A Secret Grave 84: Tell Me Everything

 

Perhaps now more than ever – because of the stolen painting and the murder attached to it – I was hungry to learn about Victor’s past. With Emil temporarily out of the picture, I decided to get in touch with Janet Lamar, the travel agent I met at a New Year’s eve party who’d grown up with Victor. As it turned out, she lives in my neighborhood. We made a date for her to visit me in my studio.

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Janet Lamar

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Janet is a tall, slender, youthful woman in her early sixties who wears wild clothing and interesting jewelry. After walking around my studio studying canvases in various stages of completion and peering at sketchbooks, jars of medium and tubes of paint, she settled on the couch and looked at me expectantly. It was late on a weekday afternoon and the setting January sun was making flickery orange patterns on the wall behind her.

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I explained my interest in Victor to Janet, who gave a shrill laugh when I told her about the rumor that he was buried in a secret grave beneath my studio. “Does seem a little spooky in here,” she said uncomfortably.

“Most studios feel that way,” I said to reassure her. “I’m trying to piece together Victor’s story. I know you knew him growing up in Dallas. What can you tell me about him and his family?”

“Well,” she said, readjusting the scarf she wore twisted around her blond hair, “I actually lived two houses down from him. We were in junior high and high school together.”

“The same class?”

“Yes, uh huh. I had a crush on his older brother, Roy, so I knew the family pretty well. In fact, my mother was best friends with their mother, Evelyn.”

“Did you know the father, too?”

“Dr. Gottlieb? Yeah, he was a strange one. If he was in a bad mood, you could feel it like a dark shadow all over the house. Victor and I used to plot ways to get into his office, which he always kept locked. We were convinced he conducted weird experiments in there, you know – kind of like the proverbial mad scientist.”

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Leonard Gottleib, Victor’s father

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Wow, I couldn’t believe my luck. Here was someone who knew Victor’s family up close and personal, the father who grew medicinal herbs and could heal with his hands, the snooty socialite mother, the brother who’d been sent to military school for bad behavior, the little sister born on the same day as Kennedy’s assassination. I leaned forward in my chair. “Tell me more,” I said to Janet. “Tell me everything you know.”

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ http://www.levichek.net/2016_04_01_archive.html

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