Bending down, he eased the body slowly into the hole. Despite his care, the head and arms flopped like a doll's. With one hand, he jerked the body upright into a sitting position. Then, with both hands, he shoved it backward until it rested against the back of the hole. The torso remained verticle, but the head persisted in lolling to one side.


* * *


Polly went over to the coffee table and plucked a cigarette from an exquisite porcelain box.
"Mother!" came from two directions at once. Ted was absorbed in his thoughts and Kitty in her fish, but Bernice and Lydia both cast their mother stern looks.
She stopped, the cigarette halfway to her mouth. "oh, very well," she said and dropped it back in the box, flipping the lid shut.
"I don't know why you keep the filthy things around," said Bernice.
"They must be horribly stale." Lydia made a face.
"I keep them for my guests. Andrew, will you have one?" she offered in a mocking tone.
"No thanks. I prefer this." He took his pipe from his jacket pocket.
"How naughty," Lydia said.
"And a doctor, too," Bernice added.
"I also drink," he said placidly.
"What'll you have?" Ned, taking the hint, spoke from the bay window.
"Scotch, with a little water." He took a seat on the sofa next to Bernice.


* * *


Fenimore was no stranger to thrift shops. Whereas most of his colleagues headed for Brooks Brothers for their wardrobes, Fenimore preferred the more relaxed atmosphere of secondhand shops. He could afford better clothes, but it was a matter of principal. Why spend two hundred dollars for a jacket, when you could get a slightly used one for twenty? It was the same with his car. He got a bigger bang out of keeping his battered '89 Chevy alive than from buying a new BMW or Lexis. (Jennifer called it "inverted snobbery.")

[ check out the Doctor Jo Banks Mystery Series ]

©2003 Robin Hathaway