The Bakers’ residence was dark, and almost everything short of the large furniture had been disturbed. A broken lamp lay on the floor in pieces as the curtains blew in and out of the opened window.
Reed and Hudson entered the room slowly, Hudson looking right toward the couch and coffee table, with Reed searching left toward the kitchen. Though the apartment was quite small, both detectives knew there was definitely enough room for a struggle and an attempted murder.
“San Francisco Police Department!” Reed called out into the vacant bedroom.
“Don’t think any sap in their right mind would be left holdin’ the bag in this joint, pal,” Hudson said, after holstering his .38 and kneeling to examine the broken lamp.
Reed began looking around the room for more evidence of a struggle before peering out of the window to the street below. Mr. Wright’s body was now covered with a sheet, and Missus Loveday stood beside a police car giving an officer a statement.
“Do you know how tough this Baker broad must be to knock Mr. Wright over the head with this lamp and then push him out of a window? My ex-wife couldn’t even do this to him,” Hudson said, still puzzled at the scene.
“It don’t make any sense,” Reed said, walking toward Hudson. “Why would she kill him? Mrs. Loveday said she brought men over here all the time.”
“Maybe it was self-defense, ya know? He was a little too drunk, became violent; she defended herself with this lamp and shoved him out,” Hudson said as if he had solved the case.
“Only an autopsy will prove whether he was drunk or not, and as for self defense, if that was true, where is Mrs. Baker?” Reed replied.
“Would you hang around after you killed a man?” Hudson asked with a smirk.
“Doesn’t matter if it was self defense. Okay, so what do we know?” Reed paced the room, gathering all of the evidence in his head.
“Mrs. Baker and Mr. Wright came up here after going out for drinks, according to the old hag. Mr. Baker is out of town, but we need to verify that. Mr. Wright was found dead in the street after being hit by a car, and we can infer he fell from this window,” Reed said, counting on his fingers. “But where is Mrs. Baker? How did she leave without the front desk worker receiving the call from Loveday?”
Hudson found a matchbook on the coffee table with the name Snyder’s on it. It was common for local bars to give away matchbooks to frequent visitors.
“Hey, we might have the name of the bar they went to,” Hudson said.
Hudson handed the matchbook to Reed.
“That’s just across the way!” Reed exclaimed.
“I told you we should have checked out that place for a drink!” Hudson said.
“Now we might be able to get witnesses confirming they were there, when they left and if they saw where Mrs. Baker went after she left here. Those windows down there have a view like a drive-in,” Reed said.
The two detectives took a last look around at the shattered lamp, papers, ash trays and other items that littered the floors. Hudson went to the bedroom closet and found no suitcase of any kind. He knew this meant that two people had packed and left.
Hudson and Reed closed the door and walked down the stairs of the apartment. They noticed there was no one at the front desk and hurried out the front door and across the street to Snyder’s Bar.
To be continued …