Silence of the Lamb's Wool (A Yarn Retreat Mystery)

Silence of the Lamb's Wool (A Yarn Retreat Mystery) by Betty Hechtman Read Free Book Online

Book: Silence of the Lamb's Wool (A Yarn Retreat Mystery) by Betty Hechtman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Betty Hechtman
    Nicole Welton’s shop was just down the street. Instead of calling her, it seemed better to go there in person and bring up the no-sheep situation. Maybe, after Wanda’s disparaging remarks, I wanted some reassurance that Nicole really could handle the retreat. And a visit to Nicole’s was always a feast for the eyes.
    I dropped my packages in my car and walked up the street to the old Cadbury by the Sea Bank. It was an imposing structure situated on the corner, with two white columns flanking the door.
    One of the arched windows still had CADBURY BY THE SEA NATION AL BANK painted in gold across it, though time had smoothed away bits of the letters. My understanding was that the building had stayed empty and abandoned since the Cadbury Bank had closed years ago.
    A machine-embroidered banner with ANTIQUES emblazoned on it hung over another of the arched windows and made it clear it wasn’t a bank anymore.
    Bells attached to a leather strap went into a ringing frenzy as I opened the front door and walked in. It took my eyes a moment to adjust to the lower light inside, though with large arched windows on two of the walls, it was still quite bright. The temperature dropped, too. The high ceiling and abundance of marble kept the place cool. The bells served their purpose and Nicole looked up from the back of the open space and waved.
    I thought it was clever how she’d turned the bank into an antiques store and textile studio. The old tellers’ cages were hung with samples of old and new textiles, and they were a feast of color and texture. There were quilts, afghans and knitted blankets, along with some of Nicole’s hand-woven creations. An antique dressmaker’s dummy seemed to be standing guard, swathed in a light green shawl that sparkled with tiny crystal beads.
    “I can’t believe what you’ve done to this place,” I said, looking at the open area opposite the old tellers’ cages. Beautifully refinished antique furniture had been arranged into settings complete with plants and more quilts and blankets to add color. I admired a deep blue lap blanket that hung on the arm of an oak rocker. I couldn’t help but touch the intricate design of the thread doily sitting on a wooden washstand. I thought the clear vase holding a bunch of crocheted red roses was the perfect touch for the round mahogany table.
    The store seemed to have everything . . . except customers. It was really out of place in Cadbury, too arty and sophisticated, and instead belonged in San Francisco, Santa Fe or even down the road in Carmel. It hadn’t helped matters when Nicole had decided to call it The Bank. Just like my muffin names, Cadburians liked things to be called just what they were.
    Nicole was working at one of the looms and took a moment before she left her work and gestured for me to join her. She was dressed casually in soft-with-age jeans and a long white shirt with a darker T-shirt underneath. She had a beautiful aqua woven scarf arranged around her neck, held in place with a silver pin. There was a nonchalance to her whole outfit, as though she’d merely added one piece after the other without much thought instead of agonizing in front of a mirror trying to figure out if something looked good, like some of us—well, I—did.
    “You should have seen the place when we got it,” she said as I passed a U-shaped island of glass cases in the center of the large space. “There was dust a mile high and boxes of old papers from the bank. They must have just shut the doors and not looked back. The only good thing is they left me lots of papers to use as kindling in the fireplace.” I noticed a stack of blue ledgers next to the stone fireplace on the side wall. “The only thing they seemed to have taken were all the desks. Too bad, they would probably be a hot item now.”
    I noticed a pile of old pieces next to a stack of books. I glanced at the titles and noted they were all about textiles and fibers. Nicole saw me

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