"So, this is the famous Detective's Ball," said Amy with a smirk.
"For the hundredth time, it's not a ball, it's a cocktail party." Harry handed his daughter a glass of champagne. "The department hasn't had a ball in thirty years."
Crime Scene See-n-SolveDespite her smirk, Amy was enjoying herself. Dozens of detectives and their wives were dressed in their finest as they roamed the ballroom of the Orion Club, an old mansion now transformed into the city's most exclusive club.
The event's only blemish was the caterer, a company called Plimpton Gourmet. Frank Plimpton had put in his twenty on the force, then taken his pension and bought out his son's catering business. Frank Plimpton and Frank Junior both cut imposing figures, thin and ramrod straight in their white shirts and black trousers. But the hot canapés were cold and the cold canapés were warm, and both were pretty tasteless.
The serving staff was rounded out by Frank's daughter Claire and her husband, Mario. The family spent as much time glaring and growling at each other as they did serving the guests.
"There's this rumor going around that your daughter solves your cases."
Amy turned with a start and found herself looking up into the face of Captain Locklear. He appeared even younger and more handsome up close. His smile was wry and warm.
"It's true, sir," Harry replied with a easy grin that said 'I'll play along with the joke'. But Amy wasn't sure the captain was joking.
"Excuse me, Captain." It was Frank Plimpton, interrupting apologetically.
"I'm going to leave things in Frank Junior's hands. I got an Elks meeting I'm already late for, if you don't mind. Is there someplace I can change?"
The captain pointed to a small library and watched the ex-cop disappear into it carrying a garment bag. "I must say I'm disappointed in what Frank's giving us for the money. I can see why his business is failing."
Amy spent the next half-hour mingling, torn between trying to catch sight of the captain and trying to avoid him.
It was Chief Jerkins' wife who opened the door to the small library, and her startled cry was heard over the Cole Porter music. A ballroom full of detectives drifted toward the library. Amy and her father found themselves at the front.
Frank Plimpton was lying in the room where he'd gone to change, apparently bludgeoned to death with a fireplace poker.
"Why don't you lay low on this one?" Harry whispered in Amy's ear.
Amy wanted to lay low. But she couldn't help being curious. "I'll just keep my eyes and ears open."