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Authors: Camille Minichino

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery & Detective, #Women Sleuths

The Oxygen Murder

BOOK: The Oxygen Murder
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G
LORIA
L
AMERINO
M
YSTERIES
B
Y
C
AMILLE
M
INICHINO

T
HE
N
ITROGEN
M
URDER

T
HE
C
ARBON
M
URDER

T
HE
B
ORIC
A
CID
M
URDER

T
HE
B
ERYLLIUM
M
URDER

T
HE
L
ITHIUM
M
URDER

T
HE
H
ELIUM
M
URDER

T
HE
H
YDROGEN
M
URDER

 

CAMILLE MINICHINO

 

 

 

 

 

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

 

THOMAS DUNNE BOOKS
.

An imprint of St. Martin’s Press.

 

THE OXYGEN MURDER
. Copyright © 2006 by Camille Minichino. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

 

www.thomasdunnebooks.com

www.minotaurbooks.com

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Minichino, Camille.

The oxygen murder : a periodic table mystery / Camille Minichino.—1st ed.
    p. cm.

ISBN-13: 978-0-312-34786-4

ISBN-10: 0-312-34786-3

Lamerino, Gloria (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Women physicists—Fiction. 3. New York (N.Y.)—Fiction. I. Title.

 

PS3563.I4663 099 2006

813'.54—dc22

2006040201

 

First Edition: August 2006

 

10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

 

For my dear sister, Arlene Minichino Polvinen, who delivered
life-saving oxygen throughout her long career in anesthesia

Contents

Cover Page

Title

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Tree

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

A
CK
WLEDGMENTS

I’m very grateful to the many writers, family members, and friends who reviewed this manuscript or offered generous research assistance, in particular: Robyn Anzel, Nina Balassone, Judith Barnett, Sara Bly, Don and Liz Campbell, Margaret Hamilton, Dr. Eileen Hotte, Jonnie Jacobs, Rita Lakin, Anna Lipjhart, Margaret Lucke, Dr. Marilyn Noz, James Oppenheimer, Ruth Oppenheimer, Ann Parker, Arlene Polvinen, Loretta Ramos, Sue Stephenson, Jean Stokowski, Karen Streich, and Barbara Zulick.

As usual, I drew enormous amounts of information and inspiration from Robert Durkin, my cousin and expert in all things mortuary, and from Inspector Christopher Lux of the Alameda County, California, District Attorney’s Office.

Any misinterpretation of such excellent resources is purely my fault.

Special thanks to Marcia Markland, my wonderful editor, who has been with me in one way or another from my first book; and to my patient, extraordinary agent, Elaine Koster.

I’m most grateful to my husband and webmaster, Dick Rufer, the best there is. I can’t imagine working without his love and support.

C
APTER
O
NE

Y
ou’d think it would be impossible to find yourself alone in New York City. Especially on a bright Sunday morning in December, only a couple of blocks from the dazzling supersigns of Times Square.

A short distance away, elbows and shoulders overlapped at crowded intersections. Couples and families had to hold hands to stay together. Holiday shoppers, packed as close as particles in a nucleus, strained their necks toward the glittery, animated ads for cameras and underwear, baby clothes and whiskey, surround-sound systems and Dianetics.

But here I was, the only person in the tiny, dark lobby of a narrow brick building, about to enter the smallest, oldest elevator I’d ever seen. Picture a dusty reddish-brown box with metal construction on three sides and a rickety accordion gate on the fourth. I hoped the indentations peppering its walls were only coincidentally shaped like bullet holes.

The blast of heat, comforting at first after the near-freezing temperature and gusty wind outside, now added to the swirls of dust around my nostrils.

I stepped inside the cage and pulled the squeaky gate across the opening. In the back corner, a janitor’s bucket and mop took up a quarter of the floor space. The smell of chlorine tickled my nose.

I could hardly breathe.

I looked up at the dented metal ceiling. Too bad there were no oxygen masks, like those demonstrated by our flight attendant on the plane from Boston’s Logan Airport.

I was no stranger to creepy environments—hadn’t I lived above my friends’ funeral parlor for more than a year? Done my laundry a few meters from their inventory of preservative chemicals and embalming fluid? Still, an uneasy feeling crept over me in the unnatural quiet of this space. I hunched my shoulders and pushed a scratched button with a worn-down label. Number
4
, I hoped. I worked my jaw to loosen it.

The elevator jerked into motion.

I longed for a sign of life, some sound other than the creaking machinery of the old cage. Where were the alleged eight million citizens of the nation’s largest city? Not to mention the hundred thousand or so tourists supposedly passing through JFK every day. Where were the blaring car horns, the noisy taxis, the thundering buses? Where were the sirens of the famous NYFD? The old building seemed soundproof, leaving no noise inside except that of the whirring, rasping gears taking me upward toward . . .
what?

It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Four of us had flown into La Guardia two days ago, but everyone else was too busy for this errand. My best friends, Rose and Frank Galigani, were having breakfast with relatives, the parents of their daughter-in-law, Karla, who was originally from New York. My husband of four months, homicide detective Matt Gennaro, was tied up, so to speak, at a police conference, which is what had brought us all to New York City in the first place.

BOOK: The Oxygen Murder
12.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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