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A Diamond To Die For
"Storms wash up strange things. On that wet afternoon with damp penetrating her bones and in haste to return to the hotel’s warm comforts, Isobel’s downcast eyes caught something partly buried in the sand that did not belong on this Rhode Island beach. At first glance it resembled half a large skeletal crab, but after the back run of foam subsided, she nudged aside a snarl of seaweed with her toe and abruptly jerked her foot away. It was not a crab. It was a human hand, severed cleanly at the wrist. Above the arthritic knuckle of its ring finger, shone a large glittering diamond."
“I’ve no immediate financial needs,” Isobel assured, and removed the cat’s imperiled tail from under the sweep of her rocker. “But I’m afraid I’ve succumbed to the lure of the more glamorous parts of the world described in up-market travel magazines. I want to stay at elite and enticing places where only the very rich can afford to dabble their pedicured toes. And I refuse to travel in any ‘comfortized’ motor coach full of elderly crotchets. I know they’re reputed to be excellent, but no Elderhostels for me. I plan to become a hedonist, lolling in comfort. I’m afraid Frits didn’t imagine what I have in mind and ‘comfortably provided for’ is not enough.”
"Something caught at her ankle and her bare foot twisted in the flimsy shoe. She lost her balance, lost hold of the plastic bin, and fell awkwardly onto the gravel. Sharp stones tore into her skin, but the pain that stabbed at her wrenched foot hurt far less than the lapse of dignity. 'So what,' she spoke aloud crossly. 'People do occasionally fall down.' She groped about for the sandal, but instead her hand brushed something soft and lumpy. She was suddenly aware that she was holding cold, rubbery flesh. Fighting nausea, she realized she was not alone after all."