Trick or Treachery

Trick or Treachery by Jessica Fletcher Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Trick or Treachery by Jessica Fletcher Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jessica Fletcher
Matilda. The woman wore an ankle-length white gauze dress and a large pendant with a bronze cat’s face against a circular black background. Her expression was quizzical.
    “What the hell are you doing with my daughter?” Wandowski snarled.
    “Why, we were baking cookies,” Matilda said, frowning in response to his angry tone.
    “Are you all right?” Wandowski leaned down to his daughter.
    “I’m fine, Daddy. Mrs. Swift asked if I wanted to help them and I—”
    “Go home,” her father roared. “Now!”
    The child looked as though she might cry, but managed to hold back the tears as she ran away from us in the direction of the spruce grove.
    Wandowski turned on Matilda. “How dare you kidnap my daughter!”
    “I didn’t kidnap her,” Matilda said quietly. “She’s such a nice little girl and I was baking cookies and thought—”
    “I want her arrested for kidnapping and child endangerment,” Wandowski shouted at Mort.
    “Well, now, Mr. Wandowski, I don’t think that’s warranted. Looks like no harm was done here.”
    “You refuse to arrest her?” Wandowski was growing red in the face.
    “I suppose you could say that. Now calm down. Your daughter looked happy and healthy enough. Didn’t appear she was bein’ held against her will. Don’t blame you for bein’ upset with her for not goin’ straight home from school, but that’s about the only thing here I can see needs addressing.”
    Wandowski turned again to Matilda. “You come near my daughter again—you come within a hundred yards of her—and I’ll take care of you myself.”
    “Careful with that sort a’ threat, Mr. Wandowski,” Mort said. “I don’t like that brand of talk.”
    Wandowski’s nostrils flared, and he seemed poised to say something else. Instead, he stalked away, mumbling under his breath.
    When he was gone, Mort said to Matilda, “I’m sure you didn’t mean nothin’ wrong havin’ the girl come in to bake cookies, Ms. Swift, but it might be a good idea to give that whole family a wide berth for a while.”
    “Thank you for your advice,” she replied coolly. “If you don’t mind, I’ll get back to my baking now. Can’t believe such a ruckus over baking cookies. There’s something wrong with that man, you know.” The intensity in her icy blue eyes conflicted with what I considered false sweetness in her voice.
    “I’m sure he was just upset and worried about his child. He’ll probably be embarrassed about this scene by tomorrow,” I said, not entirely sure that would be the case.
    Matilda stared at me; I felt as though she’d physically penetrated my body. “Not that one,” she said, the sweetness of tone now gone. She stepped back inside the cottage.
    Mort, Wendell and I returned to where Mort’s official car was parked. Robert Wandowski’s car was gone.
    “You get the feelin’, Mrs. F, that this won’t be the last trouble we see with Ms. Swift?”
    “I don’t know about that, Mort, but I do wonder what the girl meant when she said that Mrs. Swift asked if she wanted to help them. ”
    “She said that?”
    “Yes.”
    “I didn’t pick up on that. Good thing Julie’s father didn’t know there was someone else in the cottage,” Mort added, starting the engine.
    “Yes, you’re right. I wonder who it was.”
    “Doesn’t really matter, Mrs. F. Important thing is that the little girl is safe and sound. Comin’ back to headquarters with me?”
    “No, I have some errands to run. I’d appreciate it if you’d drop me off at Beth and Peter’s floral shop.”
    “Shall do.”
    “And thanks for the coffee, Mort. It’s getting better all the time.”
    “Learned from the master,” he said, grinning.
     
    The school auditorium was packed that night for the children’s Halloween pageant. The production went smoothly, the only interruption coming when the same little boy who had to be excused from rehearsal to go to the restroom, expressed—loudly—the same request in the middle of the

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