Home > Victim in the Violets

Victim in the Violets
Author: Dale Mayer


Chapter 1



Midway Into the Fourth Week of September

Doreen lay by the river, a cup of tea and a mystery book in her hand, dozing, resting, dozing, until Mugs barked. She looked up to see Mack coming toward her, a big box of pizza in his hand. She beamed as she recognized the crest of the eatery, one of her favorites.

He chuckled. “I didn’t call to say I was bringing dinner, in case maybe you were still resting.”

“I am, been here most of the day …” She motioned at the creek that trickled gently beside her.

“It is a beautiful place,” he noted, as he sat down and opened the box, offering her a piece.

She frowned. “Do you eat anything other than pizza when you’re busy?”

He nodded. “I do, but this is fast, easy, and it holds me.”

“Right. Well, I won’t argue because you brought it.”

“Good thing,” he said, then gave her a grin. “Everybody was so curious about this find that all our officers—even those off duty—worked in shifts, straight through yesterday, all night, and throughout today. So everything’s already been itemized and set up in a locker,” he noted. “They’ll do a big press release, and the captain wants you to attend.”

She rolled her eyes at that. “I can attend, just keep me out of the news.”

He burst out laughing at that. “I think that’s a little hard to do at this point. Of course the press was there soon after its discovery, so they already know that you’re involved.”

She smiled. “That’s why I’m at the back of the house, because yesterday the Japanese tour buses started coming by with extra runs.” She sighed. “Richard’s barely even talking to me.”

“That may be a blessing in disguise,” Mack noted, with a chuckle.

“Yeah, I don’t know. I may need a secret way in and out of my house now.”

Mack frowned and asked, “Is it that bad?”

She shrugged. “It is, but whatever. It’s all good.”

“What about Stuart?”

She nodded. “I talked to him several times.”

“Good. What about?”

“Well, now that he has some money coming to him, he’s thinking about maybe going back to school.”

“Oh, wow, that’s not what I expected.”

“No, but I think he’s starting to understand how much that job and criminal lifestyle crippled his father.”

“And that’s a good thing,” Mack agreed. “At least if he understands that, Stuart can do something better for himself.”

“I think he will. At least I think he is trying hard to find a way forward. Losing his dad suddenly like that was hard.”

“Of course it was, but he’s done pretty well.”

“He has, indeed,” she murmured.

“Grab a piece of pizza.”

She snatched a slice of pizza, sat up, and washed it down with water from her bottle. “And has work calmed down for you now?” When he glared at her, she apologized. “I know. It’s my fault again.”

“No, now, in this case,” Mack explained, “we needed to find that second hoard before everybody looted the graveyard. The fact that you found it is really no surprise.”

“I think you would have found it too, if you’d gotten that far,” she said, “but it was fun to see it uncovered. Buried treasures are everybody’s childhood dream.”

He chuckled. “It is, indeed, and it’s still the talk of the cop shop.”

“And will be for a while,” she noted, with a smile, and he nodded. She added, “As long as no other cases come to light, you should be doing okay now.”

“We were doing fine before this case,” he stated, giving her a hard look. “It’s just somebody keeps giving us more cases.”

“True, and I’m sure that’s a pain, but just think—between all the guns and now the loot—how many cases you guys could solve.”

“Oh, don’t worry. The captain’s gloating all over that.” Mack let out a big belly laugh. “He did say something about making sure that I treat you right, so that you never leave town.”

She looked at him and then started to chuckle. “That’s nice for a change. I figured he would offer you a bribe to get me out of town, so that you guys wouldn’t work so hard.”

He laughed even harder at that. “No, it’s all good. And the fact that you’ve taken off a day or two and rested,” he noted, “that’s seriously good news.”

“Of course I haven’t done much of anything. That Mathew returned home without contacting me is even better. I could actually relax.”

“And you only took these couple days off because Ella Hickman is away on a trip, isn’t that right?”

She nodded. “I’ll talk to her when she gets back.”

“The police want to talk to her too. She’s coming back today.”

“Right, well, that would be good,” Doreen noted. “More things to tie up.”

“But you’re hoping for more information on Bob Small, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, sure am.” Doreen smiled. “I won’t rest until that one’s dealt with.”

He winced and nodded slowly. “It won’t be an easy thing to deal with though, right?”

“I know,” she murmured. “I was hoping it would be easier, but I don’t think it will be.”

“No, probably not, but still I trust that you’ll take whatever precautions you can take and do a decent job.”

She leaned over, kissed him gently on his cheek, and said, “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

He grinned, kissed her on the lips, and murmured, “You’re welcome.”

“And you’re sure there are no other cases now?” she asked. “I could use something easy.”

“Easy?” he repeated. “If that were the case, we would have solved them already.”

“Good point,” she muttered.

“But, no, I don’t think there will be anything for a while,” Mack guessed. “You rattled up this town pretty well.”

She glared at him.

But he just grinned, then his phone went off. He sighed as he looked down at it and then answered. “Yeah, Cap. What’s up? … Yeah, I’m sitting here, having some pizza with her. … Okay, I’ll tell her. … Yeah, I’m coming.” He got up, frowned.

“Uh-oh, what’s the matter?” she asked.

He sighed. “Let’s just say, things will get more difficult now.”

“Why is that?” she asked, standing up with him.

“Because they found a body at the airport.”

“A body?”

He nodded.

“At the airport?” she asked, her voice rising.

He nodded again.

She shook her head. “Please, not Ella.”

He nodded again. “It’s Ella. She was found in a patch of violets in the front of the airport, in one of the big garden beds, waiting for her ride.”

She stared at him in shock. “Oh no,” she whispered, somewhat sad and a whole lot of angry because all her dreams of getting answers on her Bob Small file were flying out the window. “Poor Nelly.” The thought brought tears to Doreen’s eyes.

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