Chapter 41

D onnally returned to examining Anna’s records, now trying to follow the trail of cash payments, looking first for a code sheet to match the initials of the recipients shown on her ledger and then for an explanation for why she chose to give money to those she did.

He pulled out her calendars and organized them by year, latest to earliest, then opened to March 1986, the month of her death, thinking that if there were any leads to be found, they’d show up near the end. He had expected to find shopping lists, birthdays, scheduled meetings, and plans for spring vacation. There were none. It was a diary, not of her life or of her introspections, but of the lives that impinged on hers.

The last entry was on the day of her death. Father Phil claims that the problem has been resolved. He’s been reassigned to Holy Names in San Francisco. I told him that it wasn’t over and he was deluding himself.

Donnally wondered what sort of problem brings a priest to a teacher’s doorstep. Had she become Catholic and gotten involved in church politics? Had he been her confidant? Or she, his?

The day before her death: A came by. He’s ready to go back to New Jersey and turn himself in, even if R doesn’t. I gave him the name of Mark Hamlin.

Donnally sat back and folded his arms across his chest. If A was Artie Trueblood and R was Robert Trueblood, then Mark Hamlin probably had known their true identities for decades.

Did Hamlin try to arrange Artie’s surrender? Did he try to convince Robert to go along? And who paid Hamlin’s fee? Anna? Trudy? Sonny?

Did Hamlin also know they were dead?

Two days before: Melvin came by crying. Confused. Heard that Father Phil has been assigned to Holy Names in San Francisco. Will go see him.

Who is Melvin? Another crazy homeless guy like Charles Brown? Did he want money to go see his priest? Or maybe it was Anna who was going to visit Father Phil.

Three days before: R came by looking for A. Said A had given him last week’s money like we agreed. I told him that he couldn’t keep living like he was. He was going to kill himself.

Suicide? Was Robert planning to kill himself? Then what was the point of killing Anna? If he was dead, she couldn’t have hurt him anymore. And if she was giving him money, there was no reason for him to rob her.

Four days before: A heard his mother died. Afraid to go to her funeral.

A killer who’s a mama’s boy? Nothing unusual in that, Donnally thought. Death row was lined with them.

A week before: Sherwyn showed up. Unannounced. Said I should stop interfering. I was damaging to his progress.

Whose progress? Sherwyn’s? In doing what?

Two weeks before: Dr. Sherwyn got my message. Came by. Acknowledged he was called Rabbit. Said he got caught in the middle of an internal conflict at New Sky and that everyone knows it. Asked him about the theory behind his treatment methods. RT. Referred me to a textbook. Said he had a contract with the church.

The notes mirrored what Brown and Trudy said they’d overheard, except the letters R2T2 were missing.

Donnally wondered whether what was said about R2T2 wasn’t important enough, or maybe too dangerous, to write down. Maybe that was why she wrote only the letters RT.

He reread the notes. Treatment methods? Treatment of whom? Melvin? Father Phil? Someone else?

Sixteen days before: A came by, gave him some more money. Looks bad. He will pass on R’s share. Thinking about surrendering.

A guy thinking about turning himself in isn’t going to commit a murder. Suicide, maybe. Murder, no-unless something changed in the weeks leading up to it.

Donnally read back through the notes. Artie had later decided to turn himself in, Anna had hooked him up with Hamlin, and Robert had gotten his money. No motives there.

Eighteen days before: Melvin asked to talk to me after class. St. Mark’s. Father Phil. Twice. Sent for counseling. Called the church. Father Phil not available. Message left.

Melvin must have been a student, and whatever his problem was, he first got counseling with Father Phil. Maybe that’s why Anna wanted to talk to the priest, to check on Melvin’s progress.

Donnally then searched further back through the calendar looking for entries relating to Melvin, Sherwyn, and Father Phil. He found none. The few references to A and R seemed to relate only to handouts of money.

Leaning back and rubbing his eyes, Donnally realized that he’d been talking to himself for the last two hours in the voices of people he’d never met, except Sherwyn’s. He took in a long breath, then read through the entries he’d highlighted, but this time in chronological order.

A was dead and R was dead.

What about Melvin?

And Father Phil?

Sherwyn was alive. But if Sonny was telling the truth about the doctor’s role in covering up the murders, Sherwyn wouldn’t be talking, at least to Donnally.