A Real Pickle

A Real Pickle by Jessica Beck Read Free Book Online

Book: A Real Pickle by Jessica Beck Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jessica Beck
man in the end,” I said.  “I’m proud to have called him my friend.”
    “You were lucky to be able to,” Humphries said softly.  “Now, if there’s nothing else, I have work to do.”
    I’d never been dismissed by a butler before, but hey, there was a first time for everything.  
    After Humphries was gone, I walked out into the hallway and over to Moose’s door.  When I tapped lightly on it, he opened it with a smile, and I could see the kid’s grin on his face.  “Did you ask him about the bathroom?”
    “Is yours hidden behind a secret panel, too?” I asked with a grin.
    “It’s all pretty amazing,” Moose said.  “I wonder how much this place is worth?”
    “Thinking of making an offer?” I asked him, grinning.
    “The foyer alone is too rich for my blood,” he said.  “I don’t know about you, but I’m a little hungry.  What say we sneak downstairs and see if we can find the kitchen?”
    “Shouldn’t we ring for Humphries or something?” I asked.  I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for this place, but I had a hunch that us wandering around the kitchen and servants’ quarters wasn’t on the list of things we were allowed to do.
    “My, you’ve become pretty comfortable with calling them servants, haven’t you?”
    “That’s not what I meant, and you know it,” I said.
    “Take it easy.  I was just teasing.  Victoria, their rules don’t apply to us here.  Think about the freedom we have.  Curtis gave us the run of the place.  We don’t have to ask anyone’s permission or forgiveness.  We’re here to find his killer, and if that means ignoring the status quo, then so be it.”
    “You’re right,” I said with the hint of a laugh.  To my surprise, I found that I’d actually been whispering.  “I know this isn’t a church, or even a library, so why am I acting like it is?”
    “It can be overwhelming if you’re not used to it,” Moose admitted.
    “You don’t seem to be affected by any of this,” I said.
    “That’s because I’ve had a great many more years than you have had to learn to laugh at other people’s rules.  Now let’s grab a snack and see if we can do a little investigating while we’re at it.”
    “Lead the way, and I’ll follow,” I said.
    As Moose and I made our way back down the grand staircase, I realized that my grandfather was right.  I had to treat this as though it were a regular murder investigation and not some kind of play.  Chances were good that someone at the manor had stabbed Curtis right in front of me, robbing him of the last days of his life that he’d been clinging so desperately to.  I was glad Moose was with me, for more reasons than I could count.
    This was for our friend, and if we ended up upsetting everyone at the Pickle Palace, then so be it.  As long as we uncovered Curtis’s murderer, I’d be happy with the end results.
    Moose was right about something else, too.
    I could use a bite to eat myself.
    There was some chatter going on in the kitchen when Moose and I finally found it.  We should have been issued maps when we got to the house, and honestly, if we hadn’t followed our noses, I doubt that we would have found the kitchen at all.  The chatting stopped abruptly as the staff noticed us, and it was an uncomfortable silence until Moose asked, “Is there any chance we could get a bite to eat?”
    The chef stepped forward.  “Dinner will be served promptly at eight.”
    I glanced at my watch and saw that we had ninety minutes until then.  “Is there any way that we could get something to tide us over until then?” I asked.
    The chef looked uneasy about how to answer my request.  Moose suggested, “We’ll take some cheese and crackers if that’s all you’ve got, but seriously, it’s not that big a deal.”
    I didn’t know if someone called Humphries, or perhaps there was a secret way to summon the butler, but he hurried into the kitchen before anyone could respond to Moose’s

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