Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The Great Easter Bunny Heist-Part Three by Margaret Daley
Ellie pressed her hand to her throat and took a step back. "What's going on, Richard?"
"This particular Russian egg is worth several hundred thousand dollars and was stolen a year ago from a private collector in Chicago." Richard pocketed the photo of the Russian egg.
"Where you work?" Was he implying she was involved in the robbery of the egg?
"Yes. This is my only case I haven't been able to close. When I heard a Russian egg that fit the description of the one missing was in Hopper's Cove, I came as quickly as I could. So you see why I have an interest in where you got the egg."
"I only deal with people I know or reputable dealers. Mrs. Candy is a dear sweet old lady who would never sell me a stolen piece of property."
"Who is Mrs. Candy? I don't remember anyone with that name in Hopper's Cove."
"She moved here ten months ago. In the short time she has been here she's been so generous to the town. She is sponsoring a big Easter Egg Hunt in the park next Saturday."
"I need to meet her."
Ellie whirled around and strode to the counter and grabbed her purse. "I'll take you. I'll show you Mrs. Candy is a dear sweet lady who would never do anything wrong like steal. I wouldn't have Ellie Interesting Collectibles without her. She saved my shop six months ago when the bank was going to foreclose on me."
Ellie covered the distance to the entrance to the shop. Richard pulled the door open and let her go outside then exited and talked with the two officers from Hopper's Cove's police department before he joined Ellie in the parking lot next to the building. "Your car or mine?"
"Mine. I know where she lives."
He walked beside her toward her yellow VW convertible and reached around her to open the driver side door. Their arms brushed up against each other. She sucked in a deep breath at the contact. An electric current zapped through her. No, she would not fall for him again. He thought she was involved in a robbery somehow!
Four blocks from Cottontail Lane she parked in the driveway to Mrs. Sugar Candy's huge Victorian house. As they approached the porch, Ellie noticed the front door was opened a few inches.
"Stay out here. Something may be wrong." Richard drew his gun and inched the door open wider.
Ellie tapped her foot against the wooden planks of the porch for all of ten seconds, glanced around and headed into the house after Richard. She made her way into the living room and bumped into Richard standing a couple of feet inside the entrance. On the floor before him was a six-foot, lilac-colored Easter bunny, lying on the floor with a knife sticking out its chest.