Authors: Brenda Chapman
bought two pints of Guinness and handed one to Gundersund. They clinked glasses and wandered over to the table where Ed Chalmers was holding court. They took up positions at the ledge nearby. It was Saturday night in the Merchant and the retirement party had moved over from the dinner and speeches at the hall. A local band was belting out cover songs on the raised stage in the corner. The place was crowded with patrons standing in groups around the bar. The noise level was high.
“Looks like he’s having one drink for every year of service,” Gundersund observed. The table was filled with empty glasses, the steady pitchers of beer supplied by the team.
“He’s trained for this day his entire career,” Rouleau said.
“Any word on Della Munroe?” Gundersund asked.
“The Crown is laying murder charges in the morning. First degree.”
“I thought as much after the Shahan kid admitted to helping her fake the rape. Why do you think he admitted to that?”
Rouleau shrugged. “We might have suggested that he helped her kill her husband. He wanted to make it clear that he hadn’t.”
“Do you believe him?”
“I have no doubt he killed Leah Sampson but I don’t think he killed Brian Munroe. Della Munroe accomplished that all by herself.”
“What about his parents?”
“Their involvement will be harder to prove. The mother was certainly part of the attempted murders. We have nothing on the father.”
“Will the daughters move back with him?”
“I doubt it. Nadirah intends to look after her sisters. Even if we can’t charge their father, the girls know what went on. They might be convinced to talk.”
“Good evening, gentlemen.”
Rouleau turned. Heath had appeared at his shoulder and they shook hands. Rouleau looked past him and nodded at Laney Masterson. She was stunning in a cream silk blouse, tight blue jeans, and knee-high boots. The light picked out red highlights in her hair, which tumbled loose on her shoulders. She smiled at him before turning her face and saying something into Heath’s ear. Heath nodded and she slipped past him on her way to the washrooms.
“Laney had to work late and missed dinner but was up for a nightcap.” Heath looked around. “This place is hopping.”
“A typical weekend at the Merchant,” Gundersund said, raising his glass.
Heath signalled the waitress and ordered two glasses of wine. He turned back to Rouleau. “So the new man starts Monday? Bennett, is it?”
“Vera tells me he’s from the Ottawa force.”
“He is. He was a uniformed officer and helped us with a murder investigation. He wanted to get into Criminal Investigations and applied. He’s young and ambitious.”
Heath nodded toward Woodhouse, who was sitting next to Chalmers. “That’ll make for a nice change. What about Stonechild? Is she staying on?”
“She’s taken some time to attend to a personal matter.” Rouleau didn’t add that she hadn’t made any commitment to return.
The wine and Laney arrived at the same time. Heath took her by the arm and nodded toward Chalmers. “We’ll just head over and have a word with the man of the hour. See you lads later.”
They weaved through the crowd to join those surrounding the Chalmers’s table. Rouleau watched as Woodhouse stood and gave Laney his seat. She sat next to Chalmers and angled her chair to watch the band. Rouleau felt like he was nineteen again, watching the pretty girl he liked with another guy.
Gundersund caught his eye. “I thought they were finished. His wife must be out of town.”
“Didn’t I tell you? His wife comes from a long line of money. They tied the knot about five years ago after a quick courtship. Get you another beer?”
“Yeah.” Rouleau watched Heath bend down and say something to Laney. She looked up at him and laughed. “On second thought, I think I’ll switch to Scotch. It feels like that kind of night.”
Gundersund lifted an arm and signalled for the waitress. “Then I’ll join you. It feels like that kind of week.”
The woman across from Kala shuffled a stack of papers until she found the form she was looking for. Her nails were painted a deep blue, complimenting the streaks in her spiked pink hair. Kala placed her close to forty. She had to be a lifelong smoker judging by the network of lines around her mouth and the stale smell of nicotine around her desk. The hardness in her features was softened by the compassion in her brown eyes. She cleared her throat.
“I’ve been in touch with social services in Kingston and they’ll be assigning a worker for Dawn. You will be living at the address you provided?”
A loaded question. Kala knew this woman wouldn’t release Dawn to her care if she knew Kala was between jobs with no fixed address. Deciding whether to keep moving or commit to Rouleau’s team was out of her hands if she was to keep her promise to Lily. Such were the mysterious workings of the universe.
“I’ll be at that address. As you know, I’m with Criminal Investigations on the Kingston force.”
“Her mother asked that she live with you and based on your file, I believe this is the best place for Dawn at this time.” The woman stamped and signed the form. She flipped it around to Kala and handed her the pen. “If you agree to being her guardian, sign here.”
And if I don’t?
“Will I be able to see her mother before we leave?”
The woman shuffled the papers as if buying some time to come up with an answer. She gave a sideways smile that bonded them in some kind of off-colour joke. “The thing is … she doesn’t want to see you.”
Lily can’t look me in the eye but wants me to take on her kid.
The whole setup was lunacy.
Kala stood with the woman and shook her hand. “I guess I’ll be hearing how her trial goes.”
“Of course, although I don’t expect she’ll be out for some time, given it was armed robbery and she was caught on film. She’ll be tried in Ottawa where the crime took place. Her partner as well. He’ll be arriving from Calgary tomorrow and they’ll both be transported to lock up in Ottawa this week sometime.”
“My cousin never did things the easy way.”
Kala followed the woman down the hallway to collect the twelve-year-old girl who was now her responsibility. Instant substitute parent to an almost-teenager — life was about to get a lot more complicated and she had absolutely no idea if she was up to the challenge.
sincere thanks go to the Dundurn team — in particular, my eagle-eyed editor Jennifer McKnight, who pours hours into making certain I’ve gotten the story just right, and my publicist Karen McMullin, who is helping to get my books into the hands of a wider audience. Jesse Hooper and Laura Boyle once again created a striking cover design. I am also forever indebted to Dundurn President Kirk Howard and Vice-President Beth Bruder for your ongoing support and belief in Canadian writers, especially of the crime fiction variety!
is a complete work of fiction, the issues raised within its pages are not. My communications career in the federal government introduced me to research issues of family violence that sparked the germ of an idea for the overarching storyline. I would like to thank all of my colleagues in the Communications Branch and other sectors at the Department of Justice who have shown such interest in my writing and cheer my successes.
Thank you as well to so many friends and family — your support keeps me writing — and to my growing base of readers. I would like to send special thanks to Janet Bowick for going above and beyond, even as far as Monterey; Dawn Rayner, who always has my back; and to Ottawa City Counsellor Katherine Hobbs, who never turns down a request to MC an event or promote my work and the work of all of those in our arts community. Finally, thank you to my husband Ted Weagle, who fits my writing obsession into our lives without qualm, and my daughters Julia Weagle and Lisa Weagle and my new son-in-law Robin Guy and his peeps Jane, Bill, and Adam Guy.
It’s a week before Christmas when wealthy businessman Tom Underwood disappears into thin air — with more than enough people wanting him dead.
New police recruit Kala Stonechild, who has left her northern Ontario detachment to join a specialized Ottawa crime unit, is tasked with returning Underwood home in time for the holidays. Stonechild, who is from a First Nations reserve, is a lone wolf who is used to surviving on her wits. Her new boss, Detective Jacques Rouleau, has his hands full controlling her, his team, and an investigation that keeps threatening to go off track.
Old betrayals and complicated family relationships brutally collide when love turns to hate and murder stalks a family.
Also by Brenda Chapman
In Winter's Grip
After her mother’s suicide, Maja Cleary turned her back on her family and Duved Cove, Minnesota, to begin a new life in Canada. When a desperate phone call reveals that her father has been murdered and her brother Jonas is the prime suspect, Maja flies home, knowing that she will have to confront shared memories of an abusive father. Even as she works to prove her brother’s innocence, she cannot ignore the evidence that he had every reason to kill their father.
The frigid, stormy Minnesota landscape sets the mood as she battles against time, the local police, and the relentless snow.
Available at your favourite bookseller
Copyright © Brenda Chapman 2015
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise (except for brief passages for purposes of review) without the prior permission of Dundurn Press. Permission to photocopy should be requested from Access Copyright.
All characters in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Editor: Jennifer McKnight
Design: Colleen Wormald
Cover design: Laura Boyle
Cover image: © Jirí Hodecek/Shutterstock.com Epub Design: Carmen Giraudy
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Chapman, Brenda, 1955-, author Butterfly kills : a Stonechild and Rouleau mystery / Brenda Chapman.
Issued in print and electronic formats.
ISBN 978-1-4597-2314-6 (pbk.).--ISBN 978-1-4597-2315-3 (pdf).--
ISBN 978-1-4597-2316-0 (epub)
PS8605.H36B88 2015 C813’.6 C2014-902949-7 C2014-902950-0
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