Authors: Carolyn Keene
Then, too, anyone at the construction site could have heard D.J. shouting that she was a detective. What had happened next? Nancy thought back. Scott had left soon afterward. In fact, it sounded as if he'd made up an excuse to leave. And
he left, he had spoken to some of the workers. Was Hank one of them? Nancy couldn't remember.
She shook her head. According to D.J., Scott was the last person to see Tom alive. But why would Scott kill Tom?
As far as Nancy was concerned, it all came back to the money. Where and how had Tom gotten it? Who had plenty of money to give to him, for whatever he was doing? Scott Winchester, for one.
Nancy shivered as the wind whipped reddish
blond curls off her neck. The sky was low and gray overhead and it appeared as if the storm were moving in fast. She wondered if Scott had returned to the yacht where he and his father lived. Great Salt Pond, where they were anchored, was just down the road from the police station. She decided to take a look.
She rode the short distance and strolled out to the end of their dock.
All over the harbor people were preparing for the storm. Those whose boats were tied to the piers were busy doubling up on their docking lines. Canvas awnings were removed, lines wrapped around the sail covers, fuel and water tanks filled. Dinghies bustled back and forth on the pond as supplies were ferried out to the moorings.
Nancy checked to her left, where a longer dock stretched out into the huge harbor. She spotted Walt Winchester striding past a line of cabin cruisers and sailboats. He reached a ladder and climbed down, untying a dinghy.
Nancy's eyes were then drawn to a white yacht moored about two hundred yards in front of her. The yacht was at least fifty feet long, with lovely clean lines. The name, painted on the stern in gold letters, was
As she watched, someone in a yellow hooded slicker ran out on the yacht's deck, climbed into an old wooden rowboat tied to the stern, and
quickly pulled away. Nancy lost track of it as it zigzagged among the many anchored boats.
Walt Winchester had started up the small outboard motor on his dinghy. He set a course straight for the white yacht.
The rowboat reappeared from behind a small sloop and headed for a narrow beach on Nancy's left. Just as it pulled ashore, a gust of wind blew back the hood of the slicker and Nancy saw that it was Angie.
Two kids were sitting on the dock several feet away from her. One of them turned around, and she saw it was Ashley Hanna, the pretty, dark-haired girl from the ferry.
“Hi, Nancy,” she called out. “What are you doing here?”
“Just admiring the boats,” Nancy answered. “Do you know who owns the yacht
She pointed it out.
“No, but maybe my cousin does,” said Ashley.
“Sure, that's Congressman Winchester's boat,” the older boy said. “He and his son live on it.”
“Thanks,” Nancy said, frowning. So Walt was definitely headed for his yacht, and it seemed as if Angie had left the very same boat in a hurry.
Angie, who refused to wait on the Winchesters in the restaurant. Angie, who had once dated Scott Winchester and now apparently hated him.
What in the world had she been doing on the
as Angie landed the rowboat. She quickly shoved the oars under the seat, then whipped the mooring line around a metal ring sunk into the sand. Before Nancy could start after her, she ran across the beach to a parking area, jumped on her moped, and roared off.
What possible reason did Angie have to be on board the Winchesters' yacht? Nancy asked herself. Was Scott there? Had she gone to talk to him?
Just then Walt Winchester's dinghy reached the yacht and he climbed on board. About ten minutes later Nancy saw him emerge on deck, carrying a small overnight bag. When he arrived back at the pier, he handed the dock boy some money and pointed at his dinghy, named
Now Nancy was sure Scott was on board. The
congressman was obviously asking the dock boy to return the dinghy to the yacht. If Scott were ashore, he'd leave the
at the pier so his son could get out to the yacht.
Nancy said a hurried farewell to Ashley and hurried over to the adjoining dock. With all the bustle on the pier, Winchester didn't notice her pass him as he headed for the parking lot.
The dock boy tied another dinghy to
s stern and started up the motor. Nancy reached him just before he pulled away.
“Hi,” Nancy said. “Can I hitch a ride?”
“Sure, where are you headed?” he asked.
Nancy improvised quickly. “I'm supposed to meet Scott Winchester on his yacht.”
“Hop aboard then. That's where I'm going.”
It was a bumpy, wet ride, with the wind blowing the spray from whitecaps into Nancy's face. When they reached the yacht, Nancy scrambled up the ladder. “Hello,” she called. “May I come aboard?”
Scott Winchester emerged from the cabin, wearing jeans and an old sweatshirt. The bruise on his cheek was beginning to fade.
“What are you doing here?” Scott was clearly surprised to see her.
Nancy grinned. “Oh, I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd stop by.”
Scott smiled slightly. “Come on into the cabin.”
Nancy followed him down the companionway
steps and looked around the main room. It was paneled in mahogany, with comfortable swivel chairs around a dining table. On the right was a navigator's desk and beyond it an efficient galley.
“What a beautiful boat,” Nancy said.
“I'm glad you like her. She was named after my mother,” Scott said softly.
Nancy heard the note of sadness in his voice, but noticed that he seemed more relaxed than she expected, even friendly.
“Uh, would you like a soda or something?” Scott asked. “Have a seat.”
“Thanks, I'd love one,” Nancy said, sitting in one of the swivel chairs.
Scott pulled a can out of the refrigerator, popped the top, and handed it to her. “What can I do for you?”
“I've been wanting to talk to you,” Nancy said. “I saw your father leave as I was headed out here, so I thought this might be a good time. Do you expect him back soon?”
“No, he's flying to Albany before the storm hits. He has a number of meetings scheduled for tomorrow.” Scott sounded wary. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Barb Sommers is worried because the police think D. J. Divott killed Tom Haines,” Nancy began gently. “I promised her I'd ask around to see if anyone knows anything more about the murder.”
“You're a detective, aren't you?” Scott said. “I heard D.J. call you that at the construction site this afternoon.”
“I've had some detective experience, but this is nothing official,” Nancy said casually, taking a sip of soda. “I'm just trying to help Barb out.”
Scott sat down at the table, fingering a worn, folded sheet of paper he'd pulled from his pocket. “Why do you think I know anything about the murder?”
“Someone saw you leaving the Spotted Dog with Tom about nine o'clock on the night he was killed.” Nancy held her breath. Would Scott blow up?
“Oh, that.” To her relief, Scott didn't seem upset. “I've already explained it to the police. We didn't leave together. We just happened to go out the door at the same time. He asked me how the house was coming along, and I told him about a small problem we were having with the plumbing.”
“But I heard that you two rode off together,” Nancy said, wondering if Scott got the bruise on his cheek in a fight with Tom.
“I followed him as far as the junction,” Scott said. “He turned toward town and I headed back here to the yacht.”
It was a believable story, Nancy thought. Still, she detected a certain tension in Scott, especially when he talked about returning to the yacht. She
decided not to press the point right then, especially since he had dropped his remote, superior air and was willing to talk to her.
“Did you know Tom well?” Nancy asked.
“Not really.” Scott toyed with the worn piece of paper. It had been folded and unfolded so many times the creases had worn through in spots. “He was just one of the construction workers. Once in a while I'd see him at the Spotted Dog.”
“Still, the murder must have been quite a shock,” Nancy said.
“Yeah. Sure. It was.”
Nancy heard the remoteness creeping back into his voice and decided it was time to change the subject. She took a sip of soda and leaned back in her chair. “How did you like your dinner at the Bell Buoy the other night? I thought the scampi was delicious.”
“Were you there?” Scott said, surprised. “I didn't notice you.”
“We were having dessert when you arrived,” Nancy said. “The food was great, and so was the service. Angelina Cassetti was our waitress.”
Scott sat up straight. “I didn't see her. She wasn't supposedâ”
Nancy waited for him to finish, but he'd clamped his mouth shut. “Barb said you and Angie dated for a while.”
“Uh, yeah, we did.” A slow flush crept up his cheeks. “But we don't now.”
“That's too bad,” Nancy said. “I like her very much. She's lovely.”
“Yes, she'sâvery lovely,” Scott said softly.
Nancy was amazed. She'd expected anger, indifferenceâalmost anything but Scott's wistful praise. “Barb said you know Angie from college.”
“Yes.” He frowned at the folded paper.
“Did you meet in class?” Nancy asked.
“No, in her father's pizza shop. She works there as a waitress part-time.” He paused, then suddenly rushed on. “All her brothers and sisters help out in the restaurant. But Angie's so smart, she shouldn't have to work. She should be able to spend all her time on her coursesâ”
He abruptly stopped and glanced shyly at Nancy. “I don't know why I'm telling you all this.”
“It's fascinating,” Nancy said.
“I've solved a few cases,” she said, then smiled. “But I've never been able to solve the mystery of love.”
“Who has?” Scott said thoughtfully.
“You were telling me about Angie and how hard she works.”
“I'm not blaming her parents, you know,” he said in quick protest. “They're great people and they treat me like one of their family. And her dad let Angie come to Block Island this summer, even though he really needed her help.”
Nancy listened, thinking how different Scott was from her first impression of him. Talking about Angie, he was open and warm. He almost sounded as if he were still in love with her. She wondered if she dared to ask him about Angie's visit to the yacht, but she decided not to risk it.
“One reason Tony's Pizza is so popular,” he continued, “is because her dad's a super guy ”
Nancy sipped her soda while Scott told her about Angie's brothers and sisters and her mother's incredible lasagna. Finally she glanced at her watch and said, “Wow, I didn't realize it was so late. I'd better be going.”
Scott stuffed the folded paper in the pocket of his jeans. “I'll give you a ride to shore.” He cocked his head, listening for a moment. “I'd better lend you a foul weather jacket. Sounds like the wind has picked up.”
Nancy fastened the yellow slicker over her windbreaker and followed him up on deck. Scott was rightâthe wind was even stronger than earlier. Over its roar, Nancy heard the chimes of a hundred wire halyards slapping against metal masts all over the harbor.
“The radio said this was going to be quite a storm,” Nancy said as they climbed into the
“Are you planning to ride it out on board?”
“I told my father I would.” Scott pulled at the loose neckline of his jacket as if it were choking
him. Was he worried about the storm? “Someone has to be here in case of trouble.”
“Wouldn't you rather take a room on shore for the night?” Nancy asked.
Scott grinned. “I'd only lie awake worrying about
He started the motor and headed for the pier. When they reached the dock, Nancy grabbed the ladder to steady the boat. “Thanks for the soda. Maybe I'll see you around.”
“Hey, listen,” Scott said. “You won't say anything aboutÂ .Â .Â . uh Â .Â .Â .”
“Angie? Of course not.” She took off the slicker he'd given her and handed it to him. “I'm a good listener, but I'm not a gossip.”
“Yeah, I might have guessed that. I don't usuallyÂ .Â .Â .” He shrugged, embarrassed.
Nancy smiled. “Thanks againâI really enjoyed seeing your boat.” She stepped onto the ladder at the dock.
“Come back sometime and I'll give you the grand tour,” Scott promised.