The Secret Keeper (A Dick Hardesty Mystery, #13)(paperback) by Dorien Grey



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ISBN: 9781611878738
Pages: 260
Description:

P.I. Dick Hardesty listens with polite interest to his partner Jonathan's stories of his days working for 90-year-old multimillionaire Clarence Bement, helping the old man tend his garden. But when Bement is found dead, an apparent suicide, Jonathan is adamant that the old man would never have killed himself, a theory also held by Bement's grandson, Mel Fowler.

When Mel hires him to investigate, Dick learns Bement's lawyer also died mysteriously, barely a week before Bement. Dick finds himself immersed in a world of greed and familial dysfunction, searching for a missing new will, and Jonathan becomes the target for someone who believes the old man entrusted Jonathan with a secret he is not aware he has.

EXCERPT:

Wednesday, he called Bement from Evergreen to see if he should go over and was told to come ahead, which he did.

“How is Mr. Bement doing?” I asked after our group hug as soon as I got home.
“He looks terrible. But I can’t blame him. I told him how sorry I was. But then right after I got there, his grandson came over. I know I shouldn’t say it considering how sad Mr. Bement is, but his grandson—he’s the airline steward—is beautiful!”

I grinned. “I think it’s a job requirement,” I joked, hoping to make him feel better.
“He’s about my age,” he continued, letting my observation sail over his head. “A little shorter than me. Jet-black hair and really light blue eyes. And nice, too.”

“Shall I move in with Tim and Phil?” 

He gave me a startled look, then grinned. “Only for a while.” 

“Uncle Dick’s moving?” Joshua asked, wide-eyed.

“No, Uncle Dick isn’t moving,” Jonathan replied. “We’re only playing.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” I said.

Jonathan looked at me. “Oh, no, you don’t! You’re not pulling that ‘bravely-noble-spouse’ number on me! You look all the time. I’m entitled.”

He had me there. “Granted,” I conceded. “So, what’s his name?”

“Mel. Mel Fowler, I think. I didn’t really talk to him all that much. He showed up just after I got there, and then he and Mr. Bement went into the house and I went back to work. I was really glad he came over, because I could tell Mr. Bement felt better as soon as he saw him. And he’s gay, of course.”

“Mr. Bement?” I asked with a straight face, causing him to look at me as though I weren’t quite bright.

“Uh, no. Not Mr. Bement. Mel. Mel Fowler. The airline steward. Mr. Bement’s grandson. Remember him?”

“Vaguely,” I said. “So, how do you know he’s gay?”

Again the same look. “Give me a break,” he said, and we exchanged grins.

*

Wednesday we got a call from Bob and Mario saying they were thinking of having a barbecue on Sunday.

“The weather won’t be cooperating too much longer,” Bob said, “so we might as well get one more in.”

When we—well, it was Jonathan who mentioned it—told him about our meeting Cory and Nick and said they were relatively new in town, Bob suggested we invite them, which Jonathan, of course, thought was a great idea.

“I think they’ll really fit in with the group,” he told me after he’d hung up. I agreed, and he didn’t even replace the receiver on the cradle before dialing their number. 

*

Friday night when I got home, and as I headed toward the kitchen after our group hug, I noticed a battered copy of Sonnets from the Portuguese on the couch.

“Mr. Bement wanted me to read it,” Jonathan explained, “so I couldn’t say no. It was nice of him to lend me his very favorite book. But I want to get it back to him as soon as I can, because I know he’ll miss it.”

“Have you had a chance to read any of it yet?”

He sighed. “I just started it.”

“What do you think so far?”

“I’m afraid it’s a little over my head, to be honest. But I’ll read it because I said I would.”

“Well, books talk to different people in different ways. Sometimes we understand everything they’re saying, sometimes we don’t. Don’t worry about it.”

*

I remember a time, long, long ago, when weekend mornings were for sleeping in. That, of course, was pre-Joshua. I’d seriously considered painting the window in his bedroom black to encourage him to sleep later than seven o’clock. It wouldn’t have worked.

Jonathan, bless his heart, would often get out of bed the minute he heard Joshua up and about to prevent him from pounding on the door asking when breakfast would be ready. This might give me another ten or fifteen minutes of sleep, until the sounds of roughhousing or Joshua’s laughter would wake me.

This Saturday was no exception. Hearing Joshua’s shrieks of laughter—I gather he’d conned Jonathan into a tickle-fest—I got up, slipped on a pair of sweatpants (I haven’t worn pajamas since I was Joshua’s age) and staggered into the living room.

“Sorry we woke you,” Jonathan said from the floor, where he was on his back fighting off Joshua’s assault. Joshua was too intent on his mission to even notice I’d come into the room.

I noticed the clock said it was one minute to seven, and went over to the couch and flipped on the television for the morning news. The lead story was about the threatened strike of the city’s transit workers. Talks had broken down, and it looked as though there would, indeed, be a strike.

It was the second story that immediately snapped me awake.

“Financier and philanthropist Clarence Bement is dead at eighty-nine, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police were called to Bement’s home Friday evening when his housekeeper reported finding his body in his study after she returned from shopping. An investigation…” 


  • Published by: Untreed Reads


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