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Wilmington, NC 10 - Much Ado About Murder

Wilmington, NC 10 - Much Ado About Murder

Titel: Wilmington, NC 10 - Much Ado About Murder
Autoren: Ellen Elizabeth Hunter
set up real offices for your business down there instead of that computer in the corner of your library you’re using for an office now. And you can convert the attic into a big playroom for the boys for rainy days. Besides the house down the street, in good shape I’ll grant you, went for over a million. And the lot is not nearly as large.”
    She was right. We were bursting at the seams. My formal rooms now serve as playrooms, housing toys and mechanical swing sets, playpens and strollers.
    Although I’ve passed by this house a million times, I now viewed it as a potential home. I liked how the front porch wrapped around on the north side of the house. We could have parties and dinners out there. On the south side, a brick driveway led to the rear of the property. Many houses downtown don’t have driveways; owners have to park on the street. So a driveway for us and our guests was a definite asset.
    Melanie rang the doorbell. “Haven’t installed the lock box yet,” she told me. “That’s how new this listing is.”
    Dalton Montjoy opened the huge and heavy front door, yanking on it as it stuck. Another repair, I noted.
    I knew Dalton from around the neighborhood and from the many plays he had appeared in at Thalian Hall. A versatile and talented actor, singer, and dancer, he had starred in, produced, and directed plays for the Thalian Association since he returned back home from New York City twenty-five years ago. He was a songwriter too, and if one passed by this house on a mild day when the windows were raised, you could hear him playing the piano.
    “Dalton. Sugar.” Melanie hugged him. “How you doin ’, darlin ’?”
    Dalton looked feeble. Dancing, singing, acting were things of the past for him now. In the last few years, he had run out of the energy it took to perform for hours; it was then he joined the association’s board of directors. That is how he became friends with Cam.
    His hand went to the small of his back. “Arthritis is acting up, Miss Melanie.” He managed a smile. “As they say, ‘ The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.’”
    Melanie eased by him and into the house. “Just you wait till you get out there at Brightmore and settle in. They’ll have you on the massage table and in the exercise room. And you’ll be outnumbered by women ten to one. You’re going to feel like a young man again. Mark my words.”
    Dalton gazed at her adoringly. Oh no, not another smitten male. Get in line, Dalton. Melanie possesses some very powerful pheromones.
    Dalton picked up the keys that lay on a nearby table and stepped out onto the porch. “The doors to the rooms upstairs are unlocked so you can go inside. Some of my tenants have already moved out, others are looking for places. And the guest director is staying in my spare room till he makes other arrangements or until I sell the house.”
    “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine,” Melanie said.
    “And I’m sorry about the mess. My old girlfriend told me I was a pack-rat. She tried to clean up my messes but finally gave up on them. And me.”
    “Why don’t you get someone in here to organize things?” Melanie asked. “That’ll make the house easier to sell.”
    “I may just do that, Melanie. Now, I’ll just have a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood while you girls inspect the house. Ashley, it was good to see you again, young lady. If you have any questions, just give a holler.”
    He held onto the hand rail firmly as he cautiously descended the steps. I hoped the loose railing would not give way under his grasp. He didn’t so much walk down the sidewalk as hobble, and I guessed he’d find a bench somewhere and simply sit out our inspection of his house.
    I turned back into the front foyer and took a good hard look around. “Melanie, this is more than a fixer upper. This is a disaster!”
    “It is pretty bad,” she admitted. “But nothing you and Jon can’t handle. You’ve dealt with worse.”
    “And just look at all this stuff, Melanie! Is the man a hoarder?”
    There were piles of debris everywhere. Here in the front hall near the entry, stack upon stack of newspapers, most bundled with twine, leaned against the walls like sagging stair steps. In the corner near the staircase, there was a heap of white plastic trash bags, with red draw strings that were tied closed. “Why doesn’t he just drag all this junk out to the curb on trash day? The City will haul it away.”
    “Don’t look at his mess,”

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