Hide Yourself Away (KEY News Series #7)by Mary Jane Clark
"It should have been an ideal week during a perfect summer in "America's First Resort." But just hours before the KEY News crew arrives for their broadcasts from Newport, Rhode Island, the skeleton of a socialite who disappeared fourteen years ago is found in a dank tunnel beneath a famous mansion." "It doesn't end there. Next, the socialite's daughter is found at the… See more details below
"It should have been an ideal week during a perfect summer in "America's First Resort." But just hours before the KEY News crew arrives for their broadcasts from Newport, Rhode Island, the skeleton of a socialite who disappeared fourteen years ago is found in a dank tunnel beneath a famous mansion." "It doesn't end there. Next, the socialite's daughter is found at the bottom of the Forty Steps that lead from the legendary Cliff Walk to the ocean. And soon, the town is talking about the scandal and a killer whose work may be only beginning." When one of the KEY News interns is killed in a suspicious car accident and another disappears, this year's crop of fledgling journalists are targets, including Grace Callahan, not so young at thirty-two, who came to the City-by-the-Sea determined to launch a future in television news. She and the other KEY interns have been told that at the end of the summer one of them will be offered a full-time position. Grace, a single mother fighting for custody of her preteen daughter, needs the job more than any of the other interns. As their number dwindles one by one, Grace must face the real danger that lurks in an otherwise idyllic town. But can she uncover a murderer who does not want the secrets buried beneath the city's fabled mansions to come to light?
Read an Excerpt
He wanted to have the light on, but she was just as glad that wasn't a possibility. Any illumination coming from the playhouse windows would beckon one of the staff to come and investigate.
He also wanted to have some music playing and had brought along his cassette player, but she insisted on silence. They couldn't risk the noise traveling out into the soft, night air. The only undulating rhythm coming from within the cottage this night would be the slow, steady rocking of their bodies.
She lay on her back on the wrought-iron daybed, thinking of the youngsters who had napped on the mattress. She strained at every cricket's chirp and skunk's mournful whine from the field outside. She wondered if there were animals in the condemned tunnel that ran beneath the playhouse. She hoped not, since that was their predetermined escape route should they ever need it.
She was having a difficult time letting herself go. He was having no such problem. He was well into things. It was just as he was becoming frenzied that she heard the voice outside the cottage.
"Good Lord, it's Charlotte," she hissed as she pushed him away.
They scrambled to collect their clothes. He grabbed his cassette player as she slid aside the wooden panel in the floor. Into the darkness they lowered themselves, sliding the trapdoor shut just as the playhouse door above them opened.
The cold, hard dirt floor of the tunnel pressed against their bare feet.
"What are you waiting for?" he whispered. "Let's go."
"I'm getting dressed right here," she said. God only knew what was in this tunnel, and she would feel a h ell of a lot better if she were clothed as they made their way to the water at the other end.
n0 They sorted their clothes by feel and dressed in the blackness as muffled voices came from above.
"Who's that with her?" he asked.
"I can't tell."
Slowly they began to walk, arms outstretched to the tunnel walls, feeling their way out to safety. She stifled a scream as she felt something brush her leg. A raccoon? A rat? God was punishing her for her sinfulness.
Eventually, the waters of Narragansett Bay glistened from the opening at the end of the tunnel. They stepped up their pace, the moon providing scant but precious light. As they reached their goal, he stopped.
"My wallet. It must have slipped out of my pants pocket."
"Oh, sweet Jesus."
He grabbed her hand. "Don't worry, let's keep going. Maybe they won't see it."
"I'm going back for it." She was adamant.
"Tomorrow. You can get it tomorrow," he urged.
She wished she could follow him out, but she knew she wouldn't sleep all night knowing that his wallet might give them away.
"You go ahead. Go home," she said.
"I'll go back with you," he offered.
"No. You have to get off the property. They can't know you were here. You have to go. Now."
"All right, but I'll see you tomorrow."
She swallowed as she watched him dart along the shoreline and disappear into the darkness. Taking a deep, resolute breath, she turned and stepped back inside, feeling gingerly against the side of the tunnel. Her fingers brushed against the hard-packed dirt and old brick, cold and clammy to the touch. She imagined what it must have been like for the slaves, running for their lives through this tunnel, inhaling deep breaths of the damp, musty smell that filled her nostrils now. Had they had lanterns to light their way? Or had they tapped blindly along in the blackness, not knowing what was in front of them but willing to risk it, knowing only what horrors they had left behind?
When she estimated she must surely be close to the ladder that led up to the playhouse, her hand receded into a large indentation in the wall. Pieces of earth broke away as she pushed against it. Her pulse quickened. Was the old tunnel safe? Could it collapse and trap her inside? Would anyone ever find her?
She prayed. If she got out of this one, she vowed she would never, ever go to the playhouse again. No matter how much he wanted her to, this was the last time. She promised.
She pushed on, sniffling quietly in the darkness.
Until she tripped over something and fell to her knees. Her breath came in short, terrified pants, her heart pumped against her chest wall as her hand groped over the form. It was covered with a smooth fabric of some sort, and it was large and intractable.
A human body, still warm, but lifeless.
She had had this feeling before, but only occasionally, in dreams. The urge, the ache, the need to scream, but somehow being frozen, unable to utter a sound. She pushed back from the body and cowered against the tunnel wall, trembling in the darkness.
Later, she would realize that she had been there for only moments, but then it seemed an eternity, the terrified thoughts spinning through her mind. She should go get help. She should summon people from the big house. But she couldn't. She wasn't supposed to have been here at all, and she was mortified at the thought of having to explain her forbidden tryst.
And, even worse, what if they blamed her? What if they thought she had committed murder? She was rocking on her haunches, trying to soothe herself, when she heard the grating sound. The door was sliding open overhead.
She clamped her eyes tight, sure that this was the end. The murderer was coming to get her too.
Instead, something fluttered from above, hitting her head, grazing her face. A piece of paper? A card?
She listened, shaking but undetected, as the door slid closed again.
"Fourteen Years Later"
The mining lamps that dotted the tunnel were powered by a generator, but that was one of the few nods to technology. The work was being done painstakingly, by hand. Just as the tunnel had been dug more than a century and a half before, human beings, not machines, scraped the clay and mortared the old red bricks now. Special care was being taken, inch by inch, foot by foot, to make sure that the walls were sturdy and firm. When the job was completed, thousands of tourists and historians and students would have the opportunity for the first time to walk the path American slaves had trod on their desperate flight to freedom. This tunnel had to be safe.
"We've got a soft spot here," called an expert mason, his words echoing against the walls of the underground passage.
The trowel tapped against the soft, red clay. Clumps of earth fell to the tunnel floor. The indentation in the wall grew larger.
The burrowing continued, revealing folds of material embedded in the clay, discolored and shredded by dirt and time. Still, some metallic threads managed to glitter in the light of the mining lamps. Gently, the mason brushed away the clay, following the trail of golden fabric.
The other workers in the tunnel gathered to watch the digging, and when they saw it they were grateful that they were all together. No one would have wanted to find such a thing alone.
A human skull and bones, swaddled in yards of gold lame.
She was the oldest one.
As Grace studied the college students positioned throughout the bustling newsroom this morning, she was keenly aware of the chasm that separated her from the other interns. At least a decade loomed between her and the best and the brightest she watched leaning against the tops of borrowed desks, scanning computer screens, and chatting it up with the so-inclined members of the morning news program staff. The interns were well educated, eager, ambitious, and rued Grace, so very young.
'Their whole life's ahead of them,' Grace observed as she watched one coed cross her long, tanned legs and somehow manage not to expose herself fully beneath a shamelessly short skirt. They're all on track for promising futures, poised to graduate from esteemed colleges and universities, already building their resumes in order to land that first paying television news job. Unencumbered, they're able to pursue their dreams. They have no personal baggage to tote along as they enter the workforce. They can go anywhere, do anything, accept any assignment, footloose and fancy free.
Grace Wiley Callahan well knew that was not her lot. Her slate was not as clean. She had history and responsibilities. At thirty-two years old, Grace had experienced morning sickness, marriage, motherhood, and divorce, in that order. When she was the age that these kids were, she had already tucked away the dream of a graduation ceremony, withdrawing from Fordham thirty credits short. In fact, when graduation day dawned for her friends, Grace pushed Lucy's stroller onto the college quad to watch as the diplomas were handed out. The graduates' shouts of joy were drowned out for Grace by her baby daughter's colicky cries.
Eleven years since then, and now Lucy was entering the sixth grade and Grace had already discovered fine crow's-feet at the corners of her brown eyes and the first few gray strands in her honey-colored hair. She had resolutely plucked them out the day she was notified that she had been accepted into this coveted internship program. She was getting a second chance and resolved to make it count, finally earning her degree and determined to make the most of the extraordinary opportunity at KEY News world headquarters in New York
City. She was also excited about the prospect of next week's trip to Newport, Rhode Island, for "KEY to America's" weeklong location broadcasts from the seaside resort, although fully aware that none of the other interns had to worry about the child they were leaving behind.
Not for a minute, of course, would Grace regret having Lucy. No, that was the best thing she had ever done, would ever do. Marrying Franknow that was a different story. Frank had initially wanted nothing to do with a child when Grace found her self pregnant in the spring of her junior year. But Grace had refused to terminate the pregnancy. She was determined to have her baby, with Frank or without him.
Grace gazed down at her ringless left hand and recalled how Frank had eventually, grudgingly come around. The handsome, athletic, senior business major Frank Callahan, urged by his parents to do the "right thing," ultimately proposed. With trepidation, Grace accepted, knowing they weren't starting their marriage under optimal circumstances but hoping for the best.
When Lucy was born five months after the hastily planned wedding ceremony, Grace and Frank brought the baby home to a small, basement apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey. Frank dutifully took the tube into lower Manhattan each morning to his first real job at a brokerage firm while Grace stayed home with the baby and tried to pick up some freelance reporting assignments for the local newspaper, covering town council meetings and night court sessions. But as Frank's responsibilities at the firm increased, he didn't want the added pressure of rushing home at night to be with Lucy while Grace went to work. He was making more, they could afford a bigger, better apartment, Gracie didn't have to work at that podunk newspaper.
She went along, and one year followed another. Grace spent her time raising and loving her little girl, trying not to dwell on the repercussions of her marriage to Frank. As she watched the news on television, she tried not to pine for what might have been if she had finished school and followed her plan to work in broadcast journalism. As time went on, after Lucy was tucked in bed at night, Grace found herself watching more and more of the prime-time newsmagazine shows, alone, dreading Frank's moodiness and anger and the perfumed scents that lingered on his clothing when he came home late after "business dinners."
Still, Grace stayed. For Lucy's sake, she told herself. For Lucy, she would stay in the marriage. Her child would not come from a broken home. Lucy deserved to have two parents living with her and raising her in the same place. No, Grace would stick it out. She would not leave.
Instead, Frank left her.
"Grace, would you mind faxing a copy of this tentative schedule to Professor Gordon Cox in Newport?" The producer-cameraman B.J. D'Elia held out the typed itinerary. "I know it's grunt work," he apologized, "but if I don't get out of here, I'm going to miss my train to Rhode Island."
"That's what I'm here for," she replied, taking the paper from him. She didn't relish the grunt work part especially, but she knew that trust was established bit by bit. Do the small things well now and they would trust you with the bigger things later.
"You're coming up tomorrow, right, Grace?"
"Can I ask you to do me another favor?" B.J. didn't wait for her answer. He was holding out a sheet of yellow lined paper. "Put together a short research package on scrimshaw and tattoos. We are doing a segment with a scrimshander and, perhaps, a tattoo artist, and we'll need to have some questions for Constance to ask during the interviews. Don't go overboard," he continued. "Just enough to cover the bases, and fax me what you come up with. The fax number at our newsroom at the Viking is on the paper."
"No problem," answered Grace as she took the information from him and noticed his strong, tanned hands.
"Thanks, Grace. Thanks a lot." He flashed a smile revealing white, even teeth and leaned closer. "I'll let you in on a secret. This is my first remote as a producer, and I'm a little nervous."
"Really? I thought you were an old hand at this."
"Nope. I've been a cameraman and editor here for six years, and at local television stations for years before that. But just a few months ago they made me a producer as well. That's the wave of the present, you know. Hyphenates. You gotta do two or three jobs for the price of one if you want to stick around a place like this."
Grace was a bit envious. She figured B.J. to be about her age, maybe a couple of years older, and yet here he was, well established in his career. She wondered if he was married and had a wife who stayed home with his child while he was carving out his place in the world.
Somehow, she thought not. Not only because there was no ring, but because she just had the indefinable sense that he was available. You never knew, though. There were guys who acted unattached when out in the workforce, when in reality they had families depending on them. Frank was one of those guys. Watching B.J.'s lanky frame as he walked back to his desk, Grace found herself hoping that he was not like her former husband.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Mary Jane Clark
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This book was great!
I had to keep myself from turning to the end to see "who did it"
When i first read the first page i was automaticaly hooked! it took me only two days to finish this master peice! i highly recomend this bookto everyone!
A producer and writer at CBS News Mary Jane Clark is also a savvy author choosing a background which she well knows and intricately plotting thrillers that leave listeners/readers guessing until the last minute. Fans of 'Nowhere To Run' will be delighted with her latest which pits an ambitious 30 something intern against an unknown and impossible to guess who killer. Actress Eliza Foss gives a sharp, suspenseful reading to this tale. She's especially effective when inhabiting the persona of Grace, a single mother, who very much wants and needs the full-time job promised. An aspirant for the position at KEY news Grace arrives in tony Newport, Rhode Island, set to do week long coverage of this rich and ritzy resort town. Unbeknownst to her the skeleton of a wealthy woman who disappeared some fourteen years ago has just been discovered in a murky tunnel beneath one of Newport's mansions. In addition the intern list is growing shorter - not due to lack of ability but the result of disappearance and a fatal car accident. Grace soon realizes that she, too, may be a target but who has her in their sights and why? Once again, Clark listeners won't be able to outwit her. For a bit of network gossip, a puzzling crime, and a posh location, don't miss 'Hide Yourself Away.' - Gail Cooke
At KEY-TV, four interns compete for the position of assistant producer's for the news show KEY to America. The rivals are all in Newport trying to persuade producer, B.J. D'Elia to select them. The least confident, but most needy of the rivals is thirty-two old single mom Grace Callahan. Besides feeling inadequate next to the competitors, Grace feels guilty that she left her preadolescent daughter Lucy behind with her philandering former husband and his wife, especially since they want custody of the child...................... Almost to the arrival of the news crew is the brutal murder of Madeleine Sloan, whose corpse was found at the bottom of the Forty Steps of the City by the Sea. Locals become concerned because fourteen years ago Madeleine¿s mother vanished, but now her remains have been found in an underground railroad tunnel. Soon the interns are murdered leaving Grace the job by default; others also are killed while Grace tries to uncover the identity of the serial killer before she joins the rapidly rising count................................... The Key to the latest news mystery is the beleaguered amazing Grace who serves as an unconfident fine center to the suspense thriller. However, the support cast is stereotyped so that they come from set moulds like the intern rivals regardless of race, national origin or gender seem identical viz a viz Grace. The story line consists of short chapters so that every New Englander seems guilty of the murders, but that hurts the tale as too many souls become suspect and interchangeable. Still fans of Mary Jane Clark will enjoy Grace¿s efforts to be the last intern breathing........................................ Harriet Klausner
KEY News travels to Newport, Rhode Island, just in time to solve a 14-year-old murder while putting on a weeklong morning show. The closer Grace Callahan, a new KEY intern in her 30s, gets to solving the mystery, the closer she gets to digging her own grave -- and maybe the graves of her fellow interns, too: a murderer who has escaped detection for a decade and a half won't stop at killing again. A modern-day 'Murder under the Sun,' Clark updates Christie's mayhem with suspects-a-plenty in America's First Resort. The clues are all there, with a heroine you root for all the way -- and it's a rollicking ride to the finish. I couldn't put it down!
I found this book to be extremely superficial. The characters were not original in any shape or fashion. This book did not have me at the edge of my seat and I was not impressed by the story line or plot. The only reason I gave this book two stars instead of one, and the only reason I didn't end up putting it down before finishing, was because due it its superficial nature it was an extremely fast read. Stick with Mary Higgins Clark if you want a good suspense novel.