Authors: Gail Bowen
ACCLAIM FOR GAIL BOWEN AND
THE JOANNE KILBOURN MYSTERIES
“Bowen is one of those rare, magical mystery writers readers love not only for her suspense skills but for her stories’ elegance, sense of place and true-to-life form.… A master of ramping up suspense.”
“Bowen can confidently place her series beside any other being produced in North America.”
“Gail Bowen’s Joanne Kilbourn mysteries are small works of elegance that assume the reader of suspense is after more than blood and guts, that she is looking for the meaning behind a life lived and a life taken.”
“Bowen has a hard eye for the way human ambition can take advantage of human gullibility.”
“Gail Bowen got the recipe right with her series on Joanne Kilbourn.”
“What works so well [is Bowen’s] sense of place – Regina comes to life – and her ability to inhabit the everyday life of an interesting family with wit and vigour.… Gail Bowen continues to be a fine mystery writer, with a protagonist readers can invest in for the long run.”
“Gail Bowen is one of Canada’s literary treasures.”
OTHER JOANNE KILBOURN MYSTERIES
BY GAIL BOWEN
The Nesting Dolls
The Brutal Heart
The Endless Knot
The Last Good Day
The Glass Coffin
Verdict in Blood
A Killing Spring
A Colder Kind of Death
The Wandering Soul Murders
Murder at the Mendel
Copyright © 2000 by Gail Bowen
First M&S paperback edition published 2001
This edition published 2011
All rights reserved. The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the publisher – or, in case of photocopying or other reprographic copying, a licence from the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency – is an infringement of the copyright law.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Bowen, Gail, 1942-
Burying Ariel : a Joanne Kilbourn mystery / Gail Bowen.
PS8553.O8995B87 2011 C813′.54 C2011-900310-4
We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program and that of the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s Ontario Book Initiative. We further acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council for our publishing program.
Published simultaneously in the United States of America by McClelland & Stewart Ltd., P.O. Box 1030, Plattsburgh, New York 12901
Library of Congress Control Number: 2011925601
Cover design: Terri Nimmo
Cover art: © Grapix |
McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
75 Sherbourne Street
Dedicado a Alejandra Delia Bowen-Diaz, nacido el 6 de Octubre, 1999
Of everything I have seen
it’s you I want to go on seeing
–Pablo Neruda, “Amor,” from
With thanks to Dr. David Barnard, who introduced me to the poetry of Denise Levertov and whose gentle presence ensures that the memebers of our univeristy community treat each other with collegiality and respect. Thanks as well to Drs. Lee Hunter, Joan Baldwin, and Linda Nilson for their extraordinary care. And as always, thanks to Ted for more than even he can imagine.
Lines from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost from
The Poetry of Robert Frost
, edited by Edward Connery Lanthem, copyright 1916, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Co., copyright 1944 by Robert Frost, are reprinted by permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.
Lines from the song “Warrior” are reprinted by permission of Kim Baryluk of the Wyrd Sisters.
Lines from “Adam’s Complaint” by Denise Levertov, from Poems 1960-1967, copyright © 1966 by Denise Levertov, are reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
Excerpt from “Amor” / “Love” from
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Alastair Reid. Translation copyright © 1974 by Alastair Reid. Reprinted by permission of Farrar and Giroux, LLC.
The nails on the fingers that reached out to grab my arm as I left the Faculty Club’s private dining room were bitten to the quick, and the cuticles were chewed raw. The hand belonged to a man whose rage was so fierce he had taken to ripping his own body, but it had become as familiar to me as my own. It was ten minutes to one on the Thursday afternoon before the Victoria Day weekend. The celebration of the old Queen’s birthday may have been a signal to the rest of Canada to unbutton and unwind, but Kevin Coyle’s private demons didn’t take holidays.
“I thought I was going to have to go in there and get you,” he said. “I have news.”
“Kevin, there’s a celebration going on, remember? Today’s the luncheon for Rosalie.”
Behind the Coke-bottle lenses of his horn-rims, his eyes glittered. “Does a party for an old maid who’s finally managed to snag herself a man take precedence over murder?”
By his own assessment, my former colleague in the Political Science department hadn’t drawn a wholly rational breath since a group of female students had accused him of attitudinal harassment two years earlier. I removed his hand from my arm. “Put a sock in it, Kevin. It’s a holiday weekend. I’m declaring a moratorium on tortured metaphors. I don’t want to hear how your reputation as a gentleman and a scholar has been murdered.”
He shook his head. “This murder is no metaphor, Joanne. It’s real, and I’m certain it’s connected to my case. A young man from the library just came up to the Political Science office. He’d been sent to find Livia. Of course, our esteemed head wasn’t there; nor were any of the rest of you. As usual, I was alone, so he delivered the news to me.”
“And the news is …?”
“A woman’s body has been found in an archive room in the basement of the library.”
I felt my nerves twang. “Was she a student of ours? Is that why the man was looking for Livia?”
Kevin took off his glasses. I’d never seen him without them. He looked surprisingly vulnerable. “Not a student, Joanne. A colleague. It was Ariel Warren.”
For a moment, I clung to the grace of denial. “No! I just saw her this morning. She was wearing that vintage band jacket she bought to wear to Rosalie’s party.”
“The jacket didn’t protect her,” Kevin said flatly. “I wish it had.” He swallowed hard, as if empathy were an emotion that had to be choked back. “Our profession is a cesspool, but she was a decent young woman.”
Kevin’s reference to Ariel in the past tense had the finality of a tolling bell. I felt my knees go weak. “She was only twenty-seven,” I said.
“Too young to die,” he agreed.
On the other side of the door, there was a burst of laughter. I closed my eyes. I’d known Ariel Warren since she was a child. My first memory of her was at a Halloween party we’d had for my daughter Mieka’s sixth birthday. Ariel had come as a sunflower, with a circle of golden petals radiating from her small face.
“There could be a mistake,” I said, but my voice was forlorn, bereft of hope.
Kevin put his glasses back on and peered at me. “Are you going to cry?”
“Not yet,” I said. “Right now, I’m going over to the library to see what I can find out.” I looked hard at him. “Kevin, I don’t think either of us should say anything more until we’re sure we know the truth.”
His laugh was a bark of derision.
. You’ll never find out the truth about this. Mark my words. They’ll cover up the connection between this death and my case the way they’ve covered up everything else. Either that, or they’ll rearrange the facts to implicate me.”