Home Sweet Home Part Five
A Tracy Gayle mystery
By Trish Hubschman
“Breaking news,” Danny said as I came across the threshold into the house. “Judy’s cleaning lady was brought down to the police station for questioning. Johnson called a little while ago.”
I deposited my shoulder bag and jacket on an easy chair in the living room, then turned back to Danny. “What grounds did they take her in on?” I asked.
Danny didn’t miss a beat. “Her fingerprints were on the sliding glass door in back and she was in the house shortly before Judy returned from Florida.”
I’d started walking toward the kitchen. A wonderful smell was wafting out from there. I stopped abruptly and turned. “Neither makes sense. Why would she have gone to Judy’s house days before her employer was to return? Nobody’s lived in the house for four months. There’s no dirty laundry to do or dishes to wash,” I said. “And why use the back door?”
Danny shrugged, though he had an answer. “she says some guy named, Carl Shepherd, asked her to stop by and check out the house before Judy got home. He probably told her to use the back door.”
I was absorbing those two bits of information. “I bet his fingerprints were everywhere in the house,” I said a bit more dryly than I’d intended to.
Danny nodded. “Yep, and he’s got a criminal record too, arrested twice for petty theft,” he said. My eyes widened. “Who is this guy?”
I was walking and talking. I pushed through the swinging door into the kitchen. There were two simmering pots on the stove. I headed that way. “Carl is Vicky Crenshaw’s live-in boyfriend. He’s been keeping an eye on Judy’s place while she was away, not Vicky so much,” I added. Danny grunted.
“Tell me more about the cleaning lady? What was her impression when she went into the house?” I was staring down at spaghetti in one pot and the other was tomato sauce and meatballs.
He stretched himself up to his six-foot-three height. “She was spooked. Said the place seemed to be neater then when she had last been in it the previous autumn,” Danny said. My eyes narrowed. “Then she went into the bedroom.”
I jumped in to finish the statement. “And the dresser drawer was open?”
Danny nodded. “What was in that drawer anyway that was so special?” he asked.
I told him what Vicky had said earlier. “But it doesn’t fly. Edward C left Judy. It was a bitter divorce. There’s no reason she would keep his things in her underwear drawer,” I said. Danny nodded. I reached for the cabinet over the stove and opened it. “let’s go into the dining room, have dinner and swap notes about our day.”
That’s what we did.
Danny had an enjoyable day in the city with his family. “I stopped at my agent’s office before going to Blair’s place,” he said. “Gary wants me to audition for a Broadway musical next week.”
Excitement rose in me. “That’s wonderful, Danny. You’ll be fantastic,” I said. “What’s the play about?”
He shrugged. “Don’t know. I haven’t read the script yet,” he replied. “Honestly, I never thought of trying my hand at acting, but heck, it might be fun.”
“And it will keep you in one place for a while. That will be good for your health,” I said. Danny made a face. “I’ll go with you next week,” I offered.
“You’re handling a case, remember?” he said.
I waved my hand dismissively. “I’m sure it will be wrapped up by then,” I replied. “It has to be. We’re running out of time.” This brought us back to discussing the suspect list. We ruled out Judy and Vicky. Either could have lost or stolen the ring years ago for financial gain. And the cleaning lady was used as a decoy. That left Carl Shepherd and/or Edward Crenshaw. “I want to do some digging, find out what I can about both men,” I said.
It was after ten at night. I was sitting in bed, the script to the play Danny would be auditioning for open on my lap. It was Danny’s story, about a musician who was taking a break and decided to try his hand at something different. Danny was in front of the mirror, brushing his hair. My cell phone rang. It was on the dresser. Danny picked it up, said something into it and tossed it on the bed.
“The detective,” he said, then walked out of the room.
I stared after him. I didn’t understand the reason for his curtness. I put the phone to my ear.
“Yeah, Johnson, what’s up?” I spoke.
My cop friend sounded excited. “I’m trying to get a search warrant for Carl Shepherd’s place based on the cleaning lady’s interview,” he replied. “Doubt I’ll get it tonight, but when I do, do you want to go with me?”
I did and I told him so. “Do you think you’ll find Judy’s stolen jewelry at her daughter’s apartment?” I loved asking questions like that.
“Probably not,” he replied. “Thieves usually unload the merchandise fast, but it doesn’t hurt to try.”
He had a good point. “Okay, count me in. Let me know when you get the warrant and I’ll be with you.”
Johnson disconnected the call. Danny came back into the room. He got into bed, flipped off the light and rolled onto his side.
to be continued
Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery book series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game, and uneasy Tides. Tracy is a Long Island private detective. Her sidekick, Danny Tide, is the leader of the rock band Tidalwave. Tracy is hired to find out who set fire to the band’s summer tour bus. This leads to deeper, darker things.
Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is deafblind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, author Kevin Hubschman, and their dog, henry.
Her website is www.dldbooks.com/Hubschman/
patricia hubschmanFebruary 2, 2022
Part 5 is my favorite of the story. Tracy and Danny are bouncing ideas off each other. I love the easy rapport between them.
Patty FletcherFebruary 2, 2022
Hi, yes, this is a good one.
We look forward to more.