Sunday began as every Sunday should, with Ricky and me making love—followed by a good breakfast. Should being the operative word there. We do try but sometimes life gets in the way. Maybe there really is something to be said for his moving into my place, safety issues or not. Oh well, now was not the time for me to be debating that with myself. I had a man to chase down. I dropped Ricky off at his place, kissed him heartily, and headed to the last known address for Hugh Williams.
It turned out to be a very small house on a street filled with very small houses. Probably, I figured, left over from the building boom after World War Two. Yeah, they were that old. His place was well kept up, the lawn mowed, the paint intact. Parking on the street, I studied the windows, looking for any signs of life. I saw movement, a shadow briefly crossing the closed shades, got out of the car, walked up to the front door and knocked. Moments later the door opened. A man I recognized as Williams stood there, looking questioningly at me.
"I'm here to sell you an insurance policy," I said.
"On a Sunday morning?" Then he apparently took in that I was wearing jeans and a tight T-shirt that accented my muscles. Backing away, he tried to shut the door. I put my size twelve, booted foot out to stop him.
"Yeah, on a Sunday. I think you might be interested in it. You talk to me and I'll insure that you won't be busted for the theft of a certain valuable necklace."
He visibly paled. "I don't know what you're talking about," he blustered.
"Yeah you do, Mr Williams." I wrapped my hand around the edge of the door. "Now we can talk here, or you can invite me in and we can do it more civilly."
"Inside," he replied in a dispirited tone of voice.
I followed him into a decently furnished living room, taking a seat on the sofa. He settled on the armchair opposite me, perching on the edge, his hands tightly gripped together as he stared at me.
"Now as I was saying, I want to discuss the necklace and why you left it with Mr Philips. Or, more to the point, who hired you to do that."
"I wasn't hired, I was…" He snapped his mouth closed.
"Inveigled into doing it? Are you the one who stole it in the first place?"
"No!" He shook his head wildly. "I… he…"
"Yes?" I said when he stopped talking.
"He said it had belonged to his grandmother and he needed money but he didn't want anyone to know because it could be bad for his business so he told me to take it to Things Past and sell it, but the man said I needed provenance papers and… and…" He wound down at that point.
"You left it with him. Was that what you were told to do?"
Williams nodded miserably. "He… the man who sent me… said that would happen, until the guy at the antiques store could have it appraised."
"Who was this man?"
"I can't tell you. He… something went wrong I guess. He said if I told anyone, then he'd say I stole the necklace. I have a record and…" He spread his hands.
"You were caught between a rock and a hard place."
"Yeah." He sighed deeply. "It didn't take me long to figure out something wasn't right when the man told me he didn't have the papers the guy at the store…umm…"
"Mr Philips," I put in.
"Yeah him. Philips. Anyway, when Mr… when the man said he didn't have the papers Philips asked for, I knew I'd been set up and I told him I wanted out. He just laughed. I've been waiting for… for someone like you to come after me. Someone who worked for Philips. Once he figured out I wasn't bringing back the papers."
I nodded. "Okay, next question. Who's Ms Dixon?"
"Annabelle Dixon, or as she called herself when she hired me, Anna Bell."