“That could make some people angry,” Kate said.
“She could be exacting, but she was also generous. It was hard to stay mad at her for too long.”
“We heard that Martin was having an affair,” Kate said.
The abrupt shift seemed to catch Brenda off guard, and she looked flustered. “I heard rumors. And he liked to take afternoons off a couple of times a week.”
“Do you know who he was sleeping with?” Kate asked.
“No.” She shuddered. “Gloria’s dead, but that information would bring her back from the dead to haunt Martin and whomever he was doing.”
Mazur glanced around the shop, wondering what other angle to this case they were missing. “Where do the ex-cons work?”
“In the garage here. They were training to be mechanics.”
“Can I get a list of the employees in this shop?” Mazur asked.
“Sure, I guess that’s okay.” She frowned. “Or should I ask for a warrant? I’m not sure how this works.”
“I can get a warrant or you can make this easy,” Mazur said smoothly.
Slowly she shook her head. “I should ask Martin. For now he’s the guy in charge and I can’t afford to lose my job. I’ll ask him.”
“Any of the ex-cons working now?” Mazur asked.
“Rocco’s back there.”
“Can I talk to Rocco?”
“Sure.” She led them through the back toward a large building with six open bays. All were empty except the first one. There was a late-model red Ford truck on the lift.
The whirring of a pneumatic drill mingled with the sound of rock music rising from a cell phone on a workbench. Mazur approached the tall man with the short-sleeved T-shirt and muscled arms covered in tattoos.
“Rocco!” Brenda shouted over the music.
The man looked up from a ratchet set, and his eyes narrowed as he looked at Mazur. Rocco didn’t need to see a badge to know he was face-to-face with a cop.
Still, Mazur held up his shield and identified himself and Kate. “We’re looking into Gloria Sanchez’s murder.”
“Figured.” He set down the tools and reached for a rag. “What can I do for you?”
“Know anyone who would want to shoot her?”
He shook his head. “Mrs. S was a class act. She was a good woman and took a chance on me when no one else would. I will always be grateful to her.”
“Was everyone as grateful?” Kate asked.
Rocco shrugged. “She was a ballbuster. Some might not have liked it when she dropped the hammer, but they got over it.” He shook his head while glancing toward Brenda before he commented in a lower voice. “She didn’t have an enemy in this shop. But I can’t say the same for her in the showroom.”
“Who didn’t like her?”
“She took risks both with a bunch of ex-cons and in business. Some were afraid her gambles might bring down the whole shop.”
“What about Matt and Harry? They make threats?” Mazur asked.
“Sure, they made noise, but they’re loudmouths. All talk, but neither one of them has the stones to carry it out.”
“What about the guys who weren’t loudmouths?” Kate asked. “Watch out for the quiet ones, right?”
He studied her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Sure you do. It’s the ones you don’t see coming who get you killed.”
He wiped his hand with the rag. “Billy Boy was like that.”
“Billy Boy?” she asked.
“William was the name he liked better. Made him sound smart. I called him Billy Boy just to get under his skin.”