“So, it was his mother?”
I nodded. “I’m guessing he broke up with her pretty cold, but his mother won’t let him give the guitar back because, ya know, dead girls don’t need one. And now she thinks I’m one of Penelope’s friends, she’ll never let me in.”
I glanced at Kanesha.
“I can try. What about Penelope’s parents?”
“They don’t know she loaned it to him. They’d be mad if they found out.”
“Mad at who, though?” I considered it. “If an adult showed up, she might decide she has to give it back.”
“She really doesn’t want them to know.”
I nodded a little bit, thoughtfully. “Okay. In that case, I think we might need to ask Mike. You try first, Kanesha.”
“If we send too many people, she’ll probably put it in a pawn shop.”
“I could buy it, but I’m not doing that if we can avoid it, not unless somebody can get me fairy gold.” Yeah, I was thinking like my dad again.
“Kind of unfair on the pawnbroker.” Kanesha frowned.
“Yeah, but she isn’t getting real money off of me. I would rather steal it.”
“Assuming he’s telling the truth.”
“Assuming. Okay. Kanesha, you try. I am going to check pawnbrokers.” The pawn shop I walked by always had musical instruments in it. That was probably where you’d get rid of an expensive guitar.
If he was lying it could well be ‘we already sold it’ that he was hiding. Or used it as collateral. I idly wondered how a pawnbroker would react to being told something in their store was stolen.
Prue had already given me the make and model – meaningless to me, as I didn’t really know anything about guitars. But it was enough to get an idea of what it looked like from the internet. I checked That pawn shop first, with amusement, but it wasn’t there.
On the fifth, I hit pay dirt. That guitar certainly looked like the one I was looking for. I slipped inside. “Hey. Is that a Fender CP-100 Parlor?”
The guy behind the counter nodded. “Sure is. Looking for one?”
“A friend of mine had hers stolen. She asked me to help look for it.”
He sighed. “Happens all the time. Any marks on it?”
“Name sticker, Penelope Wilson, on the back of the soundbox.”
“Somebody removed a sticker. I couldn’t swear that it’s the same instrument, though. Woman who brought it in seemed mad it wasn’t worth more. I actually had to show her on the internet that they’re only a couple of hundred new.”
That fit the story. “Woman in her forties, medium brown hair, glasses, a tad dumpy?”
He nodded. “Yeah.”
“Great. I think this is the guitar, but I don’t know quite what to do about it.” I could easily afford it.
“I already paid her for it. Look…”
“No, you don’t have to give it to me. I can buy it back. But maybe we can involve the cops?”
He shook his head. “They ain’t going to give you the time of day over a guitar worth a hundred bucks. And…” He emerged from behind the counter, where I thought he was sitting. Well, he was. In a wheelchair.
I managed not to stare as he unlocked and slid open the glass paneling. “Penelope Wilson was the girl who got killed in that car crash. I saw on the news. Her family deserves this back.”
I nodded. “Her kid brother’s getting it.”
That, I thought, was entirely too easy.