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CHAPTER 12

MAYBE ITS NOT THE WORST THING THAT SERGEANT French doesnt think its murder, Dinah said. Remember how you wanted this to be a no-dead-body weekend? She caught herself. Okay, maybe there is a dead body-but I think what you really meant was a no-murder weekend. Right? She realized shed spoken a little too loudly and threw me an apologetic smile.

Yes, thats what I meant, but having a no-murder weekend doesnt mean a pretend-its-not-a-murder weekend. Even Sergeant French thinks there was someone else on the beach with Izabelle. Im just going to do a little quiet investigating, I said. We were stationed at the registration table in the administration building. There had been a steady stream of campers checking in, though the number was less than we had originally expected. The fog delay had caused some people to cancel. I wondered if more people would have canceled if theyd heard about Izabelles death.

Somehow I was going to have to turn things around on this weekend. I thought of my late husband, Charlie, and wondered what he would do. He was an expert at putting a positive spin on things. But even he would have had trouble putting a spin on the fog emergency and Izabelles death.

The thought of Charlie brought a wave of sadness. It had been over two years since he died, and I had picked up the pieces of my life and started anew. I was proud of myself for getting the job at Shedd & Royal and making new friends, but a part of me wished it had never been necessary. You moved on, but you didnt forget. Not a day went by that something didnt remind me of our previous life.

I suppose that was why I still resisted Barrys desire to take our relationship to another level.

I heard the musical flourish that was my cell phones ring tone. It took a moment to locate my tote bag in the corner and then I answered it. It was Barry checking in.

Hey, babe, remember the boxes? Well, there are more of them in your hall now. Do you want me to check with your sons?

I said no a little too fast. Maybe that was another reason Barrys and my relationship hadnt progressed. My older son, Peter, just didnt like Barry, and Samuel viewed him as an intruder. I softened it by saying Id checked with them already. Peter knew nothing about them, and Samuel hadnt answered his voice mail.

It was frustrating to Barry that he couldnt get along with my boys the way I got along with his son, so he changed the subject. Hows it going there?

I mentioned the retreaters arriving and the workshops starting in the afternoon.

That isnt what I meant. As usual, he saw right through what I said or, more important, didnt say. Okay, Molly, let me guess. Even though this Sergeant French is satisfied your crochet person died from an accidental allergic reaction, you dont buy it. Barry didnt approve of my amateur sleuthing and found it very frustrating that no matter how much he told me to stay out of things, I got involved anyway. And even more upsetting to his worldview, I had actually solved a number of cases.

Well, you wouldnt either, if you knew all the facts.

Barry tried to resist, but he couldnt, and finally asked me for the facts I was talking about. At the end, I heard him blow out his breath.

You do realize if you get this French to think its murder, the number one suspect is Adele. It certainly wasnt very smart of her to go on and on about how Izabelle had done her wrong.

Id already thought about that and come to the obvious conclusion that there was no point in trying to convince Sergeant French that it was homicide. I would just have to figure the whole thing out myself. I didnt tell Barry the last part, but he figured it out.

Molly, you have a bad track record for getting into trouble. Id jump in the Tahoe and be up there in six hours, but when you canceled on me, I let somebody else have the weekend off, he said.

I looked over at the registration table. Suddenly Dinah was swamped with a bunch of people. I told Barry I had to go, and got off the phone quickly.

What did he mean I had a bad track record for getting in trouble? Maybe I had gotten into a few embarrassing situations in my past investigations, but this time I was sure nothing like that was going to happen.

What do you mean Izabelle Landers wont be doing her workshops? a woman in a khaki safari jacket was demanding of Dinah when I reached the table. I had wondered how to handle the situation with the new arrivals. Dinah, Adele, Sheila, and I had gone through the schedules in the folders and crossed out Izabelles name and written in Adele and Sheila. I thought I would tastefully tell each person that Izabelle wouldnt be with us as they registered, but this woman had opened her program folder too quickly.

I thought about using one of the terms doctors use and say wed lost Izabelle, but it sounded like wed misplaced her or she was wandering somewhere without a compass. I decided just to be direct. Im sorry to have to tell you, but Izabelle Landers died last night.

Oh, the woman in the safari jacket said, looking stunned. I assured her we had a replacement for all Izabelles sessions except the one featuring the fusion craft.

Im afraid Izabelle was the only one who could do it, I said.

Another woman with light brown hair that draped over her shoulders and the most beautiful turquoise earrings huddled in close and pulled a man with her. I get it. Thats the surprise Mrs. Shedd talked about. This is one of those mystery weekends, isnt it? the woman said with an excited note in her voice. She turned to her husband. Davis, youre going to love it. We all get to play detective.

A woman in a red sweater stepped closer. What kind of weekend? I came here to crochet.

Ladies, I said, then considered Davis. Sorry, I mean people, this isnt some kind of whodunit game. Izabelle Landers really died. But I can assure you the people we have in her place will do a wonderful job and were going to have a wonderful weekend.

Of course, then they wanted to know how Izabelle died. I decided the best thing to do was to give them what Sergeant French had said about the allergic reaction, with no editorial comments from me.

More people came, and I repeated the story over and over. I thought it was going well until I noticed that Miss Lavender Pants-now technically Miss Lavender Sweatshirt-was hanging off to the side and talking to people as they left. Judging by their expressions, she was giving them her take on things. The woman with the turquoise earrings shot me a knowing look. Great! She probably thought the game was on.

When the table finally cleared, Dinah shook her head. Ive been thinking. I dont care what that sergeant said, that wasnt a crow in the room. It was too big to be a bird, and I didnt hear any wings flapping.


CHAPTER 11 | A Stitch In Crime | CHAPTER 13