The next day, I sat behind my counter and packaged a first edition Edward Gorey.
Customers ambled through the bookstore, flipped pages, read covers. Selling rare books in an ordinary bookstore kept me the right amount of busy. I almost didn’t think about the dead man.
A woman banged a dictionary onto the counter. She had Annie Lennox hair, blond, thick, short. She towered over me, and there was muscle definition beneath her mannish blue blazer.
I forced my muscles to unbunch. “Can I help you?”
“Why did my husband come to see you?”
I blinked. “Excuse me?”
“My husband.” She barred her teeth. “Harry Mason.”
I released a breath I hadn’t realized I’d bottled. “Oh.” The urge to console her warred with my desire for info.
She cocked her head. There was something vulpine in her blue eyes, hard and merciless.
I swallowed. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why he was here. He never contacted me.”
“You’re both occultists,” she snarled.
I tore my gaze from the peacock feather in her blazer’s breast pocket. “Occult—? No. I sell rare, occult and esoteric books. I’m not an occultist.” Technically, I’m a shamanic witch. But the woman bristled with hostility, and I didn’t feel like sharing.
Her brow furrowed. “So, he brought it to sell,” she muttered, “or—” She pressed her hands flat on the counter and leaned closer. “Was Tom here?”
“He’s a killer. Don’t sell him the book.”
“I can’t. The sheriff has it.”
She leaned closer, looming. “I want my property.”
Her hand moved faster than my eye could follow. She gripped my wrist, squeezing.
“Excuse me.” A white haired-lady blinked owlishly up at me. “Have you got Disciplined by the Duke?”
The blonde released my arm. “I’ll be back.”
I rubbed my wrist.
She stalked to the door and jerked it open.
A local B&B owner strolled past, walking her beagle. The dog yipped, startled.
The blonde rocketed backward, banging into the closing door and gasping.
Susan reached toward her. “Are you—”
She raced off, boots thundering on the wood-plank sidewalk, the mercury sky above threatening havoc.
In the next episode (6): Lenore digs deeper into the mystery of the murdered man.