It was a hot, humid day. My yellow and blue sundress stuck to my skin, and there wasn’t enough sunscreen in the world to keep from getting burned. Thousands of people milled about, looking for treasures among the emptied out attics and garages, just like me. Besides, it was an excuse to get out of Dallas, where the only talk around town was of the Lakewood Abductor.
“Hold Rocky, would you?” I said to Connie Duncan, my client-turned-friend-turned flea market assistant. I see something I want.” I handed her my squirmy Shih Tzu puppy. He licked the side of her face and then wriggled in her arms until she finally set him down. A lady in pink stretchy yoga clothes was headed the same direction as me. The woman and I reached the back corner of the booth at the same time. She put her hand on the back of a Barcelona chair that had been recovered in black and white zebra fur. I smiled and turned away, distracting myself with a pile of used DVDs that sat on a stack of water-damaged boxes.
The booth owner approached. “You like that chair? It’s Spanish.”
I bit my tongue and looked over my shoulder at the woman in pink. She leaned back into the chair and glanced my way. She knew. She knew I knew. She was checking to see if I was going to ruin things for her.
What were the odds? The chair was a classic Mies van der Rohe Barcelona. At a flea market in a small town south of Dallas, Texas. The reason it was called a Barcelona was because it debuted at the Design Exposition in 1929 which was held in Barcelona, not because it was of Spanish design.
“It’s the most valuable thing in my booth,” the seller said proudly. “Two hundred dollars.”
Pink lady stood up. “Sold.”
I flipped through the movies while the seller ran Pink Lady’s credit card (I would have paid cash). Pillow Talk, That Touch of Mink, With Six You Get Eggroll, and about a dozen more. Looked like she had the whole Doris Day collection. The actress, now 91, was something of an inspiration to me. I shared a birthday with her—April 3rd—not to mention a similar appearance. Blond hair, blue eyes, and a vintage wardrobe. Growing up, I’d received one of her movies for each of my birthdays. Now, after just having turned 48, I was an expert on the set design of those movies and had used that knowledge to launch my mid-century modern interior decorating business, Mad for Mod.
“How much for the boxes under the movies?” I asked the seller.
She lit a cigarette and glanced at the damaged boxes scattered about on the ground. “That garbage? I’ll take ten for the lot.”
Two hours later, Connie helped me unload my haul. Eight boxes of new-old-stock tile flooring and a milk crate filled with vintage wallpaper from the fifties. I prided myself on using honest to goodness real mid-century design elements when I redecorated for a client, and that $10 dollar investment would make some client really, really happy.
When we were finished, Connie turned to me. “Ned and I are leaving for Palm Springs for the rest of the summer. Do you want to come? At least until the police catch the guy who kidnapped those women?”
“You guys go. Get inspired and we’ll tackle your den when you’re back.”
“But aren’t you scared to be here alone?”
“I’ll be fine,” I reassured her. “Besides, I’ve already lived through my fifteen minutes of fame. What else could possibly happen?”
Find out what does happen in With Vics You Get Eggroll!
You can read more about Madison in With Vics You Get Eggroll, the third book in the “Mad for Mod” mystery series, published by Henery Press. The first two books in the series are Pillow Talk and That Touch of Ink.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on April 27 for the chance to win either a print or an e-book copy of With Vics You Get Eggroll–winner’s choice. The print giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. The e-book giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.
About the author
After close to two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. Diane writes the Mad for Mod, Material Witness, Style & Error, and upcoming Costume Shop cozy mysteries. Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since. Sign up HERE for her newsletter for contests, news, and giveaways.