In the previous episode, Kristi and Edmund learned the identity of the victim, but things aren’t adding up. Kristi tells Edmund who she really is and finds out that the expedition is in a precarious situation. Readers voted that a shady art dealer named Abdul Musa interrupted their conversation.
“Pardon me. Mr. Black?”
Startled, Kristi stepped back, dislodging Edmund’s hand from her arm. She flushed.
The man in front of them was beaming, his bulk swaying slightly as he pushed himself up on his toes. Even so, the top of his turban barely came to Kristi’s eyebrows.
He bowed. “I am Abdul Musa. Perhaps you may have heard of me?”
“I have,” Edmund said shortly. “You deal in forgeries.”
“Antiquities. Only the finest in art and antiquities,” he protested.
“Thanks, but we’re not interested,” Edmund replied, taking Kristi’s arm firmly.
“You misunderstand.” The man bounced up and down on his toes and passed a sleeve over his perspiring forehead. “I simply wish to offer my sympathies. Lord Davies, ahem, died this morning, did he not?”
“That’s kind of you, but we didn’t know him personally,” Kristi said.
“But he died at your excavation?”
“Tourists often visit the site,” Edmund shrugged.
“But the curse . . .” Edmund’s hand tightened on her arm, but Abdul broke off. A crafty look came into his eyes and Kristi shivered. “Still, it is a shame. Tell me, did the young lady from England reach your camp safely last night?”
“Young lady?” Edmund asked.
“Yes, she was an artist, I believe.”
“She’s–” Edmund turned toward Kristi, but she stepped on his foot, hard.
“Yes, she did. Did you see her last night?” she asked.
Abdul shrugged and, still smiling, turned and bobbed back down the street.
“What did that mean?” Kristi asked, staring after him.
“Nothing good.” Edmund frowned, rubbing his foot.
. . .
Geoffrey was late in coming back from the excavation site that evening and they sat down to dinner by torchlight. Kristi recognized the young woman sitting across from her from earlier in the day. Edith something-or-other. Edmund seemed to dislike her and Kristi was inclined to agree. Edith was a little too confident, and a little too interested in Geoffrey to endear herself to anyone else.
Alan had finally shown up at the camp late in the afternoon. He came over and took a seat at the far end of the table without a word.
Their cook, Aziah, glided silently over and began placing food on the table.
“Everything squared away, Edmund?” Geoffrey asked. He reached for a bowl and helped himself. The contents were overcooked and mushy beyond recognition. Kristi shuddered and took a piece of bread.
Edmund nodded. “The police took charge of the body.”
“They think he was murdered,” Kristi added, glancing around the table.
Edith raised her eyebrows and Alan stared moodily at his plate. Out of the corner of her eye, Kristi saw Aziah stiffen.
Geoffrey shrugged. “I’m sure they’re overreacting.”
Alan stood up abruptly, turning from the table. “Please, excuse me,” he muttered.
As he brushed past Kristi, the torn photograph fell out of her pocket and floated to the floor. He stooped down and picked it up. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.