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Authors: Liz Adair

Tags: #A Spider Latham Mystery

Trouble at the Red Pueblo

BOOK: Trouble at the Red Pueblo
3.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



Copyright © 2014 by Liz Adair

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical without the express written permission of the author. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Published by Century Press, 496 West Kane Drive, Kanab, UT 84741

ISBN: 978-0-9905027-0-8

Cover design by Sarah Beard

Cover design © 2014 by Liz Adair

Formatting by KristiRae Alldredge of Computers & More Design Services


This book is dedicated to my two Kanab/Fredonia high school chums, George Ann Brinkerhoff Brooksby and Nayna Judd Christensen. Georgie, your spunk as you take what life throws at you is truly inspiring; and Nayna, who would have thought that we’d end up as two little old (ex-cheerleader) ladies walking in the morning? It has been a joy to pick up the threads again. The friendship threads, not the cheerleading ones.

Acknowledgements and Apologies

I’ll take care of the apologies first:

I somehow cannot get through a book without rearranging geography. For all of those who travel between Kanab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona, you will know that the used-to-be vacant Travelers Inn (now updated to be Juniper Ridge) sits in Arizona. For the purpose of this narrative, I have moved it just across the state line into Utah. I apologize to all of the local citizenry who are bothered by this, but you’ll see why it was necessary as you read the book.

For Spider Latham fans who have read the previous books, I’m warning you now. I’ve skipped fifteen or twenty years, updating to the present without Spider aging a whit. Don’t let it throw you.

Now for the acknowledgements:

Thanks to my writing community for encouragement and cheerleading. Part of that community is my critique group: Terry Deighton, Ann Acton, Tanya Parker Mills, Christine Thackeray and Bonnie Harris. Thanks, ladies. Your tough love makes me a better writer.

Thanks to Steve and Darlene Judd for advice about horses and hooves, and to Kent Douglass. He not only was a beta reader, but he also gave me some tips about police procedure. If what I wrote takes literary license, it’s not because I got bad information from Kent.

To Dixon and Launa Spendlove
for support from the
Red Pueblo Museum in Fredonia, and to Kendall and George Ann Brooksby, who introduced me to the museum—thank you.

Thanks to my brother Ron and his wife, Mary. Ron designed the cover, and Mary read the manuscript.

To all the people who read and gave me a list of mistakes found, I am so in your debt! In addition to my critique group and the already-named readers, these generous people include Nayna Christensen, Joyce Packard, Linda Chatterley, Joan Kirby, and Ross and Karalee Oblad.

Thanks to my friend Hani Almadhoun for giving me the inspiration and name for the wonderful character, Karam Mansour. Thanks to Heather Justesen for her unflagging support as she acted as midwife to my first foray into indie publishing.

And, as always, thanks to Derrill, my husband of fifty-two years. He is unfailing in his support of my writing.

wanted to do was get home. He wanted free of the choking black necktie, free of the memory of his mother in a cheap casket. If he was a drinking man, he’d head right to the whiskey. Instead, he thought he’d fix the fence that ran along the south property line. It’d been on his to-do list for a while, and the work would be hot, hard and demanding.

Laurie, sitting beside him in the pickup, pointed at a small, square sedan parked in front of their house. “Isn’t that the car you drove home from Las Vegas last year?”

“Yep. That’s the one.” Spider turned off the gravel road, rolled over the cattle guard and pulled up beside the orange Yugo with flames decorating its front end. “I don’t know that I’m ready for company.”

Laurie patted his knee. “Maybe company is what you need. You like that fellow don’t you? What ‘s his name?”

“Jade Tremain. Yeah, I like him. But today’s not…”

“Life goes on.” The moment he turned off the key, Laurie opened the door and slid down to the ground. Smiling, she walked toward the young man emerging from the compact car. “Hello, Jade. Welcome.”

Jade took the hand she held out to him. “Did I come at a bad time?” His eyes went from Laurie, dressed in a black dress and high heels, to Spider, climbing out of the pickup wearing a black suit on a hot August Tuesday.

Spider ambled over, pulling down his Stetson to shade his eyes from the afternoon sun. He shook Jade’s hand and nodded toward the Yugo. “Your dad still keeping you humble?”

Jade laughed and looked at his watch. “It was the only company car left in the garage.”

Laurie patted the orange fender. “I never will forget having to rescue Spider when he drove it home that time he was doing some work for your dad.”

Spider eyed the car. “I wonder why he hangs on to it. It must be more than twenty years old.”

“Twenty-three, but it doesn’t have that many miles on it. No one wants to drive it.” Jade looked at his watch. “I’ve come to talk to you about doing some more work for Dad.”

“Spider, take Jade out back,” Laurie said. “You can sit in the shade while he tells you what he’s come for. I’ll bring out some ice water.” She headed up the walk to the front door.

Spider jerked his head in invitation and led his guest across the lawn. At the back yard fence he held the gate open.

Jade passed through. “I tried to call, but it said the phone was disconnected.”

“Things have been pretty tight lately. We figured that was something we could do without.” Spider fished a cell phone from his shirt pocket. “The county gave me this to use for work, but I don’t take any personal calls on it.”

“So you’re still deputy sheriff?”

Spider pocketed the phone as he headed toward a grape arbor. “Yeah, but the county’s running out of money. Ever since this last recession hit, all employees have to take three unpaid furlough days each month. And then I had a funeral to pay for.”

Jade stopped just short of the shade. “Oh, gee, Spider. Is that where you’ve just been?” He hit his forehead with the heel of his hand. “I bet you wish I hadn’t come.”

Spider sat in one of the chairs and pointed at the other. “Take a load off.”

Jade hesitated, his hands in his pockets.

“Sit,” Spider said.

Jade sat. “I’m sorry about coming today. Would you… could I… whose funeral was it?”

Spider crossed his legs, resting the ankle of his black cowboy boot on his knee. He took off his Stetson, held it in his lap, and turned his face away. “My mother’s.” As he looked off to the south, his eyes welled up, and a tear slid down his cheek.

Jade shifted in his chair. “I’d better go.”

Still looking away, Spider made a negative motion with his hand. He drew a handkerchief from the inside pocket of his coat and wiped his eyes. “Don’t go.” He blew his nose and turned to face the younger man. “I don’t know where that came from. I haven’t cried a tear since Mama died.”

Jade sat with his hands on his knees. He opened his mouth as if to say something but closed it again and folded his arms tightly across his chest.

Spider cleared his throat. “Actually, the old woman who lived with us this last year wasn’t my mama.” He smiled at the confused look on Jade’s face. “My mother had Alzheimer’s. We’ve been saying we’d rejoice when she was finally released from that prison, but here I am crying. In front of company, no less.”

Jade pursed his lips and looked down at his feet.

Spider uncrossed his legs and leaned forward. “So, what’s on Brick Tremain’s mind? Why’d your daddy make you drive the three hours from Las Vegas to Lincoln County to see me, aside from the fact that he couldn’t talk to me on the phone?”

“He needs you to do some investigating for him, but he says it’ll take longer than a weekend. He wants to know if the sheriff’s office can spare you for a week or so.”

“Shoot, the sheriff would probably kiss your daddy on both cheeks if he employed me for a week or more. That would mean he wouldn’t have to take any furlough days himself. It’s really chafing him that he’s being treated the same as his deputy.” Spider put his handkerchief back in the inner pocket. “What exactly does the boss want me to do?”

The screen door banged, and Jade waited to answer while Laurie approached with a tray holding three tumblers of ice water. He murmured thanks and set the glass on a table beside his chair. After she served her husband and sat with her own cool drink, he spoke. “Dad’s on the board of directors of a small museum in Arizona. Anasazi artifacts and stuff like that.”

Spider took a sip. “The Anasazi were early Pueblo Indians, right? That’s about all I know about them.”

Jade smiled. “Well, that’s more than I know.”

“Where is this museum?” Laurie asked.

“It’s in a little town called Fredonia, right on the Utah-Arizona border.”

Laurie’s smile was huge. “You’re kidding! I have cousins in Fredonia.”

“Dad says the museum director lives in Kanab, Utah. I guess it’s near Fredonia.”

Laurie nodded. “Seven miles north. I have cousins in Kanab, too.”

Spider leaned back and smiled at his wife. “Never mind about your relatives. Let’s hear what Jade has to say about the problem this museum has and what his daddy wants me to do.”

“I don’t know the particulars.” Jade stretched out his legs and jingled the keys in his pocket. “I just know they’re in trouble. Someone is threatening to close down the museum and ruin the director financially. They need help right away, like by the end of next week. Dad wants you to go over and lend a hand.” Jade looked at his watch again.

BOOK: Trouble at the Red Pueblo
3.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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