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datatime: 2022-09-29 02:30:37 Author:HvuGBBWU

The last of the SOC boys-the fingernail picker-came back around the corpse on his hands and knees, bristling with test tubes and tweezers and swabs. He looked pretty green, too, and those guys were a tough bunch. They were the ones who had to find the fibers and hairs, swab stains, pick up all the bits and pieces. Close-in work, real close.

The doctor gave a low, cynical laugh. "You FBI fellows and your acronyms. I don't believe you'll find 'SHC' in theMerck Manual , Mr. Pendergast."

Mrs. Dallbridge was in such a state of shock that she remained frozen as a statue, uncomprehending, while the spray slowly darkened her gown and her lovely bedspread and refilled the teacup on her tray with gray, chill water.

There was some confused talk in the background, then the voice came back on, a little breathless. "We're getting some alarms down here. It seems there may be a fire in the apartment above you, Mrs. Dallbridge. Listen carefully. Don't leave your apartment. If smoke begins to come under your front door, place a damp towel against it. Wait for instructions-"

Pendergast held out his shield. "Mind if I ask a few questions, Doctor?"

Spontaneous combustion?

Spontaneous combustion?

The voice was cut off by the unbearably shrill sound of the fire alarm in the hall, followed by the even louder blare of the siren within her apartment. She dropped the phone, covering her ears. A moment later there was a snapping noise as the sprinklers went off, and suddenly the room was full of water, streaming everywhere.

Spontaneous combustion?

Accelerants?

It's kind of a legend in medical school. A joke, really. I seem to recall the FBI handled it.

As you wish. The doctor departed with the SOC man, leaving them alone with the body.

Mrs. Dallbridge was in such a state of shock that she remained frozen as a statue, uncomprehending, while the spray slowly darkened her gown and her lovely bedspread and refilled the teacup on her tray with gray, chill water.

He glanced over at Pendergast and felt faintly gratified to see that even the great detective was looking whiter than usual. Pendergast's normal impulses to poke, pry, and sniff seemed to have deserted him. He stood there, dressed in white tie and tails, something almost like shock on his face.

There is more in the world than is dreamt of in your philosophy, Doctor-or in theMerck Manual . I will send over the case file for your perusal.

Yes From the apartment above

The stench hanging in the apartment entrance helped warn D'Agosta what was in store. It only grew worse as he walked through the dwelling on his way to the master bedroom. He'd been half asleep when he entered the building's lobby-filling out the incident report on the gunfire he'd exchanged in Riverside Park had taken longer than expected-but he sure as hell wasn't asleep now. It was amazing the way that stench just cut through everything: took away the 2A.M. grogginess, took away the aches in his joints, the pain of the skinned knees, the itch of the poison ivy he'd managed to roll through while evading the thugs.

The last of the SOC boys-the fingernail picker-came back around the corpse on his hands and knees, bristling with test tubes and tweezers and swabs. He looked pretty green, too, and those guys were a tough bunch. They were the ones who had to find the fibers and hairs, swab stains, pick up all the bits and pieces. Close-in work, real close.

There was some confused talk in the background, then the voice came back on, a little breathless. "We're getting some alarms down here. It seems there may be a fire in the apartment above you, Mrs. Dallbridge. Listen carefully. Don't leave your apartment. If smoke begins to come under your front door, place a damp towel against it. Wait for instructions-"

There is more in the world than is dreamt of in your philosophy, Doctor-or in theMerck Manual . I will send over the case file for your perusal.

The stench hanging in the apartment entrance helped warn D'Agosta what was in store. It only grew worse as he walked through the dwelling on his way to the master bedroom. He'd been half asleep when he entered the building's lobby-filling out the incident report on the gunfire he'd exchanged in Riverside Park had taken longer than expected-but he sure as hell wasn't asleep now. It was amazing the way that stench just cut through everything: took away the 2A.M. grogginess, took away the aches in his joints, the pain of the skinned knees, the itch of the poison ivy he'd managed to roll through while evading the thugs.

I sure hope so.

Accelerants?

The M.E. ducked in. "Finished?"

Accelerants?

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