by Joe Tolbert
A Murder Mystery
As Melinda Dumire was seated in a wing back chair, the telephone rang out. She reached for the receiver that was sitting on an oval side table. "Hello," On the other end is a familiar sounding voice.
"Melinda, How are you and John doing since you moved to Maytown, Maine?"
"Gracie Sanders," she said with a cheerful voice, " Sure has been a long time! How are you and Howard been doing? We're doing fine here now. Had a little trouble when we first moved in," said Melinda.
Gracie begins, "I ran into Garman your brother a few months ago and he gave me your phone number. I thought of you the other day. And searched through my purse hoping that I still had your number. The reason I called is to extend an invitation for you to come to join us while we are on vacation. For you see we have just purchased a summer home here in the foothills of South Carolina.
Garman told me the story of your move. And of the murderers and all the trouble that had taken place. He even said that your house is haunted. John had confided in him about your health thinking you were on your way to a nervous breakdown. Nevertheless then how you resolved the mystery of the ghost and the murders
As Melinda took in every word that Gracie expounded on. Telling her detail by detail of her new home as an artist describes every color in a painting. Gracie carries on; " It is an old plantation house with a very large peach orchard. The old blacksmith shop is still in working order. In the early nineteen hundreds a cattle farmer bought it. Then another couple bought it and put everything back so it could be on the historical resister. Everything looked as it did one hundred and ten years ago." Melinda's began to think back of the good times they had back in school. And the pranks they used to pull on everybody. All of a sudden Gracie hesitated and said, "The old house has somewhat of a mystery to it." With that Melinda snapped back to the conversation at hand.
" I had a decorator to come in and take down the old wall paper. I wanted the walls painted with the current colors even though I was advised against it. They removed the old fireplace to have it restored. I had a very big surprise; one of the workers located a secret compartment behind the mantle. It was just big enough to store a few important papers. In it was a box with a Tiffany locket and a very old black diary. On the back of the locket were engraved, To My Darling Wife, Rosa.
After examining the diary. It told of a lady who was waiting for her love one to come to join her. For she had moved from New York City and was waiting on a man named Charles. He was to come join her after the New York affairs were settled. No full names are giving in it. So I have been doing a lot of research at the public library and the public land records. No one named Charles had ever lived here nor was anyone named Rosa on any of the land records."
With a big smile on her face Melinda said, " John and I could use a little vacation and maybe an adventure. Could be someone is still living around in the area that could give us some light-"
Gracie interrupted, "But I have already asked and shown the locket to everyone. However nobody had ever seen it before."
"When John comes in tonight I'll see what he will say about leaving Maine and coming down to see you guys."
"Let me know," said Gracie, "And talk to you later! Bye."
Melinda places the phone receiver down on the base to recharge. Sitting back in her over wing back chair. And thinking, "Hmm- might be a great time to get away. And get work off our minds. And just to relax with old friends. I would love to go and spend sometime with Gracie. We haven't spent a lot of time together in years. The last time we had spoken was when we lived in Kansas City over six years ago."
About that time she heard a very loud noise at the front door. Melinda stepped into the doorway. She watched as the doorknob turned and John stepped in soak to the bone. Melinda began to laugh and running over to him, "What in the world happened to you? It hasn't been raining here-"
"Poured down in buckets in town," said John, " I tried to get into the car before I got wet. But suddenly a truck passed by hit a mud puddle, Whoosh, and this is the aftermath of it. Soaked down to the bone.
"Come on, let me get you out of those wet clothes. Don't want you to catch a cold. And you'll never guess who I heard from today," said Melinda.
"No telling who it was," John said with a puzzled expression.
"Do you remember my friend Gracie?"
"Oh no, please not Gracie Smith?" John remarked as he pulled off his wet shirt over his head.
"Yes, Gracie married Howard J. Sanders. She wanted to know if you would like to go down to South Carolina and visit them?" Melinda handed him a big blue towel.
"When do they want us to come down?"
"In a few days," she said.
"Sorry honey I am getting ready for a very important meeting with the higher ups in the firm. Might be a promotion with more money in it for us. But you can go and spend a few days with them, if you want to. Send them my love."
Part 2 coming soon