“Ralph? Look what I found,” Sarah called to her husband, who was puttering around in the closet under the stairs of their new home. The word ‘husband’ still gave her a thrill. It had only been three weeks. Three glorious weeks and a lovely new home on the water. Maybe they’d try for a baby in a month or two and then life would be complete.
“You called, my love?” Dear sweet Ralph. Such a catch with his smiling blue eyes and tussled blond hair. It always looked tussled, even first thing out of the shower. Oh and that shower in the hotel yesterday…
“Sarah?”
Sarah blinked and smiling at her husband, handed him a pile of newspaper articles.
“I found this in the window seat. They’re articles about the previous owners. I only read the first one, but I thought you might enjoy them.”
Ralph flipped through the articles quickly and grunted. Sarah wrinkled her nose and took the papers back. She found the article she read and said, “Look. This one says the house originally belonged to Aristotle Balaba, the railroad magnate. They named this valley and the lake after him.” She pushed the article back into his hand. He obligingly read it.
“Margot Thursk and her husband Robert “Skip” Harris purchased the Balaba Lake House and restored it. Huh. Interesting,” he said and sat down on the nearby window seat that looked out through the porch toward the gazebo and lake. “Who was Margot Thursk?”
Sarah looked through her pile of articles. “Evidently she was quite the artist.” She held up amagazine cover which showed a glamorous looking lady with long black tresses and beautiful green eyes wearing a fashionable red floopy hat tilted just so, with a paint brush in her white gloved hand.  Ralph raised his eyebrows.
“Pretty,” he said.
“Rich too, I guess. It says here in their wedding announcement that she’s the only daughter of Sebastian Thursk, CEO of Thursk Oil.”
“Does it say anything about the husband?”
Sarah sat next to her husband, and snuggled in close until he put his arm around her.
“‘Robert ‘Skip’ Harris'”, she read, “‘graduated from Boston University in engineering and went on to take a management position at Thursk Oil.’ Oh ho – married the boss’ daughter.”
Ralph chuckled and hugged her, “Good for him.”
Sarah read on, “It says Harris bought this house for his new bride as a honeymoon gift. Just like us.”
“Smart man that Skip.”
A folded up piece of paper fell out of the pile Sarah had in her hand. Ralph bent down and picked it up.
“Sarah – look at this. ‘Harris and Thursk to split.’ I guess their honeymoon didn’t last long.”
“Oh that’s sad.”
“Ol’ Skip ran off with a grocery store clerk. How funny.”
“And he got the money. I bet that really burned poor Margot.”
“It probably burned her father more.”
Sarah read a head and gasped, “She died.”
“Who did?”
“The grocery store clerk. Skip murdered her. Here. In this house. Oh my God!”
“Maybe that’s why the house was so inexpensive.”
“But this murder took place over three years ago. Didn’t the real estate agent say the owner had abandoned the property?”
“I don’t recall. We’ll have to ask.”
“I hope the owner wasn’t Skip. I don’t want to have bought a house from a murdering cheat.”
Her husband laughed.
“Well I don’t. First he marries the boss’ daughter and then he runs off with a clerk and takes all of his first wife’s money with him. That’s low.”
Ralph shook his head, and looked around, a slight smile on his face, “Do you think it’s haunted?”

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