Oh boy, here I am with the best job in the world and now I might be losing it. The job, I mean. You may think that you have the best job in the word, but does yours include a charming garret in historic Van Alst House as part of your compensation? Are your sumptuous meals included and served by Senora Panetone, the gifted Italian cook?
I rest my case.
Might I add that breakfast is served in the conservatory with a view of the fabulous grounds of Van Alst House and dinner is served at the Sheraton table in the dining room. With my accommodations and food included, I’m salting away money to get back to grad school. Why I’m not there right now is a story for another day.
Perhaps the best part of the job is dealing with books. I am a researcher for Vera Van Alst, the reclusive book collector and arguably the most hated woman in Harrison Falls, NY. I find and acquire rare first editions for her. I hunt down collectible books and ‘trade’ up to enhance her collection. I get to collect my own favorite mysteries, make a few deals on the side and most days to operate on my own schedule. I am the first person in my extended family to go straight and this job is making it possible.
The fly in the ointment? That would be Vera and Vera’s not only the fly, she also owns the ointment. Right now, she’s steamed that her entire collection of Dorothy L. Sayers fine first editions has been stolen. The fact that it was stolen before I began working here means nothing to Vera. The fact that I solved the situation with the Christie manuscript has been totally forgotten. Logic has nothing to do with it. The missing Sayers books are my problem now. I’m hunting hard and I know I’ll track them down, but Vera’s patience is wearing thin. And of course, we can’t involve the police (long story). Anyway, this time that murder has nothing to do with us.
I wouldn’t put it past Vera to give me the boot just to prove a point. Then what? I really couldn’t bear to start all over and move back in with my uncles, much as I love them.
Any thoughts? Advice? I’m hitting the wall here!
Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini. The Christie Curse, their first book collector mystery, launched in March 2013 and The Sayers Swindle, the second in the series will be out in December.
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