The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. Four dead bodies—the media are calling it the work of the Brain Teaser. After arresting me for investigating the disappearance of a potential informant—or potential fifth victim—the FBI lead,
The name’s Angola LaGrange, private investigator. Four dead bodies—the media are calling it the work of the Brain Teaser. After arresting me for investigating the disappearance of a potential informant—or potential fifth victim—the FBI lead, Clay Jackson, offered me a deal: give him all the information I had on the case in exchange for dropping all the charges against me and my assistant Lucky.
Read the full details Here and the unfolding case below.
I stepped into the cool evening air. I’d told Clay almost everything I knew about the case. I left out my history with Li—no reason to bring any extra heat down on him—and the mystery woman in the picture with Virginia and Richmond. The FBI’s forensic techs would figure that one out soon enough; Clay didn’t need the extra nudge from me.
“Bunch of jerks.” Lucky yelled over his shoulder as he exited the police station.
“Come on, our immunity deal exonerates past crimes not future ones.”
“Whatever.” He brushed himself off as if the air from the police station might’ve contaminated him. “Where we headed next?”
“Jayne Street Memorial Teaching Hospital. We found pictures of both Virginia and Richmond in scrubs, but we know he was moonlighting at the Royal Egrets Motel. Odds are they worked at the teaching hospital as well.”
On the way, Lucky searched through the hospital staff and managed to come up with the identity of our mystery woman.
We walked up to the reception desk and I said, “Hello, we’re looking for Doctor Ashley Hudson.”
The nurse behind the counter didn’t look up from her paperwork. “If you’re here for the lecture, it’s already started.”
I glanced at Lucky. “That’s alright. Just point us in the right direction.”
We were led to an auditorium with a sign out front which read: “Saturday: Lecture by Doctor Ashley Hudson, Neurology. All Residents required to attend.”
Lucky and I slipped in and sat in the back. The auditorium was far from full; there were only a couple dozen people in attendance, most of them wearing white coats. At the front of the room,
Doctor Hudson was going over an image of a patient’s brain—with what looked to me like bullet fragments lodged in it. She was a blonde, middle-aged woman with imperious posture that demanded the attention of everyone in the room. Her voice was soft, but I recognized a con when I saw one. Her low tone forced everyone to lean in and pay attention.
“A few years ago, I had the opportunity to treat a man who had suffered extreme cranial trauma. A gunshot wound left him comatose and nearly braindead.”
She then proceeded to detail her techniques in such minute and methodical detail that even the white-coats around me started to nod off.
Once she had passed the comprehension of her entire audience, Doctor Hudson smiled to herself and said, “The patient regained consciousness and is currently undergoing physical therapy. Though his memory is still fractured, I suspect that given sufficient time and dedication, he will be able to regain full use of his limbs.”
Doctor Hudson waited until a brief round of applause broke out before continuing.
“Still, all of this only goes to show how little we actually understand about the way the human brain truly functions. What injuries can be healed? What pathways can be rewritten? Sadly, we live in a world where medical technology has yet to progress to where we can humanely experiment—except with animals—which leaves us little better than Galen.” She paused, expectantly.
After a moment of tense silence, she threw up her hands. “History? Anyone? Ugh, fine. I’d ask if there were any questions but clearly you all lack the intelligence to pose any useful inquiries. You may go now.”
The other spectators began to file out of the room, many of them grumbling to each other.
Lucky and I waited while the white-coats fled, then headed up to where Doctor Hudson was packing up her presentation.
“Mind if we ask you a few questions, Doc?” Lucky sat on the desk, next to her bag.
“Doctor Hudson, please. If you represent the average intellect of the attendees, I’m afraid I was wasting my time right from the start. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will be going.” She grabbed her bag and headed for the door.
I called after her. “Galen, a Roman philosopher who dissected sheep and monkey brains to better understand humans.”
“He was Greek, and just because you’re clever enough to understand my joke doesn’t qualify you to speak with me.”
“What about Virginia Dean and Richmond Jones? Were they smart enough to talk with you?”
“Yes, they’re both exceptional pupils of mine. As such, I’m sure they would be happy to answer your inane questions so that I might be spared the tedium.”
“Richmond’s dead.” Lucky’s blunt announcement stopped the doctor in her tracks. “And Virginia’s missing.”
“Who are you?” She asked,
“I’m Angola LaGrange, private investigator. I’m looking into a series of murders, including Richmond’s. I’m worried for Virginia’s safety, but when I went to her apartment this morning she was gone. I think she left of her own free will, but I want to find her, just in case. Do you know where she might be?”
Concern flashed across Doctor Hudson’s face. “You don’t think Virginia had something to do with Richmond’s death, do you?”
“I’m not sure. But I think it’s more likely that she’s another target for this serial killer the news has been talking about, so I want to make sure she’s safe.”
“Of course. Let’s see—you said you checked her apartment already—she might be at Richmond’s apartment, or the motel he worked at, somewhere downtown, I’m not sure exactly where.”
I nodded. “We’ll be sure to check those out. Is there anywhere else she might have gone?”
“Honestly, she spent most of her time here at the hospital, but now that I think about it I haven’t seen her around all day.”
“Thank you for your help.”
“Of course, please keep me informed if you find Virginia.”
I waved Lucky over. As we started to leave, Doctor Hudson’s phone rang.
She gave it a quick glance, and then called out to me. “Detective! It’s Virginia.”
To Be Continued…