Justice Delayed(10)

By: Patricia Bradley

Matthews removed his cap, revealing thick blond hair. He crossed the living room with the assurance of a person who was usually in command.

Once he sat on the black sofa, Brad and Will took the wingback chairs across from him, and then Brad took out a notebook. “If there were bad feelings between the two of you, why are you here?”

“I write an alimony check on the fifth of every month for three thousand dollars. Tomorrow’s the fifth.”

Either the man was cold or brutally honest . . . or trying to throw them off. He wouldn’t be the first murderer to revisit the scene of the crime. Will cocked his head. “And now you won’t have to write one.”

“Bingo.” He glanced toward the kitchen. “Is her . . . uh, body—”

“Already been transported to the morgue.” Brad flipped his notepad over to a fresh page. “Do you know if she had been acting unusual lately?”

“I haven’t talked to her for a couple of months, but as for your question—do you mean more strange than usual?”

“What do you mean by that?” Brad said.

“Lacey was bipolar. When she was in a manic period, she was really high, and the same was true of her lows. I can see her killing herself in either state, especially if she realized she was coming down.” He palmed his hand out. “She decorated this room in one of her depressive states.”

Will glanced around the room. The walls were bare except for a grouping of paintings over the black sofa. If Lacey was in a low state of mind, that would explain all the dark furniture.

“One time I came home,” Matthews said, “and everything in our house was white. Sofa, walls, bedrooms, carpet—she was in a manic period that time.”

“Was your ex-wife on medication?” Brad asked.

Matthews shook his head. “When we were married, amitriptyline was prescribed, but she refused to take it and preferred self-medication.”

Will was familiar with the antidepressant as well. “You remember what antidepressant your ex-wife used?”

The pilot shrugged. “After the divorce, I became depressed and that’s what my doctor prescribed too. Unlike Lacey, I took it until the depression cleared.”

“Did she use alcohol?” Brad asked.

The pilot nodded. “It was her medication of choice then. The alcohol and her uncontrolled mood swings were the primary cause of the divorce. Add her sharp tongue and I couldn’t stand to be around her.” He ran his finger across the brim of his airline cap. “I heard later she started taking the prescribed medicine and had gotten better. So, I am a little surprised she took her life.”

“That’s still up for debate,” Brad said. “Did your wife have any enemies?”

Matthews snorted. “Only everyone who spent extended time with her. Lacey could have an acerbic tongue.”

“What type of job did she have?” Brad asked.

“She didn’t work.”

Will frowned. Lacey Wilson drove a fairly late model Lexus and had high-end furniture, and the art he’d noticed were Grant Wood lithographs. These were not items purchased on a three-thousand-a-month budget. “How did she afford this expensive neighborhood?”

“Her parents left her a decent inheritance, but . . .” Matthews shrugged. “I wondered myself how she bought that car six years ago, and from what the neighbor told me, she planned to buy another because she was having trouble with it.”

Brad made notes in his book. “Any ideas on that? Maybe a boyfriend?”

A hollow laugh came from Matthews’s lips. “Definitely no boyfriend.”

He seemed so certain about that. Will said, “And you know this how?”

A sour expression crossed the ex-husband’s face. “I have a friend who’s a private investigator, and he gives me a cut rate to follow her a couple of times a year—just in case she’s living with someone. If she does, the alimony stops. Every year I paid him to sit in front of her house because she rarely went anywhere. Except this last time.” He shook his head. “Would you believe he followed her to church and to a children’s shelter where she volunteered? And that was it.”

Sounded like Lacey Wilson had made a change for the better. Will cocked his head. “Did you know she was flying to Hawaii tonight, or that she didn’t have a return ticket?”