Moon signs, p.31
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       Moon Signs, p.31

           Helen Haught Fanick


  Saturday morning, and the hotel was full. Two young women sat at the fireplace, looking at the notice about the torchlight descent, the same notice that had been slipped under our door. A flood of guests had checked in yesterday before we got back from the ski area, and Ivy was behind the desk, answering questions and giving directions. She motioned to Andrea and me when we came into the lobby. “Go on to the kitchen. There’s coffee and rolls, but you need to have them there. They’re not for this crowd, just for our special guests.”

  We thanked her and went to the kitchen. “I bet Asbury’s going to take over the desk, and she’s going to start cleaning right away. Maybe, if she goes to Maria Borodin’s room, we can check the pictures in there before we go to the ski area,” I said.

  Andrea poured coffee, and we sat down at the table in the corner with apple-cinnamon Danish. “That’ll only leave Stefan’s room, if we find nothing in Maria’s.”

  I sipped my coffee and thought about that for a moment. “I’m going to feel really let down if we check every room and don’t find the Monets.”

  “I’m afraid we’ll be at a dead end if that happens. I don’t know where else to look.”

  “I don’t either. But you know, it seems reasonable that the Monets might be in Stefan’s room, since that obviously was the living quarters of the owner from the beginning.”

  Ivy walked in and went to the coffeepot. “I’m going to have a quick half cup before I start cleaning. Asbury’s taken over the desk.”

  “Where will you start cleaning first?” Andrea asked.

  “I can do your room, if you’d like. It doesn’t matter where I start, just so long as I start. It’ll take me all day to clean all the rooms.”

  “We were thinking that if you were cleaning Maria’s room, we could check the paintings in there before we leave for the ski area.”

  “No problem. As I said, it doesn’t matter where I start, as long as I get all the rooms done before the guests get back from skiing.”

  “Does David need a ride to the ski area today?” Andrea asked.

  “He got up early and caught a ride with Stefan. You’ll probably see him there.”

  I hid my impatience as Ivy drank her coffee, and finally we went down the hall to Maria’s room. The small space for hanging clothes was jammed with ski clothes of many colors. Underneath the parkas and ski pants were two enormous suitcases. The woman didn’t believe in traveling light. I imagined the rest of her things were in the drawers of the small chest that stood between the windows, but I didn’t dare look.

  It took Andrea no time at all to whip out her Leatherman and remove the back from the first print. Nothing there except for the black bears. She tried the other one, just to be sure, and it came up the same. My heart sank a little as we were left with only one room to check.

  Ivy had started cleaning the bathroom, and I went to the door and looked in. An array of cosmetics stood around the lavatory. These were expensive cosmetics, department store cosmetics, and not the drug store type I use. Even her makeup was making me feel inadequate.

  “Any luck with the pictures?” Ivy asked.

  “No luck.”

  As I turned, Andrea was looking at a photo on the night stand by the bed. I walked closer and saw it was a good-looking man who was dressed in a suit with a white shirt and tie. He had been smiling at the camera when the picture was taken. It must be her husband, I thought. I figured that a woman who keeps a picture of her husband on the night stand while traveling couldn’t possibly be involved in anything criminal.
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