjacent room with the two-way mirror. The attorney was sitting on the edge of his seat, turned toward Dominik, his hand over his mouth, whispering heatedly. 
   “Will you switch on the sound, please?” Reggie asked Stevie.
    Stevie moved the dial above the window to the right and then to the left.  “Ah,…..the sound is not working, again.”
    Reggie approached the window and squinted. Dominik sat next to his attorney, his upper body stiff and arms folded across his chest. Reggie could see Mr. Gray place a hand on Dominik’s shoulder, his fingers digging deeply into Dominik’s jacket while his mouth made silent exclamations. Dominik flinched and pulled away. His eyes refused to make eye contact with his attorney. 
    “He’s telling him not to talk to us,” Stevie said.
    “Ah,… ya think?” he laughed.
     Abruptly Dominik pushed away from the table causing the chair on the other side to  topple over. The outburst brought Mr. Gray out of his seat and he stood in front of Dominik blocking Reggie’s view. His hand was raised into the air and his index finger gesticulated just above Dominik’s head. 
   “Now, now is the time to make our entrance, while they are both off balance.”

   The attorney, Mr. Gray, turned around as they entered.
  “Charge my client now or we walk out of here.”
  “Hold up, I just need a few more answers.” Reggie slowly put his papers face down, again, on the table. He waited until Stevie sat and then joined the quartet. He noticed Dominik was still wearing the charcoal gray suit from the Wednesday his wife died. The suit jacket was on the back of his chair. There was slight scent of body odor which made Reggie wrinkle his nose. “I want to repeat my question as to where you were on Tuesday night.”
   “And I told you, Detective, that I was at a bar and by now you should have found verification.” he said, tapping the table for emphasis. His face was still flushed from his interchange with the attorney.
   “I want to go back to the Liszt autograph manuscript. Where did Judith find it?” Reggie asked.
    Dominik exhaled a slow breath. In a sing song voice he said, “It has come to light that she found it on a trip to the Liszt Museum in Budapest. She never admitted to its origin to me.”
    “According to Professor Roland Kemény you visited him in Budapest and made your own arrangements to deliver the manuscript to him.”
    “So,…. you have talked to him.” He snorted derisively. “Well, I may have…….” Dominik’s attorney touched his arm and silenced him. 
    “You must have believed that you could get the manuscript from your wife one way or another?” Reggie lifted the ending of his sentence into a question.
     Dominik sat back, slowly uncrossing his arms. “Yes, I think the manuscript should have been returned because she actually stole it from the museum. My wife was a thief.” 
    He spat the words out with disgust. “But I personally did not take it from her.”
   “If you think it should have been returned why were you making an agreement to sell it to Professor Kemény?” Reggie asked.
    Mr. Gray put his hand a little more tightly on Dominik’s arm to restrain him from speaking further. 
     Reggie went on. “I would really like to know more about that looks like you aren’t talking on this subject. So let us move on.” 
     He turned over the first of two pictures on the table. Stevie would be watching Dominik very closely to see his reaction. A sputter of released anxiety flooded Reggie’s stomach. “We have a surveillance photo of you getting off a boat on the island at 12:55 am on Wednesday. Yet, you say you were in Seattle.”
   Reggie saw the eyes of the attorney widen. Reggie realized that Dominik had withheld this information. He doesn’t know about this visit to the island. Dominik began whispering. Mr. Gray shook his head several times. Turning back to the detectives Dominik stayed silent.
    Reggie slowly turned over the second photo, pointing at the top, right edge and said, “Here you are leaving the island at 4:05 am. Do you recognize your car and you at the wheel?" 
    Stevie looked over at Reggie and lifted her eyebrows. He saw her move to the edge of her chair. 
    “What did you do in the hours you were there?” Reggie continued. “Did you silently go into your own house and climb the stairs to your bedroom, seeing your wife deeply asleep and inject her with the Fentanyl?” 
   Reggie saw a ripple of energy go through Dominik. He started to rise. Mr. Gray cleared his throat and looked at him with furrowed brows. He sat back down.
    “My wife was a stupid woman who never listened to reason!” 
     Reggie thought of the callous way Judith died. A silent fury inched it’s way into Reggie’s body. His voice grew louder.
     “Why did you instruct Adrián Szarka to substitute different sleeping pills into her prescription bottle? We have his statement that you gave him those instructions.”
     Dominik dropped his head.
    “What was in those sleeping pills?” Reggie waited just a moment. 
    “Where exactly did you inject Judith with the Fentanyl?” Reggie’s voice was now at full volume. 
    Then Stevie began talking with a quieter voice. “We found a syringe in the neighbor’s garbage. It was just confirmed to have had Fentanyl residue. When we do further testing will we find your finger prints on it?”
   Dominik rose to his feet, pushing against the table. He lunged across and a droplet of saliva from Dominik’s mouth landed on Stevie’s face.  
  “You will not find my fingerprints on the syringe! I wouldn’t be that stupid.”
  Reggie saw Stevie recoil from Dominik and he saw her eyes narrow. She had him. He wasn’t convicted yet, but Reggie knew that Dominik had all but admitted to killing his wife.
  Mr. Gray rose quickly and gathered his up briefcase.
  “Enough with this harassing of my client. If you are not going to arrest him we are leaving right now.” He said.
    Stevie cleared her voice. “But, Mr. Gray, we are going to arrest your client.” She stood up turned to face Dominik Horak. “You are under arrest for the murder of your wife, Judith Whitesides. Could you get up and turn around, please?” Reggie had a feeling of release as he saw Stevie put him into handcuffs. Dominik jerked around to look at his attorney. He didn’t fight Stevie as she led him from the room. 

                                       Chapter 23