Gone Gull | Chapter 27 of 42 - Part: 1 of 3

Author: Donna Andrews | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1889 Views | Add a Review

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Chapter 22

I leaped to my feet and ran over to the far edge of the terrace, where several people seemed to be leaning over to watch something.

“Golly! There goes one!” someone exclaimed.

Yes, one of the flashlight beams had skittered rapidly downhill before landing quite some distance from the building. From what I could see, the unlucky smudger had skidded down the ravine in which first Marty and then Grandfather had been strewing their gull bait. I hoped the kitchen staff had succeeded in removing all traces of garbage, for the smudger’s sake.

Things got a little chaotic for a while, as the smudgers tried to rescue their fallen comrade. A few of the men who had been lounging on the terrace, sipping Dante’s limoncello, went down to help with the rescue. And once the rescue was complete, Rose Noire decided that while it would have been optimal to completely circle the building with their sage, it would do almost as well if they came in through the kitchen door and smudged their way up the stairs, across the length of the terrace, through the great room, and then out into the night through the door at the end of the studio wing. So we all hummed along when they arrived on the terrace, and waved them on their way when they’d finished.

“Not that I believe overmuch in all this herbal stuff,” Amanda remarked to me. “But if it does work, this way they’ll be waving their torches up and down the corridor where most of the bad stuff has been happening. Can’t hurt.”

About the time the humming died down, Cordelia came over to talk to me.

“Mrs. Venable’s ready to go,” she said. “Her suitcases are in the front hall.”

“No more s’mores for me, then.” I put down my roasting stick and pried myself out of the comfortable deck chair. I filled Michael in on where I was going, and then went to collect Mrs. Venable and her luggage. A good thing I had the Twinmobile, since she had four suitcases, three totes, two cardboard boxes, a giant-sized cooler, and a dozen garments on hangers.

The occasional “Be careful with that!” was her only contribution to the car-loading process.

As we set off, I realized that I should probably at least try to make polite small talk, and mentally scrambled for a topic. Then Mrs. Venable took care of the problem for me.

“I do hope your grandfather wasn’t too upset that I took the room he wanted,” she said, as we started down the drive.

Okay, this could be fun.

“If he says anything rude about it, just ignore him,” I advised. “Though with any luck, by morning he’ll be loudly pretending he never even thought of such a thing.”

Mrs. Venable giggled with undisguised delight.

“And once you get settled at the bed-and-breakfast, if you see him skulking about the yard, please don’t tell Cordelia,” I went on. “For some reason that really irks her.”

“Of course not.” She shook her head vigorously.

I had to struggle to keep from giggling. Had I just assured that Mrs. Venable would stay up late scanning Cordelia’s backyard for Grandfather?

“It must be difficult for you, having them not get along,” she said. “How long have they been divorced?”

“They were never married,” I said.

“Oh, my.” She looked expectant.

“Long story,” I said.

“And understandably not one the family wants to talk about,” she murmured with transparently fake sympathy.

“Actually, we don’t mind talking about it,” I said. “But it’s late and it really is a long story. But if you’re curious, once we get to the bed-and-breakfast I can ask Cousin Mary Margaret to show you the feature story the local paper did last year. Cordelia has a copy in her scrapbook.”

“I see.” Her face had fallen at the realization that what she thought was hot gossip was already common knowledge.

She didn’t pursue that line of interrogation, but she did spend the rest of ride trying to pry information out of me—about the police investigation, mostly. I was relieved when I spotted the black wrought iron fence surrounding Cordelia’s house.

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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