“Here’s the thing,” said Inspector McTeague. “It was dark. He can’t be sure who kissed him, only that if felt like the victim.”

“What are you saying?” asked Officer Strong. “I don’t understand.”

McTeague thumped a thick manila envelope onto the tabletop. “You’re familiar with Hattie Snodgrass?”

“No, who is she?”

“One of the most skilled con artists the department has ever had to deal with. She is an expert kisser, Strong, a master of the art form. She can make her kisses feel like they came from somebody, anybody, else.”

“My God,” said Strong. “You mean to say…?”

“That’s right,” McTeague said. “She’s a ventrilokisst.”

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