Silk Stalkings

Silk Stalkings by Diane Vallere Read Free Book Online

Book: Silk Stalkings by Diane Vallere Read Free Book Online
Authors: Diane Vallere
tie now dug into the folds of his skin. An orange knife jutted out of his side.

    I knelt down beside Harvey. His head fell to the side. I felt for a pulse at his wrist. There was none. Something dark and sticky transferred from his body to my arm. I moved my fingers to his throat, hoping to find some sign of life, but already I knew I wouldn’t find any.
    I looked around for someone—anyone—whom I could instruct to call the police. Two landscapers stood by the far corner of the grounds. I yelled as loud as I could, but neither looked up from his task. Wires ran from their ears to their pockets and I knew they couldn’t hear me.
    Gently, I set Harvey’s head back down on the ground and ran to the front of the Waverly House. Once inside, I found Sheila Bonham, the red-haired hostess in charge of seating people, and pulled her away from the crowd. “You have to call nine-one-one. Harvey Halliwell is out back and he’s—”I paused. “Call nine-one-one. We need the police.”
    She stared at me, her eyes wide with disbelief. “He’s what?”
    â€œHe’s dead. I’m going back outside to wait with him. He’s behind the weeping willow tree. Hurry.”
    I didn’t wait to see Sheila make the call. Already, my actions were alarming patrons of the restaurant. A crowd of tipsy brunchgoers trying to sneak a peek at the dead man would be the worst thing for Sheriff Clark to discover when he arrived.
    I ran down the hallway, out the side exit, and down the exterior staircase. I raced over to Xavier and pulled at the headphone cords until the ear buds fell out.
    â€œWhat are you doing?” he asked.
    â€œThere’s a man over there under that tree. He’s dead. Can you help me block off the area so people can’t get too close when they come out of the restaurant?”
    â€œHow much champagne did you drink, lady?” he asked.
    I heard the sirens in the distance. “Please. That’s for him. I’m not lying.” I tipped over a garden gnome and lugged him to a spot ten feet from Harvey’s body. The landscaper followed and laid an assortment of small gardening tools down end to end. I added the rake and the hose to the chain of items. When we were done, we’d effectively completed three quarters of a circle around Harvey’s body. The intersecting hedge behind the tree served as the barrier behind him.
    Patrons trickled out of the Waverly House and approached our makeshift crime scene barrier. What started as a few people soon turned into a crowd. A black-and-white pulled up alongside the curb and Sheriff Clark got out of the driver’s side. A young man in a brown sheriff’s uniform got out of the passenger side and followed Clark to where we stood.
    â€œMs. Monroe,” he said. “You made the nine-one-one call?”
    â€œNo, Sheila did. Inside. I’m the one who found him. He’s behind the tree.”
    He glanced down at the makeshift barrier of gardening utensils and gnome that lay on their sides, marking off the circle around Harvey’s body, and then looked up at me.
    â€œI didn’t want people to get too close,” I said.
    A woman with short spiky gray hair and earrings made of fruit clusters broke away from the group. “Mr. Halliwell?” she cried. “Mr. Halliwell!” She dropped to her knees on the ground next to his body. Sheriff Clark ran forward. He put his arms on her shoulders and said something to her. He helped her stand, put an arm around her, and led her back to the sidewalk to the other officer, who escorted her to a wrought-iron bench away from the view of the body.
    Sheriff Clark stepped over the rake handle and walked to the tree. Harvey’s feet stuck out in front of him, two orange socks showing from between the cuffs of his white linen pants and the brown oxfords on his feet. Clark turned around and waved the uniformed officer forward. The young man

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