[This is the MP3CD audiobook format in vinyl case.]
[Read by Carrington MacDuffie]
In Kate Wilhelm's latest crime novel, a small Oregon town is rocked by a wheels-within-wheels case of art, fraud, and murder.
Silver Bay, Oregon, a small coastal resort town of under a thousand residents, is home to three generations of women: Marnie, the long-widowed owner of a small gift shop; Van, her granddaughter who is about to graduate from medical school; and Stef, mercurial and difficult, a brilliant artist who refuses to sell her work. When Stef discovers that Dale Oliver--the latest husband/paramour in a very long line--is trying to sell her work behind her back, she puts a stop to it and threatens to do the same to him. Shortly thereafter, Stef dies in an accident in her studio, and Dale shows up with a signed contract granting him the right to sell her work. Convinced that Stef was murdered to steal her artwork, Marie and Van, grandmother and granddaughter, decide to do whatever is necessary to see that Dale doesn't get away with any of it. This includes enlisting the help of the new stranger in town, Tony, a former New York City cop who might be the only one who can prove it was murder and bring the killer to justice.
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KATE WILHELM is the bestselling author of dozens of novels and short-story collections. Among her novels are the popular courtroom thrillers starring attorney Barbara Holloway. Her other works include the science fiction classic Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. Born in Ohio, she now lives in Eugene, Oregon.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
MARNIE MARKOV STILL had a flush of cold on her cheeks that March afternoon when Tony walked into her gift shop. Few outsiders showed up in the middle of the day before the weekend at this time of year. She sized this one up quickly. He was not a serious shopper. His cursory glance at the merchandise was not the searching look of anyone seeking a particular gift or memento. The shop held the usual assortment of shells from around the world, the lovely floats sometimes found on the local beaches, rarer now than they had been in the past, kites, souvenir sweatshirts, gift mugs decorated with whales or fir trees … Marnie knew that much of the merchandise could be found in any other shop up and down the Oregon coast, but a lot of it was unique to her shop. Handblown glass items from Bepe LaRoche; handcrafted pottery by local artisans; jewelry made by locals. None of these held the attention of the tall man approaching.
While Tony’s glance had appeared cursory, he had taken in and would remember the merchandise, where it was, even the posted prices. His swift look at Marnie was also exhaustive. A gray-haired, pink-cheeked woman, blue eyes, sixty to seventy years old, weight within a pound or two of 135, five feet three. She had a mole on her cheek.
He was a big man, not only tall, at least six-one or -two, but big in every dimension without appearing overweight. He walked with a limp, not bad, but noticeable.
As he moved toward her, Marnie suddenly had a vivid memory of seeing Ed approaching another counter, a long time ago. He had walked with a swaying motion unlike any she had seen before. Then, she had stood behind a Macy’s counter in New York City, not quite nineteen years old, one year out of high school in Indiana, and filled with an unaccountable dread and even fear of big, tall men.
The memory was so sharp, so immediate, Marnie caught the edge of the counter and gripped it hard, relieved when the stranger came to a halt, abruptly turned, and headed toward the alcove, which was what made her shop unique along the coast.
Now, for the first time, Tipper, her wirehaired terrier, raised his head to watch the man. He was used to customers and paid little attention to them, but his job was to help guard the alcove, and he was reliable. Marnie motioned to him, and he didn’t move from the floor at the end of the counter, but he was watching.
The alcove was set off with a velvet rope. Beyond the rope a pale-violet silk scarf edged with exquisite lace was draped over a low table. A small placard read CREATED BY JUSTINE LINCOLN. The table was satin-smooth cherrywood, with curved legs, and a gently scalloped edge. It had its own placard: FURNITURE HANDCRAFTED BY DAVE MCADAMS. A handblown-glass wall lamp, translucent pale green, hung above it, Bepe’s work. Behind it all on the wall was a painting signed by Stef. That was what seemed to hold the tall man’s attention. As well it should, Marnie thought, leaving her counter to cross the shop and stand near the man.
“These are all the work of local artists,” she said, motioning toward the arrangement.
“That’s a beautiful painting,” he said. “He’s a very fine artist.”
“She,” Marnie said with a smile. “She’s a woman.”
His surprise did not change his expression of interest as he turned his attention back to the painting. He wasn’t surprised that a woman had done it, but that she had chosen such an unlikely name for herself. “Stef,” he said, “captured a rare mood.”
It was one of her better pieces. An impressionistic view of Newport Bay, caught when the setting sun was revealed by soft, muted peach tones on small swells in the water, on the wings of gulls in flight, in sails. All the colors were muted by dusk. Pale yellow shone from suggestions of lights in windows onshore and in the lights of fishing boats. As he had said, the painting generated a mood. To Marnie’s mind it was a feeling of peace, the quietude found at the close of a day.
He turned toward her then. “Actually, I came in to get directions to Dave McAdams’s shop. I wasn’t expecting to find a miniature art gallery.”
“I showcase our local artists. Drop in again if you’re around. I change everything about once a month. There are business cards that tell where the items can be purchased.” She pointed to another table on the near side of the rope. He did not take one.
He didn’t look like a salesman, Marnie decided, or a thief, either. He was dressed in a lined Windbreaker, jeans, hiking shoes, and he was too tall not to be picked out of a crowd. His hair was curly, black, with a sprinkling of white that looked almost like a salon adornment; his eyes were dark, black or close to it. His gaze held hers steadily, not the gaze of an ax murderer. But she would call Dave, she also decided. She gave him directions.
“North to Fourth Street, turn right, and he’s on the right side in the middle of the second block. His shop looks like a shed, set back quite a bit from the street.”
The man nodded. “Thanks.” After another glance at the painting, he left.
She watched him walk out, returned to her counter, and put in a call to her old friend Dave McAdams. After alerting him that she had sent a visitor his way, she looked again at Stef’s painting. She had tried again and again to understand how Stef managed to get that particular feeling of peace in her work now and then. Stef had never had a peaceful moment in her life. Restless, constantly in motion, never satisfied with her work, with anyone around her, the world in general—peace was as alien to her as confession to an atheist.
Stef had been a colicky baby, a poor student, too restless and impatient to sit still in class, to pay attention to anything that didn’t feature her at its center. As an adult, nothing had changed. Stef was Marnie’s only child, nearing her fiftieth birthday, as unsettled now as she had been as a hormone-driven adolescent. Yet she managed to express through painting what eluded her in life.
* * *
DAVE MCADAMS WORKED alone, had worked alone for years after trying out two assistants decades earlier, and accustomed to solitude, he did not relish uninvited visitors. Wiry, seventy-one years old, he had sparse white hair, which was seldom seen, since his icon appeared to be an old baseball cap that had long since lost any distinguishable color or marking. What Dave liked best in life was working with beautiful wood, fruit woods, mahogany, teak, all the hardwoods, and he hummed tunelessly as he turned the planks and blocks into one beautiful and useful piece after another, each one meant to be appreciated for itself. Satiny finishes, oil patiently rubbed in over and over until he had the perfect surface that would hold up under daily use and grow lovelier with age. That day he was at his bench when the visitor knocked at his door and entered when Dave grudgingly said, “Come on in. Door’s not locked.”
Marnie had told him the guy was big, but still it was a bit of a surprise to see how big. Probably 220, 240, and not fat. He was carrying a bulky duffel bag.
Tony stood by the door, transfixed momentarily by a strong feeling of déjà vu. The shop was so like his father’s own shop had been, it was like walking through the door into the past, expecting to see his father look up, grin, and wave toward some unfinished piece of Tony’s, as if to say, Get to work, son. The moment passed.
Everything in the workroom was neat and clean, no piles of scraps anywhere, tools aligned on a bench or hung on a rack where they belonged. The lathe was clean. Oils, sanding papers, lacquers, varnishes, stains, all lined up, stacked up. A bench with a table saw, other saws hanging from a Peg-Board … His searching look came to rest on Dave, who was holding a spindle for a chair. He didn’t put it down or make any other gesture to indicate that he didn’t intend to go back to smoothing out a rough spot as soon as the visitor stated his business and left.
“I came to apply for a job,” Tony said.
“Don’t recall putting an ad in the paper, or hanging a help-wanted sign out.”
“I talked to Willoughby in his store in Portland. He said he could sell twice as much as you can produce, that there’s a constant call for more of your furniture.”
Dave snorted. “Not hiring. You’re wasting your time.”
“My name’s Anthony Mauricio,” Tony said, as if he had not heard a word. “Retired. I’ll just leave this and come by to collect it in a day or two.” He was opening his duffel bag. He pulled out an object wrapped in cloth, uncovered it to reveal a box.
From across the room it looked like cherry, or something with a cherry stain, with painting on the sides and top. Not like anything that Dave did or wanted to do. “Not my kind of thing,” he said, dismissing it.
“I’ll be driving around the coast a couple of days and come back on Friday,” Tony said, again as if oblivious to Dave’s rejection. He looked around the shop, then set the box on the bench with the table saw. “I’ll leave my card, too, and a couple of pictures. A reference you can call if you want.” He put them by the box, strode to the door, and walked out.
Dave cursed under his breath. “Damn fool!” he muttered, and turned his attention back to the spindle, but after a moment he put it down and crossed the room to examine the fancy box. It wasn’t stained, nor was it painted. It was cherry. The design was inlay, a pale rosewood inlay of a leaf motif that wrapped around the box and to the top, where it opened to a fleur-de-lis. Dave picked up the box to look at it more closely. Dovetailed joints, tiny brass hinges, an oiled patina finish, top and bo...
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Book Description Findaway World, 2012. preloaded_digital_audio_player. Book Condition: Good. PLAYAWAY ** DIGITAL AUDIO PLAYAWAY EDITION ** withdrawn from the library collection. A PLAYAWAY is a Compact Digital Audio Player already pre-loaded with your audio book. PLAYAWAY IS EASY TO USE! Just plug in the earphones, press the power button ON and begin to listen and enjoy. Included is a NEW BATTERY and NEW EARBUDS. Light weight with a powerful purpose. Take along on your next journey. Makes a sensitive get well gift! Enjoy the convenience and versatility of the PLAYAWAY for all your travel and leisure needs. Audio Book. Bookseller Inventory # 516909201686411