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An Element of Peril
Peter Sharp Legal Adventure #10 All rights reserved © MMVIII Gene Grossman
This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. For written permission, contact: Gene Grossman c/o Magic Lamp Press, P.O. Box 9547, Marina del Rey, CA 90295.
Magic Lamp Press ™
www.LegalMystery.com ISBN: 1-882629-76-0
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The Complete Peter Sharp Legal Mystery Series
Single Jeopardy …By Reason of Sanity A Class Action Conspiracy of Innocence …Until Proven Innocent The Common Law The Magician’s Legacy The Reluctant Jurist The Final Case An Element of Peril A Good Alibi Legally Dead How to Rob a Bank
Now available in print or Kindle versions www.LegalMystery.com
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FOREWORD If this is the first Peter Sharp Legal Mystery that you’re reading, it might help you to know a little background information about the characters. Peter Sharp’s wife threw him out of their home (which she actually owned), due to a conflict of their philosophies about legal representation: Peter being a defender of those poor, unfortunate people ‘wrongfully’ accused of crimes, and his wife Myra a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s office. Peter ultimately wound up living on a dilapidated old boat in Marina del Rey, and when his former classmate/employer Melvin Braunstein died in a plane crash, Peter inherited a failing law practice, an office manager (Melvin’s twelve-year old step-daughter Suzi, a Chinese computer genius) and her huge St. Bernard. Peter was appointed legal guardian, and through a series of misfortunes that miraculously worked out, wound up living with Suzi and her dog on a beautiful 50-foot Grand Banks trawler-yacht.
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When Peter isn’t swilling Patrón margaritas at one of the marina’s local watering holes, he’s usually involved in some losing legal case that little Suzi will inevitably solve, leaving Peter with the impression that he’s really as good as he thinks he is. Along the way in each legal adventure, Peter usually winds up butting heads with his ex-wife, who Suzi adores and is constantly scheming to get back into the Sharp household. There’s also Stuart Schwartzman, Peter’s old friend and frequent client, who is the most entrepreneurial person in Southern California – and Jack Bibberman, the best private investigator Peter ever met. All of the Peter Sharp Legal Mysteries are summarized at the end of this book, and if you’re curious about them, more details (plus photos) are at http://www.petersharpbooks.com Magic Lamp Press Venice, California
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The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 affected me, because even though I hadn’t been born yet, I lost a good friend... someone I respected, admired, and wanted to be just like in some ways. His name was Jacques Futrelle, and at the age of 37, he was travelling with his wife in the Titanic’s first-class cabin number C123. When the boat sank, Mr. Futrelle managed to get his wife into one of the lifeboats, so she survived. He didn’t. Other than the fact that he was a human being and didn’t deserve the fate that befell him, he was also a talented author, and wrote the story that influenced my life from the day that I first read it: one of the most famous locked-room mysteries of all time, The Problem in Cell 13.
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If you’re a fan of locked-room mysteries, then I strongly suggest that you read Futrelle’s Cell 13 story as well as John Dickson Carr’s The Hollow Man, which was the main inspiration for the present Peter Sharp Legal Mystery in this book. The above-mentioned stories of Futrelle and Carr, along with E.A. Poe’s the Gold Bug and all the Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe and other detectives, got me hooked on mysteries - and to my delight there is no known cure for this addiction. All of the locked-room mysteries I’ve encountered have involved a victim who either died in a room that was allegedly inaccessible, unescapable from, or with a misinterpreted timeline. That’s why I decided to eliminate all the excuses: in this story, the crime was actually witnessed by observers... and then the murderer disappeared into thin air, before their eyes. Got you hooked? Good! Start reading now, and see if you can figure out the solution to this baffling locked-room Peter Sharp Legal mystery before little Suzi does.
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am the best telephone pitchman in the world. I know this because I’ve just made the deal of a lifetime: not to settle a milliondollar personal injury case, not to pleabargain a murder charge down to trespassing, and not to get ‘miss beautiful’ to see my etchings. This deal is a true lifesaver: I’ve talked the Lahaina Yacht Club’s bar into stocking a bottle of Patrón Tequila to use for making my margaritas. I couldn’t get them to spring for Patrón’s new $500-a-bottle Burdeos, but that’s okay, because 80-proof Patrón Silver will get the job done very nicely. Now that our little law firm has at least six figures in reserve, I’ve decided to take a week or so off – and for me, that means relaxation time over in Maui, where I can sit in the Yacht Club and schmooze with other visiting members from all over the world. When most people hear that I’ll be spending some time at my ‘yacht club,’ they envision luxurious, posh surroundings, complete
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with butlers who bring your drink and Wall Street Journal to you on a silver platter. Well, if that’s what you’re looking for, then don’t come to the Lahaina Yacht Club, because all we have there at 835 Front Street is a store-front operation with a great kitchen, a great bar, and a great rear balcony that hangs out over the Pacific Ocean, to view the sunset from... and a lot of great members to swap cruising stories with. And while I’m there, I can take some time to relax and mull over what I saw earlier this week that must be ranked as the most amazing things I never thought could be possible: two sightings that completely baffled me. I travel between my office in Marina del Rey to Beverly Hills once or twice a month to visit a client, and my hopefully traffic-free route includes Overland and Washington Boulevards in Los Angeles and Culver City, respectively. The first sighting was on Overland, and it happened as I was driving past a Muslim Mosque. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have even looked towards that building, but on this particular day there happened to have been some protest going on, and the combination
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of a small crowd, plus a few news vans from a local TV station, attracted my attention... and caused me to notice one particular person exiting the Mosque. When you drive one of the first huge commercialized Hummers, you have to keep your eyes on the road, because whatever you bump into usually gets demolished. Because of this danger, negotiating my beast of a car through a protest area complete with news crews means slowing down and trying not to flatten anything. This task left only a fraction of a second for my glance towards the Mosque entrance, but that brief opportunity shocked me because the person I saw was a perfect double of a close friend and client; someone who I would never believe could be going inside a Mosque. The exiting man and my friend looked exactly the same, with one exception: my friend doesn’t wear a cap or have a moustache and short beard. There are two popular options when being confronted by a situation like this: first, you stare in disbelief, and then follow up by telling everyone you know about what you saw. Second, is to shake your head in disbelief, and tell yourself that what you
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saw couldn’t really be what you think it was, and then go on with your life. I opted for the latter of the two, and didn’t think about it again... until the following week. The second sighting appeared on Washington Boulevard in Culver City, while driving by an attractive building that stands out like a sore thumb in the neighborhood. This is the King Fahd Mosque, and its beautiful architecture draws my attention every time I drive by it... and to my amazement, I see a gentleman entering the Mosque: the same guy I saw last week, leaving the Mosque on Overland. Fortunately, there was no protest going on, no news crew, and no traffic, so I slowed down a bit and used my new cameracellphone to snap a picture of the Mosque visitor. I then stopped my Hummer, and using my newly-learned technological expertise, I emailed the photo to my office. I’ve heard that everyone has a double: sort of a doppelganger, but not necessarily an evil twin. That statement defies logic because if true, it would mean that out of the approximate six billion people on this earth, half would be exact twins of the other
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half. I don’t think so. However, logic or not, it’s always possible that there are people who look amazingly like others. When I was a teenager back in Chicago, attending Von Steuben High School, a lot of the students mistook a friend of mine named Byron for me, and visa versa. We both used to laugh this off. I was especially amused because he was nowhere near as good looking as I was. I started to drive back to the marina, but my curiosity got the best of me, so I turned the Hummer around and drove back to the Mosque. If that was really my friend going into the Mosque, then his car must be parked nearby, so I drove around, making a two-block radius and finally saw it: a black Lincoln Towncar with the special license plate JEWBOY. There can only be one ‘vanity’ license plate in the state of California with that name on it, and it is reserved for my Jewish friend Stuart Schwartzman. To be perfectly fair, the mere fact that his car is parked two blocks away from that Mosque, along with the fact that there are many parking spaces much closer, doesn’t mean that the bearded, mustached, hat-
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wearing doppelganger of my friend Stuart is in that Mosque, but I wouldn’t lay odds against it. Getting back to the office, instead of the immediate series of questions about the mosque picture I emailed earlier I see that it must be ‘trim’ day, because my efficient little office manager is outside on the dock, using her vacuum-assisted Flowbee to give her Saint Bernard a haircut. This monthly ritual usually draws a crowd of onlookers who not only enjoy seeing the dog get clipped, but who also line up for a trimming of their own. Once Suzi finishes with Bernie, she brings out her milk crate, hops up onto it, and the human trimming begins. You’d be right if you thought that the more upscale boat owners in our area would be a little happier with a professional hair salon, but the group that Suzi works her magic on are the local children, who enjoy having the haircuts done while they hold on to the dog for encouragement.
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Shortly after the dog returns to our boat, he approaches me with a message – a note tucked under his collar. Around here, we call that dogmail, because it’s Suzi’s preferred way of communicating with me. She thinks that email is too impersonal, and that I should have some interaction with a living thing. She’s partly right, but I prefer that the living thing be human, female, blonde, and attractive – none of which apply to this beast. The note is a print of my emailed photo, with a hand-written message: “stick to practicing law.” The photo is a blurry shot of my car’s steering wheel. So much for evidence of my sightings – and my technical prowess. Now, I’m on my own to find out if what I saw is what I think it was, so I called Jack Bibberman, my investigator. He sounded like his usual jolly self. “What’s up boss?” “Jack, I need you to see someone for me. It’s someone you know... here’s his address.” “Okay, I recognize the should I see him about?” address. What
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“Nothing... just see him, without letting him know you’re seeing him.” “Okay, then what?” “Let me know if his facial appearance is unusual in any way.” I can tell that Jack is a little confused by this assignment, but he’s a good soldier: he takes orders and follows instructions without asking any questions. He knows that sooner or later everything will be cleared up for him, and while he’s working on this assignment, I can work on some Patrón margaritas while the sun and I both set over the yacht club’s ocean balcony.
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o matter how far you travel, some things never change. I like to read the New York Times online every morning, just to see if we’ve started another war somewhere, or if one of my clients has been indicted, and today is no different. Not knowing whether or not Maui’s Pioneer Inn provides an internet connection in each room, I brought my new smart cellphone with me, and with the help of a $15-dollara-month fee, plus a magnifying glass, I’m now sitting across the street under the world-famous Banyan Tree surfing the net and getting ready to squint at the front page on www.nytimes.com - if I can get my fingers to press the correct, tiny little buttons on this confounded midget keyboard. On Mondays the two main New York Times editorial columnists are Paul Krugman and William Kristol, so as soon as I finish reading what one of them has to say, I’m scanning for some news that might interest me... and I notice a small column mentioning a disappearance of some
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socialite in one of the really ritzy gated neighborhoods around Los Angeles, where the ‘beautiful’ people live. Being an East Coast paper, the fact that the New York Times is even mentioning an occurrence in California is big news, but for more coverage I’ll have to check the local papers... and that means getting a real printed one, because being over the age of sixteen, I can’t tolerate this tiny screen for longer than a minute or two at a time. Fortunately, the hotel newsstand stocks the Los Angeles Times, and the front page facts surrounding this event appear to be quite interesting. No wonder it wound up being mentioned in the New York Times; it looks like my favorite type of case – a locked room mystery. The facts of the case are supported by a slew of reports from the paparazzi, all of whom were about a block down the street stalking/covering the non-happenings of Miss Brinsey Harriston, a young, wealthy, untalented, spoiled, burnt-out celebrity who can’t seem to get her act straightened out enough to make the many required court appearances on time.
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The paper lays out a timeline for events: shortly after nine in the morning the gates open and our celebrity pulls out of her driveway, rushing to an eight-thirty court appearance. She drives slowly past the paparazzi she despises, giving them time to take enough photos of her trying to hide her face. Once that charade ends, she reaches the corner, where the street turns to the left. The photographers, all chasing her down the street on foot and in vehicles, see that as she makes her left turn, the gates of a neighbor’s house open and a car comes backing out – right into the rear left fender of the celebrity’s car, sending it into a short spin. The entire incident is fully captured by numerous still and video cameras, and shows the backing-up driver who caused the accident running over to the celebrity’s car. The videos, along with statements made by Ms. Harriston’s publicist, all seem to agree on the facts: immediately after the collision, the at-fault driver, Mrs. Ida Zitlin, rushed over to Harriston’s car to see if she was injured. Fortunately, there were no injuries to either driver, so both women hurried into Zitlin’s
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house to escape the invading paparazzi. Once inside, Mrs. Zitlin made three phone calls: one to the Auto Club, to come and tow both cars away to a repair facility, one to the courthouse to notify them of the accident and that once again there would be no appearance by the celebrity, and another to a limousine service, to come and pick up Miss Harriston and take her wherever she wanted to go, whether it be the courthouse, a doctor’s office, a nearby nightclub, or back to her own residence up the street. About twenty minutes later a police accident investigation team arrived, taking pictures of the vehicles before they were towed away – which happened to be just in the nick of time, because less than ten minutes later two tow trucks arrived. Once the police vehicles and tow trucks pulled away, the road was cleared and the waiting limousine was able to maneuver into Mrs. Zitlin’s driveway as the gates swung open. Miss Harriston only wanted a ride back up the street to her own residence, so there was no need for a stretch limousine. The car service provided a black Chevy Suburban, driven by a husky man. Miss
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Harriston got into the Suburban, the gates opened, she rode up the street to her own house, the gates opened there, and she got out. The Suburban then went back down the street and dropped Mrs. Zitlin off back at her house. She obviously extended her hospitality by accompanying the celebrity neighbor on the long, tiring trip back home. The Suburban then continued down the hill to its next call. The photographers staked out the Zitlin house, hoping to get some pix of the newly-created celebrity, but had no luck. She stayed in her house all day, not able to sneak out even if she wanted to because her house backed up into the canyon wall, and there was no way to exit without being photographed and mobbed for an interview. That’s about it for the daytime activities, but at about eight that evening it really got interesting. The stalkarazzi were drawn to Zitlin’s residence when they heard a few loud screams coming from her upstairs bedroom window, where they saw the shadow of large person’s arm swinging something in the air. The screams stopped, and then the loud noise of a machine was heard – something like a gasoline leaf blower or chain saw. After about five minutes, the
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noise stopped and all the lights in the house went dark at the same time, like a circuit was blown. All of these happenings were recorded on videotape by several camera people, including the noises. Other residents up and down the street were pretty well fed up with the goings-on of their celebrity neighbor, so it’s no surprise that the police were called. Ten minutes later, when two squad cars arrived, they were met by Zitlin’s resident caretaker, who was hobbling towards the main house on crutches. He and his wife live in a guest house above the main residence’s separate four-car garage. With the police’s help, he used his house key on the locked front door and led several officers upstairs the darkened hallway to Mrs. Zitlin’s bedroom. He used another key on the locked master bedroom door, but it was also apparently locked by the door’s interior deadbolt, which did not have a key entry on the hallway side of the door. They banged loudly for a minute or two, and then decided that the door should be broken into, so one of those portable police battering rams you see them use on ‘cops &
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robbers’ television shows was swung into the door, and it promptly broke the deadbolt, forcing the door to wildly swing open. Flashlights were used to inspect as much of the room as possible, while there was a growing crowd of police and trespassing paparazzi on the stairs. Finally, someone wisely reset the circuit breakers, and when the lights came back on, there were four people in the bedroom: two police officers and Mr. and Mrs. Dwyn Henderson, the caretaker and his wife. The only person missing was Mrs. Zitlin.
.. and the invading news crews were all asked to go back down the stairs and into the living room where their statements could be taken........ The bedroom was a terrifying sight.. and the killer. and the chainsaw have disappeared. with blood spattered on the walls and large pools of it on the floor. but their results weren’t revealed in the paper.... and that includes my Hawaiian vacation......Element of Peril... A crime scene unit appeared in a little while and did a complete job of processing the bedroom. his wife.. collecting blood samples and analyzing the blood spatter patterns.. all the parts. On the plane ride back to California I spend some time reading other reports about the disappearing lady. Zitlin was killed and dismembered......... Glad I’m not involved in this one.. The caretaker. It looks to me like Mrs.Grossman 3 A ll good things must end.... while the police upstairs did a thorough search.. 26 ....
.Grossman ---------Most half-way successful attorneys maintain offices in high-rise buildings..) berthed in Marina del Rey.... my former employer...rolled up into one-and-a-half beings: Suzi..... junior associates. directed that I be appointed her legal guardian... is the result of some successful personal injury settlements for clients..Element of Peril. my complete office staff. an adorable little 12½-year-old Chinese female computer genius.. and other miscellaneous employees. He was killed in a plane crash. I’m a little like them... 27 ... one of whom is Suzi Braunstein.... paralegals.... The yacht Suzi B. and my office staff is comprised of all the above-listed personnel . Suzi herself is the result of my being appointed legal guardian after her mother was killed in a car accident.. and her 195pound Saint Bernard....... but with a few slight differences – my office is on a 50-foot Grand Banks trawler-yacht (the Suzi B.. complete with receptionists... and her stepfather. investigators... research associates..
.. but it still was enough for me to purchase my Hummer and my partnership share of the Grand Banks.... and I wind up billing for my time spent talking about it during 28 .Element of Peril... Suzi runs the entire law practice........ Being a generous person and not too happy by the thought of making money off of the misfortunes of my friends...... the more than 80% of those settlements left my clients quite wealthy. and Stuart’s $175-per-hour billing rate on a pretty regular basis provides me with more than enough to pay for his dinners especially since they are usually about one of his legal matters........ and her amazing computer skills and steel-trap logic usually lead her to the strategy I use to win my trials..... I only accepted small minimum fees on those large settlements... But that’s OK with me...Grossman The great bulk of my estate is compromised of my portion of the fees for those two settlements. Both Stuart and Suzi are multi-millionaires now and they also share a particular strength-deficiency trait: the inability to pick up a dinner check.. Fortunately.... and also a couple of big ones for my friend Stuart Schwartzman.
. mainly because it is only a five-minute walking distance from our boat.....’ I don’t know much about the Jewish religion.. 29 ........ and not just to the ones who pay to pray.. or to purchase tickets for admission to the services. a local eatery I patronize on a regular basis.... It’s not my job to question how they run their religion. but he does go to his Temple on the Jewish holidays. other than the fact that you have to pay to attend services on their biggest holidays..’ and Stuart wants to talk about his newest venture: a tattoo-removal business.Element of Peril. Stuart Schwartzman isn’t a particularly religious person.... One of them will be shortly... because he called and wants to meet me at the Chart House..Grossman dinner.. and I know he makes generous contributions to its ‘building fund....... I have to give him some warnings about liability... said payments usually being in the form of donations to support one thing or another.. but I think that religious services should be open to all members of a faith....... but who am I to comment on the most profitable nonprofit institutions in the world? Shortly the conversation turns to the ‘commercial.
but because we don’t do any ‘invasive’ procedures. you’ve got that covered Stu... because I have a feeling that in order to use that electronic equipment they have to work on people’s skin.. able to respond to an emergency in a reasonable time.......Grossman “Stuart..” “Okay......... The law doesn’t require that a doctor be on the premises. which I 30 .. and have the staff all ready. registered nurses. you’d better check into the laws. but what if something goes wrong during one of the procedures.... counselor.. Don’t you have to have some way to handle that?” “Right again Peter. I’ve already got a physicians’ assistant lined up for the job..... the requirement is that a doctor be on call.... I’ve already checked it all out.” “Not to worry... She’s the cousin of one of my employees... According to our state’s laws..Element of Peril. and physicians’ assistants... the only three types of licensed people authorized to legally operate the laser removal equipment are doctors. you have to have some sort of license..
.Element of Peril. All you need now is the customers.. like tattoo removal. one of the biggest things preventing ex-cons from getting mainstream jobs is their visible tattoos. Another one of my employees has had some trouble in the past. and still reports to a parole officer on a regular basis.. Are you going to advertise?” “No need.. and will be getting all the criminals we can handle...” 31 .. he only lives a couple of blocks away from my offices in Van Nuys. and the fund will also include certain procedures.Grossman believe they consider being less than twenty minutes...... We now have a referral system set up..... “There’s a real licensed doctor who sort of ‘voluntarily’ retired a few years back because of an alleged drinking problem. From what we understand.............. You’ve got the law covered.... or ‘prison tats. he is totally on call. Anyway......’ A state fund has been established to help retrain parolees for jobs in today’s industry.” “Fine. so now that I am paying his apartment rent..
He says he just wants to make his customers ‘feel at home. We both agree that the pawnshop-convict relationship is strictly a business hype. He knows that the police will be keeping their eyes on the pawnshop........’ The other part of his plan is a little on the dicey side: he rented out a part of the front portion of his warehouse to a guy who will be running a pawn shop..... bars and a bunk bed... so it will not only be a kosher operation – it will be an orthodox one.Grossman The icing on the cake is in the photo Stuart hands me....... showing how he’s designed a portion of his warehouse into the tattoo removal parlor: it’s an exact replica of a penitentiary prison cell............ and that in no way will he ever accept or purchase merchandise from one of his excon customers.. 32 .... Stuart hopes that the public will form their own conclusions about the possibility that the pawn shop will be offering good deals on the sale of merchandise of questionable sources...Element of Peril... The local newspapers are doing a story on the new pawn shop and its proximity to a business that specializes in removing prison tats. complete with stainless steel toilet.
.. paper-clipped to one of our law practice corporate credit cards.............. Being her usual two steps ahead of me... she and the dog are standing there waiting. Stuart picks up the check and offers to drive me home... “Stuart.... Not only is she now reading tabloid magazines... As we get to the boat and I start to exit his car. When I step into the boat.. she doesn’t give me 33 ....Grossman The dinner was a successful one.. she expects our law firm to pay for them. On the way back to the boat. She asked me to pick them up for her. “Here. Are you going into showbiz?” His answer doesn’t satisfy me because it lets me know that I may never find out what the magazines are for.. That’s nice.Element of Peril...” I notice that he tosses something else into the magazine bag: a credit card receipt... please give these to Suzi for me... what the heck is this about? You’ve got one copy of almost every trashy tabloid magazine they sell.. Stuart pulls into a mini-mart and picks up a copy of every fan magazine the store has on its racks.. he hands me the large bag of magazines and makes a request.
Two.....” Two things become clear to me. I let her know that I’m ‘in... with my own separate funds......Grossman a chance to say anything and starts out with.... but no such luck.. You can either request that I pay for these magazines. plus all the ones I bought while you were in Hawaii. One... a secret computer-filled enclave that I’ve never been granted the security clearance required for authorized entry. The phone is ringing and my caller ID says “Jack B.....Element of Peril. He reports that he did check 34 . leading the dog to their foreward stateroom..” on it.. that’s the only explanation I’m going to get out of her until she’s good and ready to come up with more info....... because I sure like having the extra money that comes in from them.... I’d better go along with her plans. and I want to have my own case of Patrón’s new $500-a-bottle Burdeos tequila someday. or you can let the firm pay for them all and then share in the proceeds of whatever comes in as a result of my reading them all... “Peter.’ She takes the bagful of magazines and does an aboutface.. you have a choice.... I’m hoping he has some results on the assignment I gave him.
Taking a chance that I would approve the extra expense.... Jack tells me that he tailed Stuart for a while and saw that the facial hair and cap were only put on before he visited a mosque. and that’s a nice new sport coat you wore to dinner this evening.Element of Peril.” 35 ... do you Jack?” “No sir..... Jack tells me that Stuart visited some medical supply houses........... no doubt to check on some tattoo-removal equipment... “You don’t miss anything.. and it varies from bearded to non-bearded.Grossman out Stuart’s appearance.............. Mister Sharp...... Other than trips to mosques.
.....Grossman 4 T he kid is still buried in her suite reading all the magazines that various people dropped off for her. mentally debating whether or not to push the button on my speed dial that will put me in contact with someone who barely tolerates me: my ex-wife.. Very few people outside of this office know how I accomplished that feat. Sharp has granted me two considerations: one.. To show her gratitude for my help..Element of Peril... and I’m feeling a little out of the loop. and two...... I hate to do it. direct telephone number.. she allows me to have her personal....... so I’m sitting here with my cellphone in hand..... Myra Scot Sharp is the duly elected District Attorney of this county.. Ms.. so let’s just say it was the result of my accidentally coming across a couple of photographs that inadvertently may have revealed some compromising details. and I probably had a lot to do with her getting that position........ after convincing her opponent to drop out of the race... but my curiosity is getting the best of me.. she now refrains from having me arrested until 36 .
.... I try to refrain from getting involved in any high profile case she is prosecuting...Grossman enough evidence is gathered to support whatever charges she paranoidly believes me of being guilty of.. Never having had a kid of my own..... and the school board wants her to take the tests in a proctored situation so they can be sure there’s no cheating going on..Element of Peril..... I was appointed her legal guardian and the last thing in my mind was her schooling..... And to show my appreciation for her considerations.. 37 ........... After the death of her mother in a car accident and then her step-father’s fatal plane crash. schooling just didn’t occur to me until Suzi informed me that she has to go downtown once a month now because she got perfect scores on her tests administered by a local tutor..... and I try to avoid calling her for any reasons other than to arrange for an appointment for us to get together once a month to drive Suzi downtown to the Board of Education offices.... where they administer tests to measure the progress of her being home schooled.
how about you?” “Oh Peter. It’s happening. The purpose of this call is to satisfy my curiosity about your new murder case... give me a break.... and Myra seems to tolerate my presence......... My finger is depressing the button.... And yes. Suzi loves to be with Myra... You know I don’t have time for small talk during the work day. sweetheart.. the dog loves to ride with his head sticking out of the sunroof...... but I can’t complain because it gives us all a chance to get together for an afternoon...... you are correct.. I want to let you know I’m happy I caught you in a good mood. I’m fine thanks.. I look forward to it. What do you want?” “First of all.Element of Peril.. “Hello Peter.. The call is answered..” 38 . please. is it that time already? I thought she didn’t have to take another test until next week” “Oh... we won’t be riding with Suzi until next week.. I hear it ringing.Grossman Little do they know that she’s got more brainpower in that head of hers than the entire school board put together..
. but it’s really broken.. We have no body....... and walks on crutches. that’s not a case yet. He is in a cast due to a broken leg.. there were 39 .. and a missing person report about a camera-shy lady that was filed by her butler. and have a good night... wait a minute! Does he really have a broken leg.. She is too tiny a person to have been the killer. no leads. or is that only a zip-on cast?” “Nice try Petey... No work for me. and remover of body parts. and Mrs.. Thank you for calling... it’s completely fenced. No case. and no way that her killer could have gotten out of that place without being seen. The Zitlin house backs up against a canyon wall..” “First of all... gated.. All we have is some blood spattered around a room.” “Whoa... Nothing for you to be concerned about. dismemberer. Zitlin.. and was surrounded by paparazzi for hours before and after the alleged crime.Element of Peril....... so there you have it... We already checked with his doctor... Henderson.. The only two other people on the premises were Mr...Grossman “Which case would that be?” “The missing Mrs.
” “What about a picture of the missing lady? That might be a help in locating her.. I handed my 40 . I tried. and she’s been renewing her license by mail for the past twenty years... when fresh out of law school.. Do you really think we hadn’t thought about that? We searched her house and couldn’t even come up with one photo of her. but Myra seems to have everything covered... That thumbprint issue reminds me of an experience I had almost twenty years ago... You could have it put in the newspapers...” “C’mon Peter..Grossman witnesses to his fall.. where the family’s main residence is.. but it she’s a licensed driver in another state. California also offered the thumbprint options for your driver’s license.. We also checked with DMV. and I chose it. Not too long afterwards I was stopped by the LAPD for a traffic violation.. She chose the thumbprint.. trying to get a driver’s license pic.. and we have copies of his X-rays on file in our office... and they offer an option of either thumbprint or photo on their licenses........ I have to go back to work now.... At that time.” Okay........Element of Peril...
. and then back down at me and said... I held up my thumb for him to see..Element of Peril. don’t you recognize me?” One thing about motorcycle traffic cops that you should be aware of: while on the job...... and like the smartass I was in those days said. who I have had occasion to visit.... “Is this your thumbprint?” Not being a mature as I am today. they really don’t appreciate humor... One of the houseboats is occupied by a lady named Laverne.. Our anchorage rents out some small. boxy houseboats and allows people to live in them.’ and was promptly issued a ticket.. Attitude is everything....... “sure... I’ve smartened up a lot since then. Needless to say.. He looked at the thumbprint..... I believe that this evening 41 ....Grossman license to the cop. Anyway.... They usually wind up aggravating the judge and courtroom staff. that little display on my part meant that I failed the ‘field attitude test... I thought up a smart answer for the cop.. but still see young lawyers in courtrooms who were as stupid as I was.
..... Not being schooled in the fine art of interior design..... On the way up the gangway from the dock to the street level.Element of Peril. because it’s either her or a visit to the Happy Ending Massage Parlor around the corner..... I notice that there is a stack of magazines on top of the pile in one of the community garbage bins.Grossman will be one of those occasions. Of course it’s always possible that the boat interior was already like that when Laverne moved in..... so I’m now on my way to the local liquor store to pick up a box of her favorite wine... and since this particular trash bin is for the exclusive use of boat tenants on our dock... an estimation I only can imagine from seeing so many of those old cowboy movies featuring places like that upstairs of the local saloons. I have a strong feeling 42 ... the decoration is probably her own creation. I can only describe the style as Early Whorehouse.. but taking into consideration that she dresses like an 1890’s madam..... The first time I allowed myself to be lured into her floating residence I was surprised to see that she had employed an interesting décor..... They are all fan magazines.......
. Tonight there will be no margaritas.. and some matching wine – both of the cheap variety...... I wonder who it is... noting that in each magazine at least one page has been torn out. Well I’ll be. The kid has an idol. just a female....Element of Peril..... Laverne will be so pleased. she did... didn’t she lead me to believe that these magazines might result in some income for our law firm? Yes... and they appear to be from the latest batch.. 43 . and I don’t have to spend any time on it.... I pass up the liquor store’s magazine rack and head for their selection of the finest boxes of wine....Grossman that they’re all from our boat.. One way for me to find out is to make a note of each missing page and then while at the store. But wait a minute... I can flip through the intact copies of those rags to see what movie star is on each of the pages she’s torn out... I pick up a couple of them and start to flip through the pages. That means this is entirely her project.... and both designed for instant gratification......
. waiting for me to get enough clothing on to follow him back to our boat.... she knows that I’m on Laverne’s boat................ Whenever she calls a meeting like this it usually means an important announcement is going to be made. Bernard “Bernie” coming to fetch me.. sit down on the couch and wait for it...Element of Peril. so she knows exactly when to be waiting in our main salon. so I enter the salon... I’m not disappointed. The dog pops his head into Laverne’s bedroom and just stands there.... If I’m missing in action without calling and she doesn’t get a call from Myra telling her which jail to bail me out of........ It’s Suzi’s humungous St... “Peter.Grossman 5 I think I had a good time last night. The kid knows it takes me about a half hour to clean up and get back to normal after an evening with Laverne. we have been retained by the Uniman Insurance Company to represent 44 .. and I hear the pitter patter of large paw as a huge beast steps onto the houseboat. Laverne’s already gone to work..
“Of course I’ve checked it out. and there are also some 45 . that’s it isn’t it? I mean.....Grossman them against a life insurance policy claim being made on behalf of Mrs.” I hear a slight grunt of acknowledgement from under the table.. a mister Dwyn Henderson. Even Bernie knows that she’s disappeared..... like seven years or something. The eye-roll............ before there’s a presumption of death for a missing person? There must be some provisions for a period of time in the California Insurance or Probate Code. Have you checked it out? The Codes are all online now.. it used to take seven years before a missing person could be presumed dead. As you probably know......... sure. “Well then... Has the claimant presented a death certificate?” “Don’t be silly Peter.. Any questions?” “Yeah.Element of Peril. but many states have their own periods of time.. you know.. which means that there’s something I don’t get..... Zitlin by the named executor of her last will and testament.” That’s it. isn’t there a period of time.
.. At the seven-year date.. I get it.Grossman laws like the Uniform Probate Code.. This is really important for probate matters. anyone who wants you declared legally dead has to offer evidence that you're not alive. “Here in California. the burden of proof shifts from claimant to insurance company.. But after you've been missing seven years.... anyone who wants you declared alive has to offer evidence that you're not dead..” “Okay kid. you don’t necessarily have to wait seven years to have someone presumed to be dead... the Specific Peril Doctrine and the Uniform Absence Act that they now use as guidelines...... Zitlin.. Before seven years..” “Who’s making the claim? Her husband disappeared over seven years ago after Mike 46 ... you might recall that our biggest civil client is the Uniman Insurance Company. if the tequila hasn’t affected your brain too much.Element of Peril.... and especially for the payment of life insurance claims....... But what does life insurance have to do with us?” “Well.......... and they are being asked to pay off on a five-million-dollar insurance policy for the death of Mrs.
and from what Mister Uniman tells me. Do you know what we’ll have to do to collect a fee on these cases? We’ll have to prove that both of the Zitlins are still alive. You should have checked with me first about this...” “Exactly. before she disappeared. Executor of Mrs.. so we’re hired... At first he balked......... on behalf of our firm...2 million – and getting our services at a twenty percent discount.. and last week. 47 . or any kind of advance for fees... Zitlin put in a claim for the five-million-dollar policy on her husband’s life. We can’t take theses cases..” “Suzi.... Zitlin’s estate.. but when he realized he was saving 9..... a Mister Dwyn Henderson. he finally gave in. Mrs. I offered Mister Uniman a package deal: we would help him to avoid paying on both of those policies... for the discounted rate of only eight-hundred-thousand-dollars......Grossman Wallace did that 60 Minutes exposé on national television about the currency trading scam he was running..Element of Peril... “Therefore... It’s impossible. have you lost your mind? I hope you haven’t taken a retainer from him. because you may have just sunk this law firm... put in a claim against her policy..
Grossman “The feds have been looking for the husband for the past seven years now.. “In addition to that. leaves me with some parting words.. and judging by the amount of blood the papers say they’ve found in her room – blood which they’ve already matched to hers by DNA testing – there’s no way she could have survived the slashing and theft of her remains..... we have absolutely nowhere to start.. “I have a plan....” She has a plan? A Plan? What type of plan could she possible have? I’ve heard of super sleuths like Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe come up with plans in cases like this..... no nothing.. How can we possibly lead Uniman to believe we can succeed with these cases?” Silence..... She has no answer to my tirade.... no clues..Element of Peril... and just stands there glaring at me.. as usual. The wife just disappeared recently. I think I finally got her. and. but all this kid’s been doing for the past 48 . Then... the usual about-face. as she and the beast march away towards their private enclave........ and they haven’t been able to find him..... no theories..
. You’ve caught me in a bad mood.... and the good news – for me – is that we found a chain saw in the Zitlin’s garage.... and ripping a page out here and there. then my hat is off to her... sucker.” 49 . I heard about your little genius taking those cases from Uniman. Ta ta.Element of Peril.... Please tell me you’ve got something that can cheer a person up.. I can’t see how things can get any worse. but unfortunately it’s not you who’s going to be cheered up...... and it’s been used recently......... our situation with respect to the Zitlin cases are as bad as they can be.” “Okay Petey.. “Hello Myra.Grossman couple of weeks is reading the trashy tabloid fan magazines..... If she can put a plan together from stuff that’s appeared in public for millions of people to read... The phone is ringing and I see Myra’s number on my caller ID...... As far as I’m concerned... I’ve got something like that.
.. and after a little while... If we’re supposed to prove that Mrs.. I hope he’ll still consider using us for future cases.. Things could get worse. the harder it will be for us to save face with his company.. tell us that claims have 50 .Element of Peril. Zitlin’s blood on it.. the chances just got a lot slimmer... I was wrong...... and when they find traces of Mrs.... I might as well check out the news on our new HD flat screen set... because the longer we wait before letting Uniman down gently...... Myra’s CSI unit will be going over that chainsaw with a fine tooth comb.... my pre-set CNN channel comes on. Flipping on the set. I’m glad nobody else outside of Myra and Suzi knows about our taking these cases..Grossman 6 W ell...... And as for Suzi’s plan. the anchorlady has this bulletin: “Our sources in Los Angeles. I’ll have to call Mister Uniman and apologize for my office manager’s overconfidence in accepting the cases. Zitlin is still alive.. I hope she decides to let me in on it.. Since there’s nothing for me to do with this matter. reporting on the case of the missing neighbor of celebrity Brinsey Harriston...
as a way to finally put an end to my practice of law in this state.Element of Peril.. but also for that of her missing husband..... she has some fairy-tale idea in her head of living happily ever after in a house with a picket fence. and I think I finally figured it out. but Marina del Rey attorney Peter Sharp has been retained by the insurance company to defend against both claims. crafted from the age of about five.. finally come to fruition at the time of her first marriage.” That’s it.... Shoot me now........... Mister Sharp...... Good Luck.. Not only have I publicly been linked to two of the losingest cases of my career.. We don’t know how he’s going to do it.Grossman been made not only for the proceeds of her life insurance policy..... What she once told me was ‘not a case’ will surely now become a matter she will pursue with fervor. an SUV.. my exwife District Attorney will now be happily working to send my reputation to the toilet as quickly as possible. and kids to drive to ballet school and soccer matches........ My career is over. When a girl’s plans. I’ve always wondered why divorced women hate their ex-husbands so much. 51 .
... because Myra’s entire investigation efforts will be on that case. no matter whose fault it is. things don’t always work out that way...... That bum has stolen her happily ever after... And sending me down in flames on the Zitlin cases may be just the thing that’ll do it for her... First of all.Element of Peril.. I want him to start looking into the disappearance of Mister Robert Zitlin. Now I’m not saying that all females carry a grudge like that.Grossman Unfortunately. the woman always feels that she’s been robbed. I’m sending an email to Jack B. but you never can tell.... I’m afraid that because Myra will never be able to convict me of grand theft for stealing her happily ever after..... as long as the die is cast... because that’s a closed matter.. 52 . and she’ll never get it back again.... Zitlin. I might as well play the hand I’ve been dealt.... telling him to drop any investigation he’s doing on Stuart’s mosque visits.. she’ll spend the rest of her career trying to figure out some other way to punish me.... In my case... and when that day comes when the parties each go their respective ways. No sense wasting time on Mrs. Well.....
... This means that if Uniman feels he’s still on the hook for the policies of both the Zitlins.. I at least want to know enough about the law involved to come up with a plausible defense for my losses. Zitlin led a pretty comfortable life... In my twenty-plus years of experience in handling every type of situation that crops up. so I also want Jack B. and the same goes for the payments on Mrs..Grossman I want to know everything I can about the Zitlin currency-trading scandal. including a copy of the 60 Minutes piece that was done on him shortly before he disappeared.. Mrs..... If I’m going to go down in defeat on these cases.. I’ve found that it’s always a good idea to follow the money.. From the little I know about life insurance policies...... It’s also time for me to hit the books and do some research..Element of Peril. Zitlin’s behalf.... I believe that one way that insurance companies avoid paying is that quite often once a person disappears.. to look into her finances........ there’s nobody left behind to make the premium payments...... Our boat has a modest selection of the annotated California Codes we get involved 53 . someone must have been making payments on the husband’s policy for the past seven years...
........ she assured me that she did in fact ‘check out’ the pertinent law with respect to the Insurance and Probate Codes. but for an up-to-date assessment of some sections of the Insurance and Probate Codes...... I guess it won’t hurt me to review those sections too.Element of Peril.. and it looks like Mister Zitlin had a pretty good operation going.. there’s nothing like the Internet as a place to let your fingers do the walking. during my last conversation with the kid. So much so.. He had about twenty clients whose money he handled in various foreign currency investments........ and if my memory serves me correctly.....Grossman with most of the time.... He instructed each prospective client to open up their own separate account with a 54 . he started out in Chicago and made quite a bit of money for himself doing those currency trades. that people approached him and asked if he would do some trades for them. Well.... From what we can gather. ---------The first of Jack B... There’s not much more humiliating that talking to a 12-year-old and not understanding what she’s saying...’s reports is in..
..... so that it the trades went the wrong way. and time to get off the trade. he would make the same trades from their respective accounts. To sweeten the pot... using their funds.. he also told them that half of them would be trading with him.. they could ride it all the way up to when he felt it was at a crest.... and the other half against him. So far so good.. ten for clients the same way as his.... Splitting them up and making half invest one way 55 . the limits would automatically be triggered. if he had a losing streak.. Every day he would make the twenty-one trades: one for himself. he wouldn’t take them all down with him....... if the trade went down.. That way.. His promise to the clients was that whatever trades he would make for himself.. but if the trade went the right way....... their loss would be cut off by the automatic limit.. This way..Element of Peril. in the same transactions. and ten for clients going the other way. and then execute an order giving him the power to make trades on their behalf... He had a reputation for being a conservative investor.Grossman brokerage house he recommended.. and never used more than a small portion of each investor’s account balance for each trade.. He protected the clients by putting limits on their losses.
which amounted to a little more than they would have earned had they placed their money into certificates of deposit. while the client investors were just breaking even with a modest profit... they all ‘ground out’ a small profit. 56 ..... If things would have continued as usual there wouldn’t have been anything for the 60 Minutes show to expose..’ and actually coming out ahead in the risky area of foreign currency investing. only losing a small amount in the losing trades....... In the long run........... but making a little more than the losses on the trades that went the right way. The investor couldn’t figure it out... But. How could Zitlin be winning ninety percent of the time.. and there’s always a ‘but’ somewhere. one of the investors was acquainted with a manager at the brokerage house.. even accounting for a small percentage Zitlin charged as a fee..Grossman and half the other seemed to work out quite well...... Mister Zitlin’s trades were successful more than ninety percent of time... and happened to discover that instead of conservatively winning and losing on about a fifty percent basis.. Their main benefit was that they felt that they were ‘in the action. Everyone was happy with their small profit.Element of Peril...
.. only affecting their bottom lines in such a small way as to not trigger any 57 . This appeared on the brokerage house’s records as a ‘correction of an error...... The results of the audit were quite interesting. along with Zitlin’s investors...Grossman The Securities and Exchange Commission was brought into the case and they conducted a private audit of the brokerage house. and showed that Zitlin kept his word: half of the investors won on each trade........... The end result was that Zitlin wound up ahead almost all the time.. and the Zitlin account was included in the allegedly ‘random’ sample of audited trades... but the way that Zitlin came out ahead so much of the time was that he was in a conspiracy with the brokerage house to switch his own position at the end of the day from a losing position to a winning one.Element of Peril.. and losses on the fifty percent of his trades were evenly spread out among the twenty client investors........’ and each day only affected two accounts – Zitlin’s and one of the investors – usually the investor who made the most profit on the preceding day. It was meant to look like a routine investigation of a Chicago brokerage house’s procedures.... and half lost......
. charging quite a bit for subscriptions... he was also sought out to publish his own newsletter.... They never found all of the money he stashed in overseas accounts...... newsletters and real estate investments..... Strangely enough..... the investors didn’t complain... Because the feds were never able to trace the sources of her monthly checks to her husband’s brokerage conspiracy... and coming out ahead almost five or six thousand dollars each day.. they were unable to attach that income. so she lived a comfortable life in the celebrity canyons of West Los Angeles..Element of Peril.... and Zitlin disappeared... fees collected.. and he must have set up annuities for his wife because she received large checks each month from the offshore accounts.. ---------- 58 . The head of the brokerage house pled guilty and did some time in Club Fed..Grossman suspicion. They felt that they weren’t hurt that badly. All in all.. and didn’t want to go through the hassle of participating in a long and drawn out trial. Zitlin’s net worth was several hundred million dollars.. from his investing. After more than ten years of consistently being on the winning side of his investments....
... Your devious friend Stuart is being investigated for fencing stolen goods out of his pawn shop.. that answers a lot of questions for me.... those monthly checks are still coming in and being directly deposited as electronic fund transfers to the Zitlin bank account that Mister Dwyn Henderson now controls....... Zitlin’s estate... I guess it’s a coincidence that there’s a steady stream of people covered with lovely tattoos going in and out of his warehouse. He is still disbursing those funds as he sees fit to maintain the Zitlin residence and make timely payments on the life insurance policies of both Mister and Mrs. If he gets out in front of things now....... I now know quite a bit about her husband’s investment scheme and how she lived so nicely..Element of Peril...... what can I do for you today?” “This is a heads-up Peter. Now might be the best time for him to come in and talk to us. The phone is ringing... as executor of Mrs.. reports. it’ll go a lot better for him in the long run.. but from what Jack B.. Zitlin. “Hello dear.. but also asks one or two more.... and I see that my lovely ex-wife is calling.Grossman Okay...” 59 .
..... there’s a reward I’m offering for information leading to the arrest and digestion of dinner this evening... which 60 .... the only place in the neighborhood I found that stocks Patrón Burdeos.... And.... I’m meeting Myra this evening for dinner around the corner on Admiralty Way at the Marina del Rey Ritz Carlton... While waiting for Myra to make her usual fashionably late appearance. Please stop wasting your time: I want to get on with my life and try to forget about you...... Five hundred a bottle?” Aah. by the way.. I’ll talk to him about it.” “Peter...Grossman “Okay... but because Suzi is crazy about Myra and desperately wants to get us back together again...... their Grand Burdeos. something finally worked.. A margarita prepared with the Patrón’s Spirit Company’s brand new five hundred-dollarsa-bottle tequila..... I decide to conduct my own investigation.. I’ve heard they charge about seventy-five bucks for a margarita made with that stuff.. she reluctantly agreed to have our law firm cover tonight’s dinner cost.. I’m getting tired of your clumsy efforts to get me out to dinner.Element of Peril..
..... I know she’s probably only having dinner with me to get a taste of the expensive new tequila. He explains that Patrón ages this tequila in French and American oak barrels imported from a place called Chateaux Margaux for a minimum of 12 months..... I’ll have to give the kid a complete report of 61 ....... that’s all that counts..Grossman involves a shot of the expensive tequila and a conversation with the head bartender. and will nurse this shot until Myra gets here...... this tequila is distilled at 55 percent alcohol volume from the finest blue Agave grown in the highlands of Jalisco. so I’ll wait a while before ordering my margarita. in a black walnut box. I’m still nursing my shot.. From what he tells me... so I nod to the bartender for him to start preparing her margarita.....Element of Peril. He showed me how it comes – in a crystal bottle with a crystal stopper.. complete with the distinctive flavors of vanilla. as long as she’s here. I’d like it to be brought to the table for her just as she gets seated next to me. I see one of Myra’s advance deputies looking around the dining room to make sure that Osama Bin Laden isn’t here..... raisins and dried fruit found in the finest Bordeaux wine. I’m impressed. Mexico..... but what the heck..
as I’m sure Suzi will explain to you one of these days.. you’re going to have a tough time with these Zitlin policies.. we each take a sip of our respective drinks and go through the usual small talk about people we know......... The husband has been gone for over seven years...... like where 62 .. so I might as well try to get some information out of our District Attorney. Instead of the claimant having to show proof of death during the seven year period. the only way to establish a presumption of death before the seven years expires is for the claimant to establish that the missing person falls into one or more of several categories... We then get around to talking about the Zitlin case.. high-profile cases in the news.Element of Peril.Grossman our dinner.... Suzi’s school performance... but after that period of time the burden of proof shifts.... it’s the insurance company’s burden to show proof of life in order to avoid paying the claim....... and she lets me know what I’m up against with the insurance claim.. after that time passes.. “Peter.. After our customary glass-clinking. and other meaningless chatter... “As for the wife.
but even this expensive tequila treat can’t make me change the facts for you. I’m still carrying a torch for Myra.... and our investigation shows that she had a physical earlier this year and got a clean bill of health... “I think that the element of peril category is going to be the nail in your case’s coffin.Element of Peril..Grossman her age would be beyond human expectation – and I think that’s out. and so is your case.. Another way is to show that her health was seriously impaired... She’s dead.... Sorry Petey... but it doesn’t 63 . because she was only in her fifties..... The most damaging way to your case is a showing that there was an element of peril involved and that at the time of her disappearance she was exposed to some type of extraordinary danger... but I’m afraid that I’m going to have to report to Suzi that she should stop getting her hopes up... Myra’s a completely different person when she’s out of the office... and I think a hearing officer will give any claimant the benefit of the doubt on this one........... because our experts have estimated the amount of her blood she lost at the scene....” The rest of the evening is pleasant enough..
Once back at the bar I’m given more bad news: the head bartender has refused to serve me.... There have been no outbursts of profanity.. I walk her out to the hotel entrance and then after not even receiving a courtesy peck on the cheek... “no soup for you!” I think his nickname on the show was the ‘Soup Nazi... does this dictator of a bartender refuse to serve me? I haven’t seen an example of hostility like this since some old Seinfeld episodes where the proprietor of a place that sells soup tells customers he’s not fond of...... go back to have an expensive margarita – probably the last one I’ll be getting on company funds for some time.’ Maybe 64 . but I’m not some homeless slob who wandered in....Grossman look like she has the slightest bit of interest in renewing a relationship with me...... and I haven’t started any fights.... I’m well aware of the rule about public establishments having the right to refuse service to anyone they feel not deserving of it. I ask.... and the corporate American Express card given to them when I first came in this evening will certainly cover the tab..Element of Peril... so why... After she calls her driver to have the car brought around.. I’ve also been behaving myself......
. the head bartender here disagrees with my preference and states that he refuses to blend a Patrón Burdeos margarita: it’s against his principles...... I can only take so much defeat in one evening.’ a neighborhood Mexican restaurant down the street – although he doubts if they stock Burdeos there.. because as a result of being refused service.. That’s it. They say that the reason I won’t be served the drink isn’t because of my behavior in the dining room......’ I was right... My case is going down the tubes.. and I can’t even get a decent margarita with the firm paying for it.Element of Peril. He suggests that if I want a blended margarita.. I have no chance with Myra. Another waste of money. Unfortunately for me... I might try ordering one at ‘The Pollo Meshuga........ it’s because of how I ordered the drink. and served ‘topless.Grossman this new expensive booze from Patrón has turned the guy here into a ‘Margarita Nazi..’ which means without salt on the rim of the glass... 65 .... I’m outta here.. I’m unexpectedly sober enough to drive myself back to the boat.. The bill is paid and my taxi is waiting.. I usually like to have my margaritas blended....
.. and I already know about the element of peril....” 66 ... while preparing to give my evening report to the kid...Element of Peril............... A little while later she follows the beast out to my reading area and gives me her statement for the evening.....Grossman Back at the boat I go to my frustration stash of chocolate-covered jelly rings...... “Sorry it didn’t go too well for you there.........
I saw that your 68 . I want to find out if he’s running his pawn shop on the upand-up. while I was waiting for you to come out of the building..Grossman 7 S tuart’s Van Nuys compound is quite impressive. you know...... “Say.Element of Peril. I’ll have to approach the subject tactfully. but their split pea soup is so good....... I manage to get him away from the business for a while so we can have lunch at Jerry’s Deli on Ventura Boulevard. His large tilt-up warehouse sits behind the chain link fenced triple-wide lot in this commercial district... but I don’t want to violate Myra’s confidence by letting him know that he might be the target of an investigation.. This place isn’t exactly the quiet type of restaurant I like to have business lunches in........ with some large glass windows facing the street.. I don’t care how noisy it is... behind which are the pawn shop and his tattoo-removal parlor. and I sure hope he hasn’t been doing what Myra suspects him of doing............. While waiting for him to come outside I notice that his pawn shop is jam packed with merchandise..
... your place is chock full of merchandise...... Stu..Element of Peril..Grossman pawn shop window and shelves are really well stocked.. at any given time they might pop in on you and ask for some paperwork on some pieces in your window.....” 69 . I’m concerned that you might be making some unintentional mistakes that can put you in a jackpot. How much identification do you require before buying something from someone? And do you ever ask for proof of ownership?” “Peter.. Are you doing the proper bookkeeping and documenting the source of your inventory?” “No problemo Peter.. but remember....... and it’s been a very short time for you to get over a complicated learning curve for proper running of a pawn shop.....” “I’m glad to hear that Stu. It’s amazing that so many people have wanted to hock so much stuff in the short period of time you’ve been open for business there.......” “I don’t know... I’ve got the whole situation under control. I told you it’s all taken care of.. You’ve only been open a short while...
..... How can you have a store full of stuff if you don’t buy it? What do you do... I buy all my stuff wholesale from a pawn-shop clearing house back east.. What I really mean is that I have other sources than buying over the counter from walk-ins. computers... I never thought of that..Element of Peril... The reason that I have no problem with documentation is because I don’t buy merchandise from people who want to hock it... specializing in shops near the gambling houses in Las Vegas..Grossman “Peter... very good... I decided not to handle guns. My main business is the sale of merchandise. musical instruments.. please relax. I know the pitfalls of operating a pawn-shop business. you’ve got to buy it from people.... manufacture it in the back room?” “Ha. and found that the most hocked items were cameras... Instead of buying individual items from desperate people... I spent quite a bit of time last year travelling around.. I don’t buy from individuals.. jewelry and guns.. Reno and Atlantic City. so 70 . but I guess it’s a possibility somewhere down the line.. because that’s what pawnshops get broken into for..” “How can you do that? In order to have merchandise for sale...... and I don’t want any part of them.
in case the customer wants to come back.. like guitars or cameras. plus fifteen percent. How did we just cover that jump?” “You’re right Peter. After that.. Pete... they get rid of excess items and still make the equivalent of almost fifty percent on the investments.. This way... but that still doesn’t answer how you do the buying. All they have to do is show me the original pawn ticket. “They also want to make sure that they don’t get too overstocked with certain types of items.” “Simple.....” “That’s good to hear Stu. and I pay them their cost... pay off the balance and redeem the item......Grossman instead I’m concentrating on the other items.. Every pawn shop that takes things in must hold them for a certain period of time.... wait a minute Stu.... but it would only be a fifteen percent profit if they held the item 71 ..” “Whoa.. What I do is let the various pawn shops know that I’m in the market to take the stuff they’ve got too much of in stock.Element of Peril.......... There’s a big difference between fifteen percent and fifty percent. the shops can do whatever they want with the stuff...
.... “I started right out by telling my vendors exactly how I would be working.. and from which broker. But when they deal with me.. “Doing it this way...Element of Peril.....Grossman for a whole year. and a fifteen percent return after three months is equivalent to almost a sixty percent return when figured on an annual basis. I wind up buying the items really cheap....... and the people here in the San Fernando Valley love it because I offer great deals on 72 .... because each item is coded with the date that batch was purchased... Most pawn shops operate on a principle of lending money and then selling off merchandise that hasn’t been redeemed. so they’d better make sure that everything they sell me is one-hundred percent kosher.... My shop operates strictly on a sales basis: I don’t buy from anyone but my wholesale dealers. because I’m paying just a small percentage over what the old pros are paying to their desperate customers – and I don’t have to worry about keeping track of sources.... and that if any problems came up.. they have an opportunity to make the same fifteen percent after holding the item for only three months... I’d have no hesitation in telling the cops exactly where I bought the merchandise.......
I had a feeling that Stuart would work out a way to make things as simple and profitable as possible..... she can still waste her time being paranoid about him buying stuff from his ex-con tattoo removal customers.. They know that I’m removing tattoos from ex-cons... Maybe they’re hoping to spot something they recognize..... Who knows? Who cares? As long as they’re coming in.. I have one other question for Stuart. how the heck does that tattoo removal stuff work? Do you put a skincolored tattoo on top of the old one. and now I can rest assured that I won’t be defending him on any criminal charges...... and they draw their own conclusions as to where the stuff in my shop comes from. shopping around and spending some money.........Grossman the used merchandise. Maybe that way she’ll learn not to be so suspicious of my friend’s business activities...Element of Peril. or does it work another way?” 73 . Another upside to what I’ve just learned from him is that by not telling Myra how honest his operation is...” He’s done it again.. I’m happy...... “While we’re here talking about your businesses....
I can now go back to the boat and catch up on some reading. some education on tattoo removal.... I got my big bowl of pea soup... Once it’s hit by the laser and degraded. troublefree manner...Element of Peril. It’s Myra calling... We charge by the square inch for each visit... While on the 405 heading back to the marina....Grossman “That’s the same type of question I asked before buying the equipment. my cell phone rings.. “Hey kid..... What we’re really doing is shooting a laser beam just under the skin. it get excreted from the body naturally.. Actually. and the peace of mind that Stuart is running his pawn shop in a legal........ Why.. you got one you need some work on?” That was nice.. we don’t remove tattoos at all.... Red is the toughest... and it can take up to four or five treatments to get the average tat degraded and out of the system. how’s it goin? Ready for another round of margaritas?” 74 . The strength of the beam depends on the color of the ink you want to degrade. to damage the structure of the ink. like any other minor marks on the skin.....
.. right next to sleeping with me again. who was so busy on his cell phone that he didn’t see my client sitting there in stopped traffic..... someone who while sitting still at a traffic signal gets rear-ended by a Rolls Royce driven by Bill Gates.. we’ve arrested a suspect in the Zitlin murder and disappearance. Back here on earth.. and we’ve been informed that your office will be defending her. I haven’t been in touch with my office for a couple of hours.....Grossman “Not yet counselor. Thought you’d like to know that you’ve got another client.......Element of Peril....” “Well....” “In your dreams Petey..........” 75 . but maybe it’s the dream case I’ve always been waiting for........
.. the Zitlin butler’s wife. Not only did she get one step closer to entirely sabotaging my defense against the life insurance claim. she also succeeded in catching me completely by surprise as to my new client. I called your office to let Suzi know that she’s got a problem with her insurance claim on Mrs. 76 ..... her? You’ve got a woman in custody?” “Yes we do..... I may need a something a lot stronger than tequila to keep my emotions under control.......... and on the firm’s behalf. wait a minute. let alone tell you that I’m representing her?” “She didn’t tell us......... Henderson and would be stopping by to see her tomorrow morning. Suzi told me that you are defending Mrs.” I can tell that Myra was pleased. As soon as we booked her.” “Hey. Zitlin’s life...... I’ve never even met that lady. Between Myra and Suzi..Element of Peril. It’s Mrs.. Dwyn Henderson.... How does she even know my name..Grossman 8 “H er? Who.
Inside. and I realized that an indictment against her would do great damage to our fight against the life insurance claim... I’m fuming.. If she’s as smart as I think she is.. She did it again – making a major decision for the firm. without consulting me first..... I’ve been blindsided by this kid several times in the past.. I’m just going to sit down here and wait for her to do her monologue.. but this one takes the cake. “Peter... Myra let me know that she was going to arrest Mrs. because if convicted it would establish the element of peril 77 . I’m not going to say a word...Element of Peril..... Henderson..Grossman She’s gonna get it this time. not hers..... I step onto the boat and see that both brains and the beast are waiting for me...... First of all. I hope she realizes that it’s my name on the letterhead... She’d better have a pretty good explanation as to why I’m representing this lady.. I know you’re upset. When things go bad I’m the one who gets the brunt of the repercussions and my law license is the one that’s always at stake. but there’s a reason that I acted in a certain way. Here it comes..... she’ll know exactly what’s on my mind....
. We would have to do more than that to defeat the claim. That would cost our client. I’d let him know that we don’t stand a snowball’s 78 ... “Mister Uniman understood my rationale and will be sending us a twenty five thousand dollar retainer by messenger tomorrow.. I don’t think she acted maliciously......Grossman required for the Zitlin estate to establish a presumption of death.... but if we couldn’t do this first step of clearing her..” Okay.. the Uniman Insurance Company.... so I’m going to go easy on her.. and would be a fourhundred-thousand-dollar loss of fees to this office.. but leaves out the most important areas of a professional law practice: client control and full disclosure. Henderson must be cleared of all charges. we would be completely out of the game..... that answers some of the questions behind her actions.. “I called Mister Uniman at his residence and explained to him that for us to defeat the element of peril requirement so that he could avoid paying out the five million........ five million dollars....... Mrs..Element of Peril. “If it was me talking to Uniman.
.... It might be a trial........ it might be an informal inquest. Zitlin – it won’t disprove the fact that someone else did.. but what about the people that make up this law firm – you and me? It’s nice to know that you can make deals to get us big fees.... but what happens when we get to court? I think I’m a pretty decent attorney... “Sooner or later there will be a judgment day for this case......Element of Peril. but I will have to be there representing Uniman’s insurance company and I have absolutely no idea on how to rebut the 79 . and we can’t cast a spell on the judge or jury.. the amount of blood left behind will be enough to establish a presumption of death even if the Henderson woman is acquitted. All her acquittal will prove is that she didn’t kill Mrs.. it might be an administrative hearing or something else.. but neither one of us is a miracle worker. and you’ve been invaluable with your assistance in a lot of our cases.. If they never recover Mrs... “Suzi. Zitlin’s body....... I understand that you acted in what you thought was the best interest of the case....Grossman chance in hell of rebutting the element of peril doctrine. We can’t pull evidence out of the air..
.. that won’t be good enough this time..... “I’m working on it...Element of Peril... I’ve got to have more than that before sticking my neck out any further than it is.. we should call him up... some idea of how to give Uniman the fair representation he’s entitled to.. “I think that if we can’t come up with some sort of plan.. but she’ll be through with me forever... and thank him for giving us the opportunity to be of service... I’ll lose so much of Myra’s respect that she’ll never want to talk to me again. Maybe she’ll still take your calls... give him his money back.. and I 80 ..Grossman element of peril requirement to establish the claimant’s presumption of death.. He’s been good to us in the past.. Let’s do the right thing here. Maybe this will get her to understand the importance of what I’m saying: “You know.” Ah.. I’ve got it. and we’ve made a lot of money with his company.. What do you say? Do we have a strategy? What’s the plan?” Her answer is straightforward. We owe him that...... if we go down in defeat on this case because we were too proud to get off in time. some strategy on how to proceed....” “That’s it? You’re working on it? I’m sorry young lady....
...... I’m already starting to put some pieces of the puzzle together. completely at her mercy to come up with a solution to this case.. And even more importantly. I can almost hear the wheels spinning in her head.. is doing some valuable investigation work for us.” That being said.. “Oh.. That last piece of business may have worked... all right.... I will make you one promise: you will not be embarrassed by this case.. If my theory doesn’t work out. how did she happen to have Uniman’s home phone number? 81 ... You’re going to have to trust me on this one.. I don’t think you do either..” Hmmm... but I want you to trust me.. I’m reluctant to tell you too much because my theory is so far out I’m afraid that both you and Myra will think I’m crazy.. but I don’t want to say any more until I’m further along with tying some loose ends together.... I’ll get us out of everything before it’s too late....Grossman don’t want that. I know in my heart that we’re going to win. and Jack B..... the dynamic duo heads for their private enclave..Element of Peril.... once again leaving me to twist in the wind.
..... Interviewing a new client in custody is always a sensitive situation because you can rarely tell them the only thing they really want to hear: that you can get them released on bail.. and surprisingly...... Henderson... she doesn’t look to bad for the experience she’s going through... Who knows? “Hello Mrs.....Grossman 9 A s promised. and I’ve been retained by the insurance company to represent you. so we’re going to have to conduct all of our interviews in the jail’s attorney interview room... She’s locked up on a nobail warrant.. Maybe she’s a professional killer that merely treats being locked up as part of being in business. The guard is bringing her into the interview room now. I’m on my way to visit Mrs. I’m Peter Sharp..... Aside from that one must always consider the fact that they might be coming face to face with a cold blooded murderer – one who will tell you whatever they feel is necessary to get you to believe that they’re innocent..Element of Peril.........” 82 .. Henderson...
He’s got her money to spend..... but as soon as I get some more information on what the prosecution intends to prove up. and if I go back home.. I also tell her that I’ll deposit some money in her prisoner account so that she can buy some 83 . I’ll just be returning to doing all the work that he can’t do.. so let him hire someone to help out while I’m gone. I’ll meet with her again to discuss the case.” That went well..... I tell her that the police report hasn’t been given to me yet...... I also apologize for the fact that she’s being held without bail. I don’t mind being in here.....Element of Peril. She takes it quite well...Grossman “Why would the insurance company want to pay you to do this for me?” I explain to her the insurance company’s interest in seeing not only that she is cleared of all charges..... “That’s okay Mister Sharp...... I’m tired of being his slave.. and that it’s unlikely that I can get her out before her trial. so I don’t have much to work with.. My husband is still recovering from that broken leg...... but that there was not a murder committed at all.. which might be several months down the road.
the only thing that keeps me out of a major fit of depression is knowing that the kid has a plan....... But what do I know? I couldn’t keep my own marriage together.... then why do I sense that she’s not getting along with her husband? I would think that now’s the time for them both to be on the same page.... I’d do everything I could to keep her happy and not wanting to rat me out. If she had anything to do with the disappearance of Mrs... I just hope her past successes haven’t made her overconfident enough to bite off more this time than either of us can chew.......Grossman necessities that aren’t provided by the county. She has a good track record of coming through for us just in time.... then it’s a good bet that her husband is in on it too.Element of Peril.. I’ll never doubt her again... so who am I to be considering what any other married couple should do to work through a tough time? Right now. and if she can do it on this case. If I were her husband. 84 ....... Zitlin..... And if that’s the case.. especially since she’s been arrested..
... so I think it’s about time our office retained his services to take a look at that recently used chain saw Myra’s people found in the Zitlin garage.. especially for medical malpractice lawyers..... Victor has a complete CSI lab and his trained staff of former law enforcement personnel do everything from fingerprints to DNA comparisons..... I never realized a business like that could exist......... which is also his telephone number......Element of Peril. almost every time a patient dies during surgery.... 86 . How did your interview with Mrs.... I call her number. but since then have learned that Victor keeps quite busy doing the post-mortems that the County is not required to do...Grossman 10 W hile working on a recent case.. a forensic scientist who operates an independent autopsy service appropriately named 800Autopsy.. I was wondering when you’d call. I became acquainted with a gentleman named Victor Herrera.. In addition to the autopsies performed.. “Hello Peter..
.... as soon as your Keystone Kops can come up with a crime she might have committed..... You can tell him that he can send someone for it......” “What makes you think we didn’t find any blood on that saw?” “Because I didn’t see you holding a press conference about it on the steps of the Criminal Courts Building.......” “Thank you...Element of Peril.. We didn’t do that thorough an exam of it..” “Clever. but there doesn’t appear to be any evidence we can use there...... Have them call to arrange for a pick-up time. Besides... so I’d like to have my people examine it. but you’re right. perhaps you might like to tell me what wild 87 . there was no need for us to waste our time on it because we knew that sooner or later you’d be wanting to have your ghoulish friend Victor examining it – with your office paying for it instead of ours.... But getting back to real business.... Now that that’s taken care of...Grossman Sweeny Todd Henderson go? Is she ready to confess?” “Sure Myra. I figure you didn’t find any blood on that chain saw.
... who could barely have made 88 . and then entering her residence during the afternoon of her disappearance...... It’s all based on a quotation you called to my attention several years ago.. ... “So.....Element of Peril. there were only two other people in the residence: the defendant and her husband. Peter. aside from the alleged victim..Grossman theory you’re entertaining as to why my client did anything against the law.. then whatever remains...” “Sure. Zitlin was seen and photographed exiting the SUV that returned from dropping off her celebrity neighbor... and he said something like.. her residence is completely fenced in. Third. I believe his name was Holmes. I believe it’s something your favorite literary character once said.... we have several facts to take into consideration: first. Second..’ And if memory serves me correctly. and was constantly being observed by the paparazzi for the entire afternoon and early evening – up to and including the time that the alleged crime took place.. must be the truth.... I believe you’ve said that he said it in at least six of his adventures.. backs up to a canyon wall.... Mrs.. applying the Sherlock Holmes doctrine... however improbable....’When you have eliminated all which is impossible...
...... my Sherlockian adversary....... and now have what remains – your client.. we are taking your idol’s advice and charging your client with first degree murder... I’m sure her forensics team did a completely thorough job of examining it. alien abduction. 89 .” “I’ve got to hand it to you Myra.. etc. I mentioned that quote a couple of times while we were married. I don’t care how lackadaisical Myra sounded about that saw. “In other words....Element of Peril.... “Putting those three facts together.” An appointment was made for Victor to pick up the chain saw.... because of his broken leg having been in a cast. like magic.Grossman it up the stairs to the crime-scene bedroom.. along with the fact that Mrs. we have eliminated all which is impossible. but I never realized that everything I said could be used against me in a court of law. etc...... however improbable her guilt is..... it must be the truth.... Zitlin miraculously disappeared from the residence during the time in question. but I’m sure he won’t find any traces of blood on it. And...
.... because charity has never been her strong suit...... “All right Myra. but I know it’s all being done for the benefit of the case.. but am informed that he has been directed to spend one hundred percent of his time on specific investigations... to see if he’s turned up anything interesting.. I have never won a murder case this quick in my entire life..Element of Peril. My phone is ringing and I see that it’s Myra calling. and not to worry about offending me... As soon as the surprise wears off.. what do you want?” “We’re reducing the charges against your client from first degree murder down to conspiracy to commit murder.. She had an 90 .Grossman I call Jack B.. Ordinarily this might irk me a bit. I regain my senses and try to find out what she really has in mind........ so I tell Jack to keep on doing whatever he’s doing....” I don’t believe this. and to report only to Suzi.. Peter...... That was quick. Have you decided to drop the first degree murder charges against my client?” “Yes we have... “Hi..
.... What makes you think there was a third person?” “Our team of investigators has been searching every garbage can and dumpster in the neighborhood...” “I thought you were using the Sherlock Holmes method.. so please meet me in the interview room at three this afternoon...” 91 ... I would like to talk to your client at the jail....... and in one of them they found a bloodied baseball bat and a blood-soaked towel...Element of Peril. and we want to know who that person is.. Zitlin.... I didn’t say anything to you before.... There were only two people in the house.... but now we know for certain that the blood on the towel and the bat belonged to Mrs. and one of them has a leg in a cast.......Grossman accomplice.... because the tests hadn’t been completed. with you there too.
. She sits down across from us and thanks me for depositing some cash to her prisoner account.. 92 .. Henderson in... “Mrs.. my name is Myra Scot Sharp. I want you to know that we’ve found the bloody baseball bat and blood-soaked towel that were used in the murder of Mrs.. and after all the use it’s gotten in television police dramas.Grossman 11 M yra is sitting next to me in the interview room as a guard brings Mrs.. Myra starts in with the standard ‘first to make a deal’ pitch... Zitlin....... Henderson.....Element of Peril.. here with the permission of your attorney.. and I’m the District Attorney. I’m surprised that everyone doesn’t know it by heart.. we are reducing your charges down to conspiracy to commit murder... Therefore..... She still looks like she’s holding up pretty good...... I guess being out of the house and away from the hectic job of housekeeping there has been like a vacation for her... and we have concluded that it probably wasn’t you who struck the deadly blow and removed the body. I’ve heard it a hundred times...
. I accomplice?” ask you... but you must decide to use them quickly.Element of Peril..... and she ignores it completely.. Henderson sits for a moment.... There are many options you now have. Perhaps you were coerced into cooperating.....it will be too late for you to make any deal. staring at the both of us. She gets up and says to the guard.. She’s not surprised. I’m confused.... Back at the boat........ and had no other choice. “So now......” Myra is flabbergasted.. Her next move is completely unexpected... Who was your Mrs... trust us on that.Grossman “We want to know who your accomplice was.. This interview is over. because if we find your accomplice without your cooperation – and we will. “take me back to my cell. having 93 . . Here’s a defendant who has just been offered the possibility of a great deal. I report to Suzi how our interview went. and depending on the level of your cooperation.. we are prepared to be very lenient with you as to sentencing.
“Okay.. or absolutely no defense.” “And if you can’t?” “If I can’t..... It’s not that easy to get off of a murder case... so you’ve talked to her already.. then I’ll be the one who calls Mister Uniman and returns his retainer.... we’ll have a tremendous success.. Have you got anything yet? I know that Jack B. “I’m still trying to put some loose ends together........ If I can.....Element of Peril.” All I can get out of her is a short answer that really doesn’t tell me anything. And that means I’m going to need something to use in her defense..... is doing some stuff for you... You’ll be leaving me twisting in the 94 . Did she tell you about her plans? She was so ticked off by being completely rejected by our client that she intends to get that lady into court as soon as possible... so please at least give me something to hope for.. You have to have a better reason than a returned retainer......Grossman probably already talked to Myra while I was driving back to the marina.” “What about me? Just because you return his retainer doesn’t mean I’m off of the case..
. All she has to do now is make them believe that the defendant knew about it and helped the murderer get away. That Sherlock Holmes quotation is getting easier for Myra to use now...” “Oh stop exaggerating... and that’s a pretty weak plan at this stage of the game.... Another main disadvantage to losing the case will mean that Mrs... Zitlin’s death... I can make a good show out of cross examining all of Myra’s witnesses. Zitlin’s estate will have a strong case for the element of peril necessary to establish the presumption of Mrs... Peter. Sure.. This conversation has ended for me..” That’s it. but I’ll still lose the case......Element of Peril.. You always think of something to say in situations like that......Grossman wind and making a fool out of myself in front of the entire judicial system..’ trying to turn the finger of guilt towards her husband....... less successful that Myra’s interview with Mrs. and Uniman Insurance 95 . Henderson. and the bloody bat and towel will certainly help her do that...... She no longer has to make the jury take a leap of faith and believe that my client did everything.. My only alternative will be the famous ‘Plan B.
..... but can’t find any recent picture of her. our firm is also going to be opposing his claim to Uniman’s insurance company.. Zitlin still alive somewhere... and he says it’s okay to come over.. He probably doesn’t know that aside from representing his wife. I’ll be defending a murder case for no fee at all! Wait a minute..A. I call for an appointment to meet with him..... There’s a possibility that I can find Mrs..Grossman will have to pay out the five million on her policy... can’t complain about that.... The worst part of this entire bad-case scenario is that not only will our firm lose out on a four hundred thousand dollar fee from Uniman..... There’s another alternative. 96 .. but it’s not likely he’d want to cooperate with me on finding Mrs... because that would go against his claim against her life insurance policy.Element of Peril... because as the defendant’s attorney.. I have a right to interview potential witnesses.. The D. so I’ll have to walk sort of a tightrope when talking to him.... Zitlin.. I’ve already checked her out on the internet.... so I think I’ll go over to her house and talk to my client’s husband. but after the kid returns Uniman’s retainer.
almost every Russian Jew who managed to get out of there and made it here to the States did quite well here.... urns patterned rugs. we go in the main house. vases.... I have no doubt that all the knickknacks and curios.. but I could never live in a place that’s so overstuffed with what I consider to 97 . and for the Jewish citizens there.. I’ve never been to Russia or visited any of those old European museums like they’re supposed to have in St.Element of Peril..... Ida Zitlin was born and raised in the USSR. and instead of going back up the stairs to his coach-house apartment above the garage.... and from the looks of Ida’s living room.... Petersburg...... she tried very hard to make up for her lack of niceties in the old country.. Miraculously.... artwork and all the other fancy items are probably worth a fortune. and the large paintings.... but I’d say that the Zitlin living room is a pretty close model of what those places look like inside. Mrs..... it must have been tough living under Stalin’s anti-Semitic regime..Grossman When I get to the Zitlin house he’s waiting outside for me....
.. “What can I do for you Mister Sharp?” We have a pleasant chat. because of the difficulty in driving only with one’s left leg. poorly designed shiny silk shirts.. like cars with bullshorn attachments on the grill...... If I had to sum up what it looks like here.......... which means it would have been next to impossible for him to have been the accomplice. 98 .... Whenever they’re interviewed. Dwyn Henderson brings me back to reality...Grossman be obscene excessive consumption and garish spending habits. It’s no surprise to me when he says he’s from Minnesota.. and I see that it’s his right leg.. because the last time I heard people talk like him was when I saw the movie Fargo He accentuates a lot of sentences with the trademark Minnesotean ‘you betcha.. I’d have to say that it was furnished by a peasant with money.Element of Peril..... It sort of reminds me of some of the people who win big in the lottery... they always seem to have a lot of ridiculous things around them..... and large new electronic devices in their shabbily decorated living rooms..’ His leg is still in a cast.. big jeweled wristwatches..
.... He also confirms the fact that their marriage is just about on the rocks. Zitlin might possibly still be alive.... you should consider one of the other things the courts look to before making a decision.. I get a feeling that he doesn’t want her found.... I also think he’s not the brightest bulb in the lamp... taking up the slack around the house while his leg heals. so I try another approach.... He promises to call if he does... One thing he does do. and that it would help if we had a recent picture of her.... is verify the fact that it’s been tough on his wife..... He doesn’t think he does.... I tell him that if he happens to come across one. however.. It’s not that he’s uncooperative....Grossman He’s no help at all. Mister Henderson.Element of Peril. and that’s the fact that the claimant made a good faith effort to try and find the missing person. I let him know that the main purpose of my visit is to try and find something that might possibly help us to discover whether or not Mrs.. he just doesn’t have any information to give me. 99 .... “You know... if what I’ve heard about your putting in a claim on her life insurance policy is true.. then to try and accelerate the time before a presumption of death kicks in.. it would be a great help.
.. I’m sure that one of her reasons was to have that burnt out celebrity neighbor of hers... for a grand jury appearance. 100 .... Simpson case.. but I had to give it a try. Zitlin was a camera-shy person. Not wanting to make the mistake her office did with the O.” I don’t know if that will work at all.... Myra has pressed ahead with the prosecution of Mrs... Also.. she has decided that instead of having a preliminary hearing.J.. and that’s probably why the newspapers didn’t have pictures of her to help with the search....Element of Peril. Brinsey Harriston testify......... she would go for an indictment. thereby guaranteeing that for once in her life she will make a timely judicial appearance..... Doing it in front of a grand jury will be a private affair and eliminate the circus atmosphere of a public hearing.. Henderson. Myra’s office can justify sending two investigators and a squad car to pick up the Harriston girl....... But I think that it behooves you to try and come up with a picture of her to at least show that you’re making a good faith effort to have her found alive.Grossman “Now I’ve also heard that Mrs..
it’s about time... Not wanting to waste any time.. right?” “Not exactly... When you were here a couple of weeks ago I promised to call you if I found a picture of Mrs.....Grossman An envelope has been delivered to the boat..... and it looks like a picture of Mrs. But I did find an old negative. this is Dwyn Henderson..... I call Victor at 800Autopsy and tell him to have one of his men pick up the negative and treat it like a piece of evidence.. Zitlin. “Hello Mister Sharp. It’s from the District Attorney’s office.......... Inside is a formal notice that our client has been indicted and will be appearing for arraignment in the Superior Court...” Well. taken while they were on vacation about eight or nine years ago.... Zitlin and her husband. Henderson... You found one....” “That’s great Mister Henderson. I held it up to a light. I want 101 . The phone rings and my caller ID shows a number I called – Mr.Element of Peril.. I finally got a piece of something without any help from Suzi or Jack B.
102 ............ with several enlargements made.........Element of Peril....................Grossman it processed and fingerprinted.
we have refused to waive time. If this case is going to be solved. Zitlin and Dwyn Henderson. because Victor examined the chain saw. Ignorance is bliss. Per her wishes. She seems to be in a hurry. That won’t raise any red flags in Myra’s office. The negative was processed and printed. I have Suzi add Mr. and her trial will be held within the statutory number of days allowed. without telling Suzi about it. Zitlin. along with Victor’s. I go to the Santa Monica Courthouse and start to look through the . Mr. We now have pretty definite proof that it’s genuine. Henderson’s name to my witness list. so I’m going to do a little investigation on my own. Henderson has been arraigned. My next move is to find the most aggressive skip-tracing bill collectors in town. for once I’m not going to have to share any credit. a trial date has been set. Victor called. He found three sets of prints on the negative. and Henderson was in the house at the time of the alleged murder. To accomplish this. her refusal to waive time means that there will no delays. Because she is in custody. Mrs.12 N ow that Mrs.
. “Mister Sharp.. I prepare a file on the Zitlins that includes all the info I have on Mr..... Zitlin’s past activities..........Element of Peril. I don’t know where they are...... Zitlin. plus other information about the couple that I was able to learn from the file that Suzi made on them and let me browse through. Socrates Goldstein.......Grossman large civil lawsuit index book that covers the past year... Mr. What I’m looking for is a collection company that has been sued at least one or two times in the past six months for aggressive behavior – and I find it.” He must have checked me out after our initial telephone conversation. I assume you want me to find Mrs. because I’m facing a deadline... I toss the folder onto his desk and make my prepared statement: “Mister Goldstein. I toss a couple of Victor’s enlargements into the file and head over to their Culver City office to keep my appointment with the head collector... or if they’re even alive.. Goldstein greets me semi-warmly. which is probably about as good a greeting he’s capable of giving. To help them with their task. here’s a folder containing everything I know about two people.. Am I correct?” 105 . but I desperately need to have some answers in the next three weeks.....
. you will receive another check for twenty four thousand dollars more.. 106 .. Do we have a deal?” Goldstein jumps on the file like a dog on a bone... I don’t know how Suzi’s investigation is going.... you can present me with some credible evidence that either one of the Zitlin’s is alive.. As I leave his office I hear him shouting out instructions to some of his people... with a promissory note stipulating that if before the trial date......... but I do know that we’re trying as hard as we can... And in the file you will find my check for one thousand dollars. or whether or not Goldstein will be successful............Element of Peril.Grossman “Yes you are.......
... his specialty is guitars.... luckily get an outside table.... no doubt to brag about some new business he dreamed up. Stuart goes on and on about how good things are going with his pawn shop.....Element of Peril. We take a leisurely walk to the marina’s Cheesecake Factory. and I reply that my hopes are high that we will need him. and I haven’t told her about my sending the negative to Victor for processing... but I have nothing to report at this time..... Stuart calls. and he’s doing quite a bit of business by selling things for just twenty-five percent over what he pays for them. I send a memo to Suzi to add Socrates Goldstein’s name to our witness list........ She hasn’t seen the picture yet. and 108 . Two can play the same game. As expected... Because music is so popular.... and enjoy a cocktail while watching the goings-on across the bike path at Mother’s Beach.. She sends me a dogmail asking what he will be testifying to..Grossman 13 J ust to play it safe.. His idea to buy wholesale from other pawn shops has worked out well for him. He wants to meet for lunch.....
.. compared to the price he’s going to let it go for..... And. before he started devoting full time to the murder case are pounding in my head. and I hope you don’t take this question too personally... and I’d really appreciate it if you’d clear it up for me.... Is there any other type of activity... I’m sorry. I know that if it isn’t a matter concerning your legal affairs that you have no duty to report your activities to me.....Element of Peril.. showing what the factory charges for a new one. The combination of my own sightings. I consider you one of my closest friends... I’ve got to ask him about the mosques.... but I 109 ... we’ve known each other a long time now.Grossman he has a brochure for every instrument he sells... “Stuart. Pete... that you’d like to tell me?” “I don’t know what you mean.. and in addition to being a valued client of our small law firm.... but there’s been something bothering me for quite some time now... whether business related or not. plus the various reports I received from Jack B... but I just can’t hold it in any longer. What’s this all about?” “Well. for starters..
have you heard something?” I can see that the religion approach isn’t working...... but I would think that if you were considering a big thing like a conversion to something like that...... the seats are all sold out.. It takes a few seconds for him to regain control..... I’m going to have to resort to the truth. So I missed going to temple a couple of time over the past few years during the high holidays...... Now I don’t see anything wrong with the Muslim religion... if you don’t make a reservation early enough.. He’s laughing out loud. so as a last resort... I try my best..Grossman wonder if you’re still following the same religious customs as the rest of your family. You know. you’d at least consider letting a close friend know about it. but once he does.. “Stuart.. and unlike a rock concert.. he gives 110 .. someone I know thinks they saw you at a mosque..... Other than that..” His reaction surprises me... these aren’t the kind of events where you can go to Schultz’s ticketbrokering service and pay for some frontrow seats..Element of Peril.. Why..” “C’mon Peter.
it would have to be Stuart.. I’m flabbergasted. and the only way I can describe it is with the ageold saying that ‘he looks like the canary that just swallowed the cat. “Okay Stuart... and especially with mosques.Grossman me the shortest answer I’ve ever heard from him.Element of Peril...... and a foreign emblem on its cover. but it 111 . “I don’t want to sound like one of those hired killers in a B movie Pete............... you’ve done it again.’ He reaches into his inside coat pocket and removes a small device that looks like a cellphone.. It will mean absolutely nothing to you... Pleeeze tell me what type of business you’ve come up with this time that could possibly have anything to do with Muslims.” I knew it. “Peter... If there was any way that someone could figure out a way to make money off of a mosque... you are the first person in the western world to know about this item...... but my trips to the mosques were nothing personal – it was just business.. except for its coloring.” Stuart has a wide grin on his face....
because you’ve really gotta be one to understand..Grossman will soon be revolutionizing the way that the billions of Muslims around the world conduct their daily lives.... if they’re in the western hemisphere.. and because a Muslim might be anywhere on Earth at the prayer times. it appears that all Muslims.... and explains it to me....” 112 .. What do you expect Muslims to do...... “I don’t know..... but Stuart has obviously gone into the subject in great depth.. call Mecca for directions? And by ‘Mecca’ do you mean that place in Saudi Arabia where Muslims have their main mosque?” I’ve heard something like this in the past... wherever they are. pray five times a day in the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca. which is nothing new when it comes to getting business explanations from Stuart.. but from the research I’ve done..Element of Peril...... Stu... The direction of prayer is known as the qibla.... it looks like a cellphone to me. they simply face in an easterly direction. it’s hard to explain how important Mecca is for Muslims.. I have here the Mecca Finder!” I’m confused.. “Peter.
.. It’s nothing religious.. the meter has to start running.. yeah.. or whatever other cockamamey name you might decide to adopt.....” “No...... but first I want to make sure that everything I say is covered by the attorney-client privilege. that’s very interesting. I know. you’re covered... because I’ve already got your name on my cellphone as Stuart. and don’t intend to re-program it as Achmed or Mustaffa..Grossman “Okay Stu. Now what the heck were you doing in those mosques? And don’t tell me you’re thinking of converting to Islam. I thought that something for your 113 ...” “You’ve got my full attention Stu: I really want to hear about this one.. you’re hired.” “Okay.. it’s just business. no I’m not converting. and noticed an item there were selling for boaters. “I’ll tell you...” “Yeah..Element of Peril..... like I said before..... Now here’s the deal: I was shopping at an electronic store a couple of months ago....... but in order for the privilege to kick in...
“On the other hand. but that’s it. which stands for Geographic Positioning System.. In other words....” “Why would you want to do that? If it was gift for Suzi... and not to use as a direction-finding device.......... and you can use GPS to find out where you and your cellphone are located. you’d only need one. why buy more of them? “Good question Pete. even the cheap GPS units that are becoming obsolete have 114 ... and made a deal to buy his close-outs in quantity...... So I found out who this particular GPS manufacturer was......... people can use GPS to track your cellphone location... so I asked the salesperson what the gadget was for... It’s simple: the GPS function of cellphones is strictly to locate where the cellphone is. He explained that it was a low-end GPS unit..... and that the reason they’re dumping these cheap hand-held sets was that they’re becoming obsolete because all the new cellphones have GPS locating functions in them.Grossman boat might be a nice gift to get for Suzi because of all the help she’s been giving me with my correspondence law school homework.Element of Peril. And if the units are going to be obsolete.
....” “Yeah... but does every Muslim have to know exactly where Mecca is? I mean... you might be right about that... isn’t merely facing in the general direction good enough? I would think that it’s the thought that counts... I hate to be a wet blanket here..Element of Peril. not the exact latitude and longitude. because those are the only three places in the western world I know of that are directly west of Mecca.. I’m selling the units on a wholesale basis to the leader of each 115 .. And that means the only time kneeling down on the ground and facing east will do a Muslim any good at prayer time is if he’s in Cuba.. Cabo San Lucas.” “Stuart..... but I’m not dealing on a retail basis with individual Muslims..... And if you would have actually finished that Coast Guard Auxiliary course that Suzi signed you up for..... you’d know that those numbers refer to the latitude and longitude of Mecca......... or Hawaii.Grossman another useful function: they can be programmed to find direction to anywhere in the world and all I needed to do was add one particular location: Mecca.... It’ happens to be located approximately twenty-one and a half degrees north and 40 degrees east..
Not only did he manage to scoop up obsolete electronic devices for next to nothing.... They can then resell them and raise funds for their needs..Grossman mosque.....” He’s done it again. “Besides.... It also has a compass-programmed graphic that points towards Mecca... There are professional athletes who make millions a year who can hardly read or write. he also figured out a way to reconfigure them and get Muslim mosques to buy them from a Jewish salesman. There’s no way on earth that anyone else could have accomplished this feat.... Stuart is good at only one thing: making money..... and I’m sure that part of the sales pitch for buying one of these units is how much more the prayers mean when the direction of the praying person is more accurately towards Mecca..Element of Peril. He can always find a way to snatch profit from the jaws of loss. great actors who can’t balance a checkbook and genius academics who can’t find their way to the bathroom. Some people are only good at one thing.... I’ve got another feature programmed into each unit: the GPS knows what time zone it’s in.... so it automatically rings to alert the owner that it’s one of the five daily prayer times........ 116 .....
It’s a great business idea... But I still don’t know why you were using a disguise........” 117 .. I thought that they’d be a little suspicious of anyone coming in who wasn’t a member of their congregation......Element of Peril...... I thought that the beard might cause them to treat me with a little more respect than the average Jewish door-to-door salesman might get.. because I saw you wearing a fake beard...... Well....... so as to not to look too much like a gringo. that. you know what with all the bad press that the Muslims get every time a car bomb goes off somewhere in the world... I get it..Grossman “Okay....” “Oh yeah.
. Henderson’s murder trial is next week.Element of Peril... to the effect that Mrs.. which states that there was no blood on it....... 118 . Several of the paparazzi on Myra’s witness list were interviewed and we’ll be using the statements of some of them.... Victor’s already prepared his expert opinion on the chain saw........ Suzi hasn’t given any indication that she’s on the verge of a breakthrough.....Grossman 14 T ime is getting short. Zitlin’s weight could still be alive after losing the amount of blood it is calculated she left in her bedroom.... Mrs.. Zitlin was alive and well on the late afternoon of her disappearance. Victor used a lot of the data provided to us by Myra’s office to theorize that a woman of Mrs.... and I haven’t heard anything from Socrates Goldstein...... so I’ve got to start preparing a list of questions to ask Myra’s witnesses.. so it couldn’t have been used in any murder..
...... We’ve had Don Paige. Myra’s forensics team took the Zitlin home’s plumbing apart and couldn’t find any trace of blood or body parts. I want her there to share the loss with me... and no person left the premises at all.... It’s never too hard talking her into coming to court... “Where’s the body?” will be my main thrust..... This will save a lot of wear and tear on my suit jacket: she won’t be tugging on it to get my attention.. I’ve got paparazzi who will testify that they were watching the residence on the night of the alleged crime.... who became famous for her one speaking line: “Where’s the beef?” That one-liner worked well for the sponsor of that commercial..Element of Peril.. There was a television commercial for some sandwich place several years ago featuring a female senior citizen named Clara Peller.. so I’m going to include a version of it in my defense............Grossman I’ve told Suzi that if we’re going to go down in an embarrassing defeat. our dock techie hook up our two laptop computers so that she can instant message me anything she thinks of.... If I can create some reasonable doubt in at least one juror’s mind that no murder took 119 .
. Even if we get a hung jury and Myra wants to re-file the case and set another trial.... I’ll have more time for Goldstein to maybe get lucky and find one or more of the Zitlins. Never want to look too spiffy to a jury composed of blue-collar working people... Up to know I’ve had that terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that most lawyers get when facing a criminal trial for which they have absolutely no defense...Grossman place in that house..... my stomach is feeling a little better... and delivered to her private domain – the foreward stateroom suite.Element of Peril..... then we’ve got a slight chance of a victory. I found my old beat-up Sears suit and had it cleaned and pressed..... Happily... I think I can make a pretty good show of it......... Even if we lose. I open a cabinet and shake the dog’s box of biscuits. This might be a good time for a strategy conference with Suzi.... The standard means of communication to her on this boat is via dogmail which consists of a message tucked into the dog’s collar.. This prompts an immediate flurry 120 ...
..Element of Peril.. the reason I haven’t been able to put all of the pieces together yet is because all I’ve been able to do so far is prove what I’m sure didn’t happen. and the appearance of Bernie. eager to serve – and to get his usual tip of one between-meal dog biscuit. We subpoenaed her phone records and found three outgoing calls at that time of the day: one was to the Auto Club for the 121 . “For instance...... I can’t find any evidence of a phone call to a limousine company..... and that’s just not good enough for this case.. because it really isn’t relevant at this point.... she actually tries to make an honest report as to what she’s been doing..Grossman of paws on our teak parquet floor.. For the first time in our relationship............ and confesses to a problem she’s having: proving a negative. The bimbo testified to the grand jury that Mrs... and even go so far as to tell her that I’ve hired Socrates Goldstein on a contingency basis. after the collision with that girl’s car on the day of the disappearance. “Peter. Suzi graces me with her presence and I let her know my progress so far.. Zitlin made three calls. I don’t mention the photograph.......
. section 5353 (f) and 5385. of the same code. every time a commercial limo takes a customer somewhere... “According to section 5381. car-pools. and it picked up the bimbo... and the other was to a phone number that appears to have been a throw-away cell phone..Grossman tow trucks. or Trip Report. are for things that don’t apply here. and not a limo company........ it’s supposed to fill out a Waybill. complete with chauffer....... Zitlin back down the street and dropped her off at her own house. 122 ... and then brought Mrs. that lists the name of at least one passenger.... like it’s supposed to have.. one to the courthouse. “I also went over all the pictures that the paparazzi sold to the fan magazines.. medical transportation and some other types of vehicles... and saw that the black SUV did not have a TCP number on its rear bumper..Element of Peril... plus the points of origination and destination. in accordance with the California Public Utilities Code. standing for Transportation Charter Permit.. But we do know that a black SUV did show up.. like school buses..... farm labor transport.5 “The only exemptions for not having that TCP number.. drove her up the street to drop her off.
” “I’m glad to see you’re working on it so hard but I’m also curious: what made you turn 123 .. So all we’ve got so far is a bunch of nothings: no limousine was called...... we couldn’t get a license plate. We’re having a slight problem with one of the constituents of the plasma. but that doesn’t look like it has anything to do with the case.Grossman “We subpoenaed the Waybill and Trip Report records of every limo company within a radius of the maximum number of miles within which a limo could have gotten to the Zitlin house in the time allotted after Mrs.. Zitlin was in the house when the mystery limo left and drove down the hill. Zitlin called.... Mrs. and it definitely is her blood........ “The pictures in the fan magazines were a little blurred. and because the SUV was moving......... no commercial car showed up.. and as far as we can tell.Element of Peril.. “I’ve also had Victor do an analysis of part of the blood sample from Zitlin’s bedroom.... “We also checked security cameras on some of the homes nearby and couldn’t get any decent shots to use. and can’t find one limo company that serviced her that day.........
....... I don’t like to make reports until I find something. 124 . This must be the most she’s talked to me in the last year or so........... “As you know. I have to give her credit though. so I wanted to let you know that we’re still trying as hard as we can. She mentioned that the Zitlin lady was camera-shy.. but I do know that the trial is coming up in a couple of days...Grossman your attention toward the limo in the first place?” “It was Myra. And what’s more surprising is that she’s not done yet..Element of Peril...... so they didn’t have a picture of her to start a search with.. and I also know how concerned you are about it. This kid doesn’t miss a trick. Too bad her efforts didn’t produce anything worthwhile.... that was a first.. She’s stumped. So that made me wonder why she would risk a ride in the limo with that celebrity neighbor of hers. I’ve never seen that before. she’s done a tremendous job so far..” Well.” Wow.. I’ll let you know.. and the minute I find something useful.....
.... Suzi bought him a pair of ‘Doggles’ (dog goggles) to wear.... we usually take a limousine and plan a victory party at Mi Ranchito in Culver City..Grossman 15 W ell... one of our favorite Mexican spots. and with the Doggles on and his big ears flopping in the wind.. I’ll be driving and Bernie will be riding with his head sticking up out of the sunroof.. Suzi and Jack B. People who have seen this sight have nicknamed him the ‘Brown Baron’ and 126 .. Instead.... I’ve got all the stuff I’ll be using at the trial in my computer.. he looks like a World War I air ace...... because of the sight we present... to prevent eye damage from flying road debris. But today we’re not going to make a big show.... and Suzi will be sitting next to me sharing the loss.... we’ll be going to court in my big yellow Hummer... will be seated in the back seat with our computers and files.. The press will be waiting for us to arrive..Element of Peril. judgment day... it’s finally here.. When we have a case where we stand a good chance of winning....
.Element of Peril. As expected..... And because we have a losing case today... The court administrators wisely anticipated the media attention and have scheduled 127 . but they must have some idea that Brinsey Harriston will be a witness. I didn’t think about it before.. and that usually drives them into a frenzy....... Jack will leave Bernie in the Marshall’s office while we’re in court... Fortunately. The press and paparazzi are out en masse..... One of these days Suzi is planning to create a website for our WWI ace... Jack takes my place behind the wheel and drives off to the parking lot while Suzi and I head up to the courtroom... Myra has agreed to meet us in the lobby and is escorting us upstairs to the courtroom in the private elevator and back corridors reserved for judges and court personnel... we decline to make any comments.Grossman we’ve been photographed by almost everyone we pass by who has a camera in their cell phone. the press is waiting for us.. They love to dog-sit him whenever we’re in the building on business..... from which she can sell photos of her best friend........
. Henderson in and I see that she’s been allowed to change out of the orange jumpsuit and into her normal street clothing....... I notice that Court TV is also there which means that they’ll be televising the proceedings...... Myra knows that I always have stipulated to that in the past.... Some big time lawyers use what they call a Jury Consultant. She still looks like she couldn’t care less how the trial goes.. They’ve also brought Mrs.. so we’re all sitting here a few minutes early waiting for him. First off will be the jury selection... and only nods to me as she sits down at the counsel table..Element of Peril.Grossman this trial for one of the bigger courtrooms........ When entering... so she no doubt arranged it all...... The bailiff calls the court to order and the judge takes the bench. I inform the judge that I’ll take whatever jury the district attorney is okay with.... They’re supposed to have some sort of sixth sense that tells them all 128 . and because I’m doing this trial for no fee at all and don’t want to spend too much time on it. This particular judge usually starts on time at eight-thirty..
. The judge looks down at Suzi.... and can also be quite helpful in helping prepare questions that the lawyer will ask potential jurors...... They don’t come cheap.... The really good ones usually have a degree in behavioral science or psychology. Nothing can help this case. and if I thought I had at least some chance of winning this case... please note that 129 ... which doesn’t look very likely to happen this late in the game. and recognizing her from previous trials that she has attended makes an announcement: “Ladies and Gentlemen. During the trial.. Myra’s going to ram her circumstantial facts and theories down this jury’s throat and there’s not going to be much I can do about it unless the kid comes up with something.... and advise the attorney what seems to be working on them and what isn’t... But for this case... I don’t think it would have done me any good.Grossman about body language....Element of Peril.... so lawyers can know who to try to get off of the jury panel.. and we had kept Uniman’s retainer.... the consultant will keep an eye on the jurors’ reactions..... I might have considered using one.
so as far as Suzi is concerned. no matter what happens with the case. Myra doesn’t care too much about the jury either..Grossman the defense attorney......Element of Peril.... one of the good things about taking any jury is that we get the chance to let them know that there isn’t a one of them that we don’t consider good enough to serve on a jury for us... This court is familiar with her. Mister Peter Sharp... “And if anybody in our TV audience is considering making some stupid complaint about child labor laws....... because she has provided valuable service to us in the past.. Besides.. Mizz Suzi Braunstein......... The usual bunch of oohs and aahs can be heard from the spectators. so we can look at this as a ‘bring your daughter to work’ day...... is accompanied at the counsel table by his office assistant. Amazingly enough.. you should also know that Mister Sharp is her duly appointed legal guardian. she’s already won.. This isn’t a case with a specific class of people involved.. so I don’t have to ask the prospective jurors about their occupations or prejudices. so in less than an hour the complete panel is seated and 130 .. and we welcome her back today.
She starts out by telling the jury that this is one of those rare cases where they have not yet recovered the victim’s remains.... so the District Attorney gets to start out........ we may lose by the end of the day. I’ve done my feeble job of cross-examining them. namely the amount of her blood at the scene of the crime..... By eleven in the morning she’s put on every one of her witnesses.. This is a criminal trial.Element of Peril..... If the rest of the trial goes as smooth as this.... and it’s exactly what I expected her to say. She gets up to start her opening statement........ plus the bloody baseball bat and towel found in the nearby trash dumpster.... She goes on to promise to establish that it would have been impossible for anyone other than the defendant to have committed this crime because she was the only other person in the house physically able to do so.. Myra’s case doesn’t contain any surprises. but they intend to prove up the fact of her death by other means..Grossman we’re ready to start the trial. and Myra has decided to try this one herself.. 131 .. and Myra rests her case...
and she pulls herself up to my ear and loudly whispers into it... I’ve just solved the case!” 132 . but she seems to be transfixed on something in a folder that’s sticking out of my briefcase........ “All right Mister Sharp... so why don’t you go ahead and start your defense.Element of Peril.... Just then I hear a strange noise coming from next to me. I look at Suzi and she is gasping for air.........Grossman The judge looks down at me.” I look over to Suzi to see if she has anything in mind that might help me.... as if she’s choking on a piece of food.. Everyone in the courtroom stands up to see what’s going on....... and feel a desperate tug on my suit coat.... “Break for lunch now. we’ve got some time before the lunch break....
. am I glad to hear those words.... that means the case is solved.... “Mister Sharp.. is everything all right at your table? I mean.. concerned about Suzi’s physical condition because she’s still agitated and frantically going through the file pulling out papers.... The judge looks down at us.. no Your Honor.Grossman 16 B oy. we would appreciate taking an early lunch break and starting our defense afterwards..... but we both know that when she says the case is solved.. She usually comes through for us. hopefully around two this afternoon. so the judge gives us the OK... She 134 ............” There is no objection from Myra’s table. Myra knows Suzi better than I do.. that was just the normal sound of an epiphany in our firm.. is there any medical emergency we should deal with?” “Oh.Element of Peril. if that’s okay with you.. We’ve now got a little over two hours to wrap this case up.... but this time she really cut it close.. If the Court pleases.
where she alerts her entire staff to 135 .. Most of the prosecutors I’ve run across get so hooked on convicting the person charged with the crime that they can’t see past that defendant. As soon as the court recess starts. It’s Mister Uniman... As we stand up to leave the courtroom I happen to look to the rear seats and catch sight of someone with the broadest smile I’ve ever seen...... who was watching the whole time and now must feel that Suzi has just saved him five million dollars..... We both agree on the old saying that ‘a mind is very much like a parachute: neither one of them works very well unless it’s open.... I have to give Myra a lot of credit........Grossman has figured out everything and in a very short period of time we’ll be at Mi Ranchito celebrating... someone else is the guilty one.. and it’s time for us to all join forces to find the truth and put the real bad guys away. In this case....Element of Peril. we all hurry up the private elevator to Myra’s office... Myra and I both believe that our client is innocent.’ Once Suzi says she’s solved a case... both Myra and know that it’s a done deal.... Myra is different....
... to purchase a certain bottle of alcoholic beverage.. In a few minutes she starts to give orders....Grossman stand by for instructions which will be forthcoming... First.. she says that someone should be sent to the nearest liquor store with a minimum of six hundred dollars in cash.... Now there are just the three of us in Myra’s office and we look down at her asking what’s next on the agenda.. but we also know that this kid 136 .. and get a bowl of their coleslaw for Bernie?” No problem.. And that the owner of the store should also be brought to court as a witness. Next... Myra gives the orders to her staff and everyone scurries out to fulfill them. Suzi runs to Myra’s computer and goes online............. Her answer is completely logical: “Can we please send someone over to the Pantry on Ninth and Figueroa to pick up some lunch. We’re dying to know what the answers are.. she wants the office to contact Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and go to a specific track where they are to bring a certain person to court to testify..... Without knowing what the reasons behind them are....Element of Peril.
As you’ll find out when we get back to court...Grossman is up to her old tricks. she was never murdered. and had absolutely no problem eating a bowl of his favorite coleslaw.” 137 .... but too excited to eat. She’s still alive.. “Suzi.... One of Myra’s aides tells us that Bernie was not excited at all. “I’m sorry Myra........ She wants to present the answers in open court... haven’t you forgotten to tell us something?” Suzi was expecting the question.. Myra has a question.Element of Peril.. now that the case is solved... I’m hungry... Solving the case isn’t good enough for her............ Zitlin’s murder. where the whole world can see her on Court TV... but there’s nobody for you to go and arrest for Mrs.. She looks up at Myra with those angel eyes.
.....” This is what she lives for. I’m going to let her present some evidence..... Her first witness is Victor’s employee – the one who went to the Zitlin house to pick up the negative from Dwyn Henderson. we’re going to take a little break from the traditional methods in this case... The judge starts out the afternoon session: “Ladies and Gentlemen. and in the interest of justice. He testifies that he was sent to the Zitlin residence by his boss... Mister Uniman is there.... and so is the defendant’s husband.. The defense’s assistant..Grossman 17 I t’s now two in the afternoon and the courtroom is packed – mostly with the press..........Element of Peril. Mizz Braunstein. Suzi....... and that Mister 138 . Go ahead. and on national television. it’s your show. has made some startling discoveries... Dwyn Henderson with his cast and crutches.. A chance to show up the adults in court. and to get us all out of here early today...
.. who processed the negative and testifies to the finding of fingerprints that were matched to those on file belonging to Mister and Mrs. who volunteered his prints for the match...Grossman Dwyn Henderson..... which is marked as an exhibit. and sealed and initialed it.. and also to Dwyn Henderson.... gave him the negative... Suzi then instructs the bailiff to call Mister Edward Fischer. Victor then sees a photograph and identifies it as having been an enlargement made from the negative.. Zitlin....Element of Peril..... He then states that he placed the negative into an evidence envelope. 139 . the liquor store owner to the stand...... He is shown the exhibit and confirms his initials. Next on the stand is Victor. who he points out in the courtroom.... he carries in and holds up a bottle of Gran Patrón Burdeos. and to my surprise.........
Pyrat Rum. a ninety-foot long private railroad car built in 1927. luxuriously appointed with three private staterooms.. a kitchen. a Mister Chris Shaffer..... When asked why they didn’t have it until then.... he answers that his distributor didn’t have it available until then. prematurely white haired man comes in and takes the witness stand and is sworn in..Element of Peril...... and many other brands of luxury alcoholic beverages.Grossman In answer to Suzi’s questions.. owner of the Patrón spirits empire..... His testimony is quite interesting... he testifies to the fact that his store did not have that particular brand of tequila in stock prior to June of last year.... manufacturer of Patrón tequila... which mainly involves his being completely in charge of the Patrón Tequila Express.... He is employed by a mister John Paul DeJoria.. Shaffer’s main responsibility with the Patrón organization is to act as executive in charge of corporate transportation.. Mister Shaffer........ a husky. The bailiff is then sent out to the hallway to bring in Suzi’s final witness. and travels 140 .
....... Gran Patrón Burdeos. It is now used for corporate promotions for the Patrón organization and by Mister Dejoria’s personal celebrity friends... The invitation shows that the tasting session was held on Mr.... Dejoria’s 141 ...Grossman with its own chef. It was used by several presidents as a campaign vehicle.. Shaffer produces a printed invitation that was sent out to the most influential liquor buyers in the world...................... inviting them to a private introduction and tasting session for the brand new product...Element of Peril.
He also informs the court that the Patrón organization only made 10.. identifies it and it is then marked as evidence.. it must have been at least seven or eight 142 .Element of Peril.... Shaffer tells the court that Burdeos was not available to the public before that date... His answer is. He is then asked to approximate when the photograph was taken.. “well.Grossman private railroad car on June 12th of last year...... Dwyn Henderson is called and corroborates the testimony of Victor’s employee... as to the fact that he did give him the negative...... Henderson also is shown the photograph and attests that it is a true representation of the negative. and that they were all sold out almost immediately................ In answer to further questions.. Victor is called back to the stand and when shown an enlargement made from the negative he processed.000 of the fivehundred-dollars-a-bottle Burdeos initially... and was only widely distributed after June 18th of last year.
143 .. ‘cause that’s when the mister disappeared when he had those legal problems. Therefore... he then definitely states that the bottle in the photo is Gran Patrón Burdeos......” Suzi then asks the court to take Judicial Notice of the fact that Mister Robert Zitlin is a fugitive from justice for more than seven years.Grossman years ago.... Shaffer looks at the photo and tells the court that he sees one of his company’s bottles on a tray in the print’s background.. in real criminal trials the witnesses are kept apart so that they do not hear testimony from other witnesses.... He looks surprised when there is a unanimous gasp in the courtroom....... When given a magnifying glass to use....Element of Peril......... Chris Shaffer is brought back to the stand and is shown the enlargement of the photograph and is asked if he notices anything familiar appearing in it.... The court takes notice.... Unlike the Perry Mason television shows. Shaffer was not in the courtroom to hear Mister Henderson testify to the fact that he believed the photograph to be taken more than seven years ago.
“Your Honor. Henderson. a particular brand that was not available to the public until June of last year. and now I’m telling the court what our contentions are....Grossman That’s it for the kid....Element of Peril.. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury............ I look towards Myra and we exchange knowing glances about this precocious kid lawyer.. Now it’s my turn. Taking an earlier tip from Suzi. but a bottle mysteriously appears in a photograph supposedly taken more than seven years ago. vacationing in some luxurious spot that serves the world’s most expensive tequila.. what we have just proved in here this afternoon is that as of about two weeks ago.............. Robert Zitlin were still alive and well... 144 . Myra made sure to have some plain-clothes detectives seated in the spectator section next to Mr.. She reluctantly complies and makes sure that her return trip back to the table is as slow as possible to allow for more ‘camera’ time. Mister and Mrs.... so I step forward and politely bend down to inform her that she should return to her seat at the counsel table and that I’ll finish up the job for her..
Mrs.” Bedlam breaks out in the courtroom... “It is therefore the contention of the defense that it was Mister Henderson who was not telling the truth..Element of Peril. and may well have been part of a conspiracy to present a fraudulent life insurance claim for the Zitlin family and we ask the court to dismiss the conspiracy to commit murder charges against the defendant.... “We’re sure that the District Attorney will follow up on this case.. Dwyn Henderson... or Mister Dwyn Henderson was lying about when the photograph showing both of the Zitlins alive was taken......... The big surprise was not necessarily the 145 ..... The judge doesn’t even waste his time trying to gavel the room back to order as the reporters all seem to be in a stampede to get out of there to call in their stories....Grossman “That leaves us with one of two choices: either both Mister Chris Shaffer and Mister Edward Fischer were lying to the court while under oath about the Gran Patrón Burdeos tequila not being available until June of last year........ but our main interest at this time is the dismissal of the present charges against this defendant........
Looking around.... get her two rewards – a kiss on her forehead and an envelope that I’m sure contained our check for at least eight hundred grand.. I see that Suzi is in the back of the room. That brief stop on her way to stardom was to shake hands with Mister Uniman. Henderson......... and then meet Myra and Jack B. Now it’s up to me to go downstairs and pick up Bernie at the Marshall’s office.. so we can make it over to Mi Ranchito for the victory party. Another person who is not around and never even 146 ......Grossman dismissal of charges against Mrs. but the fact that we may have uncovered proof that a famous fugitive is still alive. where she will no doubt be up on a milk crate making statements to the press about how she single-handedly solved this case.... I hope she remembers to bring up the fact that I was the one who got hold of the negative that gave her the final piece of her puzzle.....Element of Peril..... Leaving the courtroom I see that Dwyn Henderson is not around.... making a brief stop on her way out to the hallway and then the parking lot.... He’ll probably be a guest of the County this evening....
.... That was a disappointment to the camera crews.........Grossman showed up today is Brinsey Harriston.....Element of Peril.................... but I’m sure that Suzi will take up the slack for them 147 ....
.Grossman The Solution T he good news doesn’t end. along with quite a few reporters.. Suzi is having a good time being the center of attraction and watching her earlier press conference up on the big screen. where he has been busy playing with his friend. Unfortunately. Zitlin managed to get out of the house unseen.. but they do serve one of Patrón’s less expensive tequilas... but she still enjoys seeing herself on the screen... Mister Uniman joins us for our victory celebration and offers to pick up the entire check. Mi Ranchito doesn’t stock Gran Patrón Burdeos.. the 148 ...... We’re all in a good mood. of course that was before he found out that we invited most of the courtroom staff...... The party finally draws to a close and we get Bernie from the kitchen........... so we’ll make do quite well... It’s being broadcast dubbed in Spanish. but Myra and I can’t wait to get Suzi back to the boat to find out her theory about how Mrs..... and where all the blood came from......Element of Peril..
. “When it comes to storing blood...... We pile into the Hummer and Myra follows..... put away our Mi Ranchito doggy bags.... and the only answer we could come up with was that all the blood in that room did not come from Mrs. When we analyzed samples of the blood found in Mrs..... Myra starts it out by asking where the blood came from.. that was easy..Element of Peril..Grossman restaurant’s cat.... We noticed some platelet anomalies in the samples.... red blood cells have a shelf life of forty-two days.... Zitlin’s body at that time.. but had been drawn over a period of a couple of months and stored.. “Oh.... Zitlin’s bedroom we noticed something strange that wouldn’t be brought to your attention in a DNA sample comparison – the platelets. It was her blood... being driven by her police protection. but platelets have a shelf life of only five days. We get back to the boat.. 149 . to be splattered in the room on the evening of her supposed disappearance.. and sit down on the couches in anticipation of the Q and A session that Suzi will conduct.
” That made Myra happy..... Zitlin’s phone records showed no call to a limo company.Element of Peril..... She was wearing a stuffed jacked and a chauffeur’s cap.. After she called the Auto Club to come and tow the cars away. the reason we couldn’t find any call to a limo company was because she didn’t make one. and then the towel was beaten with the bat. but my question is how the heck did Mrs.... to create the blood spatter patterns found at the scene. “When she pulled up to the Zitlin residence she didn’t get out of the car to open doors 150 .. who was probably waiting a mile or so away in the black SUV.. Zitlin get away...Grossman “We found the same problems with blood samples taken from the baseball bat and the towel your guys found a couple of days later. and the fact that Mrs.... Zitlin and the neighbor used.. Well.. “Our conclusion was that Mrs... “That was the easiest part....... her second call was to Mrs.. so she looked like a husky guy...... Henderson.. Zitlin’s blood was poured onto the towel. I told you about the problems we were having with the missing TCP numbers on that SUV limo that Mrs...
” “All they had to do was read the papers and do their routine on a day when Brinsey 151 ..... so he certainly was entitled to get in a question. Zitlin and her neighbor hop into the back seat... When the SUV pulled into the Zitlin house driveway..... who put on the stuffed coat and chauffeur’s cap... did a lot of investigating on the case.. “I’m with you so far. Zitlin.. It was Mrs.. but how the heck did they know when to pull off their stunt....” Jack B. Mrs..Grossman for anyone.. “That all happened late in the afternoon.. Henderson that put on Zitlin’s sun-hat and went into the house.. Zitlin then drove the SUV away and disappeared...Element of Peril.. it looks like the SUV limo and the accident were part of the plan.... so the Henderson’s had a couple of hours to stage the rest of the show. she just let Mrs.. I was wondering why the camera-shy Zitlin lady would chance riding in that limo with all the camera people up and down the street.. She then drove the two of them up the street to the neighbor’s house and dropped off the girl......... and now I see why she did it.. Henderson switched places with Mrs..
Then when the police broke the door open. while her husband put away the chain saw and switched off the circuit that controlled the main house’s lighting..Grossman Harriston was scheduled to be in court.... Mrs. how did they do the locked room thing? When the police got there they had to break down the door to get in.. If she ran true to form.. It was locked from the inside with a deadbolt that didn’t even have a key insert on the outside of the door....” Being a big fan of locked room mysteries.....” “That was easy too........ Peter..... She never drives too fast when the photographers are around..... she’d be leaving her house about an hour or two late. After splattering the blood and running the chain saw... “All right miss smarty pants..... All they had to do was wait for the paparazzi to come running down the street. Henderson went back upstairs to the bedroom and locked the door from the inside. she wants to give them a chance to get as many pictures as possible.Element of Peril.. and the windows all had decorative bars...... They didn’t do a locked room thing at all. and they’d know exactly when to pull out and hit the girl’s car. I had to know one more thing. she 152 .
The real culprits are the Zitlins... She had a couple of minutes before someone reset the circuit breaker. I love it when she does that. Not that I wanted to see someone die just so I could have a murder case to prosecute............ “Maybe..Grossman just hid behind the opened door while they groped around with flashlights..Element of Peril. I could probably find them with a little effort.. because she’s usually thinking of some way our law firm can make some extra money....” Myra asks the sixty-four-dollar question. Give me a little more here. but I really don’t feel like wasting my time on it if it’s not a case our law firm is involved with........... and as of now I’m left with just a couple of flunkies to prosecute for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. “I’m a little disappointed. but in this case nobody did die.. Do you know where they are?” Suzi stops for a minute or two to think things over.... and I’d really like to catch him and add her to the fraud conspiracy. and by that time she was able to slither out into the hallway and stand next to her husband. Is there any type of reward offered for his capture?” 153 .. Her answer proves me right.....
.... There’s one more thing that hasn’t been covered yet. I have to ask her one last question. we can arrange some type of fee schedule.. “Wait a minute. Myra answers my question..... how did that bat and bloody towel get down the street to the dumpster they were found in? The house was constantly being watched so we know that neither of the Henderson’s dropped those things off. and I’ve certainly had enough to do today......” The party is over.. Was there another person involved in this plot?” Surprisingly. and the IRS does have a reward system in place..... Suzi looks tired....... I’ll let you know what they come up with. Oh well....Grossman Myra was ready for that answer.... 154 .. what the heck..Element of Peril. you know that Mister Zitlin owes millions of dollars in back taxes. “Well. I still have another question.. I’m also sure that by talking to the feds.... After the crowd leaves the boat... I’m a little reluctant to display my ignorance. but because nobody else asked it..
... but you already know about her..’ we talked her into cooperating with us. Zitlin... Give me some credit.” How the heck did Myra find this out? She’s nowhere near the detective that Suzi is. Henderson left the courtroom and knew that the ‘jig was up.. We didn’t want to get involved in any husband and wife privilege problems... I have to ask: “how. She went down the street a little way and dumped the items where they were likely to be found.... but what we later found out was that she took the bloody baseball bat and towel with her when she switched places with Henderson and drove away... There was a third conspirator..Element of Peril.. pray tell.. were you able to verify Suzi’s theory.. it was Mrs... so all we asked her to do is fill us in on some of the details she knew about that didn’t involve her husband and we’d recommend a slight shortening of her sentence. She didn’t have to worry about any blood on her person or in the limo... because it would never be suspect of being a part of the whole scam.. “We know that she left in the limo.” Oh Peter.” 155 ...... but we were able to confirm that she was right..... Once Mrs...Grossman “Suzi figured it out.. She opened up all the way.. please.....
they trampled the wet blood all over everything else and completely ruined the entire floor of the alleged crime scene..... “It was no surprise that the blood spatter on the walls was dried.. All she had to do was drip a little more blood near the door. “The Henderson lady’s background check showed that she was a registered nurse and that probably explains where all the blood came from...... Suzi led us on that trail when Victor pointed out some anomalies in the platelets..” Once again Myra has the answer – probably more info she got from Mrs.Grossman “Are you guys trying to tell me that the whole bloody crime scene was created in the afternoon..... Zitlin left in the limo with the bat and towel? Because if that’s the case....Element of Peril. When the cops broke into that darkened bedroom...... Henderson.... then it was hours before the cops broke into her bedroom later that evening and all the blood would have dried up by then.” 156 .. Zitlin was donating a pint every month or so during the past year and it was being refrigerated and stored...... before Mrs..... Mrs...
... This case is closed. going through his garbage for the past week or so.... I might as well give the kid a little advice before I walk Myra to the car and get rejected again. if Myra goes out on a limb to arrange for some sort of reward..... I’m sure we’ll find some match.. “You know.....Element of Peril.. Do you have any idea how to find the Zitlin’s?” I now see a rare devilish grin on her face.. and I’m the richer for it. so I’ve had Jack B.. if you don’t deliver as promised...Grossman Well... and when we put all the sources of his mail into our database we’ll have a place to start because Chris Shaffer of the Patrón Spirits company will take a look at the addresses we compile and compare them with all the places those first ten thousand bottles of Burdeos were sold..... “Well.. Suzi.... it won’t be me with egg on my face – it’ll be you....... that does it for me... and that will give us a place to start looking. Henderson had to get that negative from somewhere..” “That’s good. but I don’t think you’ll ever get the Patrón Spirits company to give us their customer list” 157 . They obviously feel quite safe there so we should have no difficulty reeling them in for the reward..
Element of Peril.... it’s not like there’s a bottle in everyone’s pantry...... I’ve been told that the owner of the company appreciates the notoriety that I made sure his new product received: all that free publicity in the papers and on Court TV... All we’ll be doing is presenting them with a list of the sources of Henderson’s mail and asking them to let us know which address is close to where Burdeos was sold recently..... You know.Grossman “We don’t need their customer list.... I hear he’s a really nice guy.........” 158 . who is generous to people who help him........... I think there’s a bottle of Burdeos in the cabinet over our bar. “Besides.... By the way. At five hundred dollars a bottle.
Actually... but the kid usually figures out a way to let Myra get all the credit for 160 .. the kid is raiding her computer and sending herself copies of all the latest crime-fighting software programs and data.... someone doing that would be prosecuted.. Patrón Burdeos margarita is the final compliment to a perfect dinner...Grossman EPILOGUE T he weather here in Maui is delightful today.... Ordinarily... but somewhere in the back of my mind I have a feeling that the kid had something to do with it.Element of Peril. the place I was asked to leave when Myra decided to downsize the household...... blended.. While I’m out of town.. I wouldn’t be surprised if she even went so far as to have a couple of bottles sent over here..... she stays at Myra’s house in Brentwood Glen...... They get along very well.. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Club now stocks my favorite beverage.. for the club’s bartender to use exclusively in my margaritas........ and my topless. she really is a good kid.. and I’m sure Myra realizes that while she’s at work. but I have a hunch it will wind up in other members’ drinks too.
I hope he gets that 161 ...... thanks to their participation in the staged disappearance of Mrs. The last news I got about the Zitlins is that by using the evidence of our cases that were presented in court.. Zitlin......Element of Peril.. I have a feeling that when it comes to a race for money.. Stuart’s tattoo removal parlor and pawn shop are doing just fine and he is now putting together another business plan that involves some type of service for residents of senior citizens homes... Dwyn Henderson and his wife will be honored guests of the State of California’s penal system for the next few years. Myra had enough probable cause to get the search warrants she needed to properly trace the funds that we led her too...... and I’ll keep watching the news for a report about the Zitlins being found and a little Chinese girl getting a big reward....... and their conspiracy to commit insurance fraud...Grossman solving her cases..... no one will ever be able to beat Suzi... and I’m sure that the Zitlins will be showing up back in the states pretty soon now that their income stream will soon be cut off.. But as successful as I hope Myra is.... so I guess that relationship will remain intact for a while.
....... The kids love visits from Bernie. I see a new 162 . she figured that there probably would be a void in that neighborhood for the fencing of stolen goods..Grossman program up and running so I can benefit from it by the time I wind up in one of those places.. Stuart couldn’t resist giving me one piece of information: he told me that if I was ever looking for Mecca and didn’t have one of his devices..... The sting was a big success for her...Element of Peril... Myra made the papers again.... because the cops wound up arresting most of his tattoo removal customers... And speaking of pictures..... I should go to 21° 25' 24" North Latitude and 39° 49' 24" East Longitude..’ no questions asked....... so she had the cops set up a sting operation down the street from Stuart that did nothing but buy merchandise of ‘questionable origin.. Suzi and the dog spend their spare time volunteering at the children’s ward of a nearby hospital. After I informed her about Stuart’s wholesale buying operation and refusal to buy from anyone but reputable pawn shops... and Suzi takes a picture of each one of them hugging the large Saint Bernard... but a bit of a loss for Stuart.
.... moustache and beard... but I don’t mind being left out of the loop as long as the results stay consistent and she keeps figuring out how we can continue to get those huge legal fees. the dog........ and a distinguished looking gentleman with a ponytail. The author.......Element of Peril.....Grossman framed photo on the bar in our boat. and friends 163 .. Chris Shaffer..... Its three images are of Suzi..... I have no idea who the guy in the picture with her is.......
.... he discovers the secrets behind two murders......... is about to discover that Peter is also sleeping with her while the man is out of town.....all with the help of his legal ward Suzi...Grossman The Peter Sharp Legal Mystery Series #1: Single Jeopardy Attorney Peter Sharp has been wrongfully suspended from the practice of law and thrown out of the house by his soon-to-be ex-wife. To make matters worse. As a result of the eviction.. a man charged with murdering his own wife to be with a beautiful flight attendant. that is in danger of burning up at any time...... vexatious litigation. His alleged co-conspirator.. As Peter fights to get his law license reinstated.. as the result of trying to help someone fill out some claim forms.... poorly wired..Element of Peril... 40-foot Chris Craft cabin cruiser he’s restoring.. Peter also gets involved in matters concerning sexual harassment. he’s forced to live in their back yard on an old. he gets arrested for conspiracy to defraud an insurance company.. a newly appointed deputy district attorney.. double 164 .. quiet (at least to Peter) twelveyear-old Chinese girl and her huge Saint Bernard. and who framed him with the State Bar .. an adorable. a fatal plane crash..
.. Peter thinks the case would have died when the claimant was murdered. The only things making this case a little harder to defend than most others are that the client’s acts were captured on videotape......Element of Peril..... but at usual. While he’s preparing for trial on the murder case. #2: …By Reason of Sanity In his second Adventure. the adorable twelve-year-old Suzi and her huge Saint Bernard.. and he wants to plead guilty..... he confessed to the police...Grossman jeopardy.. the prolific.. Attorney Peter Sharp gets retained to defend a man accused of capital murder.all with the help of his legal ward. he also helps solve several bank robberies by catching the entire gang....... peeing pornographer.... the District Attorney’s office has brought in a special prosecutor for the trial: Peter’s ex-wife Myra. while Peter is involved representing Vinnie.. and makes the acquaintance of a new friend who runs an autopsy store .. Peter is also hired to represent an insurance company.. and a groundbreaking case of Negligent Nymphomania... In this adventure. he’s wrong. To make matters worse. to defend it against a man who slipped and fell while inside a bank that was coincidentally robbed later that same day.... 165 ..
Suzi miraculously manages to get ‘Bernie.. 166 ....... by the planting of bombs in vehicles..... who has been elected to the office of District Attorney..’ her huge Saint Bernard into a courtroom.. identifies the real murderer....Element of Peril.... and becomes a local television hero.. all while falling for a lesbian lawyer.. and at the same time solves the mystery of a dead body found in his friend Stuart's automobile trunk.000 miles away.. In the adventure’s finale.... and battling with his ex-wife... Peter cracks the case. Attorney Peter Sharp is retained to represent a man accused of murder..Grossman #3: A Class Action In his third Adventure... winning a Will contest...... breaking up a stolen car ring 4. With the assistance of his legal ward Suzi.... where she makes her first official court appearance.. The client is also suspected of being part of a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States in an upcoming Fourth of July parade. holds her first press conference..
........... a local police chief. And once again............. one of which Peter was arrested for..Element of Peril. Peter falls for a woman who he thinks could really ‘be the one’ this time.... Peter’s ex-wife Myra must make the decision as to whether or not she should resign from prosecution of a case in which she may have a conflict of interest – Peter’s murder charge.. revengeful drug dealers.... 167 .. and the ever-popular FBI... Everyone including Peter is sitting on the edge of their chairs as this double murder mystery comes to a shocking conclusion that involves a mafia hit man...Grossman #4: “Conspiracy of Innocence” Suzi once again saves Peter’s case by finding the connection between two crimes that allegedly took place in different parts of the State...
also giving the little girl a basic course in ballistics..Grossman #5: …Until Proven Innocent Tony Edwards........... Peter’s ex-wife. Suzi’s friend Tony. He’s also the subject of many citizen complaints for using excessive force in the minority community. he is a suspended police officer with a known dislike for people who are the color of his alleged victim... Peter once again gets involved with who he thinks might be ‘Miss Right.. Unfortunately. makes a mistake when she subpoenas little Suzi to come and testify as a prosecution witness against the defendant..... When a local black movie producer who Tony was working for gets killed..Element of Peril. everyone knows that 168 . At Suzi’s request... Suzi and talks Peter into handling Tony’s defense… which doesn’t look too good because he was arrested at the scene of the murder with his gun still smoking. is charged with murder. A dock neighbor of Peter’s...... uncovers a white supremist militant organization. and also stumbles onto a group of people who are pirating DVD copies of recently released major motion pictures.....’ represents a 500-pound woman who is being discriminated against. Tony has taught her how to help him re-load his target practice ammunition.. District Attorney Myra Scot.. After what Suzi does to solve the mystery and destroy Myra’s case in court....... Along the way.
. Jack Bibberman the investigator..Grossman the District Attorney’s office will never subpoena Suzi again...... #6: The Common Law Peter Sharp encounters a client with amnesia. as they share a dangerous high-speed situation on a winding road. Peter’s obtains video surveillance footage that establishes his client’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.. who is the county’s chief prosecutor... As in past adventures... who not only can’t tell Peter what his own name is. One way or another each of Peter’s cases winds up being a conflict with his ex-wife Myra.......... The law firm is still operating from their 50foot Grand Banks trawler yacht in Marina del Rey.... all involved continue to visit the local haunts.. little Suzi B. In lieu of his memory. 169 .. and last but not least..Element of Peril. The usual crew also gets involved.. and her big Saint Bernard... He also may be more closely involved with FBI Special Agent in Charge Bob Snell than before. including Peter’s close friend Stuart. and Stuart’s employees Vinnie and Olive – who are having some disagreement as to whether or not they’re legally married. Laverne the ‘amorous houseboat lady’..... but who also has absolutely no recollection of the crime he is charged with committing.... California… the vessel that Peter still doesn’t know how to drive..
Her task is made difficult because all events took place in a secure ‘panic room.’ with steel doors in place.Element of Peril.....’ In order for Suzi to clear her magic teacher of liability for this crime. This may be the most baffling locked-room murder mystery of this century...... 170 .. Unfortunately.. Suzi is especially motivated to solve this enigma when she learns that an attorney who she dislikes may be involved...... her teacher is the main suspect in what appears to be an ‘impossible’ crime… the shooting of a man in his completely locked ‘safe room. she must convince Peter to handle the case.......... and no windows.... the alleged murderer is believed to have committed the crime and successfully escaped from a room that could only later be opened by a crew using blowtorches.....Grossman Suzi’s new friend Lotus and her mother also play an interesting part in this adventure as Peter finds that he is fighting a ring of credit-card fraud experts.. which he does under one condition: Suzi must help him by solving the mystery of this locked-room murder..... Somehow.. #7: The Magician’s Legacy Little Suzi has decided that she wants to study magic in this eighth legal adventure she participates in.
...... Peter has been ‘drafted’ to fill in as a temporary judge for some civil matters..Grossman #8: The Reluctant Jurist There’s a mini flu epidemic going around in Los Angeles and it has especially taken its toll among Superior Court Judges in Santa Monica.. Suspense enters the picture when Peter’s legal ward Suzi fails to appear as guest of honor at her own birthday party... This is the second adventure that Peter and Suzi B.. have been involved where Suzi’s Saint Bernard may be partly responsible for a successful conclusion.Element of Peril............. who all seem to have been infected at the same conference they attended...... 171 .... but winds up getting stuck hearing a big criminal trial involving a devious attorney as the defendant… the same attorney who Peter crossed swords with in a previous situation........ and every local state and Federal peace officer in California wants to locate her.
. who unanimously conclude that the dead body they discover is the result of a suicide..... The conclusion to this mystery is a complete surprise to everyone...... 172 .. Even Suzi is inclined to go along with their conclusion… until she learns that the devious attorney she dislikes may be involved in handling some legal matters for the deceased........... When Peter’s new romantic interest invites him to a cocktail party.Grossman #9: The Final Case Suzi dislikes a certain devious attorney who Peter keeps coming up against. Against everyone’s advice... She feels that he has no business being licensed to practice law in the State of California..... she keeps working to prove her suspicions about that devious attorney and his connections to what Suzi believes must have been murder.Element of Peril. Suzi won’t let go of this one..... Other guests at the party include the chief of police.. and district attorney.. mayor.. Suzi and the other guests are shocked by a loud noise down the hall.... coming from their host’s study..
As in the past..... Somewhere behind the tangled mess of a downward-spiraling celebrity starlet... a battling married couple.. while Peter’s client’s trial nears. and also trying to locate the missing victim.Element of Peril. who was allegedly killed in a completely locked room....... 173 ... attorney Peter Sharp and his legal ward Suzi must find where the truth lies.......Grossman #10: an Element of Peril In this tenth Peter Sharp Legal Mystery..... Suzi has failed to come up with any workable solution that can save Peter from certain defeat and humiliation in court........... You’ll be sitting on the edge of your chair as you see the courtroom drama that takes place during the last few minutes of the trial.... a missing currency trader and a disappearing corpse. Peter faces a double task: defending a person who is charged with murder.
...... because any good prosecutor knows that breaking an alibi and proving it was fraudulently concocted can lead a sure-thing conviction........... the word “alibi” literally means “somewhere else.... Peter is forced into a role he never thought he’d be playing: that of a prosecutor.. it is an extremely valuable asset to have... because it can mean the difference between an acquittal and a conviction...Element of Peril.” and to any person charged with a crime.............. However.Grossman #11: a Good Alibi In Latin. just having an alibi isn’t enough: it has to stand up to scrutiny. In this eleventh adventure of the Peter Sharp Legal Mysteries. 174 ..
...... He can be reached through editor@MagicLampPress.....Grossman All THIRTEEN of the Peter Sharp Legal Mysteries are now available and can easily be ordered online from Amazon..Element of Peril..com..com 175 . we suggest you bring them to the attention of the author......LegalMystery.......com for details Editor’s note: If you notice any blatant typographical errors in the text of this book..... who was the last person to sign off on the manuscript.... Single Jeopardy …By Reason of Sanity A Class Action Conspiracy of Innocence …Until Proven Innocent The Common Law The Magician’s Legacy The Reluctant Jurist The Final Case An Element of Peril A Good Alibi Legally Dead How to Rob a Bank They are available in both KINDLE and non-Kindle eBook form. See www........
.. yellow Hummer.... college. process server. You can see pictures of Peter Sharp’s boats.. Now retired from the practice of law. saloon piano player and ‘extra.petersharpbooks.. Suzi’s e-cart. He then spent 20 years as a trial lawyer.. and Laverne’s houseboat at www... Gene writes aboard his yacht in Marina del Rey...Grossman About the Author Gene Grossman worked his way through high school........ His film & video company produced over fifty special interest DVD titles on everything from boating... bail bondsman. and law school as a shoe salesman. during which time he served as Dean of a small local law school.. welder.. where he also taught several classes.......Element of Peril....’ appearing in seven motion pictures. to bankruptcy...com 176 .... tire changer..
PUBLISH & PERISH the RELUCTANT JURIST the MAGICIAN’s LEGACY Before. The FEMALE-to-ENGLISH DICTIONARY A GUIDE to MEETING WOMEN HOW TO BE A PORNO PRODUCER 177 ..D......... Ph.............Element of Peril.. ME E TINGW M N O E A C o m pre h e n s iv e G u ide to A p pro a c h in g a n d B e c o m in g A c q u a in te d w ith N e w F e m a le s How to get into the PORNO Industry Dr.Grossman Other books from MAGIC LAMP PRESS: By EDWIN H. Nick Shoveen.. Jr.............D... SINCLAIR. NICK SHOVEEN.. and after the auction $ SECRETS TO PERSONAL SUCCESS PUBLISH & PERISH BUYING FORECLOSED PROPERTIES By Dr. during. Ph.
... and in Avalon.... by Clarence Darrow the MAGICIAN’s LEGACY May Edginton Full details for all of these books... 178 ..com Pictures on the next page are of the author working on another book – in his Marina del Rey dinghy............. as well as the entire 10-book set of Peter Sharp Legal Mysteries are at: www. on Catalina Island.Element of Peril...Grossman By BARRY NEAL Get Started & Manage Your Comedy Career CRIME Its Cause and Treatment Magic Lamp Press also offers several classic books that are now available for your pleasure.........magiclampdigital........
............Grossman 179 ..................Element of Peril..........
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