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Authors: Benedict Carey

Poison Most Vial

BOOK: Poison Most Vial
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PUBLISHER'S NOTE
: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Carey, Benedict.
Poison most vial: a mystery / by Benedict Carey.
p. cm.

Summary: “When a famous forensic scientist turns up dead and Ruby's father becomes the prime suspect, Ruby must marshal everyone she can to help solve the mystery and prove her father didn't poison his boss”
—Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-1-4197-0031-6 (hardback)
[1. Mystery and detective stories. 2. Murder—Fiction.
3. Neighbors—Fiction. 4. Fathers and daughters—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.C2122Poi 2012
[Fic]—dc23
2011038222

Text copyright © 2012 Benedict Carey
Book design by Maria T. Middleton

Published in 2012 by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.

Amulet Books and Amulet Paperbacks are registered trademarks of
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Amulet Books are available at special discounts when purchased in quantity for premiums and promotions as well as fundraising or educational use. Special editions can also be created to specification. For details, contact
[email protected]
or the address below.

  115 West 18th Street
  New York, NY 10011
  
www.abramsbooks.com

Contents

Statement to the Court

1. The Poison Flower

2. The Window Lady

3. Friar's Cap

4. The Vials in the Locker

5. Suspects

6. Regular Honors

7. Mrs. Whitmore

8. Davenport Towers

9. Password Hunting

10. Badge Numbers

11. Grilling Dad

12. Whitmore Lab

13. Simon

14. The Past

15. The Present

16. Lab Memories

17. The Glass Vial

18. The Maze Map

19. The Underneath

20. The Evidence

21. The Morgue

22. The Courtyard

23. Sister Paulette's

24. A Deadly Prescription

25. Setting the Trap

Statement to the Court

 

STATEMENT TO THE COURT

CASE 156724-1801: V. S. Ramachandran Murder

Let the record reflect that this statement was taken over four hours on 11/4 and 11/5 at the home of Mrs. Clara Whitmore, the Garden Terrace Apartments, 1575 College Ave.

Video deposition: Det. R. A. Cullen, interviewer

INT: All right, ma'am. The tape is running. You may proceed. Please state your name first, for the record.

SUBJ: Clara Orfila Whitmore.

INT: Your age and occupation, please.

SUBJ: (long delay) I am seventy years old, young man. Retired. I was a toxicologist. A forensic scientist, and I . . . I am retired.

INT: You understand that you are under no suspicion in this case?

SUBJ: Oh heavens, of course not.

INT: You have waived your right to an attorney, is that correct?

SUBJ: I have no need of an attorney, detective.

INT: OK. Now, please explain how it is that you knew the two children involved in this case. Start by stating how you met the girl. The court is very interested in the girl. Where were you when you met her?

SUBJ: (barely audible) I was dead when I met Ruby Rose.

INT: I'm sorry?

SUBJ: Oh, I don't mean
dead
dead, detective. I mean numb. Numb, like you feel when a good friend turns away and you don't know why. Cut off. Left behind, just . . . I don't know. Playing out my days. That's where I was when I met Ruby.

INT: No, I meant—

SUBJ: I laugh at it now, I do. At all the little girl did. How she and her friend Rex solved a murder case—the famous Ramachandran case, no less! But you cannot begin to understand how that happened, detective, without knowing why. You see, this girl had no choice. None.
Her father was headed for jail, and he was all she had. She was cornered. Trapped.

I have come to believe, over my many years, that the only time we face a problem directly and ruthlessly is when all other doors are closed. When there is no other way out. When our doubts about ourselves shrink in the shadow of some larger threat.

Squirming her shoulders like a penguin, head down under a spray of yellow hair, Ruby Rose pushed through the tangle of legs, arms, and backpacks at the door and tripped down the steps of DeWitt Lab School, annoyed about something but not sure what it was.

Which only made things worse.

“School's out, Ruby. Why you always want to be staring at the ground like that?”

No need to look up. Rex. She could almost
hear
the lunatic smile on his huge face; he probably grinned in his sleep.

“What do you mean
always
?” Ruby asked, studying her purple boots and keeping them in rhythm for luck: three regular steps and one long stride, three plus one, three plus one, three and one . . .

“I mean, you're so busy counting your steps that you're about to miss Simon and his briefcase. Pick up your head and check this.”

The briefcase—that was it: the annoying thing.

Simon Buscombe, spidery with damp hair and a fake limp, strode along in front of them, carrying a briefcase that he'd recently started bringing to school instead of a backpack. A briefcase, for eighth grade! Simon being Simon, he'd been all pompous and secretive, making sure no one peeked inside the briefcase when he opened it in class and carefully removed a piece of paper.

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