Chapter 1: The First Sign of Trouble
Police Officer Palin was patrolling the city of south St. Louis Missouri, when the 10-100 call came across the two-way radio. As he was closest to the scene, Officer Palin made his way to the Hill neighborhood. It wasn’t hard to locate the a newly built half million dollar, boxy modern house with floor to ceiling wraparound windows. All the lights were on and a hysterical woman in a maid uniform stood on the porch, being comforted by neighbors.
Officer Palin approached them and was ushered into a small library at the rear of the stylish home. The body of Liam Anderson lay hogtied on its side in the center of the room. The oriental carpet was soaking in an ever widening pool of blood. Careful not to step into the gore, Officer Palin knelt and ascertained that the blood was oozing from a gash in Liam’s throat. In short order, Officer Palin was on his radio calling for crime scene investigators.
Closing the study door behind him, Palin went in search of the maid. She was still on the porch, refusing to be under the same roof as the body. His attempts at interviewing her brought on more wailing. Eventually, he was able to ascertain that she had come back from running Liam’s errands to find him bleeding out. To her, Liam had seemed a little on edge earlier in the day. However, she did not consider that unusual because he had always been highly strung.
Officer Palin looked up and saw a black Lexus gliding up to the curb. She identified the distinguished looking man in the charcoal gray suit climbing out of the driver’s seat as Liam’s husband. He approached the walkway and paused, appearing to sense that something was very wrong. Curiosity overcame his wariness and he strode towards them, slowly climbing the steps up to the porch. He spoke, before Officer Palin could break the news.
“Liam is dead, isn’t he?”
“I’m afraid so Mr…”
“I’m sorry, where are my manners? The name is Stansfield…Carter Stanfield. I guess I’m a little shocked. But, I cannot say that I am surprised. I had a feeling that this would happen.”
“What makes you say that?”
“My husband is…was a procurer and seller of rare books. A rare and very hard to find book recently came into his possession. Several buyers had attempted to obtain this book. Somehow Liam got his hands on it, much to the…chagrin of some very ruthless individuals. Not long after it came into his possession, Liam began to receive threats and experienced several near misses. I told him to get rid of that damn book. It was much too dangerous to keep.”
“Do you know what the book was called?”
“Yes, it was a grimoire called the Lesser Key of Solomon.”