Do You Promise Not to Tell?

Do You Promise Not to Tell? by Mary Jane Clark

Book: Do You Promise Not to Tell? by Mary Jane Clark Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Jane Clark
Tags: Fiction, General, Suspense, Thrillers
company? Was it a ‘date’?” Charlie busied himself fastening the top to the coffee container, trying to act as if his interest was only a friendly one, when in fact his heart was sinking.
    “As a matter of fact, it was.” Pat looked like she was trying to suppress her smile.
    “And?”
    “Oh, Charlie, what do you mean, ‘and’? It was just a date, no big deal.” Pat laughed nervously, shaking her head.
    He didn’t believe her.

Chapter 44
    Tuesday

    Meryl Quan poured tea for Farrell Slater as she waited for Clifford Montgomery to arrive. So this was the woman B. J. was so keen about. Lovely.
    “Sugar?”
    “No, thank you. But I will have some lemon.” Farrell squeezed the juice from the yellow slice into the amber brew.
    “I’m sorry that Mr. Montgomery is running a bit behind schedule,” Meryl apologized. “But he should be here momentarily.”
    “No problem.” Farrell smiled. She was relieved to have a few minutes to collect herself. She was not looking forward to the conversation they were about to have.
    As she waited for Montgomery to come in, Farrell wondered how the president of the auction house was going to react to the news. In her research on him, she had learned about the years he’d studied Fabergé as a young man, while working at La Russie Imperiale—probably one among a half-dozen of the finest antique shops in the world, and the main clearinghouse of the Russian enamels and jewelry in this country. Montgomery was regarded as one of the world’s top authorities on Fabergé. Farrell doubted he would be happy when confronted with the possibilitythat he’d made a mistake in authenticating the Moon Egg.
    A six-million-dollar mistake.
    “I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.”
    Montgomery strode across the room and offered his hand to Farrell. He was dressed impeccably in a navy chalk-striped suit. A cornflower-blue pocket handkerchief matched his knotted silk tie.
    “Thank you for seeing me so quickly. I’ll try not to take up too much of your time.”
    “Well, we make time for KEY News and your phone call to Ms. Quan here, my assistant, was certainly intriguing.”
    Outwardly Montgomery seemed calm and in control. Farrell wondered how he felt inside right now. Probably a bit apprehensive. In a minute he’d be choking.
    “Mr. Montgomery, I’m working on a story about
Faux
bergé. You’re familiar with that, of course.”
    Montgomery nodded. “Sure, I’ve come across a piece here and there myself, from time to time. Usually the sellers who brought them here for auction weren’t aware that what they owned were fakes.”
    “You mean, they purchased the pieces thinking they’d bought authentic Fabergé?”
    “That’s right.”
    “How do they take the news when you tell them they’ve been had?”
    Picking up a paperweight, Montgomery paused to consider.
    “Disbelief, anger, embarrassment. There’s not reallymuch they can do but report the deception to the authorities and hope that the forgers are caught. That rarely happens.”
    “Why is that?” Farrell asked.
    “Forgeries in the art world are much more common than most people realize. Even some of the most learned experts have authenticated fakes.”
    Farrell wondered if Montgomery already realized she was about to confront him with the possibility that he had authenticated a fake Moon Egg. Was he setting up an excuse for himself, that even the most esteemed in their fields make mistakes? Farrell scribbled in her reporter’s notebook.
    “Mr. Montgomery,” she began. “Do you think there is any possibility that the egg auctioned here at Churchill’s last week was not a real Imperial Easter Egg?”
    “Anything is possible, Ms. Slater,” he said coolly. “However, I authenticated the Moon Egg myself. I stake my reputation and the reputation of this auction house on my decision.”
    He’s a smooth one
, thought Farrell.
    “Now it’s my turn to ask you a question, Ms. Slater. What makes you think that the Moon Egg

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