Read Murder at Breakfast Online

Authors: Steve Demaree

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Humor & Satire, #Humorous, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Cozy, #General Humor

Murder at Breakfast

BOOK: Murder at Breakfast
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Murder at Breakfast?

 

Steve Demaree

A resident at an upscale apartment building that
provides meals for its residents is found dead, poisoned. But before the police
can tell who murdered her, they must find out when she was poisoned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright
©
2010

Steve Demaree

All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This
book is dedicated to the two people I love the most and whose love I deserve
the least, my wife Nell and my daughter Kelly. May God continue to bless me
with their presence in my life. It is also dedicated to those who cannot wait
to get each new book of mine when it comes out, whether that be a book in print
or an e-book. May each of them and each of you enjoy this book.

 

 

Books by Steve Demaree

 

 

Dekker Cozy Mystery Series

 

52 Steps to Murder

Murder in the Winter

Murder In The Library

Murder at Breakfast?

Murder at the High School Reunion

Murder at the Art & Craft Fair

 

Santangelo PG-Rated

Mystery/Thriller Series

 

Murder in the Dark

Picture Them Dead

Body Count

 

 

Aylesford Place
Series

 

Aylesford Place
: The First Year

Aylesford Place
: The Second Year

Aylesford Place
: The Third Year

 

Non-Fiction

 

Lexington
& Me

Reflecting Upon God’s Word

Cast of Characters

 

Lt.
Cy Dekker -
The lead
detective of the Hilldale Police Department

 

Sgt.
Lou Murdock -
Lt.
Dekker’s partner

 

Katherine
Higgins –
A wealthy
woman who was poisoned at Parkway Arms, who lived on the second floor in
apartment one

 

Margaret
Draper –
The manager
at Parkway Arms

 

Martha
Carpenter –
The cook
at Parkway Arms

 

Wally
Gentry –
The
handyman at Parkway Arms

 

Margie
Washburn –
The
second floor maid at Parkway Arms, the one Lt. Dekker calls “the linebacker
maid”

 

Ginny
Adams –
The third
floor maid at Parkway Arms, the younger of the two maids

 

Russell
Cochran –
Boyfriend
of the murdered woman, the only male resident who pays to live at Parkway Arms,
who lives on the third floor in apartment six, who has a ladder leading from
his apartment down to the second floor roof

 

Hilda
Winters –
The
murdered woman’s best friend, who lives on the second floor in apartment four
at Parkway Arms

 

Elaine
Jewell –
The woman
who lives on the second floor in apartment two at Parkway Arms, an apartment
whose window opens on to the same roof as the murdered woman’s window

 

Christine
Hunt –
A woman who
was after the murdered woman’s boyfriend, who despised the murdered woman and
lives on the third floor in apartment seven at Parkway Arms

 

Joanne
Moberly –
Christine
Hunt’s best friend, who lives on the second floor of Parkway Arms in apartment
three

 

Imogene
Ingram –
A woman who
is away visiting family, who lives on the third floor of Parkway Arms in
apartment five, directly above the murdered woman

 

Vera
Davis
– Another
woman who is away visiting family, who lives on the third floor of Parkway Arms
in apartment eight

 

Cindy
Bradshaw –
The
murdered woman’s niece, supposedly dead, but will receive the bulk of her
estate if still living

 

Hazel
Allnut –
A busybody
who lives in the house next door to Parkway Arms, a woman whom Lt. Dekker
despises

 

Lt.
George Michaelson -
A
friend of Lt. Dekker and Sgt. Murdock and a fellow member of the Hilldale
Police Department

 

Frank
Harris -
The medical
examiner

 

Sam
Schumann-
A
policeman who does much of Lt. Dekker’s investigative work

 

Louie
Palona -
The man at
headquarters that Lt. Dekker turns to for technological help.

 

Officer
Dan Davis -
A young
policeman who helps Lt. Dekker and Sgt. Murdock from time to time

 

Heather
Ambrose –
A petite
female officer of the Hilldale Police Department whom Lt. Dekker is fond of and
wants to fix up with Dan Davis

 

 

Heloise
Humphert -
Lt.
Dekker’s irritating next-door neighbor

 

Twinkle
Toes -
Heloise
Humphert’s toy white French poodle

 

Rosie
-
The daytime
waitress at the Blue Moon Diner

 

Betty
McElroy -
A friend
of Lt. Dekker’s whom he sometimes takes out to eat

 

Thelma
Lou Spencer -
Sgt.
Murdock’s girlfriend

1

 

 

The
Blue Moon Diner was celebrating a Return to the Good Ole Days, which meant that
not only could the customers request everything on the menu and pay the same
price they’d paid for dinner twenty-five years ago, but for three days only the
Blue Moon was open at night. Lou and I were enjoying the last evening of the
three day celebration. I’d just plopped my second bite of my second piece of
pie into my mouth when my beeper went off. It was my fault that I hadn’t
finished the pie before the beeper sounded. I’d taken too long to decide
whether to enjoy the pecan or chocolate cream pie first. If I had known the
department was going to beep me, I would have mixed my food groups. After all,
chocolate and nuts go well together. I should know. I’ve kept the Hershey
Company in business for a long time by mixing nuts and chocolate. A Hershey
Almond candy bar is a food group all by itself.

I
dismissed my thoughts of heavenly delights, turned and muttered something to
Lou. It wasn’t so much to inform him. He already knew what the beeper meant.
Instead, I was checking to see if the meringue stuck to my teeth, mouth, and
possibly my nose, would prohibit me from talking on the phone. I wanted to
sound coherent when I called the department to see where the most recent murder
took place.

Lou
and I already knew there would be another murder. We just didn’t know it would
be so late in the day before we found out about it.  Murderers  are  usually
more considerate of our time. They stage them so that we find out about them
earlier in the day, and not during a meal. There are three highlights to most
of my days; breakfast, lunch, and supper. Other than reading a current or
classic whodunit, I spend most of my time thinking about my next meal, savoring
it ahead of time.

It
had been less than two months since we had solved our last murder. Usually we
have to solve a murder only once every three months. I guess this time the
murderer didn’t receive the memo. Or had the memo been replaced by a text
message. I didn’t have a clue. I live too far in the past to know anything
about text messages, other than I have heard that people receive them via their
phone, and most of the people who send and receive them are either young or
they have too much time on their hands. I merely know that I’ll never receive a
text message. My gargantuan, black, rotary dial phone, whose cord won’t even
allow me to drag it to another room, would never spit out a text message to me,
or anyone else for that matter.

As
I stumbled to the pay phone at the Blue Moon Diner, a devise from the old days
that probably remains there strictly for my use, I recalled the words Lou had
shared with me that morning when I picked him up for breakfast. “A farewell to
arms.” Since neither of us is into Hemingway, we both realized that the message
was God’s way of telling us that there would be another murder, and that once
again, we would become unretired for a few days or a few weeks until we solved
the latest murder. See, Lou and I had a deal where we were retired unless there
was a murder in Hilldale. If there was, Lou and I went back to work, then
retired again after we solved the murder. It was like being on vacation most of
the time, but not sure when it would be time to go back to work. Which means we
never took off to Bora Bora in case someone got to feeling a little nasty one
day.

I
wondered where the most recent murder took place. I didn’t wonder for long. I
called the department and was informed that someone had been murdered at
Parkway Arms Apartments. The name didn’t mean anything to me. I just knew that
it had to be somewhere in Hilldale, and was soon informed as to where in
Hilldale it was. I was familiar with the area. Hilldale is large enough that I
don’t know everyone who lives here, but small enough that I know each part of
our metropolis.

I
hung up the phone and headed back to my business. Like I said, I had eaten only
two bites of my second piece of pie. Neither Lou nor I were going anywhere
until I had finished it. I doubted if the victim was going anywhere, either. In
all my years of working for the Hilldale Police Department I had learned that
corpses never travel unassisted.

Lou
and I have our own stools at the Blue Moon. Normally, I rest for a day or two
after I finish each repast, but this time I planned to drag my carcass from my
counter stool and see what I could learn about the deceased. But I operate
better on a full stomach. I planned to finish my feast, just in case Jesus
wanted to reenact his Lazarus miracle, but I didn’t want to take so long that
the body would begin to smell just in case Christ stayed out of this one.

I
n
case this is the first time you have traveled with Lou and me, let me fill you
in about us before we take a look at the corpse. I am Lt. Cy Dekker the head of
the Hilldale Police Department homicide division, and Sgt. Lou Murdock is the
rest of it. We have been solving Hilldale’s murders so long that we are
retired. Well, in a way. When we retired, we agreed to come back anytime
someone within the environs of Hilldale stops breathing due to someone helping
them with their demise. The rest of the time I sit around my place, Lou leans
back in his apartment, and we read such noted authors as Agatha Christie, Rex
Stout, Carolyn Hart, and Tim Myers. Earlier in the day, we had finished reading
the first book in a series by an author we had recently discovered. The book
was
Taken to the Cleaners
by Dolores Johnson. Our many trips to Scene of
the Crime Murder Mystery Bookstore and the people we have met there have
enlightened us about good mystery authors old and new. For most of my life,
after my wife died of cancer at an early age, I flitted away my spare time
watching classic comedy TV shows, like
I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show,
and
Hogan’s Heroes.
While I still like those, when Lou and I retired a
few months ago we decided to take up a new hobby, and both of us wanted it to
be a hobby that required no exercise. At least Lou used to think that way.

Not
too long ago, Lou suffered some type of sunstroke or lightning strike that
affected his brain. This caused him to think that he weighed more than he
should and that he should begin some form of exercise program. He found
something called a Wii and a Wii Fit, and started doing the exercises it
offered. It was bad enough that he changed his eating habits and began to waste
away, but then he cited our friendship, and told me that I, as a friend, should
join him, and we should include our girlfriends. He wanted to mess with the
body I had worked so hard to perfect. I thought about looking for a new friend
but knew that most of the people in the world are far more messed up than Lou
is, so I refrained. 

Instead,
one night, in a weak moment, after I thought briefly of taking up drinking so I
wouldn’t remember what I was about to do, I agreed to pick up my friend Betty
McElroy, whom I already knew believed in Lou’s new venture. We arrived to find
Lou’s girlfriend, Thelma Lou Spencer, already at his apartment, and the Wii
hooked up and ready to go. My prayers for a power outage went unanswered. 

I
was a gentleman about the whole thing. I offered to let the others go first. I
admit that I enjoyed the Wii thing better than I expected. Well, I enjoyed the
part where I sat and watched the others do what I couldn’t do. I became
mesmerized watching Thelma Lou and Betty swivel their hips as they did the hula
hoop exercise on the Wii Fit. I was jolted back into reality when Lou stepped
up and did his thing. I was sure one of those gyrations would cause him to fly
off and hit a wall, or even worse, hit me. When Lou finished, I made an excuse
that I had just eaten and knew that it wasn’t a good thing to exercise on a
full stomach. I’ve known for a long time that it’s a good idea to rest for a
day or so after eating before attempting any form of exercise. If the feeling
persists, a rational person will lie down until the feeling passes. None of my
three friends bought my story that I had just eaten. While I have been known to
eat on a fairly full stomach, on this occasion I had not. Just in case I had to
do what they were doing, I refrained from eating, so that I wouldn’t get sick
all over the Wii board. Before I came, I had agreed to order pizza after we
Wiied for a while. Mine would be a Meat Lovers pizza. Theirs would be something
tasteless. 

After
salivating over the pizza that would arrive within hours, I remembered the
reality at hand. The gauntlet had been tossed. I had been challenged to a duel
and could not beg off. I stepped up onto the Wii board without stubbing my toe.
I guess I aimed a little too high. I swear I heard the board groan as I plopped
my fat feet on top of it. I professed a fear of heights, but the inch or so the
Wii board rose above the floor didn't get me a reprieve. Because I’d watched my
friends gyrate on the Wii, I knew the routine. I was supposed to mimic the
cartoon character on the screen in front of me. I wasn’t sure if it was the
same one that called me obese, but I could tell that animated pipsqueak
wouldn't become my best friend. The animated version moved, and I did my best
to follow suit. By the time my session ended three days later, I thought of checking
myself into the local hospital for observation, but my “friends” assured me
that I would quit huffing and puffing in time for my next exercise. I didn’t
want to get back up on that board even if paramedics were standing by. I
envisioned my exercise to be one where my friends helped me to my feet and I
ambled as best I could, under the circumstances, out the door and to my car.
Well, after I finished eating my Meat Lovers pizza.

 

+++

 

My
friends know me as someone who lives in the past. What they mean by that is
that I own no modern conveniences, except for a DVD player, which allows me to
watch the TV programs that were originally on TV before any of these modern
conveniences were invented. Why would I want to send someone  a  picture  of 
myself while I’m talking to them on the phone? I don’t even talk on the phone
unless I need to. Why spend hours talking to someone about nothing? And why
would I want to type words on a phone when I can hear their voices instead? I
can understand sending someone a written letter that he or she can keep, but a
text message? And why test someone who is in the same room I was in?

We
don’t always know what causes something to happen, but I recently made a
purchase that could have been caused by magnetic rays emanating from the Wii
board in Lou’s apartment. Why else would I have broken down and bought a modern
convenience? Actually, it all came about one day when one of the guys at the
department, Louie Palona, convinced me that I needed to buy a computer. What
sold me was that after he told me all that it would do for me, he told me that
he would go with me when I bought one, and that he would teach me how to use
it. I already knew a little about a computer. I knew that all I had to exercise
were my fingers, which meant that I didn’t have to stand on the keyboard, move
in a foolish way, and pull a muscle in order to accomplish something.

Louie
said something about a couple of types, PC and Apple, and before he could tell
me the difference I decided I wanted a PC. Besides, apples are fruit, not
chocolate, and are good only in pies, despite what everyone says. A PC, on the
other hand, is a privileged character, and I like that better.

Louie
is the technology expert at the police department, which means he knows more
about computers than the guy who sold it to me, so it didn’t take him long to
select one that he felt was right for me. This was after he and the salesperson
traded jokes about my lack of computer savvy. When this young person asked what
kind of computer I owned, Louie told him a Smith-Corona. Then he had to explain
to this young person what a Smith-Corona was. Then, the young person laughed.
When he asked Louie what type of computer he thought I was ready for he didn’t
understand Louie’s comment to that question, either. At least
I
had
heard of a Commodore 64.

After
we took the computer to my place and Louie hooked it up, he showed me how easy
it is to get on the Internet and what all I could do with the mouse and the
keyboard. Louie showed me how I could find most anything I want to find by
going to Google. He even made it one of my favorites, actually my only favorite
at that time. Before Louie left that day, I had been to Hershey, Pennsylvania without leaving my house, and had found a website that told me most of the
great books written by most of the great authors. I could even narrow it down
to mystery novels. Time passed quickly, and I could see why some people spend
so much time on the computer. I was so late calling Lou about going to dinner
that he called me. It was the first time I can remember forgetting that I was
hungry.

Louie
wanted to teach me how to do e-mail, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to send notes
to other people. They might send a note back, and I would have to read it,
which would take away from the time I spent reading, watching my DVDs, and
Googling. Besides, I wanted to keep it quiet for a while that I had a computer
in case I lost interest in it quickly.

But
enough about that for now. It’s time we went back to the uneaten piece of pie
and the murder that would soon take us away from the Blue Moon.

BOOK: Murder at Breakfast
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