Jack Beale 00 - Killer Run

Jack Beale 00 - Killer Run by K.D. Mason Read Free Book Online

Book: Jack Beale 00 - Killer Run by K.D. Mason Read Free Book Online
Authors: K.D. Mason
perched atop an equally narrow, hooked nose.
    Of average size, he seemed smartly dressed, but on closer inspection, wasn’t. His shirt, buttoned all the way up to his neck, had short sleeves, and the plaid fabric seemed to be something from a bygone time. Since the shop had no air conditioning and the day was quite warm, keeping it buttoned all the way up seemed like a curious choice to make. His slacks, though neatly pressed, also showed their age. His hair had clearly been brushed, giving the impression of fastidiousness, and yet there remained a touch of bed-headedness. A pair of well-worn running shoes completed the ensemble. Somehow, Malcom sensed that underneath his I-don’t-get-out-much, nerdy appearance, he was actually quite fit.
    “Can I help you find anything in particular?” The man’s deep, but slightly nasal voice snapped Malcom out of his analysis.
    “Oh, sorry. Like I said, my wife and I have a B&B up north and we are always looking for new things to change the look.”
    “Nautical? New England-countryside? Tools? Kitchen goods?” As he shot off questions, he continued to look straight into Malcom.
    Malcom found this a bit unnerving, but he decided to chalk it up to eccentricity. He smiled and said, “I’m not sure.” He hesitated then added, “I didn’t catch your name.”
    “Alfred, Alfred Whitson.”
    “Nice to meet you Alfred.” This time Malcom did not extend his hand. In an attempt to start a conversation, he began to tell Alfred about the Inn. “Our B&B is called The Quilt House, and each room is named for a particular quilt. When we bought it we found several old chests in the attic filled with different quilts. There’s one we call The Captain’s Quilt because it seems to tell a story of a sea voyage. Years ago, my wife wrote a novel and named it after that quilt. Maybe you’ve heard of it. The Captain’s Quilt by Polly Christian?”
    “I haven’t.”
    “It was a long time ago. Well, anyway, I was looking for something nautical to play off that theme.”
    “ The Captain’s Quilt .” Alfred repeated the title. “Sounds interesting. That lantern, the one you were looking at, it came from a ship back in the late 1700s.”
    “No kidding. 1700’s. How’d you come by it?” Alfred told him a story, but Malcom wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. Antiques dealers had a propensity to stretch the truth, although most were basically honest, and the value of what they were trying to sell was always so subjective and usually open to negotiation.
    Not yet ready to negotiate, Malcom continued his attempt to engage Alfred in conversation. He asked, “How’d you end up in this business?”
    Reluctantly, Alfred answered the question. “My family originally came to this area in the early 1800s. My father came from a long line of merchant seamen, and my mom did sewing, mostly curtains. I had a twin brother, Thomas, but when we were twelve, he died.”
    “Twelve? That must have been tough. Did you have any other brothers or sisters?”
    Alfred hesitated, then simply said, “No. Only the two of us.”
    Malcom could see how reluctant Alfred was in disclosing even this small tidbit of information so he didn’t press him any further. He turned away and quietly continued his tour of the shop. Secretly he was glad Polly wasn’t there because she would be interrogating Alfred mercilessly about whether or not he was married and anything else personal that she could tease out of him.
    As silent as a shadow, Alfred followed Malcom around the shop. To Malcom’s surprise, whenever Malcom stopped, Alfred would continue his story. “After my brother’s death, my mother was never the same. She never really got over my brother’s death. I ended up having to care for her. My father abandoned us and went back to sea. I heard he was washed overboard somewhere between here and England. After my mother died, I ended up being taken in by the couple who owned this place.”
    “You don’t have

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