The Amateur

At the gun shop, Kurt Blackmore was more helpful.

"SVD they said?" he scratched in his beard for a moment. "They must have seen some markings or something. Can't tell one of those from any other steel-core NATO round. Maybe from the rifling marks or something, made 'em think it came from a Dragunov. I could sell you a box of cartridges would work fine in a Dragunov or a M40A1, you couldn't tell the difference. Made in the USA."

I pondered that.

"Maybe some graphite coating, or wax or something." he offered. "Doubt if you'd find that around here though."

"Have you sold any steel-cores lately?"

"Lately? Doubt it. Not a lot of call for sniper ammo. Wouldn't want to use it in an indoor range."

I looked around the shop.

"Could be they used one of those gadgets, found out where the metal came from. Those things they have on TV, they put a sample in and the computer says what's in it."

I knew what he meant. A gas chromatograph or a mass spectrometer or something.

"They can tell where the metal came from?" I asked.

"On TV they can."

I thought about it. I didn't think they'd had time.

"Unless they already knew about the first bullet." I said aloud.

"What's that?" he asked. I said nothing, thinking. If they had tested the first bullet then either Murphy had assumed the two murders were related (not a stroke of genius, given the circumstances) or he had already matched the bullet on Monday, and didn't want to tell me until Tuesday. When he had O'Toole with him.

I had a good idea then who O'Toole was. What I didn't get was why they treated me like the prime suspect if they had already known about the first murder. I could understand suspecting the husband as standard operating procedure. But there was nothing connecting me to the first guy. It didn't make sense.