The view from our restaurant was nothing short of spectacular.
At night, Victoria twinkled as if it were a fairyland with colorful illuminations reflecting in the harbor against a black sky.
White lights boldly outlined the Parliament Buildings.
On either side of its entrance, the Empress was brightly lit with red. With green ivy covered walls it was almost as if the grand hotel was decorated for Christmas.
Our meal was pleasant. I hadn’t realized Aura was high end Pacific Rim Asian food. The only thing on the menu that had appeal was the Peking-spice rubbed duck breast with ginger puree, balsamic roasted broccoli, roasted peanuts, sour cherry gastrique (whatever that was), and sesame seeds.
We chatted about the sights Arthur and Diana visited during the day. As we dined, I couldn’t help but think about the night David was murdered.
“Jillian,” Diana said, “You look a million miles away. Tell us what’s on your mind.”
I lay down my fork, tempted to offer Teddy a teeny bite of freshly grilled duck. Some restaurants frowned on feeding dogs on their premises, so I refrained.
“Forgive me, Diana. I can’t help wondering about the night David Blackwolf was killed. It must have been a night similar to this one. Yet something triggered a rage that resulted in murder.”
“What have you learned? Anything?” Arthur sipped his wine then dabbed his mouth with his cloth napkin.
“A little. I’ve spent time with Father Goodman who looks worried about something. I don’t know if it’s in regards to Rainbow Knight or her brother Badger Knight.”
“Have you talked to them?” Diana sat back after finishing her entrée.
“I haven’t talked to Badger yet. I’m not looking forward to the confrontation.”
“Why is that?” Arthur asked.
“Badger Knight has a dark sense about him. He’s angry and defensive. I’m asking Rainbow to go with me when I talk to him.”
“Sounds wise to me.” Arthur smiled. “Anyone for dessert?”
Diana and I shook our heads.
“Then I’ll be good, too.” Arthur patted his flat stomach.
After I’d eaten half of my duck, I asked the server to box up the leftovers for Teddy later.
On the way home I wanted to share about the talking stick and Raymond Crow’s leaving it in David’s room but decided against divulging information. Sergeant Stone wouldn’t appreciate it.
We’d reached the hotel. Once inside, I reached for my key.
“Dinner was delightful. Thanks for inviting me.”
“You have a standing invitation, Jillian.” Diana hugged me. “Have a good night.”
Once inside our room I took Teddy out and hugged him.
“I love you, sweet dog.” I kissed his little head. “Let’s go for one last walk after I make a call and then head for bed.”
He perked up his ears at the word “walk.”
“Woof, woof!” he barked clearly in favor of my suggestion.
I took the slip of paper Rainbow had given me and called the number.
It wouldn’t be easy arranging an appointment with her defiant brother, but I had to try.
“Rainbow?” I said when she answered.
“It’s Jillian, isn’t it?”
“Yes. I need a favor.”
“Would you arrange for us to meet with Badger – say over lunch tomorrow – I need to talk to him.”
“Sure. Badger loves to eat. Tell me where and when, and I’ll make sure we’re there.”
“Any time and any place you suggest. You know the area better than I do.”
“Okay. Give me your email. I’ll text you, if that’s agreeable.”
“Perfect. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
That went well. The hard part would be talking to Badger face to face.
All I could think about was soaking in a lovely hot bubble bath and getting ready for bed. But Teddy’s walk came first.
When we were finally back to our room, I quickly removed his leash and gave him a nice brushing.
“There. Now you look dashing!”
He wagged his tail as if agreeing with me.
“Up you go,” I said putting him on his towel.
He wanted to sniff the chocolate that housekeeping left on my pillow for the turn down service.
“No chocolate for dogs. I’m sorry.” I took a small treat from my doggie bag and tossed it to him. “This will have to do.”
But I can have chocolate!
I unwrapped the truffle, popped it into my mouth, and ran a bath.
While the tub filled, I recalled what Rainbow had said at Raymond Crow’s house.
“It was a beautiful night.” Rainbow had looked out with haunting eyes. “David had the window open. That’s all I can remember right now.”
Anyone could have bludgeoned David and exited through the window.
Tomorrow I would take a closer look.
A spray of perfume on my throat and wrists, a quick brush through my hair, and I was ready for bed.
I laid out an outfit for the next day, turned off the light, and climbed wearily into bed.
As I lay back on the soft pillow my mind was in a whirl.
Murder at the Empress Hotel is the tenth book in the “Jillian Bradley” mystery series,
Meet the author
Nancy Jill Thames writes the Jillian Bradley mystery series, beginning with Murder in Half Moon Bay, featuring a feisty garden columnist and her clue-sniffing Yorkie, and has been listed in the Amazon Author Watch Bestseller List.
When Nancy Jill isn’t plotting Jillian’s next perilous adventure, she travels between Texas, California, and Georgia finding new ways to spoil her grandchildren, playing classical favorites on her baby grand, or having afternoon tea with friends.
Learn more at www.nancyjillthames.com.
Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Murder at The Empress Hotel. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end January 21 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!