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Authors: Ellen Hart

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For Every Evil

BOOK: For Every Evil
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FOR
EVERY
EVIL
Ellen Hart

Copyright © 1995 by Ellen Hart

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the author or publisher.

 

Edition: November 2010

 
Praise for Ellen Hart and her Jane Lawless series
 

Hallowed Murder:
“Hart’s crisp, elegant writing and atmosphere [are] reminiscent of the British detective style, but she has a nicer sense of character, confrontation, and sparsely utilized violence… .
Hallowed Murder
is as valuable for its mainstream influences as for its sexual politics.”

 

— Mystery Scene

 

Vital Lies:
“This compelling whodunit has the psychological maze of a Barbara Vine mystery and the feel of Agatha Christie… . Hart keeps even the most seasoned mystery buff baffled until the end.”

 

— Publishers Weekly

 

Stage Fright:
“Hart deftly turns the spotlight on the dusty secrets and shadowy souls of a prominent theatre family. The resulting mystery is worthy of a standing ovation.”

 

— Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

 

For my mother, with much love.

 
Contents
 

Cast of Characters

 

Epigraph

 

Prologue

 

Chapter 1

 

Chapter 2

 

Chapter 3

 

Chapter 4

 

Chapter 5

 

Chapter 6

 

Chapter 7

 

Chapter 8

 

Chapter 9

 

Chapter 10

 

Chapter 11

 

Chapter 12

 

Chapter 13

 

Chapter 14

 

Chapter 15

 

Chapter 16

 

Chapter 17

 

Chapter 18

 

Chapter 19

 

Chapter 20

 

Chapter 21

 

Chapter 22

 

Chapter 23

 

Chapter 24

 

Chapter 25

 

Chapter 26

 

Chapter 27

 

Chapter 28

 

Chapter 29

 

Chapter 30

 

Chapter 31

 

Chapter 32

 

Chapter 33

 

Chapter 34

 

Chapter 35

 

Chapter 36

 

Chapter 37

 

Chapter 38

 

Chapter 39

 

Chapter 40

 

Chapter 41

 

Chapter 42

 

Chapter 43

 

Chapter 44

 

About the Author

 

Also by Ellen Hart

 
Cast of Characters
 

Sophie Greenway:
Managing editor of
Squires Magazine;
part-time food critic for the
Minneapolis Times Register,
wife of Bram Baldric; mother of Rudy.

 

Bram Baldric:
Radio talk show host at WMST in Minneapolis; husband of Sophie Greenway.

 

Rudy Greenway:
Freshman at the University of Minnesota; employed part-time at the Chappeldine Art Gallery; son of Sophie.

 

Hale Micklenberg:
Art critic for the
Minneapolis Times Register;
owner of International Art Investments (IAI); husband of Ivy.

 

Ivy Micklenberg:
Professor of art history at Morton College in St. Paul; wife of Hale.

 

John Jacobi:
Artist.

 

Katherine (Kate) Chappeldine:
Owner of the Chappeldine Art Gallery in Minneapolis.

 

Louie Sigerson:
Lawyer; longtime personal friend of Ivy Micklenberg’s.

 

Max Steinhardt:
Doctor of internal medicine; Ivy Micklenberg’s personal physician.

 

Rhea Kiran:
Professional dancer; director of the Rhea Kiran Dance Ensemble.

 

Ben Kiran:
Free-lance photographer; Rhea’s ex-husband.

 

Charles Squire:
Assistant to Hale Micklenberg at IAI.

 

Betty Malmquist:
Old friend of Hale Micklenberg’s.

 
 

For every evil under the sun, There is a remedy or there is none. If there be one, seek till you find it. If there be none, never mind it.

 

Mother Goose

 
Prologue

The drawing was good. It would work. A steady hand reached out to touch the edge — to center it against the easel. Everything was ready. Nothing stood in the way any longer. In the darkened room, the light shining down on the matted pastel lent an almost holy aura to the frozen moment. But this was no icon. This sweet, childish image was born in rage. And if all went as planned, it would send the one responsible for it straight to hell!

 
1

Ivy knew if she could make it through the next few hours, she could make it through anything. She sat in front of her mirror, in the bedroom she had shared with her husband, Hale, for almost two decades, and brushed through her thick, shoulder-length blonde hair. She’d always felt the years had treated her face kindly. Yet, in the past few months, she’d begun to notice worry lines around her mouth and eyes. Even in the rose satin evening dress she’d chosen for the gallery opening tonight, her shoulders looked hunched, her expression pinched and dispirited. It was inevitable, she imagined, this disintegration in her appearance. Her unhappiness, once so carefully concealed, was beginning to show. Not that her husband had noticed. He noticed almost nothing about her these days.

 

“Where are my onyx cuff links?” demanded Hale as he swung his overweight frame into the bedroom. He’d already showered and carefully groomed his gray mane. The scent of Royal Copenhagen cologne clung to him like a poisonous mist as he strutted about the room. Hale Micklenberg was an unabashedly vain man. Ivy knew most women found him attractive.

 

“Well?” he insisted, stopping in back of her chair and placing his hands on his hips.

 

She didn’t turn, but stared instead at his reflection in the mirror, trying to remember when everything had changed. In the early days, they had been drawn together by the intensity of their love, as well as a tragic secret. But now, the connections between them had withered. “They’re in the dresser, top drawer, left-hand side.”

 

He bent down and brought his face very close to hers, straightening his red bow tie as he gazed into the mirror. “What time is Sigerson getting here?”

 

She waited for him to move away before answering. “Seven. He wanted to make sure Sarah was comfortable before he left her for the night.”

 

“Comfortable?” Hale snorted. “The woman has a round-the-clock nursing staff.”

 

Ivy’s mouth tightened.

 

Louie Sigerson had been her lawyer as well as her friend for more years than she dared count. His wife, Sarah, had been bedridden since the early Eighties. Her struggle with emphysema was almost over. Louie hated to leave his wife in the evenings, yet unless he got out of that old house once in a while and relaxed, he was going to explode. He needed a diversion to take his mind off his problems. Tonight would be a tonic. Ivy knew watching someone you love die was the grimmest of all human events. Her heart went out to them both.

 

“I’m not expecting much from this opening tonight,” mattered Hale as he slipped on his suit coat. “John Jacobi has all the talent of a university-trained flea.”

 

“I liked what Kate Chappeldine showed me last week,” replied Ivy, turning and standing. She held her husband’s eyes several seconds too long.

 

“Well,” said Hale, bristling, “whatever. Just so long as you remember it’s my opinion that will be printed in next Sunday’s paper. I don’t want any more of your little scenes.”

 

Ivy could feel the acid welling up inside her throat. She grabbed her purse and left the room before she could say any more. Now was not the time for a fight.

 

The truth of the matter was, Hale, whose name appeared weekly above the local Art News and Reviews section of the
Minneapolis Times Register,
didn’t actually write his own column. Ivy had written it ever since he’d taken over the position ten years ago. To be precise, Hale would hold forth on whatever topic or artist was to be covered that week, but it was Ivy who shaped the ideas into the now famous Hale Micklenberg style of art criticism. Hale knew he needed Ivy, and that realization must have galled him every day of his life. It thrilled her just to think about it. Lately he’d become even more defensive than usual. Well, let him sweat. It would serve him right if she never wrote another word.

 

Once downstairs, Ivy headed straight for the small wet bar in the living room. Louie would be arriving any minute. Just as she finished pouring herself a mineral water, the doorbell sounded. She took a sip and then crossed into the front hall.

 

“Come in,” she said, a welcoming, yet somewhat impatient look on her face.

 

Louie Sigerson stepped inside. He was a thin stick of a man, with light brown hair and a weak chin. As he removed his coat, he poked his head into the living room. “You took down all the Christmas decorations.”

 

“It was about time, don’t you think? It’s almost Valentine’s Day.”

 

“But you love them so. What’s the harm?”

 

Ivy tossed his coat over a bench in the entryway. “You’re just an old softie. I think that’s why I like you so much. You embody all the qualities I wish I had, but don’t have the energy to cultivate.”

 

Louie followed her into the living room, folding his tall, bony frame into a wing chair next to the cold fireplace. “Where’s Hale?”

 

“Upstairs. Primping.” She glided back to the bar. “Can I offer you anything? White wine? Perhaps a shot of prussic acid?”

 

“You think the evening’s going to be that bad?”

 

She didn’t answer; she merely saluted him with her glass.

 

“Are we still on for dinner after the opening?”

 

“I made reservations at the Lyme House. The Chappeldine Gallery is just up the street. I’m sure we’ll run into lots of people we know. Might as well spread our good cheer around.”

 

He watched her for a moment. “Ivy, what’s wrong?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“You tell me.”

 

She took another sip of mineral water. “Oh … you know. It’s Hale. It’s always Hale. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it.”

 

“Try me.”

 

She sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “I just get tired of being … invisible. I’m not invisible, am I, Louie?”

 

“Hardly.”

 

“I’m still attractive.”

 

“Highly.” He hesitated. “Want me to break his arm for you? He’s had it coming for years.”

 

She didn’t smile. “Maybe.”

 

“Just say the word. I’ve loved only two women in my long life. Sarah and you. I’d do anything for either of you.”

 

“I know,” she said softly, gratefully. Again, she checked her watch. “I wish he would get down here. We’re going to be late.” She stepped over to a series of windows overlooking the front yard. Across the street, she could see snow lying heavily on the rooftops as chimneys puffed smoke into the twilight.

BOOK: For Every Evil
3.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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