Pianoforte – Part 6
Read earlier installments here
“When was the last time you saw Mrs. Maren?” Detective Wooton asked. Greta searched her brain desperately for an exact date, but she came up empty. Even though she wasn’t in trouble, sitting in the police station and being interrogated by a detective was overwhelming.
Greta shook her head and said, “I’m… I’m so sorry, Detective. I have no idea.”
The detective squinted his eyes at her. Greta felt judged and he was right to. What educator disconnects so severely from a parent? Especially the parent of a student like Philip.
“I know it looks bad,” Greta explained. Even as she defended herself, she knew it was terrible. “His mom is busy, and as he grew older, it was less important to check in with her. He started coming and going on his own, I just…”
“Ms. Cranston,” the detective interrupted. “My concern is not how you conduct your piano lesson business. My concern is where Mrs. Maren is. Her son isn’t speaking. Her husband is estranged and clueless.”
Greta realized she never met or heard about Philip’s father. She felt even worse since she had known the boy for so long.
“What I need from you,” Detective Wooton continued, “Is to give me as much detail as you can about her and her son.”
“He’s a suspect, isn’t he?” Greta blurted out.
Detective Wooton paused, eyeing her curiously.
“Mr. Maren has a solid alibi.”
“No,” Greta said quietly. “Philip. Her son.”
Detective Wooton took a breath and watched her before speaking again.
“Why do you think that?”
Greta leaned into the detective.
“Because I’ve always known he’d kill someone.”
Detective Wooton continued to stare, expecting her to continue. When she didn’t, he spoke.
“That’s a heavy accusation. What leads you to believe that?”
Greta swallowed and explained, “Philip has always been…off. He says and does strange things.”
“That doesn’t mean he murdered anyone, especially his mother.”
Greta felt like she was betraying her student, but she knew she needed to speak up about her concerns. And even though the detective was challenging her, she could tell he was on the same page. He just needed solid evidence, and he hoped she could provide it.
“Philip obsesses,” she continued. “He latches onto people, particularly women, and he says and does things that make people uncomfortable. Like my former student Yvonne.”
“Yvonne?” Detective interrupted. “What’s her last name?”
Greta had to think a minute since it had been a few years since she stopped lessons with the young woman.
“Archer,” she remembered. “Yvonne Archer. Why?”
Detective Wooton inhaled deeply, letting the breath seep out slowly like a balloon losing air through a tiny hole.
“Ms. Cranston, I have an open missing persons case for a young woman named Yvonne Archer. The trail has gone cold, but her fiancé still calls me every day.”
Greta felt ill.