Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Devil at Dusk Installment number eighteen!

Here is a link to part one of Devil at Dusk for those of you that are interested in reading the series from the start: http://artdecogirls.blogspot.com/2013/05/van-pelt-1950s-private-investigator.html

Welcome and thank you for joining us for installment number eighteen of Devil at Dusk!

On the fifth day of searching for Bet, I did not go because I had to spend some time at the office. I could not neglect the business any longer. After a long day of catching up at the office I went home. Once I got home I put on my apron and started cooking some dinner. A few moments later there was a knock at my door and I went to it. It was Jerry, I told him to come in. I asked if he wanted a cup of tea or coffee, he said tea would be great. I motioned for him to have a seat on the couch while I made us some tea, several moments later I came back with the tea. I sat in the chair across from Jerry and he leaned in close to me. He says to me I am so sorry but I have some bad news to share. I said no! Please say it is not so!!!  I tried to hold back my tears because I wanted to remain strong but I just could not do it.

He leaned forward even closer and took both of my hands in his and held onto them. He said to me I am so sorry to have to be the one to bring you this news. In between sobs I asked him where they found her. He told me in an old abandoned car out in a field with weeds about knee high. Normally they call me out when they find the victims and I take the pictures and notes, this time they did not. Jerry took the notes and the pictures. They did not want for me to have to see my dearest friend like that. I thanked him for coming to let me know and I told him I needed some time alone at that moment. I walked him to the door and told him good night. He said he would call me.

I was in shock, I just kept hoping we would find her alive and well. I knew in my heart though when she did not turn up after the first day that was never going to happen. I took a couple of days off, during that time I got together with Bet’s parents (they had already been contacted by Jerry, so I did not have to break the news to them) I spoke to them about funeral arrangements. We set up the funeral for Tuesday March 28th. I was still reeling over the thought of Bet, my best friend in the whole wide world not ever being there, ever again! I cried for days.

I started to think about little Will, he was now a target for the killer! Since now the killer had murdered two members of the same family. I became very alarmed at that thought. My only idea and his only hope was to get him out of Laurel ASAP! After Bet’s funeral, I went and talked to Bet’s parents about my fears for Will. They had agreed that he was very much in danger. My best suggestion was to send him to Chicago to the boy’s boarding school which was only 6 blocks from my mom and dad’s house. This way he would be protected there and within walking distance of people who already consider him family. My mom and dad have always loved little Will, just like one of their own. He was really like a grandson to them anyways since they did not already have any grandchildren. I had spoken to my parents on the phone and they thought it was a great idea. Will would be able to sometimes come home (to the van Pelt's) for lunch and always on the weekends.  There would also be opportunities for Will to come over to the van Pelt’s during the week at times after school. Plus they would be there if he ever got sick also. Will’s grandparents and I would travel to Chicago to have holidays with everybody at my parent’s house.

My parents know the people who own and run the boarding school; they told me they were very honest and good people.  Next we had to break the news to Will. Will’s grandparents and I sat down with him; we explained we had to do this for his safety. He listened to what we had to say and he said he was so glad that he would be able to see his nana and papa van Pelt all of the time now. Then he started crying and said he was so sad he would not ever see his momma again! I took him in my arms and I held onto him tight while he cried. I told him his momma was now an angel up in heaven looking down upon the earth, watching over him and making sure that he would be safe. He asked me if she would be able to see him in Chicago. I told him no matter where he went in the world she would see him. I told him she would have wanted this for him, it was the best solution. He said he would do it because he did not want the bad man to come get him too.

To be continued…….

Monday, August 19, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment Seventeen

Thank you for joining us for Devil at Dusk – Installment Seventeen!

After Jerry left, I spent the rest of the day with Will, we played some board games and then I made us some lunch. Later we went and saw a double feature at the movie theater, after that we went to the diner and got burgers, fries and chocolate malts. I basically spoiled him, he was a good kid. I felt he deserved to be spoiled every now and then, especially under the circumstances. Deputy Hill told me (before he left my cottage) that Sheriff Holifield thought it was a good idea for me to spend some time with Will rather than join in on the search party today. If it was necessary to have the search party a third day they would have me be a part of it.

Right after Will came over to my place (the day before) when he realized his mom was missing, I contacted Bet’s father and mother. I let them know what was going on with Bet. I called over there again today to let them know that we still had not found her. I made arraignments with them to have Will spend the night at their house, that way they could get him ready in the morning for school and I would be available if needed to be a part of the search party. Later on in the day Deputy Hill came to my cottage and let me know, they had not found anything. He said he was going to go home to sleep for a few hours and then he would be back out there ready to search some more. He told me to plan to be ready to go to search the next morning, unless of course I heard otherwise. He said they would all be meeting at the stables at 6:00 in the morning. I told him I would be there.

I touched base again with Will’s grandparents to let them know I would be bringing Will over to spend the night. I had him pack a few things in an overnight bag and I drove him over to his grandparent’s house. We got to the house and knocked on the door; Robert Lee, Will’s grandpa came to the door and let us in. He asked me if I wanted to come in for a moment, I said yes just to be polite even though I always felt uncomfortable in his presence. He told me he was going to get Peggy, that she was in her sewing room. Peggy emerged from a room down the hallway and told me to have a seat and she would bring me a cup of coffee plus some homemade chocolate chip cookies and milk for Will. Peggy came back with the refreshments and at that time Robert Lee also joined us in the living room. Peggy asked me if the search party had found anything at all. I said so far no, they had not come up with anything. We chatted for a few more moments and I told them I had better get going because I had to be up very early the next day. I gave Will a big huge hug, told him to be strong and to do well in school tomorrow. Will looked up at me with his little freckled face, big blue eyes and his tousled strawberry blond hair, he told me he would be strong for both of us. He said thank you Aunt Brooksie for such a fun day. I told everybody good bye and went out to my car to go home on the way home I started to cry, I was so worried about Bet. 

The next morning I was up really early and out the door, I made it to the stables at 6 am. Deputy Hill was there and he nodded to me so I stood next to him. The search party was forming; Sheriff Holifield said he would give it 10 more minutes to see if anyone else came. Nobody else did, there were a total of eight people, Sheriff Holifield said we would all break up into pairs, that way two people can go to a big area and search it together. Deputy Hill (Jerry) asked me if I wanted to search with him and I said sure. After we all got into our pairs then Sheriff Holifield showed us where he wanted each pairing to go. Jerry and I headed off to our location together.

We searched for hours and about mid day we took a break. We sat down for a moment and took our sandwiches and thermoses out. We had a little picnic however it is too bad it was not a real picnic. Jerry and I were able to share a lot about one another in the last few hours, I was really starting to like him, and he seemed to be a great guy. Plus he was good looking too which is always nice if you have to spend hours with a person. After we were done we set out for more searching. We searched for hours again, it started getting later in the day. Jerry asked me if I wanted to go for another couple hours and after that call it a day. I told him that was a good idea. Then he asked me if I wanted to go to Ling’s Garden with him for dinner.  I told him that I would love to as long as he gave me time to go home to get ready. He said no problem; I will pick you up at 7pm.

A couple of hours rolled on by so we stopped. We made it back to the stables, Jerry headed off and I went to my cottage. Sure enough at 7pm there was Jerry pulling into my gravel driveway, he parked his car and walked up to my door. He knocked on my door and I was ready to go. He pulled a small bouquet of flowers from behind his back.  I said wow what a nice surprise! I told him they were lovely and thanked him. I went back into the house and found a vase, filled it with water and put the flowers in it. Then we walked out to the car and proceeded to go to Ling’s Garden.

To be continued…..

This concludes this week’s installment of Devil at Dusk!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment Number Sixteen

1950's Film Noir Murder Mystery Short Stories
Bet is Missing!
Model: Kristen Harral
Photography by Dave Haworth: davesphotoexploration.wordpress.com
Thanks all for joining us for Devil at Dusk – Installment Number Sixteen:

A few more days went by I had been busy with a couple of other investigations, for which the clients had called and talked to Bet while I was in Chicago. She had let them know I was away and as soon as I got back I would contact them.  I got a hold of the new clients by phone right after dealing with Mrs. Rothschild. I started working on the new cases as soon as possible. In the mean time I stopped off at the Sherriff’s Office to see what had been happening while I was away. I talked to Sheriff Holifield and he told me he wanted to introduce to me Assistant Deputy Jerry Lee Hill, the newest member of the Sherriff Office. Sherriff Holifield leads me into Deputy Schneider’s office (where they now had two desks and where both of the new assistant deputies would share an office) and introduces me to Jerry Lee Hill.

Jerry Lee is in his mid 30’s, is very friendly and outgoing. He is the type of guy that always has a smile on his face and is always willing to lend a helping hand. Jerry Lee is also very witty and has a sharp sense of humor. Sherriff Holifield told me Jerry had only been working there for a week (he was hired shortly after I had left for Chicago). I could tell right away he was going to make a great addition to their team. I congratulated him on his getting hired on here and told him it was very nice meeting him. Then I told them all good bye for now that I had some investigations to do.

I headed back over to the office and made some phone calls. I looked over the files and plotted my next move on these new investigations. It was Saturday and 5pm came around, since I started early today I decided to take off a little early this evening since I had no night time surveillance to do. I got into my car and headed home. I walked in the door and started cooking some dinner. I ate and cleaned the kitchen. Then I went in to the living room to relax and listen to the radio. They had on a great murder mystery radio show that was an hour long, it was on at the same time every evening. I was really enjoying it, of course because it was right up my alley! After the radio show it was dark out and I went to grab the newspaper from the kitchen and I heard a knock at my door. I went to the door and it was Will.

I said hello Will, come on inside. Will had a very worried look on his face, so I said to him aw honey what’s wrong? He said mom has been gone for over an hour and half now. I said what? What do you mean? Where is Bet, where did she go? He said she left the house just a little bit before dusk to go and check on Bessie, the horse that has been sick. He said she told him she had to give the horse it's medicine and that she would not be too long. He said he waited about a half hour then he went to look for her. He looked all over the place; he said he searched for about 45 minutes. He could not find her anywhere so then he went back to the house to see if she came back while he was out in the stable. He looked everywhere in the house and could not find her anywhere there either! So he came here to see if I had seen her.

I instantly got chills and the hair on the back of my neck stood up! I thought to myself not Bet! My very best friend in the whole world, who is like a sister to me!!! I did not get upset because I had to remain strong for Will, I did not want him to know what I was really thinking: That the monster had got her, the psychopathic serial killing monster had got her! Of course that was just my assumption and I really did not know where she was. I told him to sit on the couch and that I would call the sheriff. While we were waiting for the sheriff to come I would make him a cup of hot cocoa.

The new Assistant Deputy Sherriff Hill came right away. I told him that Bet was missing and Will came over right away to my house, when he realized that something seemed to be wrong. Deputy Hill goes into the living room and talks to Will. He asks him questions about what happened and he told Hill the same thing he told me. When Deputy Hill was done taking Will’s statement he called the others guys in from the office and a neighboring office to form a search party. Even though I was usually a part of the search parties, this time I had to stay behind to keep an eye on Will (since Will was only seven years old) because somebody needed to be with him. When Deputy Hill was done, I said thank you so much for your help Deputy Hill and I shook his hand. He told me you are very welcome and for me to call him Jerry rather than Deputy Hill.

All the other sheriffs and deputies showed up, they formed their search party right here in our yard. They set out and searched for many hours. I nervously paced the floor for about half the night waiting to hear something. Before it got way too late, I put Will to bed in the spare bedroom. I stayed up a couple more hours and then went to bed. The next morning Deputy Hill came to the cottage and told me they had not found anything while searching. He said to me I am so sorry ma’am, we have not been able to come up with a single thing. I told Jerry to please call me Brooksie. I asked him to come in for a cup of coffee and he did. We sat and talked for about an hour then Jerry said he had to go.

To be continued….

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Devil at Dusk - Installment Number Fifteen

Vintage matchbooks, vintage hotel ads
Airliner Hotel Chicago IL

Thank you for joining us for the next installment of Devil at Dusk!

I spent the week in Chicago getting my apartment ready to move out and spent half a day cleaning it for the next person that comes along. I was able to spend time with my family and got to visit with my brother who I had not seen in a while. One night I was able to hang out with my friends, unfortunately I ended up with a hangover the next day. Chicago is bad, very bad for me. I don’t seem to party at all when I am in Laurel. The reason being that from the moment I set foot in Laurel I had to put on my big girl pants and take over on an in depth murder investigation, deal with a death of a loved one then take over an investigation firm. I was also able to connect over lunch with Winslow, of course he already knew I was not coming back but I felt the need to see him in person and talk to him.

My mom and dad ended up having a surprise going away picnic for me in the park; they invited family, friends of the family and neighbors. We had quite the turn out and it was a lot of fun. We played croquette and horse shoes. Mom and dad gave me a really nice three piece Samsonite Luggage set (train case, medium round suit case and large suit case) in burgundy. That was a great gift and something I had been wanting for a while plus it will come in handy for when it was time to pack up all the rest of my belongings because they will all fit perfectly in my luggage.

Then my “wild bunch” friends had a going away party for me on Friday. We had it at the Airliner Hotel's Lounge on Cicero Avenue, so if we got too drunk to drive we could just stay over in the hotel. 35 people showed up to my party and over half (including me) stayed at the hotel that night. The Airline Hotel was a very nice and luxurious place. Good thing I had the whole entire day on Saturday to recuperate from the wild hi jinks from the previous night!

Finally Sunday morning rolled around and it was time for me to be on my way back to Laurel. I said good bye to my folks and my brother and I was on the road at 9am. That night I made it to the halfway point at about 7pm, checked in to a cozy little motor court and had a late dinner. The next day I was up bright and early and on the road by 8:00 am. I finally made it home to the cottage around 6pm. I was exhausted so I made a cup of tea and listened to some music on the radio.  At 8pm I called it a night and went and tucked myself into bed.

Tuesday morning I woke up, got ready and went in to the office. When I got to the office I called over to Mrs. Rothschild’s Estate and Avery the butler answered the phone. I told him it was Brooksie, and then I asked him if Mrs. Rothschild was available and if I would be able to speak with her?  He said he would go and check, a few moments later Mrs. Rothschild was on the line. I asked her how things had been this past week. Mrs. Rothschild told me that something interesting happened that very evening following the staff interviews. She said sometime in the night Paris Le Roux (one of the cleaning girls) packed up all of her belongings (she only owned enough to fit into a large suitcase) and left. I told her to still keep a watchful eye on her belongings however we did both agreed that this was an admission to her guilt and she no longer to cared to stay on board now that there was another set of eyes keeping an eye on Mrs. Rothschild and her belongings.

To be continued…..

Stay tuned next week for another installment of: Devil at Dusk