Complicit

By dawsonpb All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Other

Blurb

If Joanna Kline had foreseen the consequences of her actions, she would not have put the rag doll with black button eyes and yarn hair in the antique accessories display. The doll was a reminder of a painful, yet she treasures Mimi. When a former friend from her hometown sees the doll and threatens to notify her father that she’s alive, she’s forced to reevaluate her life and her decisions. What will the consequences be if she contacts the Appleton police? Will the officers believe her, or will they once again accept her dad’s lies. He callously labeled her emotionally disturbed when she was in her teens. What label will he bestow on her if she attempts to right old wrongs. James Frazier, is silver-tongued mover and shaker in her hometown. If she digs up old grievances, he and his cronies will find a way to silence her. She fears that the past will repeat itself. Is she willing to take that chance?

Prologue

Sherilyn

I handed the gift-wrapped box to Mike. Waited. And . . . there it was. A satisfied smile. Pleasing customers is my stock and trade. “The Lavender Jade was a wise choice, Mike. The Amethyst beads add to the necklace’s allure, and the size of the beads gives the necklace a dainty look, perfect for a petite lady.”

“Your input was invaluable, Sherilyn. When I walked through the shop door, I knew almost nothing about Jade jewelry, the variety of color, its value or its history. I pictured green, so lavender was a surprise. The colors in the necklace will complement Madelene’s wardrobe and her skin tone. I was hooked when you told me about Jade’s powers. Madelene is into New Age, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she collects Jade because of the power the gem possesses.”

“I’m glad I could help. When you give her the gift, be sure to tell her the necklace’s history. Vintage and antique jewelry rarely comes to us with known history, so consider yourself lucky to have found this piece. The necklace is a 1970’s Chinese export. A businessman from the northeast purchased it for his wife in 1971. She died in an automobile accident a year later. The necklace remained locked in his safe until his death. Joanna, Patchworks’ owner, purchased it at his estate sale.”

“Believe me, she will be fascinated, and so am I. One of my hobbies if collecting stories about unusual people, coincidences, dreams come true. That sort of thing. Would it be inappropriate to share the necklace’s history in a human-interest story?

“The people involved are deceased, so why not?”

“Speaking of history, while I was browsing, I saw a rag doll in your display case. Do you have information about where it was purchased or who the owner was?”

His questions about the doll caught me off guard. Had my characterization been wrong? Men under forty rarely came to the shop alone unless his mission was to purchase a gift, so I had immediately pegged him as a one-purchase customer. When he expressed an interest in vintage jewelry, I was confident he would be able to find the perfect gift in Patchwork’s extensive collection of Vintage jewelry. If he was interested in the doll, I was wrong about him. He would be back. What I could not have known was the domino effect his interest would create.

“I can’t help you. I don’t have a clue about the doll’s history. It belongs to Patchwork’s owner.”

“Do you know how long the doll has been in her possession?”

“Sorry. No. The first time I saw the doll was when Joanna set up the display two weeks ago. I’m positive the doll wasn’t purchased during one of her buying trips. It’s my job to double-check the inventory sheets for inaccuracies when she returns. My best guess is she found it at a garage sale, flea market or consignment shop.”

“Is Joanna here this afternoon?”

“No, she’s out of town on a buying trip.” Sherilyn took one of the shop’s business cards and handed it to him. “She will be back in the shop Monday?”

“Again, thank you for your help. I’ll give her a call.”


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