The Clam Bake Murder: A Windward Bay Mystery

The Clam Bake Murder: A Windward Bay Mystery by Samantha Doyle Read Free Book Online

Book: The Clam Bake Murder: A Windward Bay Mystery by Samantha Doyle Read Free Book Online
Authors: Samantha Doyle
controlling husband who’d already flipped at the clam bake when he’d seen Alice and Ray trading insults. It wasn’t much of a leap to imagine him downing half a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and then picking up where he’d left off, taking his beating out on her. Maybe he’d gone ballistic with the bat, trashing his wife’s family home; his total disappointment of a wife, her home he’d never liked in the town that had always hated him. He’d killed her, then taken her body out and dumped it in the bay. Again, alcohol had fogged his reasoning, making him overlook the tide and the fact that he hadn’t weighted her at all.
    That was another theory.
    But neither of them quite gelled. For one thing, the rowboat had been found way over on Aylesbury Beach. Why would the killer have rowed all the way across the bay, to a remote beach from which he’d then have to escape on foot without being seen? Or if the boat had simply drifted all that way, how had the killer got back to shore? Why would he leave the boat to drift away? It made no sense.
    Something was missing.
    A pile of unopened mail had been placed next to the telephone. I leafed through it, for no other reason than I was stumped. Most of the letters were adverts. A couple were from the bank. One A4-sized envelope bore a fancy logo with an elaborate E over a diamond backdrop. Shining my flashlight on the back print, the return address, I whispered, “Elysium Homes.”
    Then I noticed the envelope had already been opened, ever so neatly, probably with a sharp letter opener. Inside was a thin, slick brochure advertising the kind of paradise properties the average person could save for all her life and not even meet half the asking price. Golf courses, communal yoga classes, yachting wharves, etcetera. It wasn’t condos this time, but it was exactly the kind of thing Windward’s officials had thwarted the last time around. The town was fine as it was, with a good blend of the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy, a place where anyone could speak to anyone and not feel the need to put on airs or condescend. Elysium, on the other hand, was for the super rich, an exclusive enclave where the ordinary folks of Windward would not be wanted (and probably wouldn’t visit even if they were).
    If I’d had a vote on the subject, I’d have given Elysium the thumbs down. It just wasn’t right for our town, and I expected most Windwarders would agree.
    The strangest thing about the brochure, though, was that it was addressed to Gordo McNair’s home in Kentucky. He’d brought it with him to Windward. Why? Who was he going to give it to? Surely he couldn’t be so dumb as to try the same tack as last time. My gut told me he’d hatched a more devious plan, involving someone else in town, maybe more than one, in order to sell Elysium to the Town Select Committee.
    But what?
    How much had Alice known about it?
    I went upstairs to her room, that cute, timeless room I hadn’t visited in ages. It still smelled vaguely of bubblegum and reminded me of homework left undone—pure teenage Alice. One of her old exercise books from school was on the dresser. Her overdone floral handwriting and cringe worthy doodles were so much like mine I couldn’t help but remember all the time we’d spent in here, lounging on her bed, coming up with any excuse not to do our homework. Had she been reminiscing about that just before the end? The idea made me tear up.
    What about her old diary? I thought. Did she take it with her, or is it still here where she—
    The answer was both...and neither. There was a diary in Alice’s original hiding place under the fake bottom of her top dresser drawer; but it wasn’t the original diary, the one she’d written in every day throughout her adolescence. That was long gone. This new one was black and silver, looked expensive. And the entries were shorter, sharper, more like sound bites and primers than the good old waffling journal prose of old.
    It was this

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