The Ice-Cream Club

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Chapter 36 (FINAL clue)

All stared at Latisha. Jim was studying the picture a little bit closer.

‘Are you sure, Tisha,’ Tim Monty asked needlessly, for he knew her to very observant.

‘Yes, I’m sure!’ She said exasperated and then, ‘Jim?’

‘I do recall a picture standing on the mantelpiece, the whole family as I have it, but I didn’t take note of it that closely. It could be,’ Jim said with a little reserve, ‘that’s easy to establish, we can just arrange another interview with Mirna de Wet and-’

‘There’s an easier way,’ Deric said, ‘if this is a painting done by Mirna de Wet, we can just look it up on the internet under her work - it will be featuring among her portfolio – I presume.’

‘On it boss,’ Monty said as he sat down before his trusty computer.

They all turned their attention to Monty. A few minutes later they were staring at the oil-on-canvas – “KIMBERLEY”.

’It is a work by Mirna de Wet and it was shown last year in Studio 969 in an exhibition by various artists – actually various in this case means three!’ Monty said.

Jim kept staring at the picture for a while just to make peace with himself that he really had missed this one. Then a second picture of her caught his eye.

‘Good Lord above! Are this what paintings go for?’ He pointed to the prize-tag, ‘this one was sold to an undisclosed buyer in 2012 for an astonishing-’

‘I’m in the wrong business!’ Monty interrupted and gave an appreciative whistle. He pointed at the five-digit number.

‘Please, don’t tell me you can paint as well!’ Danny chirped in.

‘Yeah, please don’t tell us-’ Jim wanted to jab, but Monty cut him off short.

‘No, sadly, I cannot paint,’ he said pretend miserable before smiling broadly, ‘but Misha can!’

‘Oh, please, just protect us from those little brats if you two ever get to breed!’ Jim said, but the pretend aghast.

‘”Kimberley”. What did that one fetch and is the buyer known?’ Deric read out loud and brought them back to reality.

‘Sorry?’ Monty said as he looked back at the screen.

They all stared back at the painting.

‘You think that’s her name?’ Latisha wanted to know.

‘It wasn’t for sale, only on loan as part of the exhibition.’ Monty said after reading the details.

Monty let his fingers danced over the keys again and up came the details of Judge Rodney Gust.

‘…Blah, blah…a here we go, married to renown South African artist Mirna de Wet famous for her vibrant landscapes of the South African countryside and portraits. They have one daughter - Kimberley Gust.’ Monty read with delight and surprise in his voice.

They all were silent for a while. Then Deric said, ‘So, we’re definitely - at last - barking up the right tree. Can one say barking up the “right” tree?’

’Yes, one can if one wants to. We’re definitely barking up the right tree! And this tree, is one of those very high ones, bound to catch a lot of wind.’ Jim added in his trademark calm voice.

‘Okay, so what are we looking at in this picture?’ Latisha said, ’My guess would be the blue- and diamante butterfly in her hair.’

‘I bet those stones are the real thing as her name reflect – Kimberley – as in Kimberlite.’ Danny said.

‘O, no,’ Jim said with a faint sigh, ’not another know-it-all-show-off. Deric we have to talk to Supt about these people he gives us to work with.’

Monty and Danny gave each other a high five as Latisha decided that the team is in need of coffee and this time she’ll do it without complainig.

Deric’s phone went into a modern rendition of Johnny Cash’s “Walk the line”

‘That’s what married life does to you,’ Jim said to the others with a sigh, ‘you change your phone’s ring-tone from “Happy” by Pharrell Williams to “Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash – well, it’s more like “Toe the Line”’

He lend a hand as Latisha came back with the coffee and continued, ‘By the way, I’ve got a message from my boss-’

‘Supt?’ Danny asked. He already felt at home amongst the team.

Jim looked with narrowed eyes at Danny as he said, ’Not the Boss, my Boss - as in Josie! She told me to remind you all of the “Big Braai” the first week in February. And I have to emphasize,’ he held his hands before his mouth like a megaphone as he said loudly, ‘NO DENIALS BAR DEATH!’

Deric put one finger in his ear and motioned Jim to pipe down as he had a hard time hearing the person on the other side.

Jim went back to slurping his coffee as if he wasn’t the culprit, to the utter amusement of the others.

Deric finished his call and said, ‘God, Jim, you’d hard liquor for breakfast this morning? You’re louder than a drunken teenager.’ He gave a faint smile, ‘that was Doc. They found something other than DNA.’

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