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Do You Promise Not to Tell? (KEY News Series #2)

Do You Promise Not to Tell? (KEY News Series #2)

4.2 5
by Mary Jane Clark
TV producer Farrell Slater just stumbled on a story that might save her career...or get her killed. A prestigious New York auction house just sold a Fabergé Egg for six million dollars. But Farrell knows it is a fake. So does a college student who promised never to tell the location of the real one. And so does a cunning murderer who has already dismembered


TV producer Farrell Slater just stumbled on a story that might save her career...or get her killed. A prestigious New York auction house just sold a Fabergé Egg for six million dollars. But Farrell knows it is a fake. So does a college student who promised never to tell the location of the real one. And so does a cunning murderer who has already dismembered one victim...set fire to another...and strangled still another in order to carry off the greatest scam of the century. And now he or she has a special fate in mind for a TV newswoman who just can't keep a secret...

Editorial Reviews

Romantic Times
Nail-biting suspense, two budding romances, and the heartwarming tale of an elderly Russian emigre make Do You Promise Not to Tell? a top-notch read. The story grabbed me from page one and kept me mesmerized until the surprising finale. Clark, a producer and writer for CBS news, knows the industry well and her expertise adds realism to the tale.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Clark's second thriller (after Do You Want to Know a Secret?) again features the world of broadcast media. Farrell Slater, the 38-year-old producer of the highly rated, New York-based news show KEY Evening Headlines, is in a slump. Unless she proves she can still break a big story, she'll be out of a job when her contract expires. Her last chance may be a seemingly dull assignment to cover the auction of the famed Faberg Moon Egg, lost for decades following the Russian Revolution and now mysteriously rediscovered. After the Romanov treasure sells for a record $6 million, Farrell receives a tip from an unexpected source who claims that the egg sold at auction is a fake and that the Imperial bauble is still at large. Meanwhile, an artisan is brutally murdered in his workshop in Little Odessa, and as the hunt for the egg heats up, more deaths follow in quick succession. With her cameraman at her side and an attractive FBI man on her heels, Farrell is plunged into a world of high-end auction houses, Faberg history and Romanov lore, all at the breakneck pace of TV journalism. The suspense never flags, and the killer's identity remains a secret long into the tale. Clark may skimp on character development, and dialogue is regrettably stiff, but for those who can't get enough of the competitively backbiting world of network news, this novel offers entertaining verisimilitude. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A second trip to KEY Evening Headlines (Do You Want to Know a Secret?, 1998) discloses another intrigue and an equally imperiled single career-woman. Two such women, in fact, if you count Patricia Devereaux, the consignment-shop owner whose inquisitive son Peter discovers that an elderly Russian emigrée named Olga, who's placed many lovely items with Pat over the years, is still in possession of one last treasure: the Moon Egg, a Fabergé creation for the Romanovs that opens to reveal a comet-shaped spray of diamonds. Peter's glimpse of the Moon Egg would have been exciting under any circumstances; what makes it mind-boggling is that New York's Churchill Auction House has just announced the sale of their own Moon Egg, sans diamonds, to an anonymous buyer for $6 million. When Peter tells KEY news producer Farrell Slater, his mom's old friend, about Olga's egg, Farrell, who's known she was on her way out of KEY ever since executive producer Range Bullock declined to air her report on the Churchill sale, senses the story of her Emmy-laden career. Even as Pat is reluctantly bringing Churchill's purchaser, retired prima ballerina Nadine Paradise, together with Olga, Farrell is laboring to prove that the Moon Egg Nadine bought is a fake, and that Churchill president Clifford Montgomery knew it was. Working as a tag team, the two plucky heroines aren't in time to prevent several murders, but it isn't giving too much away to say that in the double-quick march from Ash Wednesday to Easter, they help unmask the perps, save Farrell's job, and find a bit of romance in a world studded with diverting subplots and enough reassuringly predictable character types to give Brighton Beachand Westwood, New Jersey, their own votes in Congress. Just the bauble to keep fans of Mary You-Know-Who Clark efficiently entertained while they're waiting for the next installment from the author's ex-mother-in-law.

From the Publisher
"The suspense never flags...entertaining."

Publishers Weekly


"Nail-biting suspense, two budding romances, and a heartwarming tale of an elderly Russian imigri make DO YOU PROMISE NOT TO TELL a top notch read."

RT Book Reviews

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
KEY News Series , #2
Edition description:
1st U.S. Edition
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.45(h) x 0.87(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Ash Wednesday

Farrell Slater knew her days were numbered. Her contract was up and Range Bullock, executive producer of KEY Evening Headlines, didn't like her. A lethal combination. Unless she could redeem herself, Farrell knew her contract would not be renewed and her days as one of the producers of the network's highly-rated evening-news broadcast would be over unless she could pull a journalistic rabbit out of a hat.

    She'd even started going to church again. Funny how worry led one back to the kneeler. On the way to the office this morning, Farrell had stopped for ashes at St. Gabriel's. It was the first time in years she'd bothered. Might as well start the Lenten season off right. Having God on her side right now wouldn't hurt.

    How the mighty had fallen. Eight years ago, as just a thirty-year-old, Farrell had been the talk of KEY News, having won three Emmy Awards in one season—industry recognition for her outstanding achievements in television news production. Everyone had loved her then, everyone had wanted to be her friend. She was a hot property, admired and sought after by her colleagues.

    What had happened?

    Part of it, she had to admit to herself, was that she hadn't been able to sustain the momentum and enthusiasm for her job. She had started to coast—just slightly at first, then a little bit more. So, to some degree it was her own fault she was where she was. But not entirely.

    There was no doubt in Farrell's mind. Her boss detested her. Was there any wayshe could redeem herself?. Did she want to? Bullock had written her off. The stories he was assigning to Farrell now were always "below the line," iffy stories listed way down on the morning's rundown, beneath the pieces sure to make air.

    Occasionally one of Farrell's stories developed into something more than Bullock had anticipated. The executive producer was then forced, grudgingly, to give it a slot in the Evening Headlines lineup. If the piece came out well, Bullock credited its depth, creativity, and impact to the correspondent. If the piece came up short, Producer Farrell, ever the goat, got the blame.

    Hanging her violet wool coat on the back of the door, Farrell, dressed in a simple turtleneck and black wool slacks, headed for her desk in the office she shared with Bullock's pet producer, Dean Cohen. Farrell lifted a cup of coffee from the Strokos Delicatessen's brown paper bag and studying her office mate, tried to remember what it was like to be the favored one.

    Dean certainly wasn't any smarter or more aggressive than Farrell. His pieces were solid, never outstanding. But Dean was a skilled player in the KEY political game. He knew when to keep his mouth shut. Farrell did not. His sucking up to Range Bullock made Farrell want to gag.

    "Happy Ash Wednesday," Dean nodded, acknowledging the black smudge on Farrell's forehead.

    "That's a contradiction in terms," Farrell corrected.

    "Oh yeah, right. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and all that." Dean turned his attention back to his New York Times.

    Now, why had she done that? She could have just smiled and said a simple thank-you. That's what most people would have done. But no. She had to put Dean in his place. It was a constant game of one-upmanship between them and she knew it. It didn't play well.

    Perhaps if she were prettier, she could get away with it. But Farrell wasn't a conventionally pretty woman. Quirky, maybe—exotic, on a good day. She'd known since she was a little girl that she would make her way in life with her strongest asset, her brain. A coarse cloud of black curly hair crowned her high forehead. Large (almost too large) brown eyes gave her a look of wide-eyed wonder—not very reassuring in the television news business. The appearance of control could be more important than actual control.

    Booting up her computer, Farrell groaned inwardly as she viewed her lot for the day. How could she change Bullock's mind when he kept assigning her the dreck? The Fabergé auction over at Churchill's?

    Below the line.

Chapter Two

Pat struggled to stay seated. Please, God, just let the bidding go up.

    The gavel snapped crisply. "Sold! To number four-ten. Fifteen thousand dollars for the Fabergé brooch."

    Patricia Devereaux craned her auburn head, eager to see who had captured Olga's treasured crescent pin. Searching the crowd, she saw movement two rows ahead. Sitting on one of the folding chairs in the venerable Churchill's auction gallery, a wraithlike old woman dressed entirely in black smoothly replaced her green auction paddle in her lap. As the woman rose to leave, Pat got a better look.

    Luminous dark eyes peered out from her magnolia-skinned face. The woman's raven hair could not be untinted, but Pat suspected that years ago the shiny black had been its natural color. In her time, she must have been a real beauty, Pat decided.

    But now the former beauty would be wearing Olga's brooch. Pat felt a tug of sadness. Dear Olga. How many times had the tiny Russian woman lovingly attached that pin to the collar of her carefully starched linen blouses? Olga had cherished the white enamel crescent studded with tiny sapphires—a gift from her father who had once worked in the studios of the famed jeweler Carl Fabergé. If an old woman was to wear this unique pin, Pat preferred that it be Olga.

    Fabergé. The Imperial jeweler to the last Romanov czars.

    Pat and her nineteen-year-old son Peter watched the distinguished-looking auctioneer standing at the raised walnut platform stationed in front of the large room. Well-dressed men and women spoke softly into the telephones at desks banking either side of the auctioneer's podium. Their job was to efficiently express bids made by potential buyers not on the floor of the salesroom.

    The auctioneer expertly moved through the numbered items in the Churchill's catalogue. A small copper ashtray embossed with the Russian Imperial Eagles went for fourteen hundred dollars. A pair of silver Fabergé asparagus tongs earned over its estimate of two thousand. A silver table lighter in the form of a crouching monkey went for twenty-five thousand. The monkey's expressive face and lined forehead had clearly charmed its new owner.

    "What do we have for the gold cigarette case?"

    Pat studied the picture of the cigarette case featured in her program. The fourteen-karat golden cover was monogrammed and featured a diamond-set Imperial Eagle. When pressed, the sapphire thumbpiece opened the elegant container. Beautiful.

    "Four thousand once.

    "Four thousand twice.

    "Sold! Four thousand dollars to number one-ninety-six."

    Pat recognized the buyer. It was the same man who had purchased Olga's silver cigarette case at last year's auction. The tall, pleasant-looking man was wearing a tweed sports jacket. She guessed him to be about forty-five, maybe older. As she studied him, he looked in her direction and smiled.

    Did he remember her from last year?

    "That's Professor Kavanagh! My Russian Studies prof." Peter was out of his seat and headed for the cigarette-case buyer. The men shook hands and Pat watched as Peter gestured toward her and she could see his lips form the words, That's my mother. Pat thought the professor looked surprised, maybe even pleased, to hear the information.

    Pat was used to it. People often commented that it had to be impossible for her to be the mother of a nineteen-year-old. But she'd been Peter's age when her only child was born.

    As Pat looked on, she was surprised herself. Seton Hall University must be paying good salaries. Fabergé cigarette cases didn't come cheap. The men shook hands again and Peter came back to join his mother. His face was flushed with pleasure.

    "This is great, Mom," he whispered. "Meeting my favorite professor at a Churchill's auction—I think he was surprised to see one of his students at something like this."

    Pat enjoyed her son's enthusiasm. Peter was such an earnest kid. She often found herself hoping he wouldn't get hurt.

    "I told him about your shop, Mom. He said he'd like to stop in sometime."

    "Great, sweetheart," she whispered back; but she was more interested in what was happening at the front of the room.

    The numbered treasures continued to fetch small fortunes and Pat felt the electricity building in the crowd as the star attraction slowly made its way closer to the auction block. Then, it rolled into view. The audience sat up straighter in their chairs and a low, reverential roar swept over the tension-charged room. The television news crews stationed throughout the gallery rolled their video cameras.

    Pat shivered at the auctioneer's announcement.

    "Ladies and gentlemen, the Moon Egg."

What People are Saying About This

"A winner from the start!" --Christopher Reich, author of Numbered Account

"In news as in life, luck often counts as much as hard work. Clark captures the spirit of an enterprising reporter who relies on both to 'get' the story of her life." --Deborah Norville, anchor, INSIDE EDITION

Meet the Author

Mary Jane Clark is a producer and writer at CBS News. She lives in Hillsdale, New Jersey.

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