Gone, but Not Forgottenby Phillip Margolin
In Portland, Oregon, the wives of several prominent businessmen have disappeared without a trace, leaving behind only a black rose and a note with a simple message: "Gone, But Not Forgotten." An identical series of disappearances occurred in Hunter's Point, New York, ten years ago - but the killer was caught, the case was closed and the special "rose killer" task… See more details below
In Portland, Oregon, the wives of several prominent businessmen have disappeared without a trace, leaving behind only a black rose and a note with a simple message: "Gone, But Not Forgotten." An identical series of disappearances occurred in Hunter's Point, New York, ten years ago - but the killer was caught, the case was closed and the special "rose killer" task force was disbanded. Betsy Tannenbaum, a Portland wife and mother who has gained national recognition as a feminist defense attorney, is retained by multimillionaire Portland developer Martin Darius - for no apparent reason. Nancy Gordon, a homicide detective for the Hunter's Point Police Department and an original member of the "rose killer" task force, hasn't slept a full night in ten years, haunted by nightmares of a sadistic killer who, she swears, is still out there... Alan Page, the Portland district attorney, trying to make sense of the sudden series of disappearances, opens his front door one evening to find Nancy Gordon on his doorstep - determined to tell him a story he won't soon forget. Across the country, in Washington, D.C., the President of the United States has just selected United States Senator Raymond Colby to be the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In a private meeting, Colby assures the President there are no skeletons in his closet.
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Gone, But Not Forgotten
"Have you reached a verdict?" Judge Alfred Neff asked the eight men and four women seated in the jury box.
A heavy-set, barrel-chested man in his mid-sixties struggled to his feet. Betsy Tannenbaum checked the chart she had drawn up two weeks ago during jury selection. This was Walter Korn, a retired welder. Betsy felt uncomfortable with Korn as the foreman. He was a member of the jury only because Betsy had run out of challenges.
The bailiff took the verdict form from Korn and handed it to the judge. Betsy's eyes followed the folded square of white paper. As the judge opened it and read the verdict to himself, she watched his face for a telltale sign, but there was none.
Betsy stole a glance at Andrea Hammermill, the plump, matronly woman sitting beside her. Andrea stared straight ahead, as subdued and resigned as she had been throughout her trial for the murder of her husband. The only time Andrea had shown any emotion was during direct examination when she explained why she shot Sidney Hammermill to death. As she told the jury about firing the revolver over and over until the dull click of hammer on steel told her there were no more bullets, her hands trembled, her body shook and she sobbed pitifully.
"Will the defendant please stand," Judge Neff said. Andrea got to her feet unsteadily. Betsy stood with her, eyes forward.
"Omitting the caption, the verdict reads as follows: 'We the jury, being duly impaneled and sworn, do find the defendant, Andrea Marie Hammermill, not guilty…' "
Betsy could not hear the rest of the verdict over the din in the courtroom. Andrea collapsed on her chair, sobbing into her hands.
"It's okay," Betsy said, "it's okay." She felt tears on her cheeks as she wrapped a protective arm around Andrea's shoulders. Someone tapped Betsy on the arm. She looked up. Randy Highsmith, the prosecutor, was standing over her holding a glass of water.
"Can she use this?" he asked.
Betsy took the glass and handed it to her client. Highsmith waited a moment while Andrea regained her composure.
"Mrs. Hammermill," he said, "I want you to know that I prosecuted you because I believe you took the law into your own hands. But I also want you to know that I don't think your husband had the right to treat you the way he did. I don't care who he was. If you had come to me, instead of shooting him, I would have done my best to put him in jail. I hope you can put this behind you and go on with your life. You seem like a good person."
Betsy wanted to thank Highsmith for his kind words, but she was too choked up to speak. As Andrea's friends and supporters started to crowd around her Betsy pushed away from the throng to get some air. Over the crowd she could see Highsmith, alone, bent over his table, gathering law books and files. As the assistant district attorney started toward the door, he noticed Betsy standing on the fringe of the crowd. Now that the trial was over, the two lawyers were superfluous. Highsmith nodded. Betsy nodded back.Gone, But Not Forgotten. Copyright © by Phillip Margolin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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