The Impetuous Mistress(1958)
(The second book in the Sam Crombie series)
A novel by George Harmon Coxe
a selection from Chapter 1: The heat wave which came unfailingly to blanket the eastern shore at least once each summer descended with the advent of August and was still going strong five days later. Those who could get out of the cities did so. Those who could not leave, complained, tempers became frayed, the near-by beaches and the roads feeding them were jammed over the week end, and cold drinks were consumed in record quantities. Rick Sheridan was one of the lucky ones who had been able to escape on the first day, which was a Thursday. He had driven out to this small house he had recently finished across the Connecticut line with two roughs for what would one day be page advertisements for True-Fruit, a soft drink that had hopes of emulating Pepsi-Cola in popularity, promising his agent that he would deliver the finished art on Tuesday morning. Because he had insisted on using plenty of insulation, the house stayed comfortable until midafternoon and he had worked steadily on Friday and Saturday. Sunday he had loafed, spending much of his time at the beach, and by Monday noon his two illustrations were ready and he was in excellent spirits, not only because he felt his work was good but because he had telephoned Nancy Heath in New York and she had agreed to take the train to Westport, have dinner with him, and drive back to the city that evening. There was no hint of the trouble that was to come until the telephone began to ring that afternoon. The first call came from his agent at a quarter of four, just as he was about to stop work on the portrait of Elinor Farrell, who sat near the big studio window. "Hey, Rembrandt," Ted Banks said. "Tomorrow's Tuesday." "Yeah," said Rick. "August sixth." "How're you and True-Fruit doing?" "We're done. Finished this noon." "Ahh. You're my boy. What do you think?" "I think it's pretty good." "It better be because I've been making a big pitch. The client likes your stuff and if they go for these two we get thirteen-fifty for the next job." "I love you." "I love you, too. Just be here by ten in the morning." Rick turned away, pleased with the good news and grinning absently until his glance touched the portrait. He surveyed it critically as he cleaned a brush. "That's about it, Elinor," he said. "You mean it's finished?" "No, I mean for today." "Oh, dear." Elinor Farrell sighed. "I was hoping - but you'll surely have it Friday. It has to be framed, too... Could I see it now, please?" Rick smiled at her as he carefully reversed the canvas on the easel and carried it over to one wall. "I'd rather you didn't," he said. "It's always better to see a picture for the first time in a frame, even if it isn't the perfect frame. And you'll have it Friday. But I'd like to think about it another day or so. Maybe it's all right now but if you could come Wednesday, just in case I want to touch it up here and there."
Used availability for George Harmon Coxe's The Impetuous Mistress
May 2012 : USA Hardback
April 2013 : USA Paperback
May 2012 : USA Paperback