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