Taurus - Unstable Graves -- Chapter 20 (to be published in 2023)

Erin drove Celine back to town and they ended up at the door of the fashionable boutique called, ‘The Final Touch.’
“Maintenant, Erin. Let me act here like an old, confused French lady.”
“You are an old, confused French lady, but scatterbrained is more accurate.”
Celine shushed her and they entered the small, exclusive shop. “Bonjour, Madame. I have long had the desire for some pewter egg cups.”
The tall dark-haired woman behind the counter smiled with her lips and assessed them with cold, calculating eyes. “I have a few such items that might interest you.”
Erin glanced around. She didn’t have her own home but didn’t possess any nesting syndrome either. She handled a few antique style wine glasses but thought them too ornate and heavy for everyday use. Her pleasures consisted of a mystery book and a glass of red wine in a vanilla scented bath. Bad enough when she had dropped a heavier book in the water while soaking for hours in the whirlpool tub let alone spilling this heavy glass full of wine. She’d look like a body in a bloodbath then.
Celine said she didn’t care for the eggcups, that they were too opulent for her use. She twittered away and then looked at the woman’s hands. “That is a belle antique emerald ring. Your husband must have the grand amour for you to buy such a present magnifique.”
‘Yes. We’re both born in May. His emerald ring is in a more modern style.”
“Then you are both probablement the sign of the Taurus?” At the woman’s nod, Celine continued jabbering. “That earth sign is supposed to be tres, uh, very stubborn like the bull it stands for but the two together make a good couple. I am an air sign, Libra—October, you know. Today, I should check for some opals for October, oui the earrings.”
The woman led them over to a locked cabinet. “If you see any you like let me know.” She glanced again at Erin. “Haven’t I met you somewhere, recently?”
“Only if you fell sick. I’m a registered nurse. I work in the Hanmer and Capreol area.”
The woman lowered her eyelids. “Where you the nurse who found that body, out past Mr. Fraser’s cottage?”
“Oui, Erin, she has all the bad luck.”
“I didn’t think anyone knew I was involved,” Erin said. “It wasn’t common knowledge.”
“I have connections to Mr. Fraser and called him to check on how he was doing with all the police activity.”
Celine’s eyes took on an investigator’s glow. “You know the trapper, bien?”
“Of course. I grew up out there, in a nearby lodge. It rents out as a seasonal inn now.” She frowned. “I’m Sheila Gibson.”
“I’m Erin Rine. This is my neighbour, Celine Lauzon.”
“I am French.” Celine simpered. “Do you have les enfants, Madame?”
“No, I don’t,” came the clipped reply.
Celine kept chattering. “Well, being a Taurus, c’est bon. As long as you have the main person in your life, you need no others.” She screwed up her face and tapped her finger against her lips. “But the sign, it is supposed to symbolize the procreation.”
The woman turned from Celine and frowned at Erin. “I’ve noticed you, Miss Rine, someplace, maybe at the racetrack. Do you know my husband, Craig Gibson?”
“Oh, I have seen him. My brother has two racers so I’m usually out there on Saturdays. But, I’ve not been introduced to him.”
“Most people remember Erin. She stands erect beside her even taller brother.”
Sheila studied Erin with a calculating look. “Well, I’m 5’8,” look about the same as you. I think it’s an impressive height for a woman.”
Celine coughed. “Tous le monde at the track were questioned because that young person killed, she worked out there.”
“Did she? Well, I wouldn’t know. I bet in the Casino, not with those racing people.”
Celine bought a pair of opal studs, still chatting away. The woman stayed silent but glared at Erin who wasn’t looking back. However, Celine, acting befuddled, noticed.
Out of the store the older woman spoke up first. “This Sheila, she says she did not know the dead person. Then said she only visitez the slots and not the horse goers. So she must have known the woman worked out there in the track area.”
“She’s certainly a cold fish—such hard, glacial eyes.”
“Very controlled person. You did not see the daggers those eyes threw out your way. I bet she thinks you have designs on her man.”
“That lecherous man’s a creep and she must have misgivings about him. I’m surprised she tolerates his behaviour. Maybe it’s the competition she doesn’t tolerate.”
“If you are suggesting she did the murder, then you must be tres careful. Do not ever stand alone on a cliff with that femme.”