Murder at the Arlington

Kathleen Kaska
12 min readFeb 3, 2024

A Sydney Lockhart Mystery: Chapter 18

Chapter Eighteen

I was about to suggest that we return to our hotel and call it a day. Despite the two murders, I liked the place. I liked my room. I’d have to come back sometimes, under better circumstances.

Suddenly I was exhausted. But before I could open my mouth, Ruth jumped up. “Shopping! It’s ti . . . me,” She sung her announcement in an annoying falsetto. “We only have a little more than two hours before the stores close. I firmly believe we could do some real damage.”

I’d totally forgotten about shopping. At this point I’d rather return to see how the Smalls were doing at Mount Ida. In fact that quiet little root cellar sounded kind of nice. I looked at my watch. “Okay, Ruth. We shop. First I need coffee.”

She gave me that pouty face, then found the waiter and ordered two coffees.

“Where’s that shop of yours?” I asked. I added double sugar to give the caffeine a boost.

“Two blocks down Central. Maurice’s. You’ll love it.”

“I need everything. A skirt, a sweater, couple of blouses, shoes, bathing suit, and pajamas, even a coat or jacket.”

“We’ll need a department store for that. Let’s exchange the outfit first.” I tried on two outfits at Maurice’s and claimed that neither fit. The clothes in this shop were atrocious, so much so that Ruth bought two dresses, a skirt and a sweater in addition to exchanging the blue and yellow eyesore for one in her size.

Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash

“Hey,” I said. “Who needs clothes? You or me? Let’s go.”

We drove to Monnigs Department store and I had little less than an hour to outfit myself with a new wardrobe. While Ruth headed for the gloves, I found a sales clerk and told her exactly what I needed. She walked behind me and caught whatever I pulled off the shelves and racks. I wouldn’t win a fashion contest, but I’d selected a few items I could live with. The only thing I really didn’t like were the baby doll PJs. Not my style. I prefer the kind of nightwear I can walk around in and not have to worry if someone…

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Kathleen Kaska

Author of the Sydney Lockhart mysteries and the Kate Caraway mysteries. I blog about, “Growing Up Catholic in a Small Texas Town.”