Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment Twenty One

Welcome all to Devil at Dusk Installment Twenty One!

A few weeks later my new hire Charlotte was pretty much fully trained and she was doing an excellent job. The phone rang and Charlotte answered, it was the Sheriff’s Office, they told her that a gal by the name of Miss Violet called them to report a peeping tom. Charlotte handed the phone over to me and I spoke to Sheriff Holifield, he told me Miss Violet had contacted them to report a peeping tom. He took down her information and he told her that I would get back to her as soon as possible. Sheriff Holifield thought there may be a possibility that this incident was linked to the serial killer. I told the Sheriff that I was on it! I called up Miss Violet on the phone and I asked her if I could come over to her house right away. 15 minutes later I was pulling up in Miss Violet’s driveway. I went up to her front door and noticed the screen had been taken off of one of her front windows and the window had been left opened. I knocked on her front door, as soon as I saw her I recognized her right away, from Ling’s Garden (the lounge side), she was one of the cocktail waitresses. I introduced myself to her and she asked me to come in and she offered me something to drink, I said yes a glass of water would be great. She said this whole peeping tom incident had her pretty shaken up. I consoled her and told her I was sorry. I asked her to tell me what happened today with this peeping tom incident. She said she had slept in like she does every morning because she worked late the night before. She said got up around noon like she usually always does. She did some chores around the house and read her beauty magazine. Then she started getting ready for work around 1:30 in the afternoon. She had stepped out of the shower and was getting dressed; she was just zipping up her skirt when she heard a crashing noise outside her bedroom door! She opened the door and her neighbor who lived two doors down from her was just outside her bedroom door. As soon as Violet opened the door she saw him and she screamed. He took off running down the hall and out the front door.  

1950's Detective Story
Mug's peeping in the key hole
Mugs: Model Corey Beffert
Photo by Dave Haworth: davesphotoexploration.wordpress.com

1950's Detective Story
Miss Violet Getting Ready For Work
Miss Violet: Model Brooksie van Pelt
Photo by Dave Haworth: davesphotoexploration.wordpress.com

She said right after that she called the Sheriff. First I asked her if I could take a picture of the window and the screen, after that I was going to ask her some questions. She said sure that would be fine. I went out and snapped a couple of pictures. I came back in and asked her to tell me her neighbor’s name. She said his name is Marlin “Mugs” Malone (his name is Marlin but everybody calls him Mugs). He came here with his family when he was about nine years old; they were from New York City. They wanted to get Mugs out of the city because it was starting to have a negative effect on him; he was always a rebel and kept to himself a lot. Violet said she was born and raised here in Laurel. She said her and Mugs went to school together however she was a few years older than him. She said in high school she always felt like he had a crush on her even though he used to pick on her. I asked her what kinds of things he did to pick on her. She said he would call her names like smelly violet is just a stinky little flower. Then he would demand that she give him her telephone number and if she did not he said he would just come over to her house for a little visit anyways. She told him he had better not even think about coming over to her house, that there would be hell to pay with her dad if he did. Then he would always make faces at her when she would say that and he would imitate her saying: there would be hell to pay with her dad in a high squeaky voice. Back in those days they lived several blocks away from one another.

Miss Violet said a few years after high school Mug’s went back up to New York to stay with his family there. Then he ended up coming back to Laurel about a year ago to take care of his dad, his mom died several years ago and now his dad’s health was not good. She said when he came back from New York he looked like a greaser and like he belonged in a gang. He looked like the guys she would sometimes see in the movies and he stood out around here because nobody had that look here. I felt like telling her most of the US does not look like Laurel because Laurel is stuck in a time warp. Most people here still have the same hairstyles and clothes that they wore during the war or just after it but I kept my mouth shut.

I asked Violet what she knew about the serial killer and she said she knew that the serial killer was targeting women in their 20’s and 30’s other than that she did not know too much else. I asked her if she thought that Mugs was possibly the serial killer and she said no she did not think that he would hurt or kill anybody, she just thought he was a little odd is all. I asked her if he had done anything else strange since they had been neighbors. She said not really but she felt like he was always watching her (which was a little unsettling). I asked her to show me which house he lived in and we stepped outside and she did, then I asked her where Mug’s dad lived. She said he still in the same old house that they had when they first moved here when Mug’s was nine, then she gave me the address. After that I thanked her so much for her time and that I had to be on my way.

To be continued….

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment Number Twenty

In case you are new to my ongoing Devil at Dusk story here is a link to Installment number one: http://artdecogirls.blogspot.com/2013/05/van-pelt-1950s-private-investigator.html

Hello everybody it is time for this weeks installment of Devil at Dusk:

Monday had finally arrived, the day for me to pick out the new office gal. I decided to go with Miss Charlotte Lakeside. Charlotte was born and raised in Laurel, she is 22 years old and single. Her parents sent her to business school in Chicago (she too has relatives there). She is very bright and passed all of her courses with A's. Of course I had to pick the gal who went to school in Chicago! At this business school in Chicago they taught the students everything there is to know about working, running and managing an office also how to start a business. Plus clerical skills, typing, shorthand and accounting. Charlotte had just completed school and just got back to Laurel, she was now ready to go to work.

During the interview process I asked each person I interviewed what they like to do for hobbies in their spare time. One of the things Charlotte had mentioned was that she likes to draw portraits of people. The day I interviewed her I asked her if there was anyway she could come back into my office later that day or in the next day or two to show me some examples of her work. She said yes and came back that very same day with some photographs and some drawings. I was quite impressed, her work was very good. I knew that her drawing skills would come in handy in my office, so this was also one of the deciding factors. In an interview I always ask the people I interview what do they do in their spare time because you never know when someones hobbies may be beneficial for your business until you ask. The other thing is sometimes you can weed out some of the bad candidates if they have hobbies that are really not too conducive to your business.

I had Charlotte come in for her first day on Tuesday. I was going to train Charlotte to do a little more than what I had Bet do, with Bet this was just a side thing. With Charlotte this was a full time and could possibly work into a career for her. My plan was to train her to run the office and to be my assistant. She would help me out with the clerical side of the investigations. One of the things I would train her on is the chain of evidence, so in the future she would be the one in charge of taking care of and checking in or out all of the evidence. Charlotte told me she was pretty excited to work for an investigation firm and to be my assistant. She was very eager to learn and willing to be trained on what ever I brought her way. She told me she never even dreamed or even considered working in the line of investigations but since she was naturally inquisitive she thought this would be right up her alley.

I showed Charlotte the filing cabinet, how to put the files together and in what order. I also showed her what I would like her to do in her spare time; to look over all the files regarding the murder investigation, for her to get familiar with all of the victims, their co-workers and their families. Then I told her to make a list starting off with the oldest first to the newest of all the names of the family members, friends and co-workers that were listed in the files along with any addresses if no address then for her to try to locate an address. When she had the list completed I would then take it and in my spare time I would proceed to talk to all of the people on the list (I knew it was a long shot) to see if they may have any information relevant at all to the case. So far I had talked to all of the people who found the victims bodies, interviewed them in full detail and also some of the parents. Now it was time to talk to the rest of the people. I pretty much assumed that if any of these people had something extremely relevant that they would have already come forward but sometimes just talking to a person about a particular event can lead them to recall even small things that they may not even deem important but could possibly be something very helpful.

Then I showed Charlotte the files of the most recent investigations that I had been working on. When the phone rang I showed her how it was to be answered and told her not to let it go beyond three rings. After that we took a walk over to the sheriff's office and I introduced her to all of the staff. I took her in to Jerry's office and introduced her to the newest member of the sheriff's team, Sugar the bloodhound puppy. Since Sugar was officially a part of the team she got to come to work every day with Jerry. She was however just in training right now because she was still just a puppy. Charlotte bent down to pick up sugar, she thought she was so cute and thought that was the greatest thing that Sugar was able to come to work with Jerry. Jerry told me he had made some decisions regarding new hires for the horse riding school and would get together with me tonight regarding this. I told him thank you and told him I would see him later.

It was lunch time after that, I told Charlotte she had a half hour for lunch and that she could go out to eat or bring a lunch and eat at her desk or walk to the park. She had a sandwich and an apple, she said she would go down to the park. I told her I would be back in a half hour and I walked back home and ate. When I was done I came back to the office and Charlotte was already back. I told her I had some work out in the field to do and in the mean time I had her work on filing and answering the phone. I told her I would be back at 4:00 pm and that she could go home and I would lock up for the night. I went about my business and at 4:00 pm I came back, I told Charlotte that she did great and I would see her at 8:00 in the morning.

I went home and a couple hours later Jerry came by and we had some sweet tea and cakes. He told me he hired a very competent married couple for the horse riding school today. He had interviewed many people but decided to go with these two because Bet and Will always worked together as a team, even though Will was just a kid he was always a huge help to his mom. He is also a very competent horse rider and she was training him to be her partner in the business and to eventually take over the business. He figured since the school had a team before that they could use a team again. He told me the couple was born and raised in Russia, over in Russia they were from a long line of family members who were born and raised in the Russian Circus. This was a husband and wife team that had been entertainers for the circus and did trick riding on horses. He said the couple could not handle the oppression in Russia any longer so they left and came to the states with a few other family members. All of the family members that came ended up down here in different parts of the south but not to far from one another. They all tried to get into jobs that involved horses, this particular couple originally landed in Florida and they tried to open a school but it did not take off and they were back at square one not knowing what they would do. They had some of their Russian cousins living here in Laurel that came across our ad and told this couple he hired, about the position that was open. The cousins would have taken the position but they had just been offered a job to work for the traveling circus out of New Orleans.

He told me he would introduce them to me tomorrow, if lunch time would work he would bring them by the investigation office. I told him yes tomorrow would work great, this way they could start on Thursday. Jerry said he would contact them and confirm them for tomorrow. Jerry had the day off on Thursday this week and he said he would show them around the stables, the school and introduce them to the stable hands. Not this weekend but the following weekend someone would get Will and bring him home so he could be introduced to the new couple that was going to be teaching at the school and he could work with them to show them how the school was run. The first few days they would be working here would mostly be about them getting familiar with everything.

To be continued....

Monday, September 9, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment number nineteen.

1950's Film Noir Story
Cute little bloodhound puppies and mama dog.
In case you are new to my ongoing Devil at Dusk story here is a link to Installment number one: http://artdecogirls.blogspot.com/2013/05/van-pelt-1950s-private-investigator.html

Welcome everybody to Devil at Dusk installment number nineteen.

Will’s grandparents drove him up to Chicago and left him with my parents. We hated taking him out of his school in Laurel with only three months of the school year left but we really did not see any other option. However I do think he will do really well in Chicago. The school is a little more progressive and I think that Will likes my parents a lot, possibly even more than his own grandparents (I hate to say that). My parents have been and will be so much more interactive with him than his own grandparents. They will take him places and do things with him plus he will grow up with culture from the city like I did. He will have opportunities to go see museums, plays, movies, operas, ballet and live music. Also to see and play sports. He is such a great kid, I was telling him about all of the opportunities and he was excited about all of them.  At first he was not too sure of the opera or ballet but he said he would give it a try at least once.

After Bet’s body had been found, Jerry spent a lot more time with me. It was good for me because I had such an empty hole in my life now with both Bet and Will gone. My heart just hurt, I could not stand it but every day the pain got a little better. Jerry was great to hang around with at this point you could say we were officially dating. Jerry is a very handsome man, tall, athletic build; clean cut with dark wavy hair and brown eyes (his eyes always have a twinkle of mischief in them). Plus we had so much in common with him working for the Sheriff’s Office and me being a private investigator that grew up with a dad who was Police Chief of the Chicago Police Department.

A few days after Bet was found, Jerry shows up at my house to introduce me to his new little friend. He got a little blood hound puppy that he was going to train to locate missing people and to help with other investigations. The little puppy was so cute, all tiny and warm! Because she was so sweet he named her sugar. Sugar went everywhere with him, even to work plus Sugar and I became fast friends.

After the funeral for Bet the attorney for the estate contacted me and let me know that there were some important matters to discuss with me regarding the will. I went to Attorney Wendell Townsend’s office later that day. He had said that JT put a clause in his will that stated Bet would get all of the cars/trucks (JT had owned 3 cars and two trucks) unless something happened to Bet, in that case the cars would be passed onto the investigation firm. Wow, that would prove to be very helpful when it came to doing surveillance. The other important matter was that I would oversee the horse riding school that Bet ran. I will be the supervisor and watch over things until Will turned 21 and then at that time he would be the supervisor and caretaker (he will be brilliant for this because he was always his mom’s assistant and knew so much about the horses). It was written so I would make the profit and be able to keep it since I was the supervisor and caretaker of the school until Will was of age to do so. In the meantime I had to put an ad in the paper as soon as possible looking for a new teacher for the horse riding school. Again Jerry stepped up to the plate here since his aunt had a horse riding school and he spent his whole life around horses he was in charge of doing the interviews for this position.

The next thing to fall into place was the investigation firm. All of a sudden it got busy; I had investigations coming out my ears! I ended up working about 6 ½ days a week. I would go into work at the office and work every day for a few hours that way I would be available to take calls in the morning, and then in the evening do the investigations. Soon I was starting to burn out fast and had to rethink things, especially since I did not have Bet as my office gal any longer (bless her heart). So I ended up putting an ad in the paper, looking for a full time office helper. I started the ad on a Monday and ran it through Friday. I had at least one to three gals come in every day for interviews. I finally had it narrowed down to my three favorites. I would make my decision the following Monday and notify the person I picked via phone.

To be continued….

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Link to Installment one/part one

I have noticed I have quite a few views on my previous installment of Devil at Dusk number 18 which is way more then any of the other installments has had so far, this has prompted me to put up a link here to the beginning of the story part one/installment one for those of you who are interested in reading the story from the beginning here is the link: http://artdecogirls.blogspot.com/2013/05/van-pelt-1950s-private-investigator.html

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Part 3 of a little trip down to California!

This is the final blog post for this trip I promise!

We finally made it through the Avenue of the Giants and we were back on HWY 101 again. We drove along for a while and we started getting kind of close to the coast but not to where we could see it but we could feel that it was dramatically cooler. We saw a sign for the turn off for Historic Ferndale California. The last time I had been to Ferndale was many years ago, I was passing through and stopped for dinner. The town looked a little different but had only grown just a small amount. I really want to come back through here and stay over night sometime because it is so cute plus they have some nice vintage and antique stores. We drove by a business that actually had live mannequins in the window! They looked so cool, they appeared to be wearing vintage inspired clothing, I wanted so bad to stop but we could not, we had to forge ahead!

Anyway I do have to warn y'all, the pics were taken by me, the worlds worst photographer! I hope they are not too horrible, they are a little cattywompus is all. Tim was driving and we had the top down and I was at the helm of the camera. So enjoy!

Victorian Inn  Historic Ferndale.

A little white steeple church in Historic Ferndale.

Very cool old cemetery.

Classic car that we had followed in to Historic Ferndale.

The ornate building next to the big yellow post office are restrooms, I thought they were cute and took their pic.

A beautiful ginger bread house bed and breakfast.

Well this is where the blog post about my trip ends. Soon after Ferndale we cut over to HWY 199 which goes inland and was hot and dry again, then over to I-5. We made it to Eugene to have a late dinner with Tim's mom. After that we finally made it home just before midnight ( we dropped off the Nash car and got the big car) and had to get out to the campsite in the Tillamook forest, where we dropped off Tim's kids and their friends earlier in the week. Three 17 year old's and a 20 year old. We got to the campsite at 1:00 am and boy we were very tired! The next day we drove into Tillamook on the northern Oregon Coast to do some shopping and ended up at my mom's (15 miles south of Tillamook in Beaver Oregon) house to see her and my brother's for just a brief visit.

Funny how on Thursday we flew in to San Francisco then by the time Sunday rolled around we ended up on the Oregon Coast in Beaver Oregon in a very round about way!

Also our little car made it the whole way from San  Rafael up to our house just outside Portland Oregon (hundreds of miles all in one trip) and it ran like a charm! I do have to say it is a good little car. Along the way we made heads turn, had lots of people smile and wave at us. People taking pics of the car and sometimes of us and the car. Every time we went to a rest stop or gas station we would get the young people asking us what kind of car it is and the old timers saying to us, oh yes, how they remembered the Nash Metropolitan from way back when. It was quite the little trip, yes indeed!

Until next time!


Part 2 of a little trip down to California!

Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Avenue of the Giants Sign. Avenue of the Giants is a historic scenic road that parallels HWY 101 for over 30 miles.

The Chimney Tree is a tree that had caught on fire years ago and was completely burned out on the inside. It has a red door you can walk through and you can actually walk in it. The outside of the tree is still living!

This is the inside of the Chimney Tree, there is a hole up above that as you can see has daylight pouring through it. For some reason it kind of freaked me out to go in here, it maybe because I am a touch claustrophobic.

We drove down the road a ways on the Avenue of the Giants and we got out to take a picture of me standing in this big huge tree! 
A picture of my little car in the big redwoods!

It was Saturday morning, we got up bright and early to get on the road because we had over 500 miles of driving ahead of us and had to get home. We still decided to stay in the redwoods though and I found a brochure for the Avenue of the Giants in the hotel. This is a road that parallels highway 101, is more scenic and has points of interest along the way.

I am actually going to have a part three the last part is also mostly pics and is the last leg of our journey! 

A little trip down to California to get my new classic car!

This week I am taking a brief intermission from Devil at Dusk for a two part blog post (2 in one night) about my trip down to California to buy and bring home my new cute little classic car! Another installment of Devil at Dusk will be posted next week.

Nash Metropolitan 1961 Convertible
Here I am in San Rafael California with my new 1961 Metropolitan Nash Convertible.
A few months ago I got the idea that I wanted to get a car, my own car. Last time I owned a car was in 2008 and I lived in the city where everything was close and handy. Now that I am living in a small town 24 miles west of Portland (where there is only one bus or rely on Tim to drive me everywhere) it just made sense to get a car, one just for me. As most of you know I am a vintage clothing lover, it is my passion and classic cars are also a passion, almost an obsession even, which is pretty much at the same level as vintage clothes. I knew after seeing American Graffiti for the first time when I was a wee child that I wanted to own a classic car.

But which car, there were so many to choose from? I happened to encounter my first Nash Metropolitan over a year ago and fell in love with it right away. It was so small and so cute! When it came down to choosing a classic car what I really wanted was a small classic car, a compact classic even. After some further research I found out that the Nash Metropolitan was the first American compact car. They were produced from 1959 to 1961. When I first started seriously looking for the Metropolitan I found one for sale not to far from Portland at a car show/cruise in I went to. It was yellow and white with a hard top. I tried calling the owner a few times, left messages but he never called back. So I went looking online on craigslist and found a few in the area for sale, they were all hard top. Then Tim had mentioned to me about how this car would not have AC in it and that I may want to look in to convertibles instead. So I switched gears and started looking for a convertible. The convertibles I had realized are a little more rare so I had to expand my search to all over the US.

The closest one I found was the one above and it was in San Rafael California. So Tim contacted the owner and then we hopped on a plane just this past Thursday and flew into San Francisco and arrived little bit after 10:00 am. Then we took a shuttle to San Rafael however somewhere along the way there was some miscommunication (Tim dealt with the owner, I let him take over in that department). We ended up with the wrong address and a phone number that was not getting through to the owner. We ended up walking for miles and miles, taking buses, cabs and more walking. By the time the day ended we had done many hours of walking. Don't even ask what the mix up ended being, it will take way to long to go into it! We were almost going to give up and take a plane back home because we were basically floating around with no place to go in a strange city (our plan was to get the car Thursday morning and start driving home after that). We had decided to not give up and to stay the night in San Rafael. We had planned to be in Historic Jacksonville Oregon before nightfall on Thursday night which was about a little over 400 miles away but I had to call at the last minute to cancel our reservation. I told them it was an emergency that we were literally stuck in San Rafael California with no car. We were very fortunate they did not charge us for the room because it was an emergency.

That night we ended up checking into a room at a motel in San Rafael where we had a chance to sit a moment and not be running around in panic mode. Then we were finally able to figure out how to contact the owner and where he lived etc... like I said long story. The car had been stored at a friend of the owners house and we were able to arrange to see the car that night. We took a cab over there and checked out the car, unfortunately it was after the banks had closed so we had to come back the next day to buy it. However we got to see it and at the last moment the owner of the car pulls up in his Maserati (he had been at Burning Man for the past few days) to answer our questions. The interior had been fully restored and a new engine had been put in it. The exterior paint was in really pretty good condition too, there are several minor repairs that need to be done but other than that she was good to go. The owner ended up knocking off $1,000.00 off of the price of the car for all of the inconvenience!

The next morning which was Friday we came back and bought the car. Then we had to go to the mall to get a bunch of things before we took off on our road trip and also to eat. We ended up getting a very late start. We took the top down on the car and we were getting ready to head over to I-5. We were on a connecting highway and the traffic was starting to back up and was at a complete standstill! We were sitting there frying in almost 100 degree weather. I had mentioned to Tim we may want to take the next exit and head west toward highway 101 and drive through the redwoods and eventually the coast (where it would be much cooler) we knew it would add on many extra miles and hours even but it would be more fun so we did it.

One thing Tim had mentioned was that he wanted to go through a drive through tree once we got to the redwoods. We found one of the drive through trees and drove our car through it.

Redwoods Drive Through Tree
No trip to the redwoods would be complete unless you drive your classic car through a redwood tree! 
Soon it started getting dark and we had to get serious about getting some food and a place to stay for the night. We found the food, we ate at a place called the Peg House which basically was a window where you place your order and you sit at a picnic table outside and there was an awesome band playing blues that night. Next we had to find a place to stay which was no easy feat with it being Labor Day weekend and all. We finally ended up in a little town called Benbow and we stayed at the Historic Benbow Hotel, it was 10 pm when we finally checked in, we got the second to the last room left. This place was absolutely amazing so of course I had to add some pics!

Historic Benbow Hotel
Our room for the night in the Historic Benbow Hotel.

Antique desk in our room.
Our room had a balcony and this is the view from it.

We were so tired, we passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillows. The next morning Tim woke up and took some more pics of the place while I was getting ready.

At the Benbow Hotel we parked next to a 1935 Plymouth, the owners had sign in the window explaining it's history, the car had even been used as a prop in a movie at one time (I forgot the movie), the owners bought it in the 80's. 

Historic Benbow Hotel.

The beautiful veranda.

Staircase, look at all the beautiful dark wood.

Living room and fireplace.

Lush green grass and stone bridge.

This concludes part one of the California trip!