Abigail Timberlake Washburn, petite but feisty proprietor of Charleston's Den of Antiquity antiques shop, stopped speaking to best friend and temporary decorating partner Wynnell Crawford a month ago after questioning her choice of a cheap, three-foot-high replica of Michaelangelo's David to adorn the garden of a local bed-and-breakfast. But now Wynnell has broken the silence with one phone call ... from prison! It seems the b&b owner has been fatally beaned allegedly by the same tacky statue and Wynnell's been fingered by the cops for the bashing. But Abby suspects there's more to this well-sculpted slaying than initially meets the eye, and she wants to take a closer look at the not-so-bereaved widower and the two very odd couples presently guesting at the hostelry. Because if bad taste was a capital crime, Wynnell would be guilty as sin but she's certainly no killer!
About the Author
Tamar Myers is the author of the Belgian Congo series and the Den of Antiquity series as well as the Pennsylvania-Dutch mysteries. Born and raised in the Congo, she lives in North Carolina.
Read an Excerpt
Statue of Limitations
By Myers, Tamar
Avon BooksISBN: 0060535148
It is no secret that I am an S.O.B. I love living South of Broad, in the historic district of Charleston, South Carolina. Mine is one of the most coveted addresses in the nation, and it is rumored that God Himself lives here -- although I have yet to run into Him on my daily walks. I have, however, met several people who think they fit the bill.
My best friend, Wynnell Crawford, is not as lucky. She's merely a W.O.T.A. -- West of the Ashley. The Ashley, of course, is one of Charleston's two principal rivers. The other important river is the Cooper. They meet at Charleston's famous Battery, where together they form the Atlantic Ocean. Please don't misunderstand me. There is nothing wrong with living west of the Ashley, but unless one lives on an honest-to-goodness plantation, being a W.O.T.A. is just not as good as being an S.O.B.
But in Charleston even geography takes second place to genetics. The really old families have bloodlines as tangled as the roots of an azalea in need of repotting. Through the bluest veins courses blood that has been recycling for over three hundred years. The redder the hemoglobin, the shorter the time the family has been in residence.
A growing number of folks are so inconsiderate that they weren't even born in Charleston County. These unfortunates occupy the bottom rung of the social ladder and are referred to as being "from off." The term has variously been interpreted to meaning "from off the peninsula" or "from off someplace far away." It doesn't really matter. If one is "from off," there is simply no getting on.
Although one can always hope. Does not hope spring eternal? Even in the smallest of breasts? And anyway, I had just come from lunch at Chopsticks Chinese restaurant on King Street, where I'd received a wonderful fortune in my cookie: "Big things are coming your way." I immediately thought of my husband, Greg, but when the phone rang at my shop a half hour later, minutes before closing time, and I heard the dulcet tones of one of the city's homegrown S.O.B.'s, my tiny heart began to pound.
"Yes, this is Abigail Timberlake," I said.
"Mrs. Timberlake, I was in your antique store the other day, and I must say, I really admire your taste."
"Thank you." I was so grateful for the compliment, I didn't even consider correcting her. Ms. Timberlake is my business name. My married name is Mrs.Washburn.
"And how clever of you to call it the Den of Antiquity. However did you think that one up?" She didn't wait for an answer. "Mrs. Timberlake, I waswondering if you did more than just sell your antiques."
Again I thought of Greg. "Uh -- well, what did you have in mind?"
"Fisher and I have a little project we're working on. A bed and breakfast is what I'd guess you'd call it. Anyway, I was wondering if you'd been interested in decorating for us."
Would I? Would Bill Clinton like an invitation to a sorority sleepover? I tried to play it cool.
"Where is this bed and breakfast, Miss, uh -- "
"Webbfingers. I'm Marina, and Fisher is my husband."
"I'm sorry, Marina, but I'm not sure where Webbfingers is."
I heard the soft, muffled laugh of gentility. "Darling, Webbfingers is our name, not our address. We live at double 0 Legare."
Of course she pronounced the street Legare to rhyme with "Brie." Only rubes, or recently arrived yokels "from off," pronounce the word as it is spelled. But double 0? Oh, why not! This is Charleston, after all, where many addresses begin with 0, and sometimes it seems as if there are more half than whole numbers.
"Double 0 Legare," I said, and jotted the address down on a notepad on my desk. As if I would forget. I could barely control my excitement. It was all I could do to keep from hanging up, calling the Post and Courier, and taking out a full page ad saying that I, little old Abigail from the Upstate, was now officially a decorator to one of Charleston's finest.
"If it's convenient for you," she purred, "I thought you might stop by this evening, and I'll show you around. Let you get a feel for the place."
"Say seven. Fisher and I have theater tickets, but we don't need to leave until almost eight."
"I'll be there with bells on," I said, and then immediately regretted both my excessive enthusiasm and my choice of words. A strap of sleigh bells hangs from a nail on the back of the door, and the bells had begun to jingle as if Santa himself was driving the sleigh.
"My, you are a clever woman," Marina said, but this time she didn't mean it as a compliment.
"A customer just walked in," I said. "The door does that."
"Yes, of course. See you this evening, then." She hung up first, a not so subtle reminder that she was a real S.O.B. and I merely a Johnny-come-lately.Continues...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Abigail 'Abby' Washburn was the petite and feisty owner of 'Den of Antiquity', an antiques shop in Charleston, South Carolina. When Marina Webbfingers offered Abby the job of decorating the rooms of the B&B, Abby accepted. Abby's best friend, Wynnell Crawford, did the garden. The two friends stopped speaking when they disagreed over a cheap, three-foot-high replica of Michelangelo's David that Wynnell placed in the garden. ............................. Death, disease, and mystery seemed to follow Abby where ever she went. So it should not have surprised Abby when Wynnell called her from prison. Mrs. Webbfingers had been bludgeoned to death by the statue in the garden. (The statue was later found in the harbor.) The suspects were numerous, at least to Abby. None of the current guests were who they claimed to be and Mr. Webbfingers failed to look like the grieving husband. But the police fingered Wynnell, who had just finished a very heated, verbal spat with the B&B owner. ................................ ***** Abby could very well be considered a female, modern day type, Sherlock Holmes. Well, except for the fact that while reading the novel Abby had me laughing aloud at the most embarrassing times. Here is a tongue-in-cheek type of mystery that will have you laughing one moment and then seriously considering the facts the next. I dare anyone to test their wits with this story! Excellent characters and an extremely well thought out plot that I highly recommend to all. *****
Delightful light reading with just the right ballance of intrigue and humor. Interesting characters caught up in mystery.