The awkwardness passed as quickly as it had descended upon them. Devon continued, not dwelling on a silly comment. She had bigger things to worry about. “There are all sorts of theories of what happened to my mother. I’m certain she didn’t walk out on us. Someone took her. I intend to find out what happened to her twenty years ago.”
“I don’t think anyone believed she left on her own.” Hope remembered her mother hadn’t believed Joyce walked out on her family. But there were rumors she’d fled with a boyfriend or was forced into the witness protection program. Both those scenarios seemed unlikely, given Joyce had been a well-respected member of the community. Then again, Hope was only a teenager at the time and wasn’t privy to information about Joyce’s personal life.
“How do you plan on finding out the truth?” Claire asked. “It was so long ago.”
Devon’s baby-blue eyes hardened. “I’m going to turn this whole town upside down and shake as hard as I can until I find the person responsible for my mother’s disappearance.” A chirping noise came from her wrist, and she lifted her arm, pushing up the sleeve of her parka. She tapped her smartwatch. “I’d better get going or I’ll be late returning the van. It’s so good to see you both.” She hurried out of the shop.
Claire followed, and when the door closed, she swung around to face her sister.
“Did you hear what she said? What she’s planning on doing?”
“Why didn’t you tell me about her podcast? How do you know about it?”
“I only found out about it this morning. I ran into Norrie Jennings, who also knows about the podcast.”
“Does she know Devon was planning on coming back to town?”
“I don’t think so. Norrie said she’s heard the podcast and wants to write a follow-up story about Joyce’s case in time for the anniversary. She didn’t mention anything about Devon being back in town.”
Claire walked back to the counter and lifted the tote bag. “I’m not going to lie; I have a bad feeling about all this.”
“Same here.” Hope stood and moved to the window. She looked out to Main Street.
In the early morning light and the fresh coating of snow, the street looked charming. A quick glance and no one would ever suspect any evil acts occurring in the postcard-perfect New England town. Hope swallowed. She knew otherwise.
She’d been caught up in a few murder investigations over the past year, which meant she’d been face-to-face with evil. Her guess was Joyce also faced such, but unlike Hope, she never got the chance to tell the story.
“Wait until Maretta finds out Devon is back to reopen her mother’s case. And of all
things, with a podcast.” Claire tsk-tsked. “Plus having Norrie write an article about it for the Gazette? Maretta is going to blow a gasket. You know how she feels about portraying Jefferson’s image of the ideal destination for antiquing and leaf-peeping.”
Hope winced. Her sister was right. The new mayor had been on the job since last summer and blamed Hope for the unfortunate murders that occurred recently in town. Why blame the murderer when you have a perfectly innocent food blogger to accuse?