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Death on the River Walk
First Chapter
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Carolyn Hart's Death on the River Walk cover I glanced at the computer printout that rested on the passenger seat of the rental car, a casual picture of a grandmother and granddaughter, arms linked, faces aglow with laughter and love. The bright photograph had been scanned into a computer half a world away and the resulting crisp picture that had issued from my daughter's computer was one of the small miracles that no one remarks in today's technological wonderland. The grandmother, Gina Wilson, was one of my oldest friends, a shining memory from the happiest years of my life. The granddaughter, Iris Chavez, was a child I'd come to know because she spent much of her growing up time with Gina. Iris was near in age to my own granddaughter, Diana.
The faces in the photograph were sharply different, despite their laughter on the day the picture was snapped on a sunny summer afternoon at Laguna. It wasn't simply a matter of age, Gina's short-cropped white hair and Dresden china pale skin and Iris's richly raven curls and creamily dusky complexion made a lovely contrast. Gina's sharply planed features were arresting, her light green eyes curious and skeptical, heir US& amused yet with a sardonic undercurrent, as befitted a woman who'd been one of the cleverest political reporters of her time. Iris's face was cherubic, still so young there were no fines. Her eyes were also green, but there was no challenge in Iris's gaze. Instead eagerness vied with uncertainty. Iris's bow of a mouth was marked with brilliantly red lipstick, but the vivid color couldn't hide vulnerability.
The two sets of green eyes were the only real resemblance in the photograph. What had Gina once told me? She'd looked out the window at Iris playing in the yard and smilingly observed, "Iris is the image of her father, except for her eyes." Iris. The name brought to my mind the vision of a slim blonde with startlingly blue eyes.
But not this Iris. Not Iris Chavez, whom I remembered as a giggling little girl with a mop of curly black hair and later as a plump, eager-to-please teenager. A sweet, bouncy, cheerful girl. I'd not seen his or Gina in several years. Yet when the phone rang
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yesterday at my daughter's home in east Texas, I'd immediately recognized Gina's voice and just as swiftly known there was trouble. Or, to be precise, realized--immediately that Gina was terribly afraid.
I hoped that soon, very soon, I could call Gina and say everything was okay. I slowed for a red light, checked my map. Although San Antonio streets often change names, I was finding my way without difficulty. Gina's directions had been clear and careful. Almost there.
 

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