“Yes.” I hesitate, then ask the question. “Do you think they’re related?”
“Yes,” Leticia says firmly. “That means the killer is in your group.” Her eyes widen as she looks at me. From the speculative gleam in her eyes, I can tell what she’s thinking.
“I didn’t kill your sister, Leticia,” I say wearily. It’s never pleasant to be thought of as a murder suspect, but I’m used to it.
“I didn’t think you did,” Leticia says immediately, the flash of fear gone. I pick up the accounts notebook and thumb through it again. A.T., C.R., C.T., L.P., M.S. I stop reading in disgust. It’s no use. If she had added some identifying markers to each name, such as what she’s blackmailing them for, then perhaps I could use the information. Something niggles at me. I open the diary and read the last entry again.
“Leticia, look at this!” I show the entry to Leticia.
“I’ve read it already,” she says impatiently, not glancing at the page. I don’t have time for attitude, so I read it out loud.
“This one, is very special. I play right, I no have to work rest of my life. Ten thousand dollars for first increased payment. Is fair for a life.” I pause dramatically, but Leticia’s eyes don’t flicker. “Don’t you get it? First increased payment. That means she was already blackmailing the killer!” I grab the accounts notebook and open it again. “One of these fifteen initials is the killer!” Ok, not the greatest grammar, but I got the point across.
“Madre de Dios!” Leticia gasps, scanning the initials. “Do you recognize any?”
“It’s hard,” I say slowly, my mind churning. “I only know the first name of the women in the group.”
“I could probably find the last names at the clinic,” Leticia says eagerly.
“A.T., M.S., T.R,” I recite. “Those are the possibilities. I am relieved not to see a R.L., as irrational as that is.
“I’ll ask Carol tomorrow,” Leticia says briskly.
“Can you find out some other way?” I ask slowly. There is no C.S., so she’s not a suspect. Still, I would feel better if Leticia didn’t talk about this with Carol.
“I’ll see what I can do,” Leticia says, energized to have something to do.