Lincoln Todd and I were hulling black walnuts for a wedding cake when someone began banging on the front door and ringing the doorbell. My heart jumped into my throat. I told Linc to take Baby to my bedroom and lock the steel door. He was not to come out until his grandmother, Eunice, told him it was okay.
Linc, thrilled at the prospect of danger, did what he was told with relish.
Baby, thrilled at the prospect of being with Linc, did what the boy commanded and followed happily, especially when Linc promised a treat.
Turning my attention to the front door, I watched Eunice hurry to the security monitors. In addition to the monitors, I had had several panic buttons installed in the house and was sitting next to one, ready to press it, when Eunice exclaimed, “Why it’s Ginny Wheelwright! She looks fit to be tied. You want me to tell her you’re home?”
“She must have news about her boy,” I replied. “Let her in, by all means.”
Eunice had barely opened the steel double doors when Ginny barged around her.
“Josiah. Josiah!” she called, looking in the kitchen.
“I’m over here.”
Ginny looked a mess. Her face was blotchy and her one good eye was red from crying. To make her look totally alien, her glass eye had flipped over, showing only the gold side, but then would flip again when she twitched.
I guess my face showed astonishment at her appearance.
“I know I look awful. Can’t help that.”
“Ginny. They’ve found Dwight’s body?”
“If only. That would give me some peace on the matter. Oh, Josiah. That wife of his has petitioned to have Dwight declared dead.”
“You have to be missing seven years in order to be declared dead.”
“That’s what I thought, but if she can prove extenuating circumstances, then the courts will give an earlier approval.”
“What’s the rush? Dwight’s only been missing five months. Give the detectives a little longer to work the case. Dwight might be stumbling around somewhere with amnesia. It’s been known to happen.”
“That’s what I said, but she said she wanted to get on with her life.”
“Her childhood sweetheart goes missing for only five months and she wants to forget him so soon?”
“My sentiments, exactly. I think it’s awfully cold.”
“What else did she say?”
“She told me to mind my own business.” Ginny began crying again. “My son is my business. Where is he, Josiah? Where can my baby be?”
Ginny blew her nose with a used tissue and then continued lamenting, “And that business partner of his, Castillo Webb, has moved all of Dwight’s things out of his office. He just packed them up and took Dwight’s things over to Selena. Then she took his things to Goodwill. It’s like they both are trying to erase my boy.”
Eunice brought a tray of coffee, tea, cookies, and a fresh box of tissues. Then she discreetly vamoosed into my office with Linc, giving Ginny some privacy.
I’m not a touchy-feely person. I’m not given to hugs or kisses, but I did reach out and pat Ginny’s hand.
Ginny grabbed it and tugged. “Ya gotta help me, Jo. The investigation’s going nowhere.”
Shaking my head, I said, “NOOO! I’m not going to get involved with issues like this anymore.”
“This isn’t some issue. This is my boy who used to play with your girl right there on that patio. You babysat him. You cooked for him.”
I tried to pull away.
“When Asa went to trial, who was there for you? Me. When Brannon left, so did most of your friends, but I stuck by you. Now it’s payback time. You gotta help me.”
Why did I have to stick my hand out to her? I was in no shape physically or emotionally to solve another mystery. That’s what police and shamuses were for. I should have thrown Ginny out right then and there.
Instead, I asked, “What do you want me to do?”
DEATH BY CHOCOLATE
Series: Josiah Reynolds Mysteries, Book 6
Publisher: Worker Bee Press
Length: 284 pages
Amazon ISBN: 9798485488888
Lightning Source ISBN: 9780989374552