We spent time talking with Mandi and each of us asked questions, but nothing very clear came from her answers, except in things that did not matter too much. Her family pushed her into marrying David because he was a very wealthy man, and their family was not. Her oldest brother really seemed to push her to get married as soon as possible, even though her and David had wanted to wait a couple of years until she finished school.
But, her two brothers, Alonzo and Antonio and her second oldest sister Izabella, talked to her constantly about marrying David. It was Alonzo, however, that finally convinced her. He told her because of the age difference she would be a young, wealthy widow. Then she would be able to help the whole family. She really looks up to her oldest brother, so she finally gave in and persuaded David they should get married right away.
That was 2 months ago. He mysteriously fell down the main staircase, which apparently is what killed him. The police and coroner agreed with that assessment. This was just 3 weeks ago. Before dinner, Mandi gave us a quick tour of the castle, except for part that is closed off for renovations. We will be able to see that area tomorrow.
We all got settled in our rooms before dinner and checked them thoroughly for bugs and cameras. Surprisingly there was none in either room. The 3 girls are sharing a large bedroom, while Sky and I, with Muffin, are in the honeymoon room. Apparently, the owners prior to when David’s father bought the place 5 years ago, had been using the castle for a hotel.
It had not been used at all since the father bought it, until David inherited it when his father died several months ago. “Wow, look at this room!” exclaimed Sky, “it is so beautiful! And look at the size of the bed!” I will admit, I have not seen a bed so big, and round. “Hmm, there does not seem to be anywhere for me to sleep,” I said. Sky just looked at me. “I just pointed out that huge bed,” she said, “where else would you want to sleep? I promise not to attack you during the night.”
Then she giggled again. “Okay,” I said, “we will put Muffin between us.” “Good idea,” said Sky, “she can sleep next to me. I have never had a pet.” Muffin whispers to her, meow,meow.=you marry my human, you get me as pet. They both giggled. “What are you two talking about?” I asked. “Girl talk,” said Sky. That is code for trouble, I know it. “You know,” Sky began, “we should keep up with our pretending, even when we are alone, that way we will not forget when in public.”
“I see you really have memorized our rule book,” I said, “but you are correct, we should do that.” After dinner we all met in our room for a team meeting. I wanted everyone’s opinion of Mandi and the situation here. The other girls had to first look over the bedroom, that took a few minutes. About 30 minutes actually. Sigh.
“I was watching her eyes the whole time,” said Sigubjorn, “she is afraid of something.” “Yes, especially when she talked about her family,” added Tuva, “and Alonzo in particular.” “I agree,” said Sky, “a lot of her answers were vague and like they had been rehearsed.” “I agree that she is afraid of Alonzo,” said Kristina, “so she is deliberately holding back and not telling us everything. I also think she genuinely loved David, it is easy to tell by the way she talks about him. She does not seem to care about the money.”
“Yes, I got that impression too,” said Sky. “Very good everyone,” I said, “although I was watching her facial expressions, I did not pay much attention to her eyes, that tells a lot about her that is very important. She could be in danger herself. Tuva, she seems to really like you, find out if she has a will.” The girls then went to their room.
“What are you thinking about Steve?” asked Sky. “Oh, just generally about the case,” I said as I paced back and forth for a bit, “I missed looking at her eyes today, I should have done that. Not a good idea to miss what is going on around you.” “Do you always pay attention to everything that goes on around you?” asked Sky. “I try to do that,” I said.
She came over and stopped me from pacing. “You can think while sitting still,” she said, “or is it necessary to pace as a PI?” I smile, “okay, I will sit for a while.” “You do not always know what goes on around you,” said Sky, looking at me rather oddly, “you sometimes miss what is happening right in front of you.” The next morning Annelie called early, before breakfast, with some important news.
To Be Continued.
©2022 Steve McLeod.