Bindweed

Read Bindweed for Free Online

Book: Read Bindweed for Free Online
Authors: Janis Harrison
and Solomon Detective Agency. I’d put a stop to that. It was one thing to dabble in sleuthing, but a totally different realm of existence to do it for pay. When I’m involved in an investigation, it’s because I’m personally motivated. I either knew the deceased or someone I care about is under suspicion and I want to prove his innocence.
    My father’s lack of interest in Toby’s death was puzzling. I followed Dad to the elevator that saved steps from the first and second floors. “So?” I said. “Did you draw any conclusions from the newspaper article?”
    Dad pushed the button, and the elevator door creaked open. “Not really. Just skimmed the piece. I had other things on my mind.”
    I moved so I could see his face. Not one iota of curiosity, just a few beads of sweat trickling from his hairline down to his temple. I helped him roll the dolly into the elevator, then stepped back into the hallway. Before he pushed the button, I offered him a juicy tidbit. “I have inside information that came directly from Sid.”
    Dad’s lips twisted into a grimace at the mention of the sheriff’s name. Sid and Dad didn’t get along. There’s an antagonism between them that just won’t go away. They’d almost come to blows the first time they met, when my father had boasted to Sid about the detective agency. Sid was proprietorial about his law-enforcement position in Spencer County and took my father’s idea as a personal affront.
    My father’s lips smoothed into an ingratiating smile. “It’s
about time the sheriff recognized the fact that my daughter has brains as well as beauty.” He beamed at me like a proud papa.
    It was too much sweetness before breakfast. I didn’t understand my father. Just when I thought I had him pegged, he did an about-face. Where was his curiosity regarding Toby’s death? Since my father had moved into this house, he’d poked his nose into anything that had a surreptitious feel to it. Toby’s untimely demise certainly qualified. What was the deal?
    The elevator door started to close. I took a step toward my room but stopped. Abigail. Abby. My father was quite the charmer, quite the lady’s man. Maybe he was infatuated with Ms. Dupree.
    I frowned. Something about him had struck me as different. I’d noticed his weight loss and his tan, but I suddenly realized it was his clothes. Whether my father was puttering around the house or going out on the town, he favored dress slacks, polished leather shoes, and conservative shirts. This morning he was dressed in faded blue jeans, sneakers, and an ordinary white T-shirt. His arms looked muscular for a man in his seventies. Was he going for the youthful look? Why?
    I spun back to the elevator and pressed my lips to the crack around the door facing. “Dad, how old is Abigail Dupree?”
    His huffy answer echoed up the elevator shaft.
    â€œThat’s hardly relevant, daughter.”
    I walked to the horseshoe-shaped staircase that curved gracefully to the bottom floor. Leaning over the railing, I looked down into the entry hall. After a few minutes, my father came into view. “Dad, Ms. Dupree’s age might not be relevant, but I’d like to know.”
    He glanced up at me but continued on to the library with his
burden. “She’s thirty-two years old,” he said. Then he added testily, “Your mother raised you to be a courteous, thoughtful woman. I expect to see that person present in the library when Abby and I are ready for you.”
    Uh-oh. I rarely heard that tone from my father. I saluted his back, spun on my heel, and walked back to my bedroom.

Chapter Four
    I got dressed before I called Lois about my change of plans. I assured her I’d be at the flower shop no later than eleven o’clock. It wasn’t even nine, but she said the phones had been ringing when she’d come in the back door. I told her

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