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She accepts a glass. But he wanted to come. They were buds, you know. Vlad had managed to charm Loulou with his European manners and wide knowledge of art. Glad of her little detour with Emerson, Nell has a chance to take it all in.
The Canaletto over the living room mantel is hanging next to a calendar from the local arboretum Scotch-taped to the wall. And the scent of the place—mildew mixed with Windex—sends her neurons firing down a wormhole that strips away decades so she is a girl again, self-conscious and bewildered and filled with a fraught desire to belong.
Since earliest remembering she has known where her loyalties should lie. Needlepointing allowed him all sorts of cover at family gatherings. It was just the sort of eccentricity born of privilege that Baldwin enjoyed flaunting. Nell had squirrelled away the pillow in her room, blending it in with her menagerie of stuffed animals. She has no idea where it is now.
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Nell settles in next to Baldwin, glad for his rapid-fire questions about her life, which cover any awkwardness. Go hiking in the forest? Do you eat the salmon or have you become one of those vegans? A true non-Quincy has arrived. From the formal tone of his emails inviting her to this meeting, Nell expected someone older.
But the estate attorney, Louis Morrell, is about her age. His boring suit and subdued tie contrast with his shaved head and corded neck, which indicate he might spend some regular time at the gym. She shakes his hand and cuts her eyes to Pansy for confirmation. Even as kids, she often duped the gullible and ditched the slow, including the younger Nell.
Uncle Baldwin had given her the name Pansy thinking it old-fashioned—harkening to some long-dead aunt and a flower.
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The name had made it a virtual certainty Pansy would grow up to be a badass. So, clearly Louis has been around awhile. It gives Nell pause, considering her usually gregarious uncle.
By unspoken cue, they leave after greeting Louis. None of them are invited to this meeting. Nell dives a hand into her purse for a piece of nicotine gum, but pauses. Connie Rensselaer is making those spinach things for tomorrow.
I told her they were your special favorite. I told her the caterers were taking care of everything, but she insisted. Tactfully dealing with death is a requirement in his area of law. He sits on an overstuffed chintz loveseat, the bottomed-out springs forcing his knees up to his chest as he roots through a document bag, unpacking clipped stacks of paper onto the floor until Pansy clears the coffee table.
Emerson slumps in his chair, the caning long ago busted out on the sides. Emerson works for one of the big New York banks, a fact Baldwin enjoys strategically wedging into conversations. His phone is now an appendage. He passes out copies of the will. In her reply email, Nell had requested to be given a copy as right at this meeting and the others had followed on. As a warm-up, he walks them through small gifts to the nurses first, then moves on to a few charities where Loulou had long served on the board, followed by token legacies for well-remembered godchildren.
She had about a half dozen of them. After a diplomatic amount of time, and proper mutterings about the propriety of all this, Louis continues. This is just going to be a preliminary discussion about the timelines moving forward. She looks at her father.
- The Necklace
She rifles the papers in her lap for something to look at, shock and a slight edge of excitement racing through her. Your grandmother and I discussed it. Louis hands Pansy a tiny key and a printout of passcodes and PINs.
As the lawyer for the estate, he should be on this. He should have made sure someone found it, whether or not Loulou was acting cranky. There was a shoebox with some gold Krugerrands, too. Couple of cases of Chartreuse as well.
They all know this. Seems like you got the delusional gift. Nothing besides some leftovers or a mix-up should be expected, even if she is executor. She can feel Louis watching them all. Baldwin, of course, gets the house. Nor is her father, which is understood. Nell had called him in Italy, and he had refused to come. The structure itself goes to Baldwin. Pansy turns to her father. I thought she should do what she wanted with it. Even breathing in noxious poison would be better than sitting in this atmosphere.
Kelly is still a practicing member of the AMA. And the other affidavit is from his younger partner in the practice, Dr. What does this mean for taxes? How does this affect the generation-skipping trusts? What do we do next? All the questions secretly ask the same thing: Nell watches as the chummy rapport with Louis fades away, suspicion falling into place quickly. She reaches into her bag for another piece of gum and adds it to the wad in her cheek, feeling the nicotine hit her bloodstream.
She never has been able to say no to Pansy. Pansy raises it in toast before popping it in.
Nell has to think for a minute about how to respond to a kindness from Pansy. Things have been over with Paul for months, but Nell recognizes the gesture. And there are other factors to consider. There are their two boys, who are enmeshed in soccer and lacrosse.
This is all in contrast to what Nell suspects is the Quincy view of her life, as ingrained as it is retro: Paranoia hits Nell in the chest at the thought of a Quincy cabal discussing the wretchedness of Paul, of her life, only now letting their opinions be known. She cracks her gum in response to Pansy.
She has questions, and she wants to ask them away from Pansy. She gives up any pretense of disinterest and follows him to the front hall, ditching her gum in the wrapper and stashing it in her empty glass. She suddenly wonders what he thinks of this whole business, if he finds them all ridiculous. I have no clue. Loulou confided in few people. She did mention that a few times. You really should, you know.
The Necklace | Book by Claire McMillan | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster
Free eBook offer available to NEW subscribers only. Must redeem within 90 days. See full terms and conditions and this month's choices. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
More than just a piece of jewelry, the necklace links Nell to a long-buried family secret. This engrossing novel interweaves a present-day family drama with an ill-fated Prohibition-era love triangle and delves into the secrets, passions, and tragedies of a uniquely American family. Do you recall how you initially pictured the necklace before Nell discovers it and describes its ornate appearance in full? How do descriptions of the Moon of Nizam compare with what you originally envisioned?
Later that night, Claire reads about conjuring the dead, and becomes possessed. When Norman arrives home from work, Claire's personality has noticeably changed, and she aggressively seduces him. However, the encounter is interrupted when Claire recalls a repressed memory of discovering Norman's affair with Madison, his student. Norman admits to the affair, and Claire spends the night with Jody, who reveals to her that she had witnessed Norman arguing with a blonde woman at a cafe in the nearby town of Adamant about a year earlier.
Claire returns home and finds Norman in the tub after an apparent suicide attempt, but he recovers. Claire asks Norman if he killed Madison, which he denies. He saves Claire from burying Madison's hair into the lake, and the two burn it. After visiting Adamant and spotting ornate lockboxes at a shop, Claire recovers from the lake an identical box, which she unlocks with the matching key; inside, she finds Madison's necklace.
What Lies Beneath - Wikipedia
Norman changes his story, claiming that Madison committed suicide in their home, and that he pushed her car into the lake with her inside. Norman agrees to confess to authorities, calling to explain the situation.
Claire redials the phone to discover that he actually dialedfaking the conversation. Norman attacks her, paralyzing her with halothaneand finally admits to murdering Madison, preventing her from exposing their affair to the dean of the university. Norman places Claire in the bathtub, filling it with water and staging a suicide for her. He spots Madison's necklace around Claire's neck; as he moves her, her face contorts to that of Madison's corpse; Norman jerks away, and smashes his head on the bathroom sink, rendering him unconscious.
Recovering from the paralysis, Claire manages to shut the tap off in time to save herself from drowning. She finds that Norman has left the bathroom and discovers him seemingly unconscious downstairs.
She flees in the couple's truck, which has their boat hitched to the back. As she is crossing the bridge over Lake ChamplainNorman attacks Claire, who frantically dials on her cell phone and causes the truck to careen down the embankment into the lake and dislodge Madison's car.
Disturbed by the debris, Madison's corpse floats toward the couple and avenges her own death, drowning Norman and allowing Claire to swim to the surface. Later in the winter, Claire places a red rose on Madison's grave. Cast[ edit ] Harrison Ford as Dr. Norman Spencer, a successful college professor and scientist.
He is the main antagonist of the film. Michelle Pfeiffer as Claire Spencer, Norman's wife.