Moon signs, p.26
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       Moon Signs, p.26

           Helen Haught Fanick
 

  #

  We found Ivy upstairs cleaning Stefan’s room, and she assured us that the vacant rooms were unlocked. We had decided we’d better check those rooms next, since they’d be filling up tomorrow. We wanted to get Stefan’s permission before we checked his room. Ivy assured us that if Stefan had said it was okay, we should feel free to check out the paintings in as many of the unoccupied rooms as we wanted. We started with the rooms in the wing opposite ours, which were all unoccupied since the dog people checked out, and found nothing. Next, we went to the room the Nicholsons had checked out of and had no luck there, at least not as far as the paintings were concerned.

  Andrea was on the side of the bed nearest the windows, putting up the last of the prints, and she stooped to pick up something from the floor. “That’s interesting.”

  “What is it?”

  “It’s a slip of paper that was under the bed. Just the edge was sticking out under the spread. It’s a phone number.”

  “What’s the area code? And is there a name, or just the number?”

  “It’s 304, and it’s only the number.

  I walked over and looked at the slip. “Would that be a Charleston number?”

  “There’s no telling. The whole state has the same area code. I’ll try the number when we get back to our room and my cell phone.”

  Since we’d already checked our room and that of Gunter Bosch, the only room left to check in our wing was that of Maria Borodin, and that would have to wait till Ivy was cleaning in there.

  We crossed the lobby and went upstairs. Maggie’s was the only occupied room on the west side of the landing; we checked the others without finding anything. Maggie had pointed out Olga’s room to us earlier; it was across the east hallway from Stefan’s. Andrea tried the door and found it locked.

  “Her things are probably still in there,” I said. “Maybe Stefan can unlock the door for us later.” We walked down the hallway and discovered there was only one other room beyond Olga’s. Stefan’s room obviously took up one entire side of that wing. We noticed immediately when we entered the unoccupied room that the frames were different there, and my hopes began to soar.

  Andrea removed the cardboard backing from the first one we took from the wall, and I felt as if my heart were in my throat as she removed a picture. It was a glossy print of a still life, complete with fruit and flowers cascading from bowl and vase and onto a table. I sighed. “Drat!”

  “Let’s check the other one, just to be sure. And we still have Maggie’s and Stefan’s rooms…and Olga’s, of course.”

  “And Maria Borodin’s.”

  “Yes. We have a ways to go before we give up.” She was actually encouraging me now. She removed the other painting from its frame. It was a similar still life, with roses instead of dahlias and heavy on the purple grapes. We put everything back as we had found it, turned off the light, and went to our room.

  Andrea took her cell phone from her purse and dialed the number on the slip of paper from the Nicholson’s room. She said nothing for a minute and then said, “Sorry, I must have the wrong number.”

  “Could you tell who was on the other end?”

  “The person who answered said ‘Henry’s Pawn Shop.’”

  “Sounds like a perfect place to get rid of the CZ’s, which Nicholson undoubtedly thinks are diamonds.”

  “A possibility. One more item I need to give the sheriff. In the meantime, let’s think about getting some supper.”
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