Angel's Flight (A Mercy Allcutt Mystery)

Angel's Flight (A Mercy Allcutt Mystery) by Alice Duncan Read Free Book Online

Book: Angel's Flight (A Mercy Allcutt Mystery) by Alice Duncan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alice Duncan
and said thoughtfully, “I’ve pondered a good deal about your suggestion this afternoon, Miss Allcutt, and I do believe you could be very helpful if you’re still interested.”
          “Oh, I’m still interested,” I assured him, peeking at my mother and suppressing a shudder.
          “And I do believe your idea of having Mr. Mullins work for me so that he can snoop around is quite clever.”
          Ha! I knew I wouldn’t be the only one to think so. To heck with Ernie Templeton.
          Mr. Easthope’s smile was a work of art. In fact, I wished I had a flair with a paintbrush. I’d have painted him myself. “As for the séances, are you sure you won’t mind attending one or two? I don’t think there’s any danger involved.”
          Danger? I hadn’t thought about danger. I’d only thought about getting Lulu’s brother a job and maybe helping Mr. Easthope foil a couple of mean-spirited tricksters. Oh, very well, I also anticipated more time away from Chloe’s house and, therefore, my mother. I guess I’m not a very dutiful daughter. “I certainly hope not.” I laughed softly. “No, I’m sure there won’t be any danger, unless one of the d’Agostinos unlooses a ghost on poor Rupert Mullins or me.”
          Mr. Easthope, bless his ever-so-polite heart, smiled at this weak sally and forked up a piece of swordfish. The chow at Harvey and Chloe’s house was always good, and this evening Mrs. Biddle had surpassed herself.
          I was seated next to Mr. Easthope at the dinner table. My mother was lording it over all of us from the other side of the table, proving that position isn’t everything, since Harvey sat at the table’s head and Chloe at its foot, and they both appeared as children compared to our majestic mother. I think Mother disapproved of the Nashes hosting so casual a get-together, it having been conceived of on the spur of the moment and handled without months of planning and engraved invitations. Not to mention the fact that there was an uneven number of males and females—but this was Los Angeles, she’d come here of her own free will, and she’d just have to put up with it.
          “Thank you so much. Lulu will be so pleased about her brother. She was worried that Mr. Mullins wouldn’t be able to find work. He’s from Oklahoma, you see.”
          Mr. Easthope arched an elegant eyebrow. “Oklahoma? Hmm.”
          “Yes. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone from Oklahoma before. Well, except for Lulu.”
          He smiled for some reason.
          “Mercedes Louise,” said Mother, making me jump. “Your manners have declined deplorably since you moved to this benighted city. It is terribly impolite to whisper at the dinner table.”
          Whoops. “I’m sorry, Mother. Mr. Easthope just agreed to do a good deed for a friend of mine, and I didn’t think the rest of the diners would be interested.” It was weak and I knew it. My mother didn’t care for excuses.
          “Nonsense. Conversations that cannot be shared with others should be carried out in private.”
          “I beg your pardon, Mrs. Allcutt,” said Mr. Easthope, trying to save my skin. “Entirely my fault.”
          Mother shook her head in a manner that conveyed both pity and despair. “You are not at fault, Mr. Easthope. My daughter—” She said the word daughter as if she wished she didn’t have to. “—has been taught manners but seems to have forgot them all. I don’t know what’s to become of her.” She looked at me as if she wished she could think of a solution to the problem of me that involved something other than cold-blooded murder. Her expression riled me.
          “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Mother—”
          I didn’t get to finish my thought, which was probably a good thing, because Mr. Easthope spoke over my words. “Miss Allcutt is doing me a great service, Mrs. Allcutt. She

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