Who was the fool now?
Clyde pushed open a door. Scooter paused on the threshold, taken aback by the luxury. Thick carpet covered the floor, silk curtains framed the windows, oil paintings hung on the walls and the room was full of fancy white-and-gold furniture. The place put him in mind of Nightingale’s Resort, apart from the police officer sitting behind the desk. His blue uniform and shiny brass buttons were as out of place as Scooter always felt amid the glitz and glamour of Nightingale’s.
“Eric, this is Chief Reinhold, Duluth’s finest,” Clyde said. “Chief, this is Eric Wilson.”
“I recognize him from the photos,” the chief said, rising to his feet. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Wilson. Thank you for coming.”
Not sure why the man would be thanking him, Scooter asked, “What photos?”
The man pointed to a scattering of newspaper articles and photographs laid out on the desk. One finger narrowed in on a specific picture.
Scooter picked it up. “This is from the Fourth of July,” he said. “People were snapping pictures left and right. Babe Ruth was there.” The photo had been taken when Roger had introduced his family to the crowd. A hard ball formed in his stomach. He was standing next to Josie in the picture. Someone had drawn a circle around her face.
“So was Francine Wilks,” Clyde said. “Have a seat, Eric. The chief will explain.”
Picking up a newspaper clipping, the officer handed it across the desk as Scooter sat in one of the available chairs, Clyde in the other. The chief sat down, too.
“That is Ray Bodine,” Chef Reinhold said, indicating a man’s picture in the clipping. “A mobster from New York. Bodine’s gang and the one Francine is connected to have been at war for years.”
“It started over neighborhoods,” Clyde added, “and has continued on to bigger things. Operations they’ve created across the nation.”
The chief nodded. “It seems Francine followed Bodine from New York to Detroit, then Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Paul. The difference was she set up prostitution rings while Bodine was focused on bootlegging whiskey from Canada.”
Scooter’s guts turned sour. Not showing any reaction, he said, “Says here Bodine was arrested.”
“Yep, recently, in Wisconsin,” the chief said. “By an undercover agent the feds keep well hidden. Even Prohibition agents don’t know the man. What we do know is Bodine was after the Minnesota Thirteen trade. The finest bootlegged whiskey in the world.”
The chief’s gaze, slowly moving from Clyde to him, had the air on Scooter’s arms rising even before the man said, “And everyone in this room knows where that comes from.”
Scooter once again refused to let any reaction show. If they thought they could weasel information out of him about Roger Nightingale, they were shopping in the wrong place. Both men were looking at him carefully, cautiously. Lifting his chin, he shook his head, “Sorry, but that’s got nothing to do with me. And it’s going to stay that way.”
“Oh, yes, it does,” the chief said. “More so than you realize.” Lifting a sheet of paper off the desk, he held it out for Scooter to take. “One of Francine’s main men wasn’t captured tonight. We think we know where he went.”
Josie’s head was pounding and she truly couldn’t take much more. Time was being wasted. They’d already eaten supper and had spent far too long bowling—something Twyla insisted everyone had to do.
“It’s almost midnight,” she muttered, when her sister insisted everyone had to go upstairs to see her and Forrest’s apartment.
“Do you still have a headache?” her father asked, placing an arm around her shoulders.
“Yes,” Josie answered. If she hadn’t had one before, she did now. Francine Wilks and her men knew where both she and Scooter lived. She had to get back to the resort and talk to Gloria. There was no reason the society couldn’t drive up to Duluth and rescue those girls just like they had with Maize. It had worked then and would work now. She’d mulled over it all evening. They could use Colene’s big car, no one would recognize it. The only problem was she still didn’t know exactly which warehouse to target, but with several of them looking, they should be able to find it. Ultimately, they had to put a stop to all this before someone was hurt.
“Why didn’t you say something?” Twyla asked. “I have headache powder. I’ll get you some.”
“No,” Josie said. “It’s not that bad.” Headache powder not only soured her stomach, it put her to sleep. That she didn’t need. Pulling up a smile, she added, “Lead the way.”