I’m Matt Viera, currently a reporter for the Cove Chronicles, and I’m supposed to be telling you a story about how hard it is to date a celebrity. I used to be something of an internet sensation. That’s all behind me now, and people are starting to forget, which is what I want, so these days it’s Keely Fairchild who’s getting all the attention. Solve a murder or two, and it’s hard to go anywhere without people staring and pointing.
But I just heard about another murder in the quilt world, and I’ve got to run, so for now, I thought you might be interested in a conversation Keely and I had about her bank vault. The one in her house, I mean. The building used to be a small bank branch. Removing the vault would have cost too much, so she renovated around it. And now she won’t let anyone see what’s in it. Which sets my reporter’s antennae to twitching.
So, there we were, having dinner at the Smugglers’ Tavern. (It’s under new management, in case you haven’t heard. But that’s a story for another time, after I’ve had a chance to do some interviews.) And I very subtly asked, “So, when are you going to let me see your bank vault?”
KEELY: “Why are you so interested in it, anyway?”
ME: “Because you don’t want me to see it.”
KEELY: “You’d be disappointed. It’s just a room like any other.”
ME: “If that were true, you wouldn’t be so reluctant to give me a tour.”
KEELY: “If we were in court, you wouldn’t be able to testify to that. It’s an opinion, not evidence.”
As an aside, I should probably mention that Keely used to be a high-powered trial lawyer, and she quit at the height of her career to become a quilt appraiser. She won’t explain about that either.
ME: “Fortunately, we’re not in court. In fact, if the legends about the smugglers’ activities during the early days of Danger Cove and this tavern are true, we’re in a place where no one much cared about the rule of law.”
KEELY: “Were there really smugglers operating here?”
ME: “I could tell you all about sunken treasure and the pirate’s hook out in the cove. But that’s going to have to be a story—or, really, several stories—for another day. I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to change the subject, and you still haven’t answered my question about the vault.”
KEELY: “It could just be empty space.”
ME: after some thought: “It could be, but it’s not. You’re too practical to let all that square footage go to waste.”
KEELY: “It’s only about ten feet square.”
ME: “That rules out my first guess. I’d read about people converting abandoned vaults into coffee shops and cafes.”
KEELY: “Definitely not big enough for that.”
The arrival of our food gave me some time to consider what might or might not be in the vault. Another woman might have filled the safe deposit boxes with jewelry or used the space as a dressing room. Not Keely, though. She isn’t particularly interested in clothes or accessories. I undoubtedly know more about fashion than she does.
ME: “All those little cubbyholes would be great for a collection of some sort.”
I wasn’t sure if that was a noncommittal agreement with my guess or simply an indication that the entree she’d just tasted was up to the standards of the prior management of the Smugglers’ Tavern.
ME: “My sister was horse-crazy when she was a teen, and she collected model horses. The vault’s cubbies would make perfect stalls for them.”
KEELY: “I was never all that interested in horses.”
ME: “Perhaps a live pet then? A deep-sea aquarium that doesn’t require natural light? Bats? Geckos? An exotic wildcat?”
KEELY: “No pets of any sort. Although I have been thinking about getting a house cat. The quilt guild seems to think it’s impossible to appreciate a quilt without a cat. Or vice versa.”
ME: “I’m running out of options here. Perhaps you’re using it as a family vault, with ‘cremains’ in each safe deposit box.”
KEELY: Silently wrinkled her nose and went back to concentrating on her meal.
ME: “Okay, nothing morbid. What about chocolate? There were rumors of a cocoa bean shortage, so perhaps you stocked up.”
KEELY: “I might have, if I’d known about it. I have to wonder, though, if that supposed shortage wasn’t as much of a far-fetched story as the ones about Danger Cove pirates and smugglers.”
And so it went for the rest of the evening, according to the notes I scribbled down after I got home—alone—that night.
Keely might not have spilled any of her secrets, but we had a good time, and I made her laugh. A big improvement over when we first met, and all she would do was scowl at me suspiciously. Besides, the evening had been a nice change from all of our previous encounters. We’d finally managed to have a date that didn’t involve any dead bodies.
Robbing Peter to Kill Paul is part of the multi-author Danger Cove Mysteries, and the third book in the Danger Cove Quilting mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, August 2016
For quilt appraiser Keely Fairchild, the opportunity to appraise more than a hundred quilts feels almost too good to be true. And then she learns the bad news: the quiltmaker was murdered and the police have no leads. Keely suspects that the quilts hold the key to the dead woman’s death as well as to her life. While looking for answers in the quilts, Keely uncovers a variety of suspects, including the greedy heir, a smarmy used-car salesman, a feuding neighbor, and even a rival quiltmaker. As if this project weren’t enough to complicate Keely’s quiet life, she’s also under a short deadline to find new meeting space for the quilters’ guild and she’s running out of time to decide whether to let charming local reporter Matt Viera into her life. Of course, those other problems may not matter if the quiltmaker’s killer strikes again, this time to prevent Keely from finding the clues in the calico.
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About the author
Gin Jones overcame a deeply ingrained habit of thinking and writing like a lawyer in order to write fiction. In her spare time, Gin makes quilts, grows garlic and serves on the board of directors for the XLH Network. Connect with Gin at ginjones.com.
All comments are welcomed.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of Robbing Peter to Kill Paul. The giveaway will end August 16, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!