She showed me where the body had been found. The house, except for the bedrooms and baths, was of open construction; essentially one big room, divided into areas by cupboards and counters, rather than walls. Win had, she told me, been found in the kitchen, between the breakfast table and the refrigerator.
There had been a chair pulled out from the table, she said, and he had been lying beside it, as if he'd been sitting in it when he was shot, and had fallen off it onto the floor.
"The cops told me all about that, with all the gory details," she said. "That was when they were trying' to get me to confess. They said it all looked real domestic to them, him being in the kitchen in his bathrobe."
I didn't think it necessarily followed, and said so. "It's just a step from the living room to the kitchen," I said. "I think they were making a big song and dance about nothing. Especially if he was the sort of guy that would answer the door in his bathrobe. Was he?"
"He sure was," she said. "I don't know how many times I got on him about that. It embarrasses people, I told him. He just said that was a load of shit, and if they were that easily embarrassed, they deserved everything they got."
"What I really want to look at, though, is the windows," I said. "Could we do that?"
She led me into the master bedroom, and we peered earnestly at the window. It consisted of glass louvers that opened with a crank. It would've been dead easy to get out that way. You'd only have to take the screen off, bend the metal strips that held the louvers in their frame, take two or three of them out, climb out the window, replace the screen, replace the panes, bend up the strips again, and there you'd be.
I'd done it myself any number of times when I'd locked myself out of one or other of the houses we'd lived in. The metal bends quite easily if you've got something--a key, say--to pry with. There was only one catch. Outside the window were sturdy-looking wrought-iron bars, painted white, about six inches apart.
"Are there bars like that on all the windows?" I said. Lolly nodded vigorously.
"Yup. That was the first thing the real estate agent showed us when we looked at the house. Terrific security, she said. I thought it was funny; I mean, it's not as if we were Oprah or Bill Gates or somebody. The island is patrolled at night by two rent-a-cops, not to mention the man in the little gatehouse--the agent told us about them, too.
"But Win liked the idea. I razzed him about it; asked him if he thought we maybe should put a couple vats of boiling oil on the roof, just in case. He didn't think it was the least bit funny, and I guess it wasn't, really, what with all the hate calls and letters he got."
"Well, it sure didn't keep the murderer out--or in," I said. "What about the front of the house?"
"Come and look, if you want," she said. "There's the picture window in front, but it was two thicknesses of toughened glass with a burglar-alarm strip in it. It's just ordinary plate glass now, since I got it replaced. And all the other small windows have bars, just like in the bedrooms. Even the bathroom windows have bars, and they're so small you couldn't get in or out that way, anyway."
"How are those bars fastened on?" I said hopefully.
"No luck there," she said. "They're bolted into the bricks with great big bolts. You can't shake or wiggle 'em at all. The agent showed us that, too."