The Beads of Lapis Lazuli
by Doris Kenney Marcotte
A Greek Mystery
5.5 x 8.5 paperback cream
FICTION / Action & Adventure
Sep 30, 2010
Books by Doris Kenney Marcotte
Could a simple strand of beads hold memories of an ancient culture that some archeologists say was Atlantis? Part mystery and part psychological drama, The Beads of Lapis Lazuli mixes history, obsession, and the paranormal for an exhilarating read.
Kathryn Marshall is an ordinary Cincinnati housewife and mother until she purchases an ancient strand of lapis lazuli beads in an antique shop on the island of Crete. This is the beginning of a two-year long obsession with the ancient Minoan civilization that once flourished on Crete and culminates in an unfinished novel about the culture’s greatest mystery of love and desertion, the Greek myth of Theseus and Ariadne.
As she digs deeper into the myth, Kathryn finds inconsistencies in the story that she refuses to accept and they prevent her from completing her novel. What happens next could rewrite history!
Ignoring the objections of her husband, best friend, and mother, Kathryn embarks on a
fact-finding mission that takes her to a deserted island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
To gain the services of Jake Deupree, a renowned psychic explorer who helps archeologists locate important excavations, she reluctantly accepts him as her partner. When they go to Crete to search for answers to the mythical love story, it’s Kathryn who experiences odd premonitions, and neither of them is prepared for what their mission will uncover or what they will discover about themselves.
Bridging time and space, the story is about seeking truth, taking control of life and discovering the unknown strength hidden within.
It was ten-fifteen Tuesday morning and I had a plan.
I backed my station wagon out of the garage, made three right turns, and I would’ve pulled into my best friend Letty Marie’s driveway but it was blocked by a WanderWeed truck and a bare-chested muscle-builder in skintight bib overalls.
The local WanderWeed man was treating Letty’s lawn for the second time in less than a week. She mentioned something about an aggressive infestation of dandelions and wild violets which, in my opinion, are a gift from Mother Nature for enduring a long, drab winter without color.
I had to park half a block away, a minor irritation, but I was desperate for coffee, and Letty’s kitchen was better than an upscale coffee house. No matter what time of day you walked through her door, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wrapped around you like a warm hug…and I really needed a hug.
Huge mistake! I should have known better than to stop. Without even saying hello, Letty continued the argument we’d had over the phone earlier that morning.
“Why are you being so stubborn?” she asked without even looking at me.
“I need to finish my book and no matter what you say I won’t force Dan to do something he clearly doesn’t want to do.”
“He’ll come around if you handle him right.”
“I don’t want him to come around. There’s no good reason I can’t go back to Crete, alone. I thought you of all people would understand. You’re the most independent woman I’ve ever known.”
It was becoming more and more difficult to accept Letty’s lack of empathy. For years she’d pushed me to be more assertive and now, suddenly, she was doing just the opposite.
“I’ve told you a thousand times, I need to see Dhia Island. I can’t write about it until I walk the land.”
“You’re stalling. Who cares if it isn’t absolutely accurate?”
“Thanks a lot for your support.”
“Well, someone needs to be honest with you. You’re just a housewife. You’ve been a stay-at-home mom for more years than I can count, and just because the newspaper printed a couple of your articles, you think publishers are going to erupt in a bidding frenzy over your first novel. I care about you, sweetie. You’re setting yourself up for a big disappointment. You need to relax and enjoy your writing. It’s a fine little hobby.”
“It’s not a hobby, and it’s not about being published. It’s about finding the truth.”
I dumped a packet of sweetener in my mug and stirred so hard the coffee splashed over the rim onto the table.
Ignoring my obvious irritation, Letty leaned back in her chair and began to reorder my life.
“You’re just bored. I think you should volunteer for something: join the Garden Club, play golf, play bridge, better still come to the Health Club and work out with me.”
When she rambled on with half a dozen more suggestions, I tuned her out and stared into the swirling brew in my mug, remembering how I used to relish all the brag stories she’d tell about her victories in the corporate world.
Interrupting her harangue I asked, “Do you ever think about our college days?”
“You mean how you quit school to marry Dan when you had only a year to go? It still ticks me off.”
“No, I mean the women’s lib marches, the sit-ins, the bra burnings. You used to drag me along, to make the act look big, you’d say when all I wanted was to marry Dan, have a home of my own, and make a family. You swore you’d never be wife to any man’s house, but here you are…Letty the Little Homemaker. Whatever happened to all that propaganda you wrote canonizing the modern liberated woman?”
“Fed it to the garbage compactor.”
“You compacted it? Why, that stuff was so caustic it could’ve eaten a hole right through the container. It was so abrasive you could’ve used it to remove the finish from your old hardwood floors.” I expected an immediate reaction, but she didn’t respond; she didn’t laugh, or frown, or make some raunchy comeback like she normally would.
“Don’t you miss your job?” I asked seriously. “Don’t you miss the satisfaction of doing something really worthwhile? That must have been heady stuff. I’m surprised you could replace all that glory with pinch-pleated draperies, ring-less toilets, and a dandelion-free, unnaturally perfect lawn. Speaking of lawns, what’s with all the crabgrass control and lawn fertilizer? That Wander-Weed truck has been a permanent fixture on your front curb for the past two weeks.”
Ignoring my lapse into nostalgia and dodging my question about weed control, she began loosening up for her Pilates class. With her face pressed against her outstretched leg she mumbled, “You need to wait for Dan.”
Usually, I followed Letty’s advice, easily convinced that my opinions were worthless, but this time was different. With an unusual show of confidence, I leveled my eyes at Letty and said, “The main reason I stopped by is to tell you…since Dan can’t interrupt his busy schedule, I’m going back to Crete without him. I made a reservation at the Minoa Palace Hotel in Heraklion, I bought a plane ticket for the Island of Crete, I leave for Greece…three days from today.”
Letty’s chin dropped to her chest. Her shocked reaction was so out of character it took all the control I could muster to keep from laughing.
“What’s the problem?” I asked solicitously, struggling to keep a serious tone. I reached over and gave the back of her hand a comforting pat. “It’s just a business trip. It’s not a big deal. You traveled all the time when you worked for DraCo. This is no different.”
“What do you mean, it’s no different? I wasn’t married back then. Besides, I look like a business woman. When I wear my pinstriped suit and carry my black briefcase, I look intimidating. But you…my God, Kate, look at you! With your flippy brown hair, your healthy tanned cheeks, and those awful buttoned-up little shirts you insist on wearing—you look like a kindergarten teacher.”
“For your information, the way a person looks seldom reveals who they really are, or what they’re capable of doing. I’m strong enough to single-hand a nineteen-foot sailboat. I’ve sailed through storms that make strong men puke, yet, you’re saying I can’t travel alone unless I look like a Mafia Hit Mama. It’s okay for a business woman to travel alone, but a housewife needs supervision. That’s insulting.”
“You know that’s not what I mean. It’s dangerous out there on your own. And to Greece? You’ve lost your perspective. You’re blowing this whole writing thing out of proportion.”
“Dammit, Letty, writing is not my thing. Writing is my work. Stop labeling me and trying to stick me into one of your designer shoe boxes.”
Irked by Letty’s selectively narrow attitude, I scooped up my mug, dumped the coffee down the drain, and looked for the dishwasher to stick it into.
“You moved it, again? Where’s your dishwasher?” I had a real need to slam the door of Letty’s new ultra quiet European dishwashing machine, but it was concealed somewhere behind a mass of new cabinet doors.
Setting the mug in the sink, I dropped back into the chair, stuck my legs out in front of me, crossed my arms, and nervously tapped the toes of my deck shoes together.
“Aren’t we acting more than a little bitchy this morning?” Letty’s snide remark was attached to a smirk, but the smirk instantly changed to a frown. “What’s going on, Katie? You used to talk to me about everything, but lately you’ve become so…quiet.”
“I talk to you all the time, but you’re just like Dan. You never listen. What can’t you understand? I have to go to Dhia Island and if Dan won’t go with me then I‘m going alone.”
I reached for the strand of blue beads tucked inside the collar of my shirt and toyed with them, rolling them with my fingers, treating them as if they were a strand of Greek worry beads.
Letty raised one eyebrow, skepticism written on her face, and snapped, “And when was the last time you were on a deserted island, in a foreign country, alone? The answer is never. You’ve done a lot of traveling, but it’s always been with Dan. What if you get hurt? You don’t speak the language and need I remind you that Greek men are the originators of machismo.”
“That’s not fair. The Greek men I’ve met have been courteous and respectful. Regardless, I won’t be doing anything dangerous. I’ll just be walking the island, looking for relics, pottery shards, something, anything that will help me solve the mystery surrounding the death of Princess Ariadne.”
“You’re not going to find a thing. The woman’s been dead for thirty-five hundred years. Why can’t you wait for Dan? You know it’s his job to woo new clients for the firm.”
“Sure it is. You want to know the real reason he cancelled the trip…again? He wants to go to Hilton Head to play in a golf tournament. And that client he’s supposed to be wooing? He’s a sure thing. I’ve been waiting for over a year for him to find the time to go back to Crete. And, I’ll still be waiting this time next year.”
“You’re being unreasonable. The firm needs new clients.”
“Well, I need to finish my book. Dan thinks my life is about clean shirts, a neat house, meals, family, and crewing for him on his boats. You think my life should be about clubs and shopping. I’m disappointed in both of you. For your information, I don’t need to be taken by the hand like some poor ignorant child to go on a lousy business trip. I can take care of myself. More to the point, I don’t need a disinterested husband dragging along behind me when I’m trying to take care of business.”
“You’ve never complained before.”
“Jeezus, Letty! I’m not complaining. It’s just…I’m finished waiting. I need to go back to Crete and it’s not going to happen if I leave it up to Dan. Sooo…this morning I bought my plane ticket. I have my hotel reservation. I leave for Crete in three days.”
I didn’t need or want any more of Letty’s advice, and fortunately, before I could say something I might later regret, the alarm on my watch beeped.
“I need to go. I have an appointment at eleven. I just stopped for a quick cup of coffee.”
“What kind of appointment?”
It was a simple question, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to reveal any more of my plan.
It was okay when Letty was the audacious one, but for the first time since we became friends, I was the one moving outside my assigned role; I was disturbing the pecking order. At that moment I wondered what Letty’s reaction would be if I told her exactly where I was going…so I did.
“If you must know, I’m going to Mt. Adams to talk to a psychic explorer.”
“You’re going to what?”
“Yesterday’s paper had an article about a man who worked with a group of French archeologists on Crete; it said he helped them select a new place to excavate. The reporter referred to an article about psychic exploration in a Time-Life publication and I looked it up. Evidently, psychic exploration is an obscure, but legitimate, technique.”
“You’re going to consult a psychic. Are you crazy?”
“I’m trying to keep an open mind. I need help wherever I can find it.”
“What do you know about this guy?”
“Do you remember Elisheva Tafal? She was in my archeology classes in college. Well, she’s Dr. Tafal now, a forensic archeologist, and she’s taking a sabbatical at Hebrew Union College, doing research in their archives. I checked this guy out with her. She said he is legitimate and gave me his phone number. I called him this morning and he agreed to look at a chart of Dhia Island. He’s going to select a place for me to begin my search. Hey, I gotta go. I’ll call you later with all the juicy details.”
About Doris Kenney Marcotte
Doris has turned decades of studying Minoan civilization into two novels. She has done research on the ancient Minoans at the Athens National Museum, the Heraklion Archeological Museum on Crete, and the British Museum in London, among others. Besides racing their Flying Scot sailboat, she and her husband have had blue water sailing adventures in Greece, Turkey, Australia, and the Virgin Islands. She lives at River House in New Richmond, Ohio, and Hilltop House in Wyoming, Ohio.