Excerpt from "Reggae Jihad",  available now on Amazon.com in print and for Kindle

As he rounded the corner of Emma’s street, Cody saw a crowd of natives milling about outside the building where her apartment occupied the second floor. A uniformed policeman stood guard at the building’s entrance. Cody’s heart sank. He was too late.
“What’s going on?” Cody asked the first person he encountered at the edge of the crowd.
“Somebody dead inside. The English lady, we think.”
Cody pushed his way through the lookers to the door, where the policeman blocked the entrance. He wore a pressed and starched outfit that showed both his pride in his position as well as his authority. He had regarded Cody with suspicion as he watched him make his way toward the doorway. When Cody stood directly in front of him, the dark man asked, “Who are you?”
“Cody Sargent. I understand there’s a dead woman inside. If it is Emma Stevenson, I am a friend of hers.”
“How do you know there is a dead woman inside?”
“A woman over there told me.” Cody pointed vaguely toward the edge of the crowd.
“How did she know that?”
“How the hell should I know? Maybe she heard it on the radio.” Cody had encountered enough native officiousness in the islands to know that pushing them would only make them move more slowly. “If Emma Stevenson is dead in there, I was a friend of hers. If she’s in there and not dead, then I’m still a friend. I had dinner with her last night and walked her home here afterwards.”
The man’s face showed a glimmer of eureka, and he looked intently at Cody. “You stand here while I get my superior. I’ll be back in a moment.”
The man disappeared inside the door, and Cody stood impatiently shifting his weight from one foot to another. Good to his word, the man was back within thirty seconds with a second officer. Cody could see his rank was higher because his uniform, while more decorative, was not as neatly pressed. He looked like a policeman who had been at his job long enough to know solving crimes was not accomplished by wearing an impressively turned out uniform.
“You were a friend of the deceased woman?”
“I am her friend. Are you telling me she is dead?”
“She is. But you already knew that.”
Cody did not like the implication of the policeman’s words. “I came to see why she was late to work. One of the people in the crowd told me she was dead.”
The policeman ignored this explanation. “When was the last time you saw Emma Stevenson alive?”
“I went out to dinner with her last night and brought her home afterward.”
The policeman took a moment to study Cody with his dark eyes before saying, “I think you’d better come with me.”
Cody followed the officer into the building and up the flight of stairs to where Emma’s apartment door stood open. Two other officers stood inside the door, and Cody could see someone moving around inside the bedroom taking pictures with a flash camera. Emma’s bed was not visible from the doorway, but Cody edged to the side as he followed the officer into the apartment and saw the bed where Emma’s body lay. Someone had covered her with a sheet, but spatters of blood showed on the parts of the bed not hidden by the cover.
“How was she discovered?” Cody asked the back of the man he was following.
The man stopped and turned back to Cody. “A woman who lives upstairs heard a scream and a short commotion late last night. She was half asleep, and when she heard nothing more, she put it down to a lovers’ quarrel and went back to sleep. This morning, on her way out of the building, she walked past Miss Stevenson’s door and noticed it stood open a crack. Curious, she pushed the door open and found her lying dead on the bed. She was naked,” the constable added, staring intently at Cody. “The woman from upstairs immediately called the police, and here we are.”
This was a long explanation for the stoic policeman, and he paused a moment before asking, bluntly, “Were you and Miss Stevenson lovers?”
“You might say that.”
“I take that as a ‘yes.’ Did the two of you have a quarrel last night?”
“Then how do you explain the scream heard by the upstairs neighbor?” The constable waved his hand toward the bedroom. “What explanation do you have for that?”
“I don’t have an explanation for any of it. The first I heard of it was two minutes ago.”
“So you say.” The constable regarded Cody blandly and then pulled a small notepad and ballpoint pen from the breast pocket of his uniform tunic. “You seem to be the last person to see Miss Stevenson alive.”
“The last person who saw her alive was the person who killed her. That wasn’t me.”
“Yes.” The word was noncommittal. “May I have your name, please?”
“Cody Sargent.”
The constable wrote the name in his notebook. “And where are you staying while you are in Bequia, Mr. Sargent?”
“On my boat, the Island Woman.”
“I see. May I see your passport?”
“It’s on the boat. I don’t carry it around with me.”
“I assume you have cleared your boat and yourself into St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”
“I cleared in down on Union Island. You can check with them there.”
“I’ll do that.” He made a note of this in his notebook. “Would you be kind enough to bring your passport and ship’s papers around to the police station sometime this morning so I can take a look at them?”
“I will. But won’t you be busy investigating Emma Stevenson’s murder?” Cody hoped the constable caught his sarcasm.
“I will be here for a while, but by the time you get out to your boat, gather the documents, and return, I should be back at the police station. If I’m not, you can wait for me until I get there.”
“Fine. I’ll be there sometime this morning.”
“I would suggest sooner rather than later. And I expect you to give us a statement while you are there.”
“What sort of statement?”
“A statement about your relationship with Miss Stevenson. What you know about her, what you are doing in Bequia, and what you know about Miss Stevenson’s murder. You admitted to being the last person to see her alive.”
“No, I didn’t. I said the last person who saw her alive was the person who killed her.”
“Perhaps that person was also you, Mr. Sargent. Did you and Miss Stevenson have a quarrel last night?”
“Wait a minute. You already asked me that. Are you accusing me of murdering Emma Stevenson?”

“Not at all, Mr. Sargent.” The constable managed to look mildly surprised at Cody’s question. “I am merely asking you to come to the police station and give me a statement.”

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