Waltzing in the Snow — Chapters 13 & 14

Scroll down & catch up on the mystery. Chapters 13 & 14 are short but rich in clues!

Waltzing in the Snow

Chapter 13: Valor and Discretion

At six in the morning, Amanda called Jason. He didn’t seem surprised at Daniel’s description of the their father’s argument with Candace.

“Amanda, Dad always went for younger women. My mom, your mom, the crazy Spaniard — they were all about the same age when he met them, 27, 28. Candace was just a few years younger. She wasn’t classically beautiful, like your mom, or as glamorous as Marianna, but she was certainly an attractive, younger woman. She was clever and spoke Russian with him. He liked that. Remember how they read aloud from Shakespeare. He could never get one of us to…”

“I guess,” Amanda paused. “It just feels so — so…”


“Yes, like my best friend and my dad betrayed me.”

“Amanda, you have to understand. Dad is a man — not just your father. He was a lot of things to a lot of people. He was a charming raconteur; he was a wine connoisseur; he had fabulous friends from all over the world. A lot of women would find him attractive. They could have been arguing about telling you. But Amanda, remember, it’s not all about you.”

Amanda sighed. Her brother was right.

“If I run into Spooky again, I’ll press him. Maybe a bottle of single malt Scotch will loosen his tongue. That always got Dad talking.”

Chapter 14: A Method of Madness

The train ride was too early for much of a conversation. Daniel napped and Amanda read. Still avoiding the last section of his book as she didn’t feel ready to read it. They took a cab from Union Station directly to Amanda’s apartment in North West.

“I’ve got a spare bedroom here, but would you like to stay at dad’s. The master bedroom suite is empty. I could stay in Jason’s old room. I have stuff there and…”

“That’s a good idea. If his memory waivers, it might be better to pace the conversation — spread it out…”

“Yes, good. Let me just go through a few things in my bag and off-load the dirty laundry.”

Daniel admired the artwork in Amanda’s apartment. There were a few paintings and a small sculpture, but photography dominated her collection. It was all beautifully hung and mounted in non-reflective glass. It was a long way from the Klimt and Matisse posters that hung in her freshman dorm room.

“I just called Phil, dad’s aide, to tell him we were coming over for a couple of days.” Amanda announced as she came into the room holding an 8 X 10 manila envelope. She handed it to him and wandered around the apartment watering plants. “I scanned the photo — the one in the snow.”

“It’s beautiful! Really beautiful….”

“Remember he’s very old,” Amanda warned Daniel as she drove the familiar route to the house.

“I’m good with old people. My parents are old.”

“Not as old as my dad. He’s going to be 97 in September.”

“Wow… My mom is 78 and my dad is 80. Good shape, both of them…”

Amanda pulled the car into the driveway, turned the motor off and sat for a beat.

“This might be hard, you know, getting him to talk about an affair with our friend. It’s not something he’d usually talks about.

“What does he usually talk about?”

“Oh, the embassy parties, meeting the folks behind the scenes in government, drinking wine with celebrities….”

“Then we start with what he likes to talk about. Let him take the lead and then, gradually, point him toward his relationship with Candace. I’m not going to pounce on him and ask him why he had a goon chase me out of the house when I overheard a conversation in a language that…”

“Yes, that’s a good idea. We’ll do that. He’s not supposed to drink more than a little — if at all — but he does love a couple of fingers of Scotch every day at six. Maybe we can get him relaxed and talking, and then, over cocktails, we can bring up that period of time.”


  1. I really like this line “Amanda pulled the car into the driveway, turned the motor off and sat for a beat.” It feels natural. This is something I have been fighting with of late. I can’t seem to find a way to express a pause like this that feels natural.

    • Candy

      I like “take a beat” too. It’s actually a theater/acting reference and, given that the key link between Amanda and her old friend Daniel was his first play, it seemed natural when describing her actions.

      Finding language that’s natural is a HUGE challenge. Makes me crazy sometimes.

  2. Short chapters certainly fit serialized fiction, but in general, you are also quite a concise writer. Please say it takes you ages to make your prose just so? 🙂

    • Candy

      LOL… I’m not sure how to answer that question.
      “Waltzing” started as an unfinished, full length novel from a few years ago. It simply wasn’t working so I put it aside. Then, in less than a week, a few months ago I wrote this version straight out — without looking at my old version or at the research I’d done. I worked on it a little more, just to find typos. Wrote a second ending and… here it is. So I didn’t work on it for ages and yet… I did. LOL… This is still a work-in-progress. I hope and the other loyal readers will give me solid advice about the two alternatives endings.