Smiling woman with brown hair and glasses

Friday, May 29, 2020 – 9:03 a.m.

The detectives asked Peggy LeClaire, who worked for Zoe Chase, to come in again for some follow-up questions.

Detective Armstrong re-interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Peggy LeClaire

Detective Armstrong: Would you please state your full name and address for the record?

Peggy LeClaire: Peggy Madeline LeClaire, 224 North 18th, Oxford.

Detective Armstrong: Ms. LeClaire, thank you for coming this morning. We have a few follow-up questions for you.

Peggy LeClaire: Not a problem, Detective. As I said, I want to help.

Detective Armstrong: Glad to hear it, ma'am. We talked to several members of the Oxford Writers Circle, and it seems most of them thought you were upset at the meeting last Saturday, May 23rd.

Peggy LeClaire: As I said before, I had a headache, so I'm sure that made me out of sorts.

Detective Armstrong: Out of sorts in what way? Did you have words with someone?

Peggy LeClaire: What do you mean? Did I argue with someone? No, not really. Well, I did tell Richard Roman he was wrong about Grisham. We don't often agree on things, literarily speaking.

Detective Armstrong: How about anyone else? Did anyone else disagree with you about Grisham?

Peggy LeClaire: No, I don't think so. I wasn't feeling well that night and honestly didn't pay a lot of attention to things.

Detective Armstrong: So, you didn't have words with Zoe about her column? That you hadn't turned it in?

Peggy LeClaire: Oh, that. Yes, she was displeased with me about that, but I'd say she was the one who had the words. I more or less just listened.

Detective Armstrong: Did you fail to turn in the column? I mean, where is it?

Peggy LeClaire: Well, as I told Zoe, I submitted it, so they must've lost it. It's happened before you know. Caused all this ruckus, and then they find it in a spam folder or something.

Detective Armstrong: So, you believed you turned it in?

Peggy LeClaire: I did turn it in. There's no "believing" about it. It must be there somewhere.

Detective Armstrong: Do you still have the recording?

Peggy LeClaire: What recording?

Detective Armstrong: Didn't Zoe give you an audio recording of the column to transcribe? Wasn't that the procedure?

Peggy LeClaire: Oh, that recording. Yes, that's how we did it. I attached it to the submission email and then deleted it. I don't have the storage space to keep everyone's audio files after I'm finished with them. Like I said, you should contact her editor, Mr. Bertuch. I'm sure you'll find that his office is in possession of the column.

Detective Armstrong: We've talked to Mr. Bertuch. He says they don't have the column. Are you sure you sent it?

Peggy LeClaire: Of course, I"m sure. You're jumping to conclusions just like Zoe always did. Once she calmed down, she always found whatever it was she was looking for. Some people are just emotional.

Detective Armstrong: Are you one of those people, ma'am? Emotional?

Peggy LeClaire: We're all emotional, Detective. Sometimes, anyway.

Detective Armstrong: And Mallory, she that way too?

Peggy LeClaire: Mallory? What does she have to do with anything?

Detective Armstrong: Folks at the meeting said she wasn't her usual self either.

Peggy LeClaire: When? At the meeting? Is that what you mean?

Detective Armstrong: We were told Mallory also left early that night.

Peggy LeClaire: Really? I didn't know. Like I said, I left early, so I don't know who left after me or in what order.

Detective Armstrong: Folks also said neither you nor Mallory was surprised by Zoe's reading.

Peggy LeClaire: Surprised? Why would we have been surprised? Zoe frequently read at the meetings.

Detective Armstrong: Not surprised or impressed, I should say. Seems everybody else was real impressed with her reading from her new book.

Peggy LeClaire: Well, Detective, you must realize that I transcribed most of her work. I know her style and literary choices. Why would I be surprised?

Detective Armstrong: You told us you hadn't transcribed this particular story.

Peggy LeClaire: Oh, I see what you mean. Well, once you know Zoe and her style, I don't suppose there are many surprises.

Detective Armstrong: And Mallory, she wasn't surprised either?

Peggy LeClaire: Well, she didn't say that to me, if that's what you mean. Maybe she wasn't, I don't know. But again, why would she be? She and Zoe were close friends and very familiar with each other's work.

Detective Armstrong: Well, to hear the other folks tell it, ma'am, you and Mallory seemed upset by the reading. They said Mallory looked physically ill.

Peggy LeClaire: People say a lot of things, writers especially if it'll make a better story. People also say things just to get attention. Writers are pretty darn vain people. Did you know that?

Detective Armstrong: No, ma'am, I didn't know that. But that doesn't really answer the question, does it? Were you and Mallory upset by the reading?

Peggy LeClaire: Zoe had a way about her, you know. She could just infuriate people…

Detective Armstrong: And did she do that, ma'am? Infuriate you that night? And Mallory, was she infuriated too?

Peggy LeClaire: You're going to take this the wrong way. People never understand things in their true light…

Detective Armstrong: What am I going to take the wrong way, ma'am? What are you not saying here?

Peggy LeClaire: Well, of course, she was upset. Zoe just didn't know the can of worms she'd opened. What she'd done to that poor girl.

Detective Armstrong: What had Zoe done?

Peggy LeClaire: You know she didn't have me do the transcription, and I couldn't understand that. I had done all her transcription before. And then… oh, Lord…

Detective Armstrong: And then what? Are you telling me there was something funny about that book?

Peggy LeClaire: Nothing about it was funny.

Detective Armstrong: Tell me about this can of worms you mentioned.

Peggy LeClaire: I wish I didn't know. If I hadn't gone there and seen her so upset … I know she didn't mean to tell me.

Detective Armstrong: Who didn't mean to tell you what? Are you talking about Mallory?

Peggy LeClaire: Yes, poor Mallory…

Peggy LeClaire: Are you saying that Mallory had something to do with Zoe's book?

Peggy LeClaire: No, just everything.

Detective Armstrong: Everything? Did Mallory write the book?

Peggy LeClaire: I've said too much. You know, I could be wrong. I just don't know.

Detective Armstrong: What did Mallory tell you, ma'am?

Peggy LeClaire: You should ask her. You should talk to her.

Detective Armstrong: We intend to, ma'am, but I'm asking you now. What did Mallory tell you?

Peggy LeClaire: She gave Zoe a copy of her manuscript for her opinion. Then she had that virus problem. Then Zoe couldn't find the file, and the next thing Mallory knew, she saw the article about Zoe's new book.

Detective Armstrong: Did she confront Zoe about it?

Peggy LeClaire: Zoe just told her she was wrong, and no one would believe her anyway. That she'd just look like some jealous writer trying to steal her thunder.

Detective Armstrong: Was Mallory sure it was her story?

Peggy LeClaire: I don't know if she was or not. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything at all. You have to ask her.

Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am, I will.

Peggy LeClaire: She'll be so upset with me. I'm sorry. Are we finished? I can't talk about this anymore.

Detective Armstrong: Just one more thing before you go. Do you own any firearms?

Peggy LeClaire: What?

Detective Armstrong: Do you own any firearms? A handgun or a rifle or a shotgun?

Peggy LeClaire: What are you suggesting?

Detective Armstrong: I'm not suggesting anything, ma'am. We're asking everyone.

Peggy LeClaire: I have a little Beretta pistol. I bought it years ago.

Detective Armstrong: What kind is it exactly?

Peggy LeClaire: It's a Beretta 21 Bobcat. I got it because I didn't feel safe living alone.

Detective Armstrong: Yes, ma'am. Would you be willing to turn it over to us temporarily so we can run some tests?

Peggy LeClaire: You think I shot Zoe?

Detective Armstrong: Like I said, ma'am, we're asking everyone. It's just routine.

Peggy LeClaire: Yes, fine. You want me to go get it now?

Detective Armstrong: We can send an officer with you to collect it, so you don't have to make the trip back over here.

Peggy LeClaire: If that's what you want to do.

Detective Armstrong: Thank you, ma'am. I appreciate your cooperation. If you'll wait here a moment, I'll get an officer to go with you to collect your pistol.

Interview ended – 9:34 a.m.

 

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