Faux Paw: A Magical Cats Mystery

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Authors: Sofie Kelly
wasn’t on the main floor of the building. I called her name several times and did a quick survey of the space, but there was no sign of her. I thought about calling 911 but there was no emergency.
    I could see that my office door was open before I got to the top of the stairs. I called Margo’s name again, and again I got no answer. As soon as I stepped into the doorway I saw why. Margo Walsh was lying on the floor. My brass cat was on its side beside her. Someone had used it to smash in the back of her head.
    She was dead.

    I called 911 from the phone at the circulation desk. Then I called Marcus. My hands wouldn’t seem to stop shaking.
    “I’m on my way,” he said. “Go wait in the truck, please.”
    “I’m going,” I said. I didn’t want to stay in the building. I could still see Margo lying on my office floor. How could she be dead?
    I locked the door again and sat in the truck until the black-and-white patrol car stopped at the curb. I’d met Officer Derek Craig at more than one of Marcus’s crime scenes, because more than once I’d ended up involved in the cases—something that had been a big bone of contention between us for a long time. The young police officer had moved to Chicago to start at the John Marshall Law School in January. So it was Officer Stephen Keller who got out of the car. The military vet always seemed to have a serious expression on his face, and I was suddenly glad of his calm, competent presence.
    I explained where Margo’s body was, stumbling over the words a little, and handed over my keys. I had no desire to go back inside.
    Hope Lind’s vehicle pulled up to the curb while Officer Keller was still inside. I crossed the sidewalk to meet her.
    “Hey, Kathleen,” she said as she came around the front bumper of the little blue car carrying a stainless steel coffee mug and a cardboard take-out cup. She was wearing skinny jeans, laced ankle boots and a dark fleece jacket. She handed the take-out cup to me. “I was at Eric’s,” she said by way of explanation.
    “Thank you,” I said, taking the cardboard container from her and wrapping my hands around it. I didn’t know Hope that well, but what I did know about her I liked. Marcus said she was a good detective—high praise coming from him.
    She looked over at the library. “What’s going on?”
    I explained about forgetting my phone, driving by, spotting the light on in my office and subsequently finding Margo’s body.
    Hope watched me over the top of her cup, sipping her coffee as I talked. She didn’t ask any questions or write anything down. Her expression didn’t change, even when I described the wound I’d noticed on the back of Margo Walsh’s head.
    “You know how this works,” she said with a small smile when I finished speaking.
    I nodded, bending my head to take a sip from the coffee she’d brought me. I was shivering a little, although I wasn’t sure whether it was from the night air or from finding Margo’s body.
    “Marcus is on his way?” she asked.
    I shifted from one foot to the other. “He should be here in a few minutes. He was already home.”
    Officer Keller came out of the library then. Hope held up a hand in acknowledgment and then looked at me again. “Are you okay out here by yourself for a few minutes?”
    “I’m fine,” I said. “I’ll just sit in the truck until Marcus gets here.”
    “Okay,” she said. She drained her coffee and set the metal mug on the roof of her car. Then she pulled a pair of plastic gloves from her pocket and started for the library steps.
    I changed my mind about going back to the truck. Instead I stayed there on the sidewalk with my coffee and watched for Marcus’s SUV to come along the street—which happened in just a few minutes. Okay, he hadn’t driven the speed limit all the way from his house. On the other hand, he was a detective on his way to a crime scene. He pulled in behind Hope’s car and got out. I was already starting up the sidewalk

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