Markus and Angie are hired to find who murdered Simon Lamb, just hours after he auctioned off a 'questionable' rare painting. The case takes them, once again, into the world of art forgeries. And with million dollar reputations on the line, no one is safe when those reputations are in question.
William Shakespeare - Othello
SAMPLE FROM CHAPTER 5 OF "THE JOURNAL"
“Are you Markus?” She said.
“I am, and this is Angie.”
Her voice was soft, like the way chocolate melts. She looked at Angie, who was sitting at her desk with her feet propped up, and nodded.
Angie gave Pink Dress a nod.
I thought about ripping one of my sleeves off and showing her my flexing bicep but that might throw her into a mad frenzy to disrobe. And this shirt was a gift from Angie.
“I need your help,” she said softly.
I leaned back in my seat and smiled widely, “We're in the helping business,” I said.
She paused, with a look of frustration in her eyes.
“Maybe this is a mistake,” she said.
“Look, why don't you have a seat and tell us why you're here.”
She remained standing.
“The police don't have any leads,” she said. “Detective Styles gave me your card and suggested I come see you. He said you two would have more time to commit to a single case than he would.”
She spoke with confidence and as someone with a higher education and social standing than myself. I didn't take offense.
“Styles will do whatever he can to solve your case,” I said, “but he works on multiple cases that requires him to divide his resources. We only work on one case at a time. If he sent you to us, then he's not getting very far.”
Pink Dress nodded, “That's what he said.”
Angie got up and poured a cup of coffee, walked over to Pink Dress and handed it to her, “Why don't you have a seat and tell us why you're here,” she said.
She held the coffee in both hands and sat in the client's chair, and without looking up from her coffee, she said, “My name is Amanda Clements and I want to find out who murdered my grandfather.”
“What was your grandfather's name?” I said.
Angie and I looked at each other. Angie raised an eyebrow and nodded.
“We knew your grandfather,” I said, “and we're aware of the case.”
“Did you know him well?”
She looked up from her coffee and said, “But you know about the painting?”
“We don't believe he found that painting in his basement,” said Angie.
“Either do I,” said Miss Clements. “I don't know what he was mixed up in, but I don't believe he found that painting the way he said.”
“What can you tell us about your grandfather?” I said. “Who was he associating with before he died?”
“I don't know. I live in Boston. I haven't seen my grandfather for almost two years.”
“Do you know a man by the name of Joe Lucas?”
“No, I'm afraid not.”
“What about Elian Greco or Edward Carlson?”
“Only what I've read in the papers.”
Miss Clements looked at Angie, then back at me and said, “I'm sorry I can't be more helpful. You think these men may have had something to do with this?”
“Don't know,” I said. “We'll look into it.”
“So you'll take the case?”
“Yes,” said Angie.
“There's a chance that we could uncover things about your grandfather that you may not like,” I said.
“I'm prepared for that.”
“No one's prepared for that,” said Angie.
“My grandfather wasn't a saint,” she said, “but he wasn't a bad person either.”
“Angie and I will do this all the way,” I said. “There's no backing out.”
Amanda thought about that for a moment and nodded, “Ok.”
“We'll keep in touch with regular updates,” I said.
I reached into the top drawer of my desk and pulled out a small three by five index card that outlined our rates and handed it to her.
She looked at it for a moment, then opened her purse and pulled out a small stack of one hundred dollar bills and handed it to me. I counted the bills, wrote out a receipt for them and handed it to her.
I thought about going out and buying a couple of new suits with our new found riches, but Angie complained that we were out of coffee filters and those yellow square post-it-note pads. She liked those post-it-note pads.
She handed both Angie and me a business card with her name, her Boston address and cell phone number on it, “I'll be in town for the next two or three weeks to get his affairs in order. I'm putting the house up for sale.”
“I've seen the house,” I said, “needs a lot of work.”
I placed her card in my shirt pocket. It was simple, with pressed black lettering, no logos, just her name, number and address. Guess when you work for the big boys you don't have a need to advertise yourself that much.
“You're different than how Styles described you,” she said.
“Handsome and sweeter than sugar?”
“He said you were an asshole, but that you had integrity.”
“I tried to put asshole on our business cards but Angie thought it may deter the bad guys.”
“He also said you were hard headed.”
“But that you'll always do what you say you'll do.”
She turned to Angie and said, “He didn't say anything about you.”
“Out of fear,” said Angie.
Amanda smiled, politely
“Well you don't seem like an asshole to me.”
“Is it my high voltage smile?”
“Sure, that must be it,” she said.
We stood, she held out her hand, and I shook it.
“We'll be in touch,” I said.
She smiled, then turned and walked out... as Angie and I watched.
After she was gone, Angie said, “I think our first step should be to see what Styles has and go from there.”
And for some reason we were both still looking at the door that Amanda Clements just walked through.