Hollis and Elizabeth arrive in England, where many of their
interviews are to take place, and make contact with their
editor, Michael Callahan, on that side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Hollis and Michael become an item, while David's memory is
stirred by his meeting with Elizabeth. The two journalists
are sent a newspaper clip, anonymously, concerning the murder
of one of David's long-ago roadies. David's hazy memories
and the new murder began to make a pattern in their minds
when David's friend and agent, Charles Byrne, is also murdered.
David and Elizabeth are drawn into a continuation of their
love affair amid danger and ancient memories. In order to
have any peace, they must solve the case. Their friends rush
to help them.
Chapter Six: Exorcise in Art
Elizabeth wore a white knit with `bat-wing' sleeves that tapered
down to a narrow hem, so she wouldn't have been able to walk
if it weren't for the slit up the back. A row of studs across
the shoulders, sleeves and neckline increased the triangular
look that pointed to her perfect legs. David was so absorbed
in looking at them he failed to see the expression on her
face. She fought to maintain the cool public self it had been
such a struggle to create in the first place. "Mr. Blakely.
How ... er, odd ... it seems to see you again." She'd
debated the idea of pretending they'd never met and rejected
it. Most people had a hard time forgetting her because of
the hair. And the color hadn't changed. In this case, however,
she had been forgotten.
"Uhm. How pleasant to see you." He'd never liked
ice queens, and was sure that if he'd ever met this girl before,
their acquaintance must have been short-lived. But -- the
hair and the legs? Surely he'd have remembered?
"Since it isn't at all pleasant for me to see you, I'll
leave your interview to my partner." She turned on her
heel and left him with his mouth gaping. He was particularly
annoyed by the cool way in which she did it.
Hollis was just then taking in one of his paintings, titled
`Subverted'. In the exact center was the face of a repellent
individual who really needed a bath, and a shave. He was coarse-looking.
Probably drank beer, belched, and beat his girlfriend. In
that order. His coarse beard was silver and brown, and long,
as was his hair. And it was the hair that dominated the rest
of the painting. Long, flowing hair that turned from brown,
to silver, and then was nearly white. Hidden in the hair were
subtle images. Just barely visible nymphs and satyrs frolicked
there, some of them with bloated, drowned faces. This is one
weird rock star, she thought, the like of which I've never
seen before. And I've seen more than my share.
Pauline and Kevin Richardson appeared at her elbow. "I
remember him," commented Kevin. "He always was one
for the dollies. Now, what was his name? Jason? Gerald?"
"I'm so lucky to never have met him. He looks disgusting."
Kevin rather thought the roadie -- what the hell had his name
been -- was the lucky one. Pauline would've been on his act
in less time than it took to throw a snit. His remarkable
success with the ladies had been due almost entirely to the
freedom with which he dispensed pills, and other substances.
"I'm gonna bid on this one," he said. "I sort
of like the dreamy violence of it."
"Where are you going to put it?" asked Hollis, who
couldn't imagine living with that face on a day to day basis.
"In the music room," Pauline answered. "I won't
have it in my part of the house. It makes me ill, even if
it is well executed. What kind of a sink-hole does Dave have
under that pretty face?"
Hollis found herself liking Pauline. It was good not to hear
someone singing the enemy's praises, and anyone who had managed
to become an enemy of Lizard's was pretty low on her list.
As if conjured by mere thought, her friend appeared out of
the air. "Hello, Hollis. How did it happen that David
Blakely was one of the artists at this little event?"
She may have been speaking to her friend, but her eyes were
on Kevin. He looked just a little too demure. She smiled pleasantly
at Hollis. "Get his comments on this painting for me,
will you, dear? You know I can't abide the man." She
walked away then, smiling tightly at Pauline.
"Ow!" Kevin began to hop up and down on one foot.
"That little bitch spiked me!"
His wife and Hollis exchanged glances. "You deserved
it." They spoke almost in unison.
"Have you seen the mobile with the earrings attached
to huge ears?"
"Why no, I haven't," Pauline replied, and put her
arm through Hollis'. They trooped off together and left Kevin
muttering to himself about the fickleness of females.
Later, when Hollis herded Blakely off into a corner that was
relatively quiet to ask him some questions, she was surprised
to find that she liked him. Almost. And, she began to think
that Kevin Richardson was courting another spiked foot. She
might even buy a pair of high heels just for the occasion.
"Are you Miss Anderson's partner? Except for the obvious,
I was misled. Maybe Kevin never did look at your face."
"There's no need to tell me what the first thing was,
but what else did he say?"
"That you were short." David was trying desperately
to cover his faux pas.
She liked the hopeful way he did this, but wasn't going to
let him off the hook. "What else did he say?"
"Well, he always was lousy at ages. But then he said
he hadn't really looked at your face."
That was when she began thinking about spiked heels. "Ah,
yes. I quite realize that I'm an old hag, but perhaps Mr.
"Considerably," he tried an apologetic smile.
With an air of resignation and a muttered, "It's alright,
never mind," she changed the subject.
David felt that he was blathering like an idiot, but for some
reason seeing Elizabeth Anderson had upset him, and he just
didn't know why. In his perturbation he told Hollis about
the nightmare, right into her tape recorder. "I've had
it for years. This guy was a roadie for me some time ago,
and shortly before he left I started having these lousy dreams.
I'd hear a splash and then he'd show up, wet as a mongrel
dog in a mudhole, and offer me some dust. After that the dream
got weird. I painted the picture and exorcised the little
demon. It's one way of losing your nightmares."
By the time she decided to forgive Kevin, David was in his
bed, learning that exorcism wasn't always successful. He woke
screaming, and the words `Forget the girl, she's dead!' were
the only clear thing about the dream.
Chapter Twenty: The Setting for Murder
Charles Byrne was ready for his party. The caterers had everything
well in hand, his elegant Queen Anne house was spotless, and
all the expensive breakables were put away for the night.
His truly excellent houseman had seen to all the details;
there had been rumours about him and Frank for years. Frank
and Charles found this amusing, as none of them were correct.
Not that anyone would believe that, so neither of them argued
the point. Frank, decidedly heterosexual, had made a career
of smiling noncommittally. The relationship was a traditional
employee/employer one. The unwritten contract included a loyalty
clause. They never gossiped about one another.
Frank came to the regular parties, and other special occasions,
by prearrangement; and was paid a bonus for these services.
He thoroughly enjoyed the parties, except for the fact that
they generally turned Charles into a nervous wreck. Tonight
was no exception. Once the guests arrived he would settle
down and enjoy himself, but until then he invariably spent
an anxious time wondering if this would be the night when
no one showed up. He checked his costume in the mirror, again.
A perfect Dogberry from Much Ado About Nothing. The heavily
padded shoulders of a mock-military coat were exceeded only
by his self-important swagger. He planned to stay in character
all evening. The ringing doorbell calmed his jittery nerves.
The opening door revealed a portly man dressed as a king,
and with him a young prince.
These were old friends of his, aged, respectively, 48 and
a young-looking 37. He knew their relationship to be something
besides father and son. But who were they dressed up to be?
He swept them an ungainly bow (for Dogberry could not be graceful)
and inquired, "Your Majesty! Who be'est your esteemed
The man smiled. "None but my young Harry. O, that it
could be proved some night-tripping fairy had exchanged him
for young Percy." He nodded hello to Frank, who gave
a fine example of his `non-committal' smile.
"King Henry IV and Prince Hal, I now perceive. Have it
writ down, my good man, that the King has seen fit to call
me a fairy. But I object that I am no night-tripping one.
I do it in broad daylight. I am not such an ass as to hide
in the darkness, yet so my King accuses me. Have it writ down
that I am an ass!"
He was having fun now, and managed to engage as many of his
guests as were willing in character-revealing conversation.
Though in some cases it was hardly necessary. No less than
five ... or was it six (?) ... men showed up in black-face.
Frank turned to him. "The place is fairly crawling with
"Yes, and some of them are melting. I believe there's
some black-face in my old costume box. Dig it out, will you?
I'll let the gentlemen know there's some available."
The Hollis, Michael and Elizabeth trio rang the bell, and
Charles greeted them with effusion. At last the entertainment
was starting to arrive!
Michael and Hollis came through the door, arguing as befit
their characters. She was heard to say, "I wonder you
will still be talking, Signor Benedick, since nobody marks
"What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?"
Charles laughed. "Beatrice and Benedick, you make it
too easy! You spoil the game and while I might have it writ
down that I am an ass, I am not such a one as to interfere
with you two. Carry your argument indoors." He turned
to Elizabeth. "What have we here. The delicate Ariel?"
"How many guesses do you get?"
"I make an ass of myself but once with each guest. It
must be Puck. Declare yourself."
"Thou speak'st aright. I am that merry wanderer."
"In with you then, but none of your tricks. We are a
Some minutes later, in came David and Echo. He was wearing
a dark-blue tailcoat with a high collar. The coat was glittering
with expensive hand painted designs, sequins and beading.
A white cravat, skin tight breeches, and knee-high boots completed
the costume except...
"That wig is incredible, David," their host giggled.
He'd been hitting the champagne punch; he expected only a
few more guests and he was free to enjoy himself. "Did
you have to buy the costume, or did they let you keep it when
the movie was over?"
David lifted one painted eyebrow. "I bought it. May I
introduce my date?"
"Echo! You are fabulous. Now you simply must be Titania,
which makes David Oberon. Am I right?"
She nodded. "But who are you, my friend?"
Across the room, having collected two men in her train, was
Elizabeth. She hadn't been putting herself out to entertain
her following, but that changed rapidly when she saw David
and Echo. Echo was gorgeous in a thing that seemed to be made
of starlight and nightfall. Around her neck was the most wonderful
collar of gold and rubies. It was so beautiful that she almost
regretted ... Elizabeth turned to the two men beside her and
began to play the impish Puck to the life. The little group
became very merry. She looked back at David. He probably wore
those boots to hide skinny calves, she thought ... but she
knew it wasn't true. His legs were muscular and handsome.
David approached her with direct unconcern for the gaping,
gossiping crowd. He was grateful to Charles. He'd known he
could count on the town gossip to have the girl here. The
necklace was in his pocket. He slipped it around her neck.
"I'm not that easily shaken off, my dear." He said
nothing else, but returned to his date's side.
"You know," Echo said, "I was surprised when
you asked me to come tonight. Why did you?"
"I've no desire to appear as the rejected suitor."
"Neither have I any such desire!"
"Are you going to throw my necklace back in my face,
"Hardly. When have I ever been so foolish about parting
gifts? I'm just considering my options, here."
"Like what?" He asked her warily.
"Well, I could make a scene. In which case you would
look like a jerk and I a rejected fool. Or ... yes, that's
She kissed him on the cheek and went off to join
the admiring crowd around Elizabeth. "The necklace suits
you very well, Snowflake." She was trying to soothe the
other woman, whose face was altogether too expressionless.
"Your's is gorgeous, as well." Her voice was as
"In an altogether different style. Well suited to the
saying of goodbyes."
Elizabeth's head came up quickly. "Are you sure?"
"Positive. I hope you love him. He's nice, you know."
"I'd like to find out. It's been a long time."
Echo considered her a moment. She'd like to find out? If he
was nice, or if she loved him? No matter. She plastered a
confident smile on her face made her social rounds and began
saying, repeatedly, "Why shouldn't I have come to this
party with him? He's my best pal." She interlaced this
conscientious circulating with frequent, and highly visible,
visits with both David and Elizabeth.
She stopped once to speak to Charles ... "I'm not sure
what I should do to you for putting me in this situation."
"Kill me. Everyone else wants to."