Quilt or Innocence

Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig Page A

Book: Quilt or Innocence by Elizabeth Craig Read Free Book Online
Authors: Elizabeth Craig
informal dinner party,” said Beatrice with an exasperated sigh.
    “Informal for
Daisy
, maybe. Trust me, you don’t want to show up at her house unless you’re in a dress. She’s probably measuring the distance between place settings and putting out ten different forks and spoons.”
    “She takes it seriously, then.” Beatrice frowned before hurrying to her pantry and peering in. “Somehow I didn’t really get that impression from her. She said something about a small group of friends—something like that. All right, I guess I’ll change.” She looked absently into the pantry, forgetting what she was looking in there for.
    She heard Piper saying behind her, “Now, you don’t have any spectacular dresses hiding in
there
, do you?”
    She finally remembered what she was looking for. “No, but I’m thinking I should take a bottle of wine, since she’s such a stickler. Aha!” She turned around with a slightly dusty bottle of red wine.
    Piper looked relieved. “Good idea. It’s always nice to start off on the right foot, and Daisy is a great person to know—she’s just a little particular. I’ll dust off the wine bottle while you change.”
    “I’ll put my black dress on,” said Beatrice glumly.
    “And the diamond pendant that Grandma used to wear!” called out Piper behind her.
    * * *
    Unlike the cute bungalows and charming mountain homes Beatrice had seen, Daisy and Harrison’s house was an estate, a sprawling white mansion set in a tremendous, tree-filled yard with immaculate landscaping. The inside seemed a testament to Harrison and Daisy’s various successes: framed diplomas and awards for the doctor; blue ribbons for Daisy. Quilts were everywhere, but not in the haphazard way she’d seen at Meadow’s. These were carefully arranged, with lighting to display them to best advantage. Daisy was definitely showcasing the quilts as works of art. Beatrice couldn’t have done a better job herself at setting up the exhibit.
    She was glad Piper had forced her into changing. Posy looked charming in a bright blue coat dress, and her husband, Cork, was wearing a suit (apparently under duress, since every so often he’d pull at the collar). Even former hippie Meadow had on a dress and a dab of makeup, and her long, gray braid was a little more orderly than usual. Miss Sissy looked rather witchy in a long black dress. Wyatt was in a suit (actually, he’d probably never changed from church), Harrison—Daisy’s husband—wore a suit that perfectly complemented his silvery hair, and Ramsay had on his uniform (clearly, he was ready to jump out the door at a moment’s notice). It seemed that Beatrice was the only one who hadn’t gotten the memo that dress wasn’t optional. Thank heavens for Piper.
    The food was amazing and not, actually, spicy at all. Daisy must have been trying to keep Miss Sissy from crashing the party. The table was carefully set with old china and crystal and sterling silverware. A pretty centerpiece of what looked like flowers from Daisy’s garden adorned the table. And it was all for her? Beatrice felt touched. And, perhaps, a little envious of Daisy. Her home was perfectly decorated and immaculate. She had quite a flower garden, too. And—
    “I wanted to point out that the vegetables we’re serving tonight are all organically grown from our very own gardens here at Ambleside.”
    Oh. And an organic garden. Plus a named house. How manoresque.
    Meadow was talking and laughing even louder than usual as her husband soberly drank ginger ale. “Are you on duty?” asked Beatrice.
    Ramsay looked morose. “Possibly. If I get called. The North Carolina State Police are here, running the investigation. They’ll call me if they need any assistance or want me to help question anyone.”
    Meadow patted her husband’s hand. “It’s been a rough time for Ramsay, y’all. He’d much rather be sitting around writing short stories than investigating a murder. Did you know he was a

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