We left Mr. Steele and Laura making a hasty exit.
Mr. Steele leads the way into the kitchen, presumably to rustle up some lunch. Laura follows with a declaration.
Oh? I think it’s working reasonably well. And if it’s not, that’s hardly Mr. Steele’s fault. He’s said everything you told him to, Laura.
And anyway, as any good flim-flam man knows, all they really have to do is stall a bit longer.
“Besides, only five more hours until nightfall. So long as everyone can stay alive until then.”
Is that a cookie jar? Or a decorative dog food container. Laura seems ready to tell him why he’s wrong, wrong, wrong, until –
Wait! What this, a woman’s scream? It seems to be coming from upstairs!
Steele and Laura take off in search of the screamer.
So do Starsky and Hutch Don and Carl.
It’s another mad scramble up the winding staircase. Well, except for Mr. Steele.
He pauses on the landing, winded. “Seems like we’ve been doing an awful lot of this today.”
The foursome arrive in a room upstairs to find Sandy in Murphy’s arms. So you’ve finally made your move, eh, Murph? You sly dog.
“I followed her up,” Murphy explains. “And I startled her.”
I’ll just bet you did, Mr. Michaels. (Is that what the kids are calling it these days?)
He hands a piece of cloth to Laura. “Here. Looks like a perfect match to the fibers. She was trying to get rid of it.”
“For what it’s worth,” Murphy says, “I think she’s innocent.”
Hm. “Innocent” isn’t the first word that comes to mind with regard to Sandy.
Carl’s not buyin’ it.
“Sandy’s right,” Donald follows up. “How do we know where those fibers came from? How do we know Carl didn’t come up here, take ‘em from the robe, set her up?”
And they’re at it again.
This is one of those male dominance things, isn’t it.
All this pointless tussling reminds me of this:
“Now,” Steele recommences. “Where were we, gentlemen?”
“I’m only trying to get at the truth. You can plant fibers, Carl. You can start fights. But there’s nobody here with motive to kill Alan except YOU.”
Something tells me that may not be strictly true.
“Oh really? You wanna tell em, Sandy? Or shall I?” Carl addresses Sandy. She doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“I’m talking about a motive for murder. I’m talking about your husband. And Alan. And about living here.”
Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more.
Explain yourself, Carl.
“I was the first one here Friday,” Carl tells them. “Wanted to talk to Alan about a loan. A little restitution, if you know what I mean. But Alan couldn’t talk. He wasn’t alone. Sandy was already here. No car out front, no suitcases, an awful lot of clothes for just a weekend. Who are you kidding, Sandy? You didn’t slip away for a reunion. How long have you been here?”
Sandy … smiles?
“Good, old Carl. Always could smell other people’s dirt a mile away. Been here for years. Been here … five days. I don’t suppose it’s any secret that Alan and I-
Play pinochle together? Have a brother-sister vaudeville act? So many possibilities!
“But I decided that I wanted to get married. And Alan wanted no part of marriage. So along comes Robin Maxwell. Wealthy, powerful, aggressive, everything that Alan was … except Alan.”
Don and Murphy are riveted.
Laura looks uncomfortable. Steele still looks indifferent.
“Well, three months after the wedding, I told myself I’d had too much to drink … then I poured myself another.
“Some women knit, some women do needlepoint – I did Alan Grievey.”
Uh, oh. I think you’ve blown it with Murphy, Sandy. He thought you were a nice girl!
Steele, on the other hand, seems to be pondering the possibilities this opens up.
And … yada yada yada, her husband got wise to his wife cheating, hired Alan to tail her to find out who is … er … tailing her.
Sandy continues her long and not-all-that-interesting confession. “So I had nowhere to go. I came here. I figured a girl could do a lot worse. But Alan didn’t want me around. Said what’s the point in having a mistress if you’ve got to come home to her every night? Told me I had to be out of here by Monday. Sure, I hated Alan Grievey. But I DIDN’T kill him.”
Laura is unimpressed by this whole sordid episode. “Well. There are still fingerprints to be dealt with,” she reminds them.
Steele concurs. “Miss Holt is quite right. Let’s not jump to any conclusions.” Right! They’ve still got three-and-a-half hours to kill before sunset!
Murphy goes to get his print kit, while seemingly practicing his little turn on the catwalk. And with that, I’ll leave you with Right Said Fred.