A STEVE WADE MYSTERY
Iris Wynne is the author of the previous Steve Wade mystery,
The Missing Mah Jongg Player.
Please welcome my new release!
I enjoy cozying up to a good mystery novel.
Iris Wynne is a book lover, a day dreamer and a hopeless romantic. She is a writer of cozy mysteries with an element of romance. She is a mother of two girls and in her spare time she dog walks, plays golf in the summer and of course grabs a game of Mah Jongg whenever she can. (less)
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A man convicted of murder pleads his innocence to no avail until the likeness of a woman he supposedly murdered shows up alive in Shanghai.
Steve Wade is an ex-cop and now private investigator. His reputation for solving crimes is growing.
His newest client is a man charged with a murder he says he did not commit. The convict's
sister has evidence that the person he supposedly murdered is alive and living in
Shanghai after an old classmate of hers sees a double of the murdered victim while touring parts of Asia.
Is the murder victim, a woman, really alive and the man charged with her murder innocent?
Steve does not know what to think. Should he believe a convicted killer who was once a drug addict living on the streets? Steve however does not want an innocent man to spend the rest of his life in jail.
It's a dilemma he must think through and to try to prove the convicted murderer's innocence.
She had left her group and her husband in order to go to the Peace Hotel washroom which was one of or perhaps even the nicest washroom she had ever seen. Its decor was all black and white marble with gold faucets matching the gold chandeliers along the walls that lit the room. Each toilet had its own cubicle and a shiny black door. American style—no hole in the ground—to every tourist’s delight.
And that is when she saw her.
Connie stared at the woman beside her who was washing her face. A ghost from the past; a woman who was ostensibly dead four years ago. She blinked back at the woman a few times. She hadn’t seen her in over ten years. She had known her since childhood which was embedded forever as a memory.
And Connie Stern’s memory was exceptional. She was the type of person who never forgot a face.
The woman beside her was tall and slim. Her hair, once a shiny dark hue, was now peppered with gray. But those eyes were the same, an unusual dark green that glowed like emeralds. That was her trademark along with her natural beauty. She was the second child of a famous music producer from Toronto. His five beautiful daughters had lived in Rosedale, one of the wealthiest areas in Toronto. The youngest three were from another marriage, but they all lived together in harmony with the second wife, or so the story goes.
If that was Patricia Gold, she would be in her forties and the woman across from her was definitely that age. Her attractiveness was gone, though, after years of living on the street.
It had been a surprise in the community, to say the least, when she left her husband and children in search of drugs. Connie could not believe it when it happened. She had known Patricia well growing up and never saw a sign of it, of the unhappiness or the addiction to drugs. She did know, however, that Patricia wanted to be thinner so she could model. She glanced at her again. The woman glimpsed back at her briefly as she washed her hands.
Connie thought of Patricia's husband, whom she knew in high school. He was popular and could pick any girl he wanted. When they married, she and Patricia were no longer friends which always happened in a big city. Different universities, new jobs, and location changes all caused people to make new friends. Nevertheless, they were the perfect couple, everyone thought. Connie always had fond memories of her.
Connie put her hands in the dryer, peering over at the woman again. She remembered one of the last times seeing her. It was years ago when she and her own husband were walking their kids in strollers when Patricia and her husband drove by and asked them for directions to the nearest park. Their children were sitting in the back seat, silently staring up at them. It was only Connie who had recognized them but said nothing as her husband rambled off the directions. Too much time had passed for either of them to say anything. Everyone looked different with age anyway. Still, she never forgot a face.
Another time, she had seen her at a bar midtown, around Yonge and Eglinton. Connie and two of her friends had decided to go out on the town without kids or spouses, like old times. She hated it though, missing her husband and children, and was just as happy to be home with them. Let the singles have the single life, she had thought. But she did see Patricia Gold there, all dressed up, looking lovely, holding a drink with another old friend who Connie also knew in high school. Her friend was a runner and to this day would be seen running down Avenue Road as if the devil was trying to catch up to her.
And that was the last time she saw Patricia, until now, that is, if it was her.
She held her breath. “Patricia?”
The woman looked up and turned to her with a frown.
“Patricia Gold, is that really you?”
The woman’s green eyes opened wide along with her mouth. She stared back for a second and then ran out of the washroom, leaving Connie staring back at the swinging door. Connie put her hands down on the white granite sink and wondered, of all things, if the sink was real gold, gold plated or just painted gold. The chandeliers flickered and her reflection staring back at her in the mirror looked flushed and confused. Did she see a ghost or was it a double? She did what the other woman did and rinsed her face. She was wrong—she had hoped—and shook her head trying to ignore what had just happened. She would continue her vacation and carry on as if nothing had happened.
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