Scene Stealer

Scene Stealer

by Elise Warner
     
 

"For a moment our eyes met; his were frightened, seeking help. Was it my imagination gone wild? No. After all those years of teaching elementary school, I knew this child was afraid."

After a chance encounter on the subway, Miss Augusta Weidenmaier, a retired schoolteacher living in New York's Greenwich Village, is determined to help the police in

Overview

"For a moment our eyes met; his were frightened, seeking help. Was it my imagination gone wild? No. After all those years of teaching elementary school, I knew this child was afraid."

After a chance encounter on the subway, Miss Augusta Weidenmaier, a retired schoolteacher living in New York's Greenwich Village, is determined to help the police in the search for missing nine-year-old child actor Kevin Corcoran. Never mind that she has no training in law enforcement—she spent decades teaching. She knows when someone is lying.

Once set upon a course of action, the indomitable Miss Weidenmaier cannot be swayed—or intimidated. Facing down megalomaniacal business executives, stuck-up celebrities, pushy stage mothers and a rabble-rousing talk show host, Miss Weidenmaier will stop at nothing—not even the disapproval of one Lieutenant Brown of the NYPD, who does not take kindly to amateur sleuthing—to bring young Kevin home.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781426890321
Publisher:
Carina Press
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Sold by:
HARLEQUIN
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
224,499
File size:
541 KB

Read an Excerpt

I must have been staring at the child. They were such an unlikely pair: the boy clean and neatly dressed, the man unkempt. For a moment our eyes met; his were frightened, seeking help. Or was it my old lady's imagination gone wild? No, I understood children. All those years of teaching elementary school, I knew this child was afraid. The man seated next to the boy nudged him and the child lowered his eyes.

As usual, the Broadway/Seventh Avenue local at Sheridan Square was crowded; I stood to one side to allow passengers to exit but the man pushed his way on, dragging the child behind him. A new rush of passengers hid them from my sight when the subway stopped at 14th Street.

Such a darling boy; why did he seem familiar? Of course! The child was the spitting image of that little tyke in the Cowboy Bob's Big, Bad Burger commercial. The commercial where the boy, dressed in chaps and a ten-gallon hat, twirls a rope and dances a hoedown with animated French-fried potatoes. Big blue eyes and a warm smile people returned. But this adorable child wasn't smiling.

The train stopped at several more stations. Where were we? I couldn't see a thing with that portly gentleman standing directly in front of me. I craned my neck to see around him but garish sprays of graffiti obscured the sign indicating the station; I could barely decipher the lettering. This stop was Columbus Circle; the next would be Lincoln Center. Folding my unread magazine, I clutched my purse and umbrella and murmured, "Excuse me. Pardon me," over and over again as I tried to make my way through the throng. I managed to reach the door just as the train announced its arrival at the 66th Street station with a nerve-jangling screech.

Two extremely rude teenagers blocked the door. One was lost in the cacophony of sound that leaked from his oversized earphones. The other was engrossed in paring his fingernails. A gentle thrust with the tip of my umbrella and I was able to make my exit.

The child and his companion were about fifteen feet ahead of me. When the boy looked back, I thought I could see his lower lip tremble. Impossible, he was too far away and my vision, though I hate to admit it, is not what it used to be. The man placed his hand on the child's shoulder; they picked up their pace, reached the stairway and melted into the crowd.

Was it the young actor who performed in the commercial or was it someone who looked very much like him? And why wasn't he attending class this morning? Today was Tuesday, a school day. A very special Tuesday for a retired gentlewoman like me; at 9:45, Alan Gilbert was scheduled to conduct the New York Philharmonic in an open rehearsal of Strauss "tunes" at Lincoln Center. The public was invited to attend. I eagerly awaited a morning spent with Mr. Gilbert and was pleased to have obtained a $10 ticket. It wasn't often I could afford such a treat. My concern for the boy abated as I thought about the music, Maestro Gilbert and what was reputed to be the maestro's "blazing heat and power. "

The traffic light turned yellow, then green. Car horns blasted the air with impatience. I checked to see if the vehicles flowing past would obey the signal, since at my age the body slows a bit, and was about to step off the curb, when the little boy tugged at the sleeve of my jacket.

"Ma'am." The child gasped, then took a deep breath. "Help me."

Meet the Author

Elise Warner, the author of Scene Stealer, worked as an actress, singer and stage manager before becoming addicted to writing. Small Time, her second play, won Theatre Guinevere's "Guinny Award" and was later part of the Maxwell Anderson Playwright's Series. An avid traveler, she has written for the travel section of the Washington Post and magazines such as Rock & Gem and The Gold Prospector (inspired by trips to Australia and New Zealand). Remembering her poodle, Jackie, she wrote about a musical-comedy troupe touring the United States with pet dogs, which was published in the anthology Good Dogs Doing Good, and a short story that won second prize in the American Kennel Club magazine's 2008 contest. Elise's articles dealing with American history have appeared in magazines such as American Spirit, Pennsylvania, The Elks and The Villager. An avid fan of mysteries, her short stories have appeared in Mystery Time, RTP and citywriters.com. She is married to Bob Bernard, a dazzling tap dancer.

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