Home Sweet Home part four – a Tracy Gayle Mystery Series

Home Sweet Home part four – a Tracy Gayle Mystery Series

Home Sweet Home Part Four

A Tracy Gayle mystery

By Trish Hubschman

January 2022



I was at my office, sorting through case files on my computer.  Danny wanted to expand Gayle Investigations to the West coast, so I was going through things to see what could be transferred, what would stay and what could be discarded entirely. We also had to look into finding another seasoned investigator to work with Lois.

My desk phone rang. I reached for it with my left hand, never taking my gaze from the computer. “Guess who already put a claim in with the insurance company for theft?” Johnson said without preamble.

He was talking about Judy Crenshaw. “Whew! That was fast,” I replied. “The case is still open.” I paused for a moment to gather my thoughts. “Judy’s very upset about the missing jewelry, especially that ring.”

Johnson   grunted. “Oh, yeah, and I almost forgot. About that ring, there’s a separate insurance policy on that rock for a hundred grand.”

My eyes widened. “That’s a lot of money!” I said. “Why on earth is there such a large policy for a ring? Did you see a picture of it?” I asked.”

“Sure did,” he replied. “Insurance company faxed me a photo of it. It’s a nice gem, but I doubt it’s worth anywhere near the value she has it insured for.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. I searched for a response, but wasn’t fast enough. I heard a noise in my office door and looked up. Vicky Crenshaw stood there. She looked pissed. “Have to go, Johnson. I have a client here.” I replaced the handset to the phone cradle. I rose to my feet. “Vicky?” I said in greeting. “I was about to touch base with you.” That wasn’t entirely true, but at some point, I would have.

“Detective Johnson already did,’ she replied. Her disdain was clear. She plopped down in a visitor’s chair across from my desk, but didn’t remove her coat or drop the purse strap from her shoulder. “I didn’t rob my mother’s house!” she said point blank.

“I didn’t say you did,’ I replied, settling myself down behind my desk. “How about telling me what you know about it?

She chuckled, but it wasn’t lighthearted or humorous. “I didn’t even know Mom’s house was broken into, not until Detective Johnson appeared at my place of business,’ she said.

I wasn’t accepting that one too quickly. “But your mother left voicemail messages for you. You did get them?” I dared.

She nodded.  “I knew Mom was home from Florida. I figured the messages were just to tell me that.” Her hands went up in mock surrender. “I haven’t had time to check my voicemails, emails, texts, in I don’t know how long.” Her tone was harried. “It’s been nonstop busy, with work and the kids. It’s been a rough winter and now Tom and Jenny are both sick. If Carl wasn’t with me and so wonderful and willing to help, I think I would have pulled my hair out.’

I held my hand up. Vicky stopped talking and stared at me. “Who’s Carl?” I asked.

She giggled. ‘Carl’s my boyfriend. We live together. That’s why I moved out of Mom’s last year,” she said. “Mom adores Carl. He’s a handyman and has done work for her.”

I wanted to smack my hand to my forehead. I had a feeling Vicky Crenshaw just added another suspect to my list. “Vicky, we’ve ben neighbors a long time,” I began. “The next question I’m about to ask is entirely professional.” I paused and watched her for a moment. “Do you think Carl might have robbed your mother’s house?”

She was quiet. She seemed to sink further down in the chair. “I’m crazy about Carl, Tracy,” she said, then released a long sigh. “I guess anything’s possible, though I why would he? He loves Mom and frankly, I don’t think Mom had anything valuable worth stealing.”

“What about the engagement ring your late father gave her? It’s heavily insured,” I fired back.

Vicky’s eyes narrowed. “My father’s not dead,” she said.

“Where is he?” I shot back. “Are your folks divorced?”

She nodded. “My dad ran off with his secretary twenty or so years ago,” she replied. There was no accusation or disdain in her voice. “Mom and dad’s divorce was handled by the lawyers. I don’t think the folks ever saw or spoke to each other again.” She shrugged. “What does this have to do with Mom’s   house breaking?”

Possibly nothing, I thought, just covering all ground. “Does your father have access to your mom’s house?”

“I doubt it,” she replied. “Why should he? Moms changed the locks many times over the years.”

That made sense. What about the ring?” I asked.

Vicky shrugged. “I thought Mom sold it years ago. She said numerous times she needed money.

I think I even suggested selling that ring.

I could understand that. “Do you know what your mom kept in the top right-hand drawer of her dresser?” That was the one Judy said had been left open.

She thought abut it. “I think some of Dad’s stuff was kept in that drawer, nothing much, I don’t think, just some gold cuff links, watch, or some such. She wanted to give those things to Michael’s son, if he ever had one,” she said. That made sense. Vicky glanced at her wrist watch. “Okay, I didn’t accomplish anything here and I intended to blast you and your cop friend.” She giggled. “I might as well head over to Mom’s house so she can chew me out for not doing whatever I was supposed to do.” She got to her feet, so did I.

“Vicky,” I began. “I’m glad you stopped by. You’ve given me a lot to think about.”

She actually smiled at me.


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/



  1. patricia hubschman Reply
    January 26, 2022

    The plot thickens. I’m sitting on the edge of my seat too. Oh check out a wonderful review of Tidalwave written by fellow author Abbie Johnson Taylor on Smashwords and goodreads. Thanks so much Abbie and thanks Patty as well for posting this story

    1. Good morning Trish, I’m loving the story. I love how you say you’re on the edge of your seat too. So many people think writers know exactly what’s gonna happen in the story from beginning to end when they sit down to write but that’s just not how it goes, is it?
      We’re enjoying the ride. Keep talking to your Muse and she/he will tell you the story.
      As to the review, I’ll be writing one myself soon. I can just say, reading your book is a grand way to spend my lunch hour each day and it’s hard to put it down and go back to work.
      Anyhow, anyone reading should run as fast is possible to pick up the book..

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