Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Girl Sleuth-Chapter 17

(To read from the beginning go Here.)

Whatever they did, they were going to have to be fast about it. Van Dyke and his minions had allowed them to see their faces, and if she knew anything from reading pulp fiction, it was that the crooks only let you see their faces if they meant to kill you.

“Of course!” Lacey Carew to the rescue.

“What is it?”

“Did you read the Lacey Carew books when you were growing up?”

“Yeah, so?”

“In The Mask of the Monkey Clan, she’s locked in a closet, but she escapes.”

“Okay?” Jilly was obviously beginning to question her sanity.

“Help me pull down the clothes rod. We’ll use it as a crow bar to pop the hinges and we’ll be out in a jiffy.”

They both stood and tugged on the rod, with no success. Anne gritted her teeth. This had to work. “Okay, we’ll do it together. Use all your weight, on three.”

“You got it.”

“One, two, three.” Anne jumped, pulling her legs up and hanging from the rod as if it were jungle bars and she were ten again.

The rod groaned and something splintered. An instant later, Anne was dumped in a heap as it came crashing down. The rod smacked her in the nose bringing tears to her eyes.

It didn’t matter. They’d done it!

Beside her she could feel Jilly scrambling to stand.

Anne felt her nose tenderly. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m good, kiddo. What about you?”


Footsteps pounded up the stairs. “What’s the racket? You two try pull any stunts and I’ll pop you here and now.”

Anne scrambled to her feet. Breathless she snatched the clothes rod and shoved it behind her back. Lord, don’t let him notice it was gone.

The closet door was flung open and she blinked. The guide seemed to have grown in the twenty minutes she had been in the closet.

Jilly half-stepped in front of Anne. “Sorry, I got a little woozy and knocked poor Anne over. I haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast. Could you bring us something?” She sounded pitiful, and even managed to look wobbly as if she might topple over again at any minute.

He sighed. “Have a seat then so youse don’t knock the house down around our ears. I’ll see if I can find something.”

He swung the door shut again with enough force that it was just this side of a slam.

Anne leaned forward, ears straining and irrepressible hope springing up like a weed. The lock scraped, putting paid to that notion and she slumped back.

Oh, well. Thank the Lord; they still had the rod.

“Jilly, if that were an audition, you would have earned the lead role for sure.”

“Yeah? Let’s get out of here so I can have the chance to do another audition. You got the rod?”

Together they wedged the end of the rod between the doorjamb and the door, near the bottom hinge. Pushing the bar as if it were a lever they pushed. The wood creaked and groaned its protest at the abuse.

Heart beating in her throat, Anne put a hand on Jilly’s arm. They stopped, listening for any sign that someone had heard them. The seconds ticked by, as if they were part of a funeral procession.

“We better hurry. I would die if he came back with the food I asked for, and caught us trying to escape.” Jilly whispered.

Did she know how true that sentiment might turn out to be? Swallowing hard, Anne nodded, and they set to work in earnest.

It took only five minutes or so of frantic effort, before they had prised the door free of its hinges and then wriggled it free of its frame. Each precious second that passed cost Anne as dearly as if it had been a diamond.

They had to get out.

Anne propped the door back against the opening. Maybe it would take him a few extra seconds to realize they were gone.

They tiptoed from the room, glancing both ways. Anne found her nose twitching as if she were an animal scenting danger.

“What now?” Jilly’s murmur seemed as loud as a gunshot.

It was risky, but the only way out Anne was sure of was the front door. Would it be better to take one big gamble, or waste time trying to find a different way out? “The front door.”

She led the way toward the stairs and hung her head over the banister to make sure no one was coming up. The pounding of her heart in her throat was nearly enough to choke her.

They crept down the stairs, backs against the wall as if they could disappear into the faded floral pattern. Anne’s fingers trembled as they brushed the wall.

The door beckoned to them like a mirage.

Six more steps.

Three more.


She could hear the rumble of male voices in the room she’d been taken to first. Her slick palms slipped on the doorknob as she fumbled to open it. There she had it.

She pulled it open and motioned for Jilly to slip out past her. Just as she pulled the door shut she caught sight of the door at the opposite end of the hall as it swung open and the guide backed out, his hands full of a tray of food.

Whirling, she pelted down the front steps. “Run,” she hissed to Jilly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Girl Sleuth-Chapter 16

(To read from the beginning go Here.

Anne sneaked another glance at her… guide. Yes, she would stick with guide. It didn’t have nearly such an unpleasant ring to it as ‘captor’.

He met her gaze and his fingers tightened on her arm. “Come on.”

The door to the narrow wood-slatted row house was opened for them and her guide hustled her inside, her feet scarcely touching the pavement as he propelled her forward.

The dingy entryway offered little to recommend it as a home, but perhaps as a hideout it might do nicely. The moldering carpet and peeling wallpaper did seem as if they would have been perfectly at home in one of Lacey Carew’s daring adventures. Even the stairway to the second floor looked suitably rickety, with some of its spindles missing and others leaning drunkenly.

She was guided, into the front room where two men were playing cards. The one on the right was a real looker. He looked like Montgomery Clift with his dark hair combed neatly back, but his shirt unbuttoned to reveal a white t-shirt beneath. The other man was shorter and wiry. His eyes were as grey and hard as granite chips and in one corner of his mouth he clamped a pipe. A neatly trimmed van dyke beard gave his chin definition, and made him look slightly like cartoon depictions of Satan.

Removing the pipe he gave her the once over.

“You’ve caused me a boatload of trouble, sister.”

Anne’s spine stiffened. He might as well have jabbed her with a pin. “I’m glad to hear it.”

He snorted. “You got the papers?”

“First I want to see that Jilly is okay.”

The man gestured to the goon who still held her arm. “Toss me her purse.”

She clutched her handbag closer. “You don’t think I’d be silly enough to bring them with me, do you?”

Looking unimpressed with her protests, her guide snatched the purse from her grasp as easily as if he had been swiping a sucker from a six-year-old. He tossed the bag over to the man Anne had dubbed Van Dyke.

He opened it and pulled the folded sheets from the bag. Setting her purse aside, he smoothed out the pages. “Ah, here we are.”

“I’d like to have my friend back now, please.”

“These are all of them?”

“Yes. Now I want my friend back.”

Not bothering to raise his gaze from the papers he was examining, Van Dyke motioned with two fingers as if he were shooing away a fly. “Toss her in with the other girl.”

Anne planted her feet, resisting the tug on her arm. “You don’t want to do this. The police are surrounding the house even as we speak.”

He glanced up briefly before returning to his perusal. “No, their not. We’ve been watching you very carefully, and you’re alone. Just like we planned.”

She had to make it look good. With her free hand she tried to pry the goon’s hand from her arm. “This isn’t fair. We made a deal and I delivered. Those papers aren’t even worth anything.”

Van Dyke waved her away and the goon bustled her back into the hall and then up the stairs.

“Be a good girl, like your pal, okay kid. I don’t wanna have to rough you up none.”

Anne twisted her head, trying to bite the hand holding her arm. She earned a smack for her trouble, and ears ringing, she turned docile. “You’re going to let us go though right. We don’t know anything about your business and we won’t go looking. That’s for sure. Scouts honor.”

“Can it.” He unlocked a closet door and flung it wide to reveal a closet.

Inside, sitting on the floor, and looking blessedly unhurt was Jilly, blinking against the sudden light.


“Oh, Jilly.” Anne joined her and gave her a fierce hug. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”

The goon closed the door again, eliminating the light except for a narrow strip along the bottom.

“Anne, what’s going on?”

“These creeps snatched me and started yelling about some papers, and you. Oh, it’s been awful.” Tears crept into her voice. “I thought you’d been hurt in an accident.”

Anne pulled her close again. “It’s okay.” She murmured, smoothing Jilly’s hair as if she were a child. “It’s a long story, and I’ll tell you all about it later. But for now, I’m afraid we don’t have much time. Have you tried the door?”

Jilly sniffled and nodded her head against Anne’s shoulder. “It’s really solid. I tried banging on it and on the walls, but that fellow said he’d strangle me if I didn’t stop.”

Anne stood and hands outstretched, explored the confines of the narrow closet. A shelf ran just above her head and a handful of wire hangers hung on one end of the clothes rod.

Maybe they could pick the lock. She snatched one of the hangers and handed one to Jilly. “Here, untwist that and see if you can pick the lock.”

“I already tried that.” Jilly sounded forlorn and close to tears again.

Anne bit her lip. She had to think. Maybe there would be a better chance to escape later?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Grieving with Sara

No story this week, instead I am taking this time to try to help an author friend. We’ll get back to the story next week, and I promise to make it as entertaining as possible, but for the moment I feel this is more important.


Sara Mills, has been dealt a blow--her wonderful husband, Keith, died April 7, 2009 from a massive heart attack.


Grieved by our friend's loss, many of us are doing a blog tour to show our support and love for Sara. In no way do we mean to trivialize Keith's death. Instead we want to honor this family and help to take up some of their burdens. You see Sarah’s second book just released and we’d like to help with the marketing and promotion so that Sarah can focus on Isaiah, Laura and Julia who are suddenly without their father.


If you haven't heard, Sara writes wonderful mysteries. If you’ve been following along and enjoying Anne’s adventures, these may be right up your alley. Her books, Miss Fortune and Miss Match feature a female PI in 1947 New York.


Released through Moody Press, they are on shelves NOW!


Please, take this opportunity to support a friend, a writer, a grieving family and order a copy of Sara's books! Visit her website or drop by Facebook and befriend her!

Miss Fortune - Allie Fortune 


Series #1

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers


In 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fiance

 disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her

 apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an

 international mystery that puts her own life in danger. Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances-if only she knew whether her fiance was still alive.

Miss Match - Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers


FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States. A child finds important documents that everyone in the city - Soviets and allies alike - want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Girl Sleuth-Chapter 15

(To read from the beginning go Here.)

What would Lacey Carew, daring girl detective, do? She ought to have worked harder on getting the manuscript written so that she would have some fresh ideas for foiling thugs and henchmen. Anne clasped her handbag closer. Maybe she could wrench free and rally help before he could do anything about it.

But then who would help Jilly?

The man loomed closer. His grip on her arm tightened. He might as well have had hold of her neck. There was no way she was going to get free without a struggle.


As bidden, Anne lifted her lips in a semblance of a smile. Nothing to see here folks, everything was just fine and dandy.

The thug pushed her forward the instant the train came to its juddering halt. In a moment they were on the sidewalk and he was hustling her into a waiting car. He climbed in beside her. The door hadn’t even closed behind him when the driver accelerated away from the curb.

Anne tried to steal a glance at the man’s features, but between the scanty lighting, the brim of his hat, and the up-turned collar of his coat, she got only an impression of a narrow nose and wide set eyes.

The driver tossed a handkerchief over his shoulder without turning around. “Blindfold her.”

Anne opened her mouth to protest, but then thought better of it. If they wanted to go to the trouble of blindfolding her so she couldn’t see their destination, maybe they didn’t mean to kill her.

She swallowed back the words and submitted to the handkerchief as it was bound about her eyes.

If she were like the dames in the movies she would have been able to think up a wisecrack or two to let these goons know she wasn’t scared of them. She wracked her mind, but couldn’t cook up a single witticism. Probably because she was scared. Where were nerves of steel when you needed them?

Saliva flooded her mouth. She pressed her back into the seat. Lord, please don’t let me be carsick. If only she could see a little bit so that she would be ready for the turns and twists, but with no frame of reference. She clenched her teeth against the rising bile and scooted closer to the door.

“Where you goin’?”

She ignored the query.

Feet planted hard against the floor, she wedged herself in the corner of the seat. This wasn’t helping. She leaned her head back against the seat. Sweat broke out on her forehead.

“Hey, I think she’s gonna be sick.”

The car slowed.

“You get car sick, sister?”

Anne nodded. She could not open her mouth.

“Just my luck,” the man beside her said under his breath.

“Don’t sweat it, we’re here.” The driver said.

At last the car ceased its motion. Anne sat for a moment breathing through her nose. The whirling in her head and stomach settled.

“Come on, kid.” The man beside her took her arm again, but more gently this time.

Anne scooched toward him. The fresh night breeze brushed her cheek, wiping away the remnants of her motion sickness. This was her chance. If she was going to make a break for it, now was the moment.

Must Reads

  • All the Tea in China-Jane Orcutt www.revellbooks.com
  • In the Shadow of the Sun King-Golden Keyes Parsons www.goldenkeyesparsons.com
  • Wings of a Dream-Anne Mateer