"Betty!" A smart knock accompanying the call of her name came at the Green Room door, catching Betty in mid-sentence, then Scott Sherwood's head popped in the doorway.
He grinned engagingly, first at Gertie, then at Eugenia, who fluttered as always. "Hello, ladies! Miss Roberts, may I ask for your help?"
"Certainly, Mr. Sherwood," Betty said, straightening.
"Mr. Devere will be here later this afternoon, listening to that series he sponsors. What's it called, the Buck Rogers one-"
"World of Tomorrow," Betty supplied with an inaudible sigh.
"That's it," he said jauntily. "I want to pitch something new to him, some other type of programming that might persuade him to increase his sponsorship. I can count on your being there, right, to supply some creative ideas." It was a statement, not a question, to which he continued without pause, "Good! See you at six, Betty!"
And with that he was gone.
"A real pistol, all right," Betty said, shaking her head. "This means I have to get back to work. The scripts won't write themselves."
She found Gertie between her and the door. "You are not stirring a foot from this room, Betty Roberts, until we've heard the end of the story."
"Oh-" The spell of the tale she'd been involved with had been broken. "Where was I?"
"Did anyone catch Steven Carlisle?" Gertie immediately asked.
"So far as I know he was never seen again. I've always wondered if he did what Dick had intended and went West. Mrs. Carlisle begged her husband to have him found, but he refused. He did pay off Steve's debt as he said he would. He told Aunt Aurelia that whatever new life his son chose, he didn't want him houndedand he hoped Steve would become a better man for what had happened to him. Mrs. Carlisle suffered a nervous collapse soon after we went home. They sold Shellcote and never returned to Newport."
"But what happened to Mr. Dale?" Eugenia asked breathlessly.
"By the time Dad and I got back through the crowd, Dr. Porter had already taken him back to his clinic. Aunt Aurelia told us on Sunday morning as we were getting ready for the train that Dick's father had passed on the news that the police had questioned him further at the clinic on Saturday. Dr. Porter made him stay through Sunday because he was afraid the wound might become infected. He wanted him in the hospital, but Artie refused to go."
"He gave his evidence and left town, according to Aunty's letters." Betty shrugged. "We never saw him again."
Eugenia's shoulders sagged. "Oh, how sad. He was so heroic." Then she perked. "But who was he? Did you ever find out who he really was?"
Betty shook her head. "Dick's as closed-mouthed now as he was as a boy. He's never told us to this day; said if his friend had wanted us to know his real identity, he would have told us so. And Kit probably plagued him for weeks about it!"
She paused, giving Eugenia enough time to ask, "And how about the nicer boy? Rory?"
Betty smiled ruefully. "Artie called that one correctly, toothe Madisons were on the brink of bankruptcy. Mr. Madison might have held on, except for the Crash. They lost nearly everything they owned. But surprisingly they managed. I'm not sure what Mr. Madison did to make a living, but they were able to sell their two homes, and Rory quit school and went to work right there in Newport, and they made it through." She smiled briefly. "Aunt Aurelia always vowed it was the saving of that family. She said they were too nice to be rich!
"In any case, on Sunday morning Dad and I left for homeby the time we left Dad was so stir-crazy that I didn't think he'd make it through the last two daysand I went back to being 'Betty' rather than 'Elly,' and that was the end of my sleuthing career. That's about all." She bit her lip, smiling again. "Well, except for the fact that Mother was scandalized about my getting involved in the whole affair not to mention the playsuit and the new bathing suit! She asked my father what type of a hoyden he was trying to bring up!"
"And your cousins?" Gertie asked with studied casualness. "Did Priscilla marry Dick?"
"In 1931," Betty laughed. "Dick vowed he'd name one of their children 'Artie,' but they had three daughters. The eldest is named Elizabeth. They call her 'Lizzie,' though. Kit still hasn't married, although she seems to be stringing along three beausincluding, incidentally, Rory Madison! and is enjoying her job immensely. In the end, she decided to put her tongue to good use: she's teaching school!" She rose from her chair. "Aunt Aurelia passed away last year. Cilla and Dick own the house now and still take in an occasional boarder.
"And now I really do have to get back to work," she added with a smile.
* * * * *
Betty Roberts appeared briefly in the window of the general manager's office, briskly walking back to the writer's room as a pair of amused eyes followed her movement. He hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but he had stood, enthralled, at the door during the final ten minutes of her story. The young woman certainly could spin a yarn.
He had removed his suit jacket as he returned to the office, planning to get back to telephoning prospective sponsors. He enjoyed the dickering; business deals came as easily to him.
Detective work, now that was more difficult. Thoughtfully, he unbuttoned a cufflink and rolled up his left sleeve, regarding the faint, ragged white scar that ran from the middle of his forearm through the elbow joint and then under the shirt. That old country doctor had said the wound might get infected and it had; luckily his doting aunt had been willing to nurse him through the worst of it.
Scott Arthur Sherwood grinned. Who knew, maybe someday he'd go visit Dick Burrows again...
The Shell Pendant Mystery is ©2002 by Linda M. Young