All that remains, p.34
All That Remains, p.34Patricia Cornwell
I hurried to the couch and felt Abby's neck. There was no pulse. I turned her on her back and started CPR, but her heart and lungs had given up too long ago to remember what they were supposed to do. Holding her face in my hands, I felt her warmth and smelled her perfume as sobs welled up and shook me uncontrollably.
Footsteps on the hardwood floor did not register until I realized they were too light to be Marino's.
I looked up as Pat Harvey lifted the revolver off the coffee table.
I stared wide-eyed at her, my lips parting.
The revolver shook as she pointed it in my direction.
My voice stuck in my throat, hands frozen in front of me, stained with Abby's blood.
"Please . . ."
"Just stay there."
She backed up several steps, lowering the gun a little. For some bizarre reason it occurred to me she was wearing the same red windbreaker she had worn to my house.
"Abby's dead," I said.
Pat Harvey didn't react, her face ashen, eyes so dark they looked black. "I tried to find a phone. He doesn't have any phones."
"Please put, the gun down."
"He did it. He killed my Debbie. He killed Abby."
Marino, I thought. Oh, God, hurry! "Mrs. Harvey, it's over. They're dead. Please put the gun down. Don't make it worse."
"It can't be worse."
"That's not true. Please listen to me."
"I can't be here anymore," she said in the same flat tone.
"I can help you. Put the gun down. Please," I said, getting up from the couch as she raised the gun again.
"No," I begged, realizing what she was going to do.
She pointed the muzzle at her chest as I lunged toward her.
"Mrs. Harvey! No!"
The explosion knocked her back and she staggered, dropping the revolver. I kicked it away and it spun slowly, heavily, across the smooth wood floor as her legs buckled. She reached for something to hold on to, but nothing was there. Marino was suddenly in the room, exclaiming "Holy shit!"
He held his revolver in both hands, muzzle pointed at the ceiling. Ears ringing, I was trembling all over as I knelt beside Pat Harvey. She lay on her side, knees drawn, clutching her chest.
I moved her hands out of the way and fumbled with her clothing. Untucking her blouse and pushing up her brassiere, I pressed bunched cloth against the wound below her left breast. I could hear Marino cursing as he rushed out of the room.
"Hold on," I whispered, applying pressure so the small hole would not suck in air and collapse the lung.
She was squirming and began to groan.
"Hold on," I repeated as sirens wailed from the street.
Red light pulsed through blinds covering the living room windows, as if the world outside Steven Spurrier's house were on fire.
Marino drove me home and did not leave. I sat in my kitchen staring out at the rain, only vaguely aware of what was going on around me. The doorbell rang, and I heard footsteps and male voices.
Later, Marino came into the kitchen and pulled out a chair across from me. He perched on the edge of it as if he wasn't planning to sit long.
"Any other places in the house Abby might have put her things, beside her bedroom?" he asked.
"I don't think so," I murmured.
"Well, we've got to look. I'm sorry, Doc."
He followed my gaze out the window.
"I'll make coffee."
He got up. "We'll see if I remember what you taught me. My first quiz, huh?"
He moved about in the kitchen, cabinet doors opening and shutting, water running as he filled the pot. He walked out while coffee dripped, and moments later was back with another detective.
"This won't take very long, Dr. Scarpetta," the detective said. "Appreciate your cooperation."
He said something in a low voice to Marino. Then he left and Marino returned to the table, setting a cup of coffee in front of me.
"What are they looking for?"
I tried to concentrate.
"We're going through the notebooks you told me about. Looking for tapes, anything that might tell us what led up to Mrs. Harvey shooting Spurrier."
"You're sure she did it."
"Oh, yeah. Mrs. Harvey did it. Damn miracle she's alive. She missed her heart. She was lucky, but maybe she won't think so if she pulls through."
"I called the Williamsburg police. I told them - "
"I know you did." He cut me off gently. "You did the right thing. You did all you could."
"They couldn't be bothered."
I closed my eyes, fighting the tears.
"That wasn't it."
He paused. "Listen to me, Doc."
I took a deep breath.
Marino cleared his throat and lit a cigarette. "While I was back there in your office, I talked to Benton. The FBI completed the DNA analysis of Spurrier's blood and compared it with the blood found in Elizabeth Mott's car. The DNA don't match."
"What?" The DNA don't match," he said again. "The detectives in Williamsburg who had been tailing Spurrier were just told yesterday. Benton had been trying to get hold of me and we kept missing each other, so I didn't know. You understand what I'm saying?"
I stared numbly at him.
"Legally, Spurrier was no longer a suspect. A pervert, yeah. We're talking the land of fruits and nuts. But he didn't murder Elizabeth and Jill. He didn't leave the blood in the car, couldn't have. If he killed these other couples, we've got no proof. To keep tailing him all the hell over the place, watching his house or banging on his door because they see he's got company, was harassment. Well, I mean there comes a point when there aren't enough cops to keep that up, and Spurrier could sue. And the FBI had backed off. So that's the way it went."
"He killed Abby."
Marino looked away from me. "Yeah, it appears so.
She had her tape recorder running, we got the whole thing on tape. But that don't prove he killed the couples, Doc. It's looking like Mrs. Harvey gunned down an innocent man."
"I want to hear the tape."
"You don't want to hear it. Take my word for it."
"If Spurrier was innocent, then why did he shoot Abby?"
"I got an idea, based on what I heard on the tape and saw at the scene," he said. "Abby and Spurrier was talking in the living room. Abby was sitting on the couch where we found her. Spurrier heard someone at the door and got up to answer it. I don't know why he let Pat Harvey in. You would think he would have recognized her, but maybe he didn't. She had on a windbreaker with a hood, and jeans. Might have been hard to tell who she was. No way to know how she identified herself, what she said to him. We won't know until we can talk to her, and even then we might not know."
"But he let her in."
"He opened the door," Marino said. "Then she had her revolver out, a Charter Arms, the one she later shot herself with. Mrs. Harvey forced him back inside the house, into the living room. Abby's still sitting there, and the tape recorder's still running. Since Abby's Saab was out back in the drive, Mrs. Harvey wouldn't have seen it when she parked in front. She had no idea Abby was there, and this diverted her attention long enough for Spurrier to go for Abby, probably to use her as a shield. Hard to know exactly what went down, but we know Abby had her revolver with her, probably in her purse, which was probably next to her on the couch. She tries to get out her gun, she and Spurrier struggle and she gets shot. Then, before he can shoot Mrs. Harvey, she shoots him. Twice. We checked her revolver. Three spent shells, two live."
"She said something about looking for a phone," I said dully.
"Spurrier's only got two phones. One in his bedroom upstairs, the other in the kitchen, same color as the wall and between two cabinets, hard as shit to see. I almost didn't find it either. It looks like we rolled up to the house maybe minutes after the shootings, Doc. I think Mrs. Harvey set her
"I want to hear the tape," I said again.
Marino rubbed his face in his hands, his eyes bleary and bloodshot when he looked back at me. "Don't put yourself through it."
"I have to."
Reluctantly, he got up from the table and left. When he returned, he opened a plastic evidence bag that contained a microcassette recorder. He set it upright on the table, briefly rewound a portion of the tape, and depressed the Play button.
The sound of Abby's voice filled the kitchen.
". . . I'm just trying to see your side of it, but that doesn't really explain why you drive around at night, stop and ask people things that you don't really need to know. Such as directions."
"Look, I already told you about the coke. You ever snorted coke?"
"Try it some time. You do a lot of off-the-wall things when you're high. You get confused and think you know where you're going. Then suddenly you're lost and have to ask directions."
"You said you're not doing coke anymore."
"Not anymore. No way. My big mistake. Never again."
"What about the items the police found in your house . . . ? Uh . . ."
There was the faint chime of a doorbell.
"Yeah. Hold on."
Spurrier sounded tense.
Footsteps receded. Voices were indistinguishable in the background. I could hear Abby shifting on the couch. Then Spurrier's disbelieving voice: "Wait. You don't know what you're - " "I know exactly what I'm doing, you bastard."
It was Pat Harvey's voice, increasing in volume. "That was my daughter you took out into the woods."
"I don't know what you're - "
"Abby? Oh my God."
"Pat. Don't do it, Pat."
Abby's voice was tight with fear. She gasped as something hit the couch.
"Get away from me!" A commotion, rapid breathing, and Abby screaming, "Stop! Stop!" then what sounded like a cap gun going off.
Again and again.
Footsteps clicked across the floor and got louder. They stopped.
"Please don't die. Abby. . ."
Pat Harvey's voice was quavering so badly I could barely hear it.
Marino reached for the recorder, turned if off, and slipped it back inside the plastic bag as I stared at him in shock.
On the Saturday morning of Abby's graveside service, I waited until the crowd had thinned, then walked along a footpath. beneath the shade of magnolias and oaks, dogwoods blazing fuchsia and white in the gentle spring sun.
The turnout for Abby's funeral had been small. I met several of her former Richmond colleagues and tried to comfort her parents.
Marino came. So did Mark, who hugged me tight, then left with the promise he would come by my house later in the day. I needed to talk with Benton Wesley, but first I wanted a few moments alone.
Hollywood Cemetery was Richmond's most formidable city for the dead, some forty acres of rolling hills, streams, and stands of hardwood trees north of the James River. Curving streets were paved and named, with speed limits posted, the sloping grass crowded with granite obelisks, headstones, and angels of grief, many of them more than a century old. Buried here were Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler, and Jefferson Davis, and tobacco magnate Lewis Ginter. There was a soldiers' section for the Gettysburg dead, and a family plot of low-lying lawn where Abby had been buried beside her sister, Henna.
I drew upon a break in the trees, the river below glimmering like tarnished copper, muddy from recent rains. It did not seem possible that Abby was now part of this population, a granite marker weathering passing time. I wondered if she had ever gone back to her former house, to Henna's room upstairs as she had told me she intended to do when she could find the courage.
When I heard footsteps behind me, I turned to find Wesley walking slowly in my direction.
"You wanted to talk to me, Kay?"
He slipped off his dark suit jacket and loosened his tie. Staring out at the river, he waited to hear what was on my mind.
"There are some new developments," I began. "I called Gordon Spurrier on Thursday."
Wesley replied, looking at me curiously.
"Steven Spurrier's brother, yes. I didn't want to tell you about it until I'd looked into several other things."
"I haven't talked to him yet," he stated. "But he's on my list. Just a damn shame about the DNA results, that's still a major problem."
"That's my point. There isn't a problem with the DNA, Benton."
"I don't understand."
"During Spurrier's autopsy, I discovered a lot of old therapeutic scars, one of them from a small incision made above the middle of the collarbone that I associate with someone having trouble getting in a subclavian line," I said.
"You don't run a subclavian line unless the patient has a serious problem, trauma requiring the dumping of fluids very quickly, an infusion of drugs or blood. In other words, I knew Spurrier had a significant medical problem at some point in the past, and I began contemplating that this might have something to do with the five months he was absent from his bookstore not long after Elizabeth and Jill were murdered. There were other scars, too, over his hip and lateral buttock. Minute scars that made me suspect he'd had samples of bone marrow taken before. So I called his brother to find out about Steven's medical history."
"What did you learn?"
"Around the time he disappeared from his bookstore, Steven was treated for aplastic anemia at UVA," I said. "I've talked with his hematologist. Steven received total lymphoid irradiation, chemotheraphy. Gordon's marrow was infused into Steven, and Steven then spent time in a laminar flow room, or a bubble, as most people call it. You may recall Steven's house was like a bubble, in a sense.
"Are you saying that the bone-marrow transplant changed his DNA?" Wesley asked, his face intense.
"For blood, yes. His blood cells had been totally wiped out by his aplastic anemia. He was HLA-typed for a suitable match, which turned out to be his brother, whose ABO type and even types in other blood group systems are the same."
"But Steven's and Gordon's DNA wouldn't be the same."
"No, not unless the brothers are identical twins, which, of course, they aren't," I said. "So Steven's blood type was consistent with the blood recovered from Elizabeth Mott's car. But at the level of DNA a discernible difference would have been noticed because Steven left the blood in the Volkswagen before his marrow transplant. When Steven's blood was recently taken for the suspect kit, what we were getting, in a sense, was Gordon's blood. What was actually compared with the DNA print of the old blood from the Volkswagen was not Steven's DNA, but Gordon's."
"Incredible," he said.
"I want the test run again on tissue from his brain because Steven's DNA in other cells will be the same as it was before the transplant.
Marrow produces blood cells, so if you've had a marrow transplant you take on the blood cells of the donor. But brain, spleen, sperm cells don't change."
"Explain aplastic anemia to me," he said as we started walking.
"Your marrow is no longer making anything. It's as if you've already been irradiated, all blood
"What causes it?"
"It's felt to be idiopathic; nobody really knows. But possibilities are exposure to pesticides, chemicals, radiation, organic phosphates.
All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell / Mystery & Detective / Thrillers & Crime have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes