The Sayers Swindle (A Book Collector Mystery)

Free The Sayers Swindle (A Book Collector Mystery) by Victoria Abbott

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Authors: Victoria Abbott
icy shade of silver was parked just in front of the garage. The Adams family was home! We were getting closer to finding the Sayers collection, and I felt optimistic about getting the books back.
    “Maybe I’ll regain my old life after all,” Karen mused.
    “Absolutely. I know you will.”
    As I helped Karen from the Cozy Corpse van and set up her walker, Harry Yerxa looked up from his boxwood shaping and squinted at us suspiciously. I had to remind myself that Jordan Bingham hadn’t actually ever met him.
    I tried to make eye contact rather than stare at the shorts or the knobby knees that should have been under cover.
    “Hello,” I chirped as we made our slow way up the walk.
    He frowned and stared at me with an unwelcome flicker of recognition. “Have we met?”
    I paused and pretended to consider that. “I don’t think so. I am taking my friend to see Mr. Adams.” I deliberately left my name out of the conversation.
    He sputtered, “What happened to the good old days when funeral homes were quiet and dignified? Everything in this world doesn’t have to be a joke.”
    Karen and I exchanged stunned glances. I was surprised that my jaw didn’t smack the sidewalk.
    “I’m sorry?” I said. Had someone died and we missed it?
    He pointed to the van we’d just emerged from. “The Cozy Corpse? What kind of business is that? Did someone die?”
    It took every muscle in my face to keep from laughing out loud.
    “It’s a reference to mystery books. I have a business specializing in used and rare crime fiction,” Karen said gently. “See the smaller print?”
    We left him peering at the van’s lettering and tried not to collapse howling as we got to the door. The security cameras must have captured the hilarity. I hoped the neighbor didn’t hear. I didn’t want to burn any bridges with Harry. He was observant and he took himself and life very seriously. It was a safe bet that he’d be a person who was a very good source of information.
    Stairs were still a challenge for Karen, and I did my best to help as she struggled up the six steps to the front entrance of the Adams house. Despite the struggle, we were still smothering our grins when we reached the red front door.
    The door opened with a slow creak, and the song lyrics—“the Addams Famileeeeeee”—vibrated in my brain. I half expected to see Lurch answering, but a tall, slender woman faced us instead. She was elegant and entirely without angles, seemingly almost boneless, with a pale face and translucent skin with an otherworldly glow. Her ankle-length jersey outfit, a faded taupe, seemed to have been chosen to not draw attention from that face. Her long straight hair was a paler shiny shade of the same taupe color, and she wore it parted in the middle and rippling down past her shoulders. This was the long hair Karen had mentioned. I could not remember when I had come face-to-face with a more beautiful woman. This wasn’t the beauty of a supermodel, but rather the stuff of romantic Arthurian legends and tragic ballads. But she was not wearing an expression of ethereal bliss. In fact, if looks could kill, Karen and I both would have been dead and long buried. When she shot a glance in my direction, I flinched and Karen stood speechless.
    A flaming paper bag filled with doggie doo-doo couldn’t have received a worse reception at that entrance. At least she didn’t stamp on us.
    Maybe not that far off from Morticia after all. I extended my hand and said, “So nice of you to have us, Mrs. Adams. I am Karen’s friend.”
    She didn’t deny the Mrs. Adams bit, but she scowled at Karen, who gripped the handles of her walker to steady herself. Mrs. Adams appeared to be blocking the door. “You didn’t tell us you were bringing anyone,” she said in the tone of a DA bringing a charge. Her voice was strong and bitter, a strange contrast with her lovely face and willowy body.
    I said in my most harmless tone, “You may not be aware that Karen has been

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