Monday, May 27, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment Number Five

Rodeo Queens, pin up girls, black and white photos.
Betty Calamity - Model: Kristen Harral
Brooksie van Pelt - Model: Brooksie van Pelt
Photo by Dave Haworth

Rodeo Queens, pin up girls, black and white photos.
Calamity Bet (Bet) - Model: Kristen Harral
Brooksie van Pelt - Model: Brooksie van Pelt
Photo by Dave Haworth

Thanks all for joining me for part five of:

Devil at Dusk

We all had a very long day so Bet and Will told me good night. While they were headed out the door Bet says to me, you remember Aunt June’s trunk of stuff? I replied I sure do! Bet says to me, tomorrow night you should come over for dinner and afterwards we will put her things on (play dress up) just like when we were girls.  I tell her that is a great idea! Aunt June was JT’s Wife, she drowned four years ago in the summer of 1951. It was a hot summer day, JT, Aunt June, some family and friends went for a picnic at Lake Bogue in Homa Mississippi which was in one of the neighboring towns just a few miles away. It was blistering hot that summer and they needed to find a cool spot to hang out for the day. Aunt June loved the water but she was never a strong swimmer. She went out into the lake and she was dog paddling around, she ended up in a deeper part of the lake where her feet did not touch. She had been yelling and waving for someone to help her for several minutes, finally JT saw her struggling and he went after her. Once he got to her she was limp and no longer breathing. He got her to the lake shore and pumped the water out of her lungs after that started mouth to mouth. Finally the ambulance came and they pronounced her dead. It was such a sad day for ever body and so horrible for the family that was there to witness her death.

I came back to Laurel in 1951 for Aunt June’s funeral, the next time I came back to Laurel was for vacation in 1952 (because the family was still reeling and in shock, including me because of Aunt June’s death) that was the last time I had been back after that I got busy with the investigation firm in Chicago. Aunt June was only 40 years old when she died. Aunt June had been a rodeo queen and a pin up girl in the 1930’s and 1940’s. She was just like Bet and had always loved and been around horses forever. Aunt June  first became a rodeo queen (of course after many years of training and practice) in 1936 when she was 25 years old, she started modeling for adds and doing pin up stuff shortly after that. Aunt June’s trunk was a huge old thing which was filled to the brim with all of her rodeo, pin up stuff and memorabilia. When Bet and I were little Aunt June would have us over and she would pull out the trunk and she would say to us who wants to play dress up?

I put the dishes from desert and tea in the sink, and then I neatened up the living room of the cottage. Next it was time to get ready for bed. The cottage had two bedrooms, one was fairly roomy the other was very small only a little bigger then a closet really. I headed to the larger one with my book and read for a little bit until I fell asleep. The next morning I woke up fairly early and got ready for the day. I went down to JT’s investigation firm/office. This was my day to clean, organize and get familiar with everything in JT’s office plus to study the files of all of the victims of the serial killing that had been taking place. My plan was to do all of the - in office - stuff here in the office first.  Then to take the files home with me that way I could study each one, more in depth in the comfort of the cottage.

While doing my organizing the phone rang and it was a Mrs. Boggs on the line. She said she was in need of a private investigator because she was starting to suspect that her husband Leonard John (Lenny John is what everybody called but she just called him Lenny) was cheating on her. I told her to come down to the office to fill out some paperwork and to tell me more. About a half hour later a short, round, middle aged lady with dark red hair piled into a bun on top of her head, wearing a house dress came into the office. It was indeed Mrs. Boggs so I offered her a seat and a cup of coffee. She sat down and said she liked her coffee with a touch of sugar and lots of cream. A moment later I came with her coffee. I sat down at my desk across from her and I asked her why she thought Lenny was cheating on her. She told me that once or twice every week for the past month now he said he had to work late, then  he would come home really late smelling like cheep perfume, cigarettes and booze. I had her fill out some paperwork and I told her starting tomorrow night I would do some surveillance on him, follow him around, and see where he went and what he was doing.  Then we discussed the cost and she put the allotted percentage down to retain me, finished her coffee then she was out the door.

My first day in the office and I already had a new case. Since I was done with organizing the office, I scooped up the files and took them home with me. Once I got home, I familiarized myself with everything in the cottage and did a little more organizing to make it more my space. Then I pulled out the files and started reading through them for information. I put the files in order with the oldest murder first to the most recent one. I cracked open the first file it was Jessie Sue Lakes, 21 years old.  She was a college student, she was single with no children, she was murdered by stabbing in the back (the wound was indicative of a huge butcher knife) the murder weapon was not left in the body. The body was found on December 21st 1955 in a farmer’s field at 6:09 am, he was out tending to his cows when he saw something strange in his pasture. He went to investigate then the police were called out along with JT. Homicide and murder were his specialties considering he was lead homicide detective for the Chicago PD for many years.

According to forensics the victim was murdered on the evening of December 20th 1954 in one location then the body was placed into a large black garbage sack then transported in a trunk of a car. There were fibers found on one corner of the plastic bag that were determined to be from carpet commonly found in trunks of cars. Then the body was placed in the field with the plastic garbage sack cut open and the body left on it. Victim was fully dressed and had on a garter belt with both stockings missing. There were no defense wounds found on victim and nothing out of the ordinary under the finger nails. There were no signs of sexual abuse or body fluids found on victim except for victims own blood. The farmer was brought in for questioning to see if there was any other information he could give and there was none.

I opened up the next file the next victim was Olivia Marie Duchamp, 33 years old. She worked as a hairdresser and was widowed with an 8 year old child. Her body was found on January 10th next to the rail road tracks. The conductor found her body at 4:01 am and called it in as soon as possible. Everything was the same as the first murder, gaping knife wound in back, body transported in bag, fibers found, stockings missing no signs of fighting or struggle etc…

Next file was for Marjory Elaine Bales she was 24 years old she worked as a nanny for a family in town. She took care of two children, a 3 year old and a 6 year old. She was single with no children of her own. Her body was found on January 25th, 1955 in the park at 8:17 am by a Jacob Mitchell Johnston. He passes through the park on his way to work every morning (because he walks to work and through the park is a short cut); he works at the mill and starts his shift at 8:30 am. He called as soon as he got to work. This body was found in the exact same conditions as the other two. Jacob Mitchell was questioned and he had no other information to provide.

There was not a lot to go on here so my next plan of attack was to go first thing in the morning to each of the locations where each body was found and scour the area for evidence that had perhaps been over looked. I know that was a long shot because JT was always so thorough but you never know at least it was worth a shot.

Soon it was dinner time over at the big house. I walked over and brought a bottle of wine with me. I knocked on the door and Will answered it. Hi there Brooksie he says! I say to him hey guy, how is it going? He says pretty well, he tells me he and Bet visited JT earlier and that he was the same as the last time they saw him. Next Bet pops her head out of the kitchen and I present her with the wine, she says that wine will be perfect with the roasted chicken tonight. Will and I help set the table and then we all sit down to eat. It was yet another very tasty meal; I was getting spoiled with all of these home cooked meals. I told Bet once I was settled in and did not have to do night surveillance (which I would be doing starting tomorrow) I would cook dinner and have them over. We all cleaned the kitchen up together.
Then Bet and I go up to the attic where Aunt June’s trunk was. We get the camera and set up the tripod then we start trying things on and posing for the camera. We had so much fun!

This concludes tonight’s installment of Devil at Dusk.

Stay tuned next week for installment number six of Devil at Dusk!

Cow girl pin up.
More photos from the cowgirl fun photo shoot!

Cowgirl pin up.
More photos from the cowgirl fun photo shoot!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment Number Four

Brooksie van Pelt 1950's Private Investigator
Photo by Dave Haworth: Photo by Dave Haworth: 

Welcome folks, it is now time to present to you part four of:

Devil at Dusk

I take the evidence then leave JT’s office and head over to the Sheriff’s Office. I arrive at the Sheriff’s office a few minutes later (JT’s office is only two blocks from the Sheriff’s) I open the door and go in. I see Sheriff Holifield at his desk in his office and I say, hey Sheriff how have you been? He replies, been doing pretty good Brooksie, thank you so much for coming, we are so glad you are here to help us with the case. Then I peek my head in Deputy Sheriff Miller’s office and said hi Deputy Miller, he also says hi Brooksie thank you for coming. Deputy Miller gets up from his desk and joins Brooksie and Sheriff Holifield. I then asked the guys if there have been any new findings or evidence regarding the case. Sheriff Holifield and Deputy Miller both said no, nothing new has transpired.  I showed them the file I made for JT, a small plastic bag containing the note I found on his desk and the notes I took when I was over at the office. I also pulled the plastic bag out of my pocket with the stocking in it and told them I found it in JT’s office over by his desk. I told them both I believed the stocking was evidence. The Sheriff said you are absolutely right, it is evidence and the Deputy Miller shakes his head yes in agreement. All three of the bodies that had been found had garter belts on but there were no stockings, the stockings had all been missing.

I tell the guys that I believe the killer had been in JT’s office on the day that he had fallen ill. I believe that the killer is Mr. B, the one whose initial was on the note that was found in JT’s office.  The note had said Mr. B 3:00 pm, February 15th. I asked the sheriff and deputy when the ambulance was called on that day to pick up JT?  Sheriff Holifield tells me it was called at 5:55 pm by JT from his office, the ambulance arrived 15 minutes later. I mention that I believe Mr. B set up an appointment, he most likely pretended he needed to hire JT for an investigation and arrived at 3:00 pm then slipped JT some poison. A few hours went by, which was just enough time for the poison to take effect. In the process the stocking either fell out by accident or it could be the killer’s calling card of sorts (his way of leaving his mark and letting us all know he was there).

I told them I would now enter the note and the stocking into the chain of custody of evidence. Deputy Miller is the one who is in charge of the chain of custody of all the evidence. At this point he gets the labels for the plastic bags and writes down date found, description of what it is, where it was found plus who gave it to him in this case my name went on it and his name goes on it too. All the evidence then gets locked in the evidence room. In the future if the evidence needs further inspection, viewing or tests it is then checked out, the deputy signs that it went out along with the person taking it out. Everything is doubly documented in a ledger which is not to ever be removed from the evidence room or the Sheriff’s Office. I then tell the guys I have nothing more to share and to let me know as soon as possible if anything new develops. I walk to the door of the office and tell them both goodbye and to have a good evening. They both assured me that if anything new was found that I would be the first to know.

I go and get into my car and head off to the cottage. When I get there Bet meets me at the front door and lets me in, William hears my voice and comes running from the kitchen. William says hi Brooksie!!! I say hi darling how have you been? William says he has been doing great; he tells me he has just been helping the guys move his and mom’s stuff into the big house. I then go straight into the kitchen and wash my hands, Bet and William follow me. I go to the china hutch in the corner of the dining room and proceed to set the table just like I promised. Bet tells me all the food is ready except the pot roast has about 10 more minutes left. She also tells me all of her and William’s personal belongings have been moved out of the cottage and that I could check out of the motor court on the way to see JT at the hospital, that way I could start staying in the cottage tonight. I tell Bet that is a fabulous idea. Soon it was time for the pot roast to come out of the oven and we all sat down at the dining room table and had a delicious home cooked meal. When we were done we did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen after that we got ready to go.

First we stopped off at the motor court, where I grabbed my belongings and settled my debt for my stay over at the motor court. Then it was off to the hospital to see JT. When we arrived I checked in with the nurse on duty to see how things were. The Nurse on duty said there had been no change in Mr. Slater’s condition. We thanked the nurse then headed down the corridor to JT’s room, we saw Mr. Walker the night guard stationed outside JT’s door. I introduced him to both Bet and William. Then we all went inside except of course Mr. Walker. I pulled up a chair and motioned for Bet to sit in it, she pulled William onto her lap while she was in the process of sitting down. I went over to the other side of JT’s bed and stood above him looking down. We all spoke quietly among ourselves and talked to JT. While we were at it, each of us shared with him how our day was and what we did. We stayed for about 20 minutes then said our goodbyes and then we left. We headed for the car and I drove us home. I drove up and parked in the driveway to the cottage.

I asked Bet and William to come in and join me for tea and cake (Bet had made a German Chocolate Cake at the cottage earlier that day). I also wanted to talk to them, specifically William. I got them both cake, tea for Bet and I, Milk for William. I asked William how he was doing in school. He proudly exclaimed really good! Then I asked him what he knew about the bad man that had been in our town doing bad things? He said he did not know who the bad man was but that this guy had been hurting people and that there are people not alive now because of him. I let him know the bad man had also hurt his uncle JT. William’s eyes got big and round like saucers, then he the bad man hurt my uncle JT? I said yes we are about 99% positive he did. Bet asked me what I found out and I told her about what I found out at the Sheriff’s Office. Then I told William not to talk to strangers, do not except rides from them in their vehicles and not to take candy from them if offered. I hated to do this and I know the killer was not targeting kids but I kind of felt like since we were all a part of JT’s family (even though I was not blood related he is my godfather and I am taking over the case) that we needed to be extra, extra careful nowadays…

So that concludes this week’s installment of Devil at Dusk. Stay tuned next week for installment number five! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment Number Three

1950's, Film Noir, Female Private Investigator.
Brooksie 1950's Private Investigator
Photo by Dave Haworth: 
Just in case you missed installment number two, please follow this link:

Welcome all and thank you so much for joining me today for installment number 3 of:

Devil at Dusk.

I get up and step out of the room and go to speak with the nurse that is on duty. I tell her that I will be getting a guard first thing in the morning to keep a 24 hour watch on Mr. Slater. I fear that he will not be safe if he is left alone, in the meantime I will stay over to make sure things will be okay. Then I question the nurse to see if she has seen anything suspicious since Mr. Slater had arrived. The nurse said no, she had not seen anything out of the ordinary however she let me know to consider asking the day shift nurse the same question when she came on board tomorrow. The nurse tells me there is an extra blanket in the closet and if I need anything at all to let her know. I say very good and thank you, then I go back to JT’s room. I take a look around the room and do not see anything unusual. I go to the closet, take off my jacket and shoes, and then I grab the blanket. I then get my book, walked to the chair and curled up in the blanket, read for about an hour until I fell asleep.

The next morning I was up early because I had a lot to do. I  went up to the desk and spoke to the head nurse; I ask her the same questions that I had asked the night nurse. The nurse says she has not seen anything at all that had been suspicious. I tell her I will be getting a guard to watch over Mr. Slater because his life is very much in danger. I go back to the room and pick up the phone and call over to the Sheriff's office, I spoke with Sheriff Holifield. I ask him if he could possibly send over a man to stand guard over Mr. Slater and also to have a back up, one for the day and one for at night. Sheriff Holifield says he knows of a couple of men that are ex military who have done guard work before. He says he will talk to them as soon as possible and send them right over.

Within the hour two men came, Mr. Walker and Mr. Pruitt. Mr. Walker had been a firefighter and Mr. Pruitt had been a retired police officer, both as was mentioned above, ex military. Mr. Pruitt would take the day shift and Mr. Walker took the night one. I introduced the men to the head nurse, Ms. McClure. Then I took them into JT’s hospital room, I pulled out a chair and stationed it outside the room. I told them to contact me as soon as possible if he woke up or if they notice anything unusual. I then left the hospital and went to my room at the motor court. I cleaned up and made myself presentable for the day. Next I picked up the phone and called Bet. Bet answered right away and I said hello my dear one, this is your old pal Brooksie! Hi stranger Bet replied, Uncle JT said for me to be expecting you. I will be at the cottage all day getting my things moved out so come along anytime dear. I said I shall be there in two shakes of a lamb’s tail! I will see you then.

Bet is my very best friend in the whole wide world. Bet’s real name is Betty but her nick name is Betty Calamity (everybody had been calling her Betty Calamity since she was a child because of her love of horses and the old west) but most people just call her bet. I am several years older than Bet and had known her since she was baby. When I came to Laurel for the summers, Bet and I were inseparable. My dad and JT worked together for the Chicago Police Department, they were also best friends. My dad Fredrick Samuel van Pelt (everybody called him Rick) for many years was the Chief of Police and JT was the lead detective of homicide. Eventually I ended up working for the Chicago PD also, so we were all colleagues at one point. When I was growing up my her mom and dad would send me to Laurel Mississippi, a sleepy little backwoods town that I grew to adore. I stayed at JT’s grandpa’s estate (Wild Wood Estate), which had a big beautiful plantation style house, cottage and horse stables. My parents felt that it would be good for me to get away from the big city during the summers. This way I would have big city street smarts plus I had a chance to learn the small town and country ways of living.  I loved summers at Wild Wood and looked forward to them every year. However every other summer for a couple of years, just for the fun of it when Bet was a teen, she came and spent the summer in Chicago. This way Bet could experience the big city ways. We both had loads of fun but it was just not the same as Wild Wood and Laurel.

I get into my car and drive several blocks until I got to the Wild Wood property, then I turned down a long gravel lane which ended up turning into the driveway of the cottage. The cottage was the most adorable English style cottage that looked like it belonged in a story book. The cottage was located back in the wooded area behind the large beautiful main house on Wild Wood Estate. The large plantation style house was located on the main road headed into town. Wild Wood Estate was on six acres, the main house on the estate had a large front and back yard. The horse stable area had a huge field for the horses and the cottage was tucked away secluded from the main road in the woods on the back half of the Wild Wood property.

The last time Bet and I had seen each other was a few years ago when I came and spent a week for vacation. Bet sees me pull up in my car, so she gets up and opens the door then stands on the front step of the little stone cottage and waves for me to come inside. I get out of the car and walk to the cottage and Bet reaches out to give me a big hug. She tells me to come inside out of the rain and have a cup of coffee; it had been raining off and on all day. I follow Bet inside and sit down on the couch while Bet heads off to get coffee for both of us. When Bet returns she sets the coffee cups down on the coffee table then joins me on the couch. Bet asks me how the drive was from Chicago to Laurel. I tell her it was a little wild that I was caught in the middle of the storm on the way down. Bet says here let me give you these and she pulls the keys to JT’s office, out of her apron pocket then hands them over to me. I take them out of Bet’s hand and say, well I guess this makes it official.

 Bet says we need you to catch this bastard! I say to her how have you been holding up? She said she has been okay, just really scared is all. I then ask her about the town’s people, what have they been saying? She says everybody in the town is scared, young women are afraid to leave their houses alone at night. This monster had been targeting young women in their early 20’s to mid 30’s. The young women will disappear one day and the next thing they know they are finding a body somewhere. It is horrible, Bet looked terrified! It was so awful for me to see my friend this visibly shaken. I said do you have any suspicions at all as to who it could be? Bet said no that she had no idea. I then asked Bet when she talked to JT last? She said she talked to him on the phone on the 17th. She had been to the hospital every day since he had been admitted on February 15th. She talked to him for about 20 min on the 17th and then he said he had to get off the phone to give you a call.

I asked Bet, what did he talk about? He cut straight to the chase, he said he did not think he would be around for too much longer, Bet said with tears in her eyes. He told her she must remain strong though and that you would come to help out with the investigation. He told Bet to move into the main house and to let Brooksie move into the cottage, that way it will be convenient to get to the office (within walking distance). She wholeheartedly agreed with him plus she just felt safer having me there, I gave Bet a hug. Then I asked how has Will been? Will (William) was Bet’s 7 year old son. Bet said that William had been doing really well. He had been helping her and the guys (the stable hands and neighbor guys) move all day. He was really excited to move into “the big house” as he calls it and he was also pretty excited to see “his” Brooksie. That was what he used to always call me, when he was first learning to talk. Will would hear that was coming out that way, he would say… momma when is “my” Brooksie going to get here? Bet said he and the guys were taking a break from moving things right now so they were hanging out in the stables, which was Wills favorite place to be. He loves those horses just as much as Bet does.

Bet said why you don’t come into the kitchen, I need to get started on dinner; I am making a pot roast. I would love to have you eat dinner with us just like the old days. I told her I would absolutely love too! I told her I would step inside the kitchen for a moment but after that I felt the need to go right away to uncle JT’s office and have a look around, then check in with the Sheriff. When I was done I would come back in time to set the table for dinner. Then after dinner we can all go see how uncle JT is doing. Bet said sounds like a plan! Bet and I finish our conversation and drinking coffee in the kitchen.

I get into my car and drive over to JT’s office. As I am getting out of the car I grab my camera, note pad and pen. I pull the keys out of my pocket, unlock the door and has a look around. I see the files on JT’s desk, I walk towards the desk and in front of the desk I see something that looks like a wad of beige fabric. I bend down to take a closer look, I notice that it looks like nylon stocking material. I stand up for a moment to get my camera ready because this is something that does not belong in JT’s office, when I notice a note on JT’s desk. The writing on the note was JT’s and it said, Mr. B February 15th 3:00 pm (that was the day that JT ended up in the hospital). I start a new file (one with JT’s name on it) then I made some notes and add them to the file. I take my gloved hand and take a small plastic bag out of my pocket and put the note that I found on JT's desk in it. I then snap a picture of the wad of fabric with my camera. Then I pull a plastic bag out of my pocket and I set the bag on the desk. With my gloved hand I pick up the fabric. Upon further inspection I realize it is an individual nylon stocking. I put it in the bag and I will drop it off as evidence as soon as I get to sheriff office. 

What a curious note to find on JT’s desk and a strange object to find in JT’s office…

Well everybody that concludes installment number 3! Stay tuned next time for installment number 4!

*This entire story is a work of fiction by Brooksie van Pelt however there maybe similarities in real life or things that are actually true, those things will be posted at the end of each story. In installment number three we introduce the Sheriff of Laurel MS as Sheriff Holifield and back in 1955 the Sheriff's name was indeed Sheriff Holifield. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment number two

1950's female private investigators, Film Noir style stories
Brooksie van Pelt 1950's Private Investigator
Photo by Dave Haworth:

Hello again everybody thank you for joining me for installment number two of:

Devil at Dusk

A film noir tale of mystery and intrigue: By Brooksie van Pelt

In case you missed the first installment follow this link:

Brooksie woke up at five o’ clock in the morning; she got ready for the day, after that she ate some food out of her picnic basket and had some tea.  She had another very full day ahead of her which included lots of driving. At six o’ clock sharp she hit the road; she had roughly about 10 hours of driving (this does not include pit stops or breaks) until she makes it to her final destination of Laurel Mississippi. She drove on and on, she just kept driving. About 5 hours later she finally made it to the border of Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi where she took a 30 min lunch break at a small diner. She enjoyed the diner very much, the food was good and the service was great. Brooksie also enjoyed people watching (which were mostly locals from the three bordering states with their different accents, mannerisms and attitudes).

Then she got back on the road again and she was now in the state of Mississippi. She soon noticed after about an hour of driving there were dark clouds in the sky, so far her trip had been clear, brisk and cold. There was however quite a bit of wind in Chicago but it tapered off to only a little bit here and there, going through the rest of Illinois. Of course the wind had stopped while she was driving through the state of  Missouri. As she kept heading south she then noticed a light sprinkling of rain drops and some wind. She just kept driving and the closer she got to Laurel the worse the weather got. Soon it was a complete down pour with severe gusts of winds. Around 3pm she was about halfway to Laurel, the winds had slowed her down a bit. She stopped off at a gas station to get some gas, she asked the attendant about the wild weather. He told her it was a storm blowing up from the south, that it had started yesterday. Brooksie told him she was heading south, he told her you will most certainly hit the eye of the storm soon especially since you are heading south!

Brooksie pulled out of the gas station and got back on the road however she drove a couple blocks through the small town and down a side street where she parked the car to dig out her picnic basket to have a bite to eat and to sip some tea. She wanted to relax for a few moments before getting back out onto the highway again and into the much dreaded storm. She drove for about another hour when she finally made it into the eye of the storm, there were lots of big booming claps of thunder followed by tons of lightening. The entire sky was black by now even though it was only about 4:15 in the afternoon and the sun was not due to set till about 6:45 pm. The rain was coming down in buckets and the wind gusts blew her car all over the road.

Brooksie kept driving and driving. Soon the sky had become not so dark and the rain had slowed down to just a steady down pour and the wind had stopped all together. She thought about the storm she had just went through, she  then realized that the storm was the reason why the phone line went dead yesterday while she was talking to JT. Finally at a little bit after 6pm she made it to the small town of Laurel. Brooksie was no stranger to the town of Laurel, when she was growing up she spent most of her summers in Laurel. It had just been a while since she had been back, a few years at least. She noticed when she pulled into town the storm had completely stopped. She found a small motor court to stay at for the night. As soon as she was done checking in she went to the room and put her belongings down then she headed straight for the hospital to check in on JT.

Brooksie made it to the hospital she went to the desk and asked about JT. The nurse at the desk told her that JT had slipped into a coma some time after he got off the phone with her! Oh no! How horrible, Brooksie was stricken with grief, she wanted to cry but she had to pull herself together. She also knew that JT would not have wanted her to cry but to remain strong so she could catch the horrible monster that was out on the loose in this tiny town.  The nurse allowed Brooksie into JT’s room to see him. She came over to his bed and spoke to him…she said hey uncle JT (she always called him uncle JT) I finally made it and boy there was quite the ugly storm I had to ride through. She took him by the hand and said you can pull out of this uncle JT – I know you can – you need to help me find this monster!

She went to grab a chair, to pull up by his bedside.  She noticed a piece of paper folded in half with her name on it, on the nightstand. She took it and opened it; she immediately recognized JT’s hand writing. It was a letter, it said: Dear Brooksie, You have now seen me at my very worst. I need you to connect with Bet as soon as you can; she has the keys to my office so you can take over my practice. (Bet is Brooksie's dearest friend in the world; she is JT’s niece, she was always more like a daughter to him).

JT proceeds to tell Brooksie in the letter that Bet will be moving out of the cottage on the property of his estate and will be moving in to his house. He says that Brooksie is to move in to the cottage. He also says that if he passes away that he has changed the will so that Brooksie will inherit his investigation firm and the cottage. Bet will inherit the estate with the house, the 6 acres and the horse stables. The letter says that all of the files regarding the serial killer are on his desk. Please review those as soon as possible, he had been working closely with the sheriff's office on this case and to check in with them right after reviewing the files. Then the letter says that he believes he was poisoned and does not know how much longer he has to live. Also…

And that was where the letter ended with the word also…! That must have been at the exact time he went into the coma! Brooksie could not stop thinking about the letter and what else JT was going to tell her…

Well folks this concludes part two of Devil at Dusk. Stay tuned next time, for installment number three! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Devil at Dusk - installment number one

Victory rolls, pin up girl hair.
 Brooksie van Pelt 1950's Private Investigator
Photo by Dave Haworth:

Hello folks and welcome! Thank you so much for joining me for the very first installment of:

Devil at Dusk

A film noir tale of mystery and intrigue by:  Brooksie van Pelt.

Brooksie van Pelt private investigator gets a phone call in the middle of the day, it was February 17th 1955. She will never forget this day for as long as she lives because this call changed her life. The call was from James Thomas Slater also known as JT. JT was a colleague at one time and her Godfather. She grew up around him and he was like an uncle.  JT was now living in a little town in Mississippi by the name of Laurel with his own private investigation firm right in down town. This town was small, quaint and behind the times by about 10 to 15 years. 

Brooksie was born and raised in Chicago Illinois. She was currently working as a private investigator in a firm in Chicago; it was a business partnership with a man by the name of Winslow Sloan. She got the call from JT just when she was about to step out for lunch. JT lets Brooksie know that he is in the hospital and is gravely ill. He had been investigating a serial killer that has been on the loose in the small town of Laurel, everybody has feared for their loved ones and some for themselves. He tells her to come as soon as possible that he needs her to take over the investigations for him while he is in the hospital. Then he says he may possibly know who the killer is but just as he is about to say the name the line goes dead…

Brooksie tries to reach JT at the hospital but she kept getting a recording that said: I am sorry but all circuits are busy now please try your call later. Brooksie goes to lunch with Winslow, during lunch she tells him about the call from JT. She tells him it is urgent, she has to go and does not know how long she will be. Winslow tells her to leave as soon as possible that he will handle things at the firm in Chicago. Brooksie stops off at her apartment and grabs about a week’s worth of clothing which she throws into a bag. She grabs her picnic basket and fills it with food. She makes hot tea to fill up two thermoses because it is cold outside. She pulls together a few other essentials and gets into the car. She goes to the nearest gas station to fill up because she has quite the trip to look forward to, she was looking at about 15 hours of driving ahead of her. She left the gas station at 2:30 pm and was on the road.

She took a pit stop a few hours later for a cup of Joe and a slice of apple pie in a sleepy little town, when done she got back in the car and proceeded to drive some more. She drove a couple more hours and finally made it to St. Louise, MO. It was 8 pm. She found a motel to stop over at to get some shut eye. Brooksie was pretty worked up from the day’s events so she pulled out her book to read for about an hour. Soon she drifted off into dream land…

Well folks this concludes part one of Devil at Dusk and thanks for joining us tonight! I will have another installment ready in a day or two.

*Please note this story is entirely a work of fiction however some things in the story parallel the life of the author such as the author’s nick name Brooksie van Pelt which is also the name of the main character in the story. The author’s real name is Lisa A. Wyss. Also back in 2000 the author Lisa A. Wyss aka Brooksie van Pelt had a legal investigators license for two years and worked as a private investigator during that time.