Mountain Ice (David Dean Mysteries) (Chapter 4, page 1 of 16)

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Dean's snuggled slumber drifted to wakefulness sometime in the heart of the wee hours when a metallic sound of ringing returned him to the world of the living. At first he feared it was a telephone until its uninterrupted sound told him otherwise. It woke Cynthia, too. She assumed it was morning in her grogginess until a squinted peek at their clock showed two AM. The sound stopped in a minute or so but a three AM recurrence woke them enough to hold a brief conversation on the source of the nocturnal noise, a conversation repeated at four AM, by which time the couple were fully awake.

"It's upstairs," Cynthia mumbled. "That's all I can tell. But who gets up in the middle of the night?"

Dean thought of Edith Shipton. "Edith said she was leaving in the morning. Maybe she wanted to get an early start."

"At two A M? And again at three, and four?"

"Maybe she keeps changing her mind," he answered. Then he remembered the ringing alarm clock in the luggage of their other guest. "God," he muttered. "I'll bet it's a collect call for Gladys Turnbull from the planet Draghow!" Further speculation ended as they both drifted back to sleep.

After dawn arrived at last and the couple were showered and dressed, they speculated further on the late night sounds as Cynthia filled Bird Song's breakfast table with fresh baked goodies. A quiet investigation revealed all upstairs doors closed and the sound of snoring from the Dame Turnbull's room. Edith Shipton's rental car, blanketed in six inches of fresh snow, remained out front.

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