NEW YEAR’S MURDER
~A Mini Mystery~
The economy was great! It was the best of times! The whole United States was spending money like there was no tomorrow! That is why Florence Pride was going to give a larger than normal New Year’s party. Florence couldn’t have been more excited for a party to celebrate the New Year!
Florence Pride was an older woman in her late sixties, although she looked only fifty. She still dyed her long curly hair; blonde, and wore just enough make up to enhance her eyes, lips, and high cheek bones. Normally Florence had her own style of clothing to wear basically a classic look; however she did still keep up with some trendy fashions because she was young at heart. Today she wore black pleated pants that were belted and had a leopard printed top tucked into them. She wore black simple pump shoes and carried a silver handbag into the Party Store; where she was about to buy decorations and bobbles for the New Years party.
Miss Pride as many people called her in stores and banks was hardly a snob. She just seemed generally open and loving to almost everyone. As a matter of fact almost anyone Florence came across and felt was a good person; she would very likely invite to her party. This type of extended invitation included the owner of the Party Store and to her family.
The owner of the Party Store’s name was Barbara and she was a friendly Jamaican woman that was always personable and very helpful to Florence any time she came in. Both women always had a great time choosing the appropriate items for when Florence was giving some type of function.
New Years Eve was only a week away and Florence still had many invitations to send out. She practically was inviting the whole town. Oh yes, sometimes there would be some people Florence would rather have nothing to do with, but she never wanted to be rude leaving even people that were undesirable to her; out of the festivities. There were at least a couple of people Florence really dreaded inviting, but she wrote out the invitations any way.
Some real crooked scoundrels that Florence really didn’t want to invite were Mr. and Mrs. Mark Gorge. Both of them Florence felt would screw they’re own mother’s in business giving half a chance. Mr. Mark Gorge was a short scrawny guy who died his gray hair shoe polish black. Mrs. Tanya Gorge was much younger than Mr. Gorge, and Florence suspected they lied to everyone including themselves. Tanya always was dressed to the hilt, wearing lately everywhere a fur hat, and coat.
Than there was Dwight Ward who it was a know fact about how he stiffed even his own sister out of money. Dwight actually; it was said owed everyone money. For some reason he felt like he was able to keep anything that was loaned to him without having to ever take responsibility to pay anyone back. Dwight was a tall dark skinned man, very good looking, and always dressed in matching outfits right down to his sneakers. He kept his hair cut short and neat, and was very charming, and entertaining. Many of these qualities allowed him to smooze money from innocent people.
The last dreaded foe Florence didn’t care for at all, and was going to invite just for politeness sake; was Anthony Houser whom she felt was capable of anything right down to murder. The guy just plain old gave Florence the hee-bee-gee-bees!
Anthony was also very tall with a radiant smile. How ever his personality was switchy from humorous to down right mean at times. Florence thought to herself “Thank goodness the decent people out weighed the bad that would be invited to the party.”
For starters Florence couldn’t wait to see her friend Della May who was flying in just for the occasion. As well there was her dear friend Sylvester who also was flying in. The list of invitations went on and on just emanating loving people mostly; Florence thought “these few bad apples in the bunch will hardly be noticed.”
A good friend and Florence’s next door neighbor; Maggie came over to help with the final decorations. Maggie just loved Florence’s large Victorian home, and enjoyed helping prepare for the festivities.
There was an impressive entrance way to be decorated, plus the main living room that was as grand as a ball room. There were a few other rooms the party guest would be in which was the formal dinning room and large study; and all needed decorating. Between Florence and Maggie everything got decorated beautifully, and they were very pleased with their work.
Now it was Saturday night and pretty much everything was ready for the party. The band was setting up, and Florence was dressed in a gorgeous sequent dress; ready for the guest to start to arrive. Everything looked luxurious right down to the bubbling fountain in the entry way.
Soon guest had begun to arrive, coats were taken, party favors handed out, and the mingling had started! There were people dancing, eating, and sipping on cocktails; as well guest gathered in the study to watch TV for the ball to fall down in New York City. Florence even caught a cute couple kissing in a little hidden nook off the long main hall way.
Everything was going smoothly and almost everyone seemed like they were having a good time. I say almost; because there seemed to be a little scuffle between Dwight Ward and Anthony Houser near the study. Apparently one bumped into the other and it was thought to be intentional. The little exchanging of words was over in a minute’s time so no one was too affected by it.
Time came when deserts were being passed out along with champagne to be ready for the next half an hour count down. Over two hundred guest needed to have their glasses filled with champagne waiting for the count down to the New Year.
Florence was working her way through the rooms making sure she touched base with all her guest. Just before the last few minutes of the count down Florence found herself in the study with the guest watching the ball fall on TV in New York City.
Excitement and anticipation was building through the whole house!
Everyone quieted enough for the last ten seconds count down. All the guest began in unison to do the count down with the television “TEN” “NINE” “EIGHT” “SEVEN, SIX” “FIVE” “FOUR, THREE” “TWO” “ONE!” “HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
There was cheering, noise makers going off, kissing, and hugging everywhere through the house!
People where shouting and saying “Happy New Year!”
Consequently no one heard the pop sound that went off in one of the small lavets down stairs into Mark Gorge’s chest; until he was discovered by one of the nights lingering guest Betty Holston, who screamed enough for everyone to hear!
Everyone remaining in the house gathered around! One and all were stunned and shocked at the sight of a dead body; that was clearly shot by the gun lying next to him. Mrs. Gorge fainted and was taken to the study’s couch; where luckily one of the local doctors that was still at the party could tend to her.
Who could have done such a thing baffled everyone? However Florence certainly had her suspicions already calculating in her mind.
As the police were called many of the remaining guest scattered on home leaving just Florence’s hired help, the band picking up, a couple of close friends; some of which were staying there overnight, plus Mrs. Gorge now sedated. The doctor stayed to talk to the police when they arrived, seeing that he was some one that knew about both Mark Gorge’s dead body and the now unconscious Mrs. Gorge.
Florence feeling very flustered and bewildered thought “What an ending to a party and what a beginning to the New Year!”
Quite frankly Florence didn’t exactly know what to do with herself at this point; but she did make sure her overnight guest were all set for their stay.
It wasn’t until seven o’clock the next morning that the police finally got everyone including the dead body out of the house.
Florence and her guest Della May and Sylvester tried to catch up on sleep until Detective Manrore stopped in to do more investigating late in the afternoon. He wanted to interrogate Florence in particular, seeing that Florence wrote out the guest list.
Detective Charles Manroe was a very nerve racking man. You never knew really what he had up his sleeve, maybe because of some of his quirky habits; like twittling his thumbs.
“Charles” as finally he gave permission to Florence and her guest to call him; seemed to have at least ruled Florence, Sylvester, Della May and the hired staff out for being suspects. However Detective Manroe was very interested in Florence’s opinion on whom she thought was capable of such a crime.
Florence couldn’t wait to tell Charles her ideas on who she thought could be the killer. Of course she listed the people who she didn’t care for and suspected always of devious actions. Detective Manroe now sat back very prestigiously in the queen-ann chair in Florence’s study with his little pad; touching the top of his pen to his cheek. “So let me get this straight Florence” Detective Manroe went on “You believe there are at least three possible suspects I should consider?” “And those are?” “Mrs. Gorge, Dwight Ward, and Anthony Houser?”
Florence assured him that her intuition would gamble on one of those three for suspects; and gave her opinion on them all, and why she thought they should be the suspects.
After mulling things over in his mind Detective Manroe had tea with Miss Florence Pride; than he bid her good bye and stated he would keep her apprized of the murder investigation. This tickled Florence that he would confide in her so much, and considered her information worthy to help him.
After everyone was well rested; Florence and her two guests Sylvester and Della May took a few days to site see the area.
A delight always Sylvester was a tall man very well built, and dark skinned. Most women considered him very handsome. He was a master at karate; however Sylvester was a bit shy as well as very religious and most likely for those reasons mainly is why he had not yet met the next love of his life yet.
Della May was also very religious being married to a minister from WashingtonState. Her one daughter was already grown, turning into a beautiful intelligent woman. Della had done a fine job raising her. Della May was only four foot tall yet had a very petite full figured body. She had milky white skin and thick brown hair, as well as a vivacious personality. Florence couldn’t had been feeling more blessed to have such nice friends to be visiting for the week.
On the second day of their site seeing all three friends returned home to find a shock in the main entrance hall! It was a terrible thing to see along with the note attached to it!
Almost unbelievable; it was a noose hanging from the above balcony with a note that said “I AM WARNING YOU, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!” Well this was so alarming to Florence she had to go lay down while Sylvester called the Detective.
Detective Manroe came over to investigate and also to inform everyone in the house hold why this might have occurred. You see; Detective Manroe did act on Florence’s intuitive advice and started interrogating the three whom he now believed were the primary suspects. From the obvious warning he knew now he was on the right track; for sure one of the three must be the murderer. Now the question was which one? The other question was; how did the murderer know that Florence named him or her in the investigation? In any case Florence and her guest were now in danger also.
There were only three days left to both Sylvester’s and Della May’s visit and than Florence would be left all alone in her home; which she didn’t look forward to at all. Especially since these past horrible happenings!
The weather had turned bad. The wind was howling, and snow was fleeting down in droves. Darkness covered the whole land. The grand-fathers clock in the main entrance way had struck seven o’clock as the three friends had just sat down to eat their dinner. No sooner did they all start with their first bites did the lights go out! The only light was from the two candles Florence had burning on the dinner table. They all sat there for a few minutes realizing the effects of the almost total darkness when poof! The candles blew out from a gust of wind that whooshed open a dinning room window! A bit of panic kicked in with total darkness around them!
Luckily Florence located a flash light. It was apparent and logical to the three friends that the electricity went out because of the storm, but with all that had happened; all three of them had worst things on their minds which put them on edge! Florence secured the open window and lit more candles as well gave each of her friends their own flash lights. They all sat there nervous side by side now finishing their meal in the candle light.
With their dinner over and the electricity still out; all three friends retired to their bedrooms. Now there was complete darkness and silence in the house; until in Sylvester’s room there came a knock on his door. Before Sylvester knew it both Florence and Della May were asking if they could camp out in his bedroom. Both women were scared, and quite frankly Sylvester him self was relieved, and welcomed the company himself.
Morning came with the sun shinning, and at some point in the night the electricity had came on. Florence was relieved and arose early going into her bedroom; when she found another disturbing thing!
Florence’s window was wide open and her bed linens were sliced to shreds! Florence screamed when she saw the damage and found the second note! Florence was so scared she seemed to be frozen in space and time.
When her friends gathered with her in the room Sylvester read the note out loud “Listen Lady I warned you, and this is the last warning you are getting, back off or you will find your self dead next!”
Later that day Detective Manroe came over to see the damage and inform Florence on what he had so far determined in the case. At this point Detective Manroe was truly more concerned for Florence’s safety more than ever.
Charles did let Florence and her friends know he had ruled out Mrs. Gorge even though the sum of money she inherited was phenomenal! He still was on the fence with which one of the two others could be the killer. Unannounced to Florence Detective Manroe was deciding to have both of the suspects tailed; more so for Florence’s safety more than any other reason. Charles stayed for tea again, until he had to leave abruptly to work further on the murder case.
Well the day came that Sylvester had to fly out and later that night Della May also would catch her flight.
Florence knew they couldn’t stay forever but she did wish they could at least stay until they found the killer.
Evening had arrived and Florence was alone and scared. She had lots of friends to call and come over to stay with her, but she did not want to jeopardize their lives either. She did think about asking Maggie if she could stay in her home, but realized if the killer was really watching her, he would know she went over there and than Maggie’s home could be put in danger too.
Florence made sure all the locks were secured in the house. Florence thought to herself “Not that any of these locks stopped the murderer before.” Nervous she decided to sleep in a guest bed room hoping it would fool anyone that might enter the house. Florence locked the bedroom door, and wedged a chair in front of the door knob. She made sure all the locks on the windows were good and tight. Florence went to bed with several items near by or on hand, which was, a flash light, a kitchen knife, and her cell phone in case the landline phone didn’t work. Than she laid there petrified in the dark thinking to herself “I must be crazy staying here alone, who knows if he isn’t watching me right now?” “I’ll never get to sleep nor do I really want to fall asleep.”
All of a sudden as she was laying there shaking in bed; the door knob started to move! Someone was trying to get into her room! Oh no!
Florence got out of bed quietly with no lights on and hid by the side of the door with her heart pounding and her hand shaking holding the knife!
Florence’s hands were sweating, and her body felt numb with fear!
Now the person on the other side of the door was rattling it, seeming to have pride the lock open!
The door was opening!
Now the killer was budging the chair from the door knob!
What was Florence going to do?!!!!
All of a sudden there was a thump and a loud bang against the door and some one yelling “Florence are you alright?” “Are you alright in there?” “Florence?”
Florence recognized the voice and relaxed her body enough to let out the scream she was holding in!
But the scream wasn’t necessary because it was Charles talking to her.
Florence’s mind reeling said “yes it really is Detective Manroe on the other side of the door!”
Charles said “calm down Florence it is me and we have caught the killer” “Open the door” “It truly is alright” For a split second Florence thought “what if Detective Manroe was the killer?” But Florence just wiped that thought out of her mind as she held her breath and started to open the door.
There she saw on the other side of the door Detective Manroe, and two other officers standing above a body. The body of Anthony Houser laid there lifeless.
Detective Manroe put his arm around the shaking Florence and brought her downstairs to the study to calm her down and explain what had happened.
Apparently Anthony Houser was not dead but knocked unconscious while trying to break into Florence’s room...
Detective Manroe told Florence he had; had both suspects followed and Anthony gave his tail the slip. Anthony Houser giving his tail the slip indicated to Charles that he might have headed to Florence’s house and that is where the officers and Charles found him.
They also found many devices for bugging homes in Anthony Houser’s van, which told how he knew what Florence was saying implicating him in the murder.
Charles also had found out earlier that Anthony was having an affair with the now grieving widow “Tanya Gorge”
Detective Manroe assured Florence that Anthony Houser was going to be sent away for many years, especially after all the things he did incriminating himself with the murder trying to get at Florence. As far as Tanya Gorge went it still was undermined of her fait, not being sure if she knew that Anthony was the murderer or not, and if they had plotted it together from the very beginning?
My Dear readers this whole horrible New Years endeavor never has stopped Florence from being her wonderful congenial self.
Florence still holds just as many parties and still invites anyone she thinks is deserving and loving to them.
However as far as inviting people just out of politeness; now if Florence really doesn’t have a good feeling about people she forgoes their invites.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!
Lisa J. Warner