Simply hilarious... This grand collection of mysteries was written by an ex-NYPD officer and is filled with humor, mystery, and undoubtedly a dose of his experiences on the NY beat. With every turn of the page, readers will be treated to a good time.
|Publisher:||Prodigy Gold Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.55(d)|
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DON'T BANK ON IT
* * *
BARNEY DELANO, STARED at the clock that hung over the teller cage in the Loose Change Savings Bank. Five o'clock couldn't come soon enough. He'd been a security guard here for three years, but it seemed like ten. Time passes slowly when you're confined to a small space, with not much to do. The bank was formed twenty years ago by Harvey Loose and his then partner, Edgar Change. Theirs was a perfect partnership. Loose was a marketing expert and knew how to bring in business. Change was a financier and handled all the bank's transactions.
When Change passed away, Loose became the sole owner.
Since Delano was the only security guard, Loose insisted that he be visible for the entire eight-hour shift. He was hard to miss anyway, in the ridiculous uniform that Mrs. Loose, who had delusions of being artistic, designed for him to wear. The bright pink satin stripe that ran down the side of his pants didn't say, "beware of this guy." His over-sized police hat had a satin band that matched the stripe on his pants.
Betty Loose was a bit of a flake. Harvey divorced his first wife, Ramona, for her. Betty was attractive, in a past decade kind of way, and eighteen years his junior. Because her husband owned the bank, Mrs. Loose liked to come in and interfere with the everyday tasks of its employees. Everyone hated her. But, she was the boss' wife so they would smile and accommodate her. The gossip around the bank was that she spent a little too much time in the office of Ray Peale, the bank manager. Peale was a tall, trim, handsome man, who kept to himself. He wore a bad toupee that was a strange unnatural color. 'Sort of a blondish- red with a weird wave in the front. It looked like something Betty Loose, designed. You couldn't help staring at it. No one knew much about him, other than he was a divorcee, maybe because of the toupee, with no apparent family.
The bank was located in an upper-income area of Philadelphia. Delano often wondered if his uniform was designed to make would-be robbers die laughing when they saw him. The closing bell finally rang, and the doors to the bank were closed. Delano went to his locker and hung up his uniform and gun. 'The end of another long week. On his way out, he passed Pattie Platski's teller window. She was an attractive divorcee with an eight-year- old son named Skippy. Delano took his usual shot at asking her for a date. Every time he asked, the answer was the same. "No."
Delano took the subway downtown to his South Philly residence. It was a small apartment located over a dry cleaner. After climbing a long staircase, he opened the door to his place. The two-room apartment was a bit shabby, but it had everything he needed: A bed, a TV and a refrigerator full of beer. He popped open a cold one. Alcohol wasn't really needed for a buzz, because some of the chemical fumes from the dry cleaner below often seeped into his apartment. He grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. The news in Philly always seemed to be the same: a couple of murders and a hit and run. It got to the point that it lost its shock factor. The numbers for this week's lottery were about to be announced. Delano grabbed his ticket off the kitchen table and took another gulp of his beer. He'd been buying tickets for years, and the closest he ever got was two numbers. The numbers started running across the screen, 7, 12, 33, 1, 5, 2. After another sip on his beer, he glanced at his numbers and was ready to toss the ticket in the waste paper basket. Something was different. The numbers looked like they matched. He sat up straight and went through the numbers one by one. They did match. He just won ten million dollars.
Monday morning the phone rang in Mr. Loose's office. He picked it up.
"I won't be in today."
"You better not be using a sick day, Barney. You've already used up all three."
"I'm calling to tell you that you can shove your sick days and your job up your ass!"
"What? You'll regret this, Barney. You're a low life; no one else will hire you. In fact, I was thinking of replacing you with a guard dog anyway. Mrs. Loose was already working on the design of the dog's uniform."
"Maybe you didn't see my picture in the paper, Fatso. I hit Lotto for ten mill. So, good riddance to you and your psycho wife."
"Ten million? Now, now, my boy, no reason to lose our heads. You've always been like a son to me. Maybe I never showed it. In fact, I was going to surprise you today by promoting you to sergeant."
"Keep your pink stripes!"
"I understand. You're much too good for that, Mr. Delano. Why don't you drop down by the bank, at your convenience of course, and we can talk about old times. I'm starting to miss you already. I can offer you our bank's financial services at an employee discount. You know you'll be treated like family here."
Delano just slammed down the phone. He was done working for the bank. From now on he was going to enjoy life.
After several weeks of non-stop partying, Delano was getting bored. He had already moved from his old place into a luxury apartment. 'White leather furniture, a zebra-striped bar, and black velvet pictures hung on the wall. It wasn't enough. Something meaningful was needed to fill his time. He'd always admired people who were self-employed. They lived by their own rules. Delano decided that he would rent office space in a prestigious building in the city and start a business. He wasn't quite sure what the business would be, but he would figure it out in time.
Federal agents were all over the Loose Change Savings Bank. It had failed the annual government audit. There was twenty million dollars missing. The bank's books had been masterly tampered with. This was one of the largest embezzlement schemes ever. The coffers were drained slowly over a one-year period by the then bank manager, Mr. Raymond Peale. The transactions were so complex; the auditors had trouble following them. Peale was a genius. The cash had been laundered through several international phantom banks. Peale stopped showing up for work two days prior to the audit, and no one knew his whereabouts. His profile, with his picture and prints had been erased from the bank records. They were completely wiped off the computer files. Apparently, there was never a thorough background check done when he was hired two years ago. Somebody dropped the ball, big time. It's like the agents had to look for a ghost. His listed residence was found vacant. The landlady at that location never heard of him. The police made a composite sketch with the help of people at the bank. There was a warrant issued for his arrest under the name Raymond Peale, even though they weren't sure that was his real name.
Things were not going well for Mr. Loose. His bank was in receivership, and now his wife Betty was asking for a divorce. It was bad enough that she spent his money like crazy; now she was after whatever he had left. He was already paying alimony to his first wife, Ramona. Funny, the talk of divorce came as a surprise. There didn't seem to be any problems between them; suddenly she wanted out. He tried talking to her, but she just said that she was not happy and stopped loving him. Years ago, his lawyer had advised him to get a prenuptial agreement when they got married — partially because of their age difference, and partially because she was beautiful and he was a fat slob. He was sorry he hadn't listened. Betty Loose moved out.
Delano sat at a desk in his new office; he had occupied it for a week. It was an impressive two room suite with expensive furniture. The writing on the window outside read, "Delano, LTD." He chose the corporate term 'LTD' because he was limited in what services he was capable of doing. Time passed, and of course, no one ever came into the office. Most days were spent reading the newspaper and taking two-hour lunches. After a while, boredom set in. He couldn't come up with an idea for what kind of business Delano, LTD should be. He decided what he needed was a receptionist. Someone attractive. The bank teller, Pattie Platski, came to mind. The thought was dismissed. Now that he had money, he felt he could do better. Besides, little Skippy was a pain in the ass. An ad was run in the local paper.
Delano had spent the week interviewing women for his posted receptionist job. He assumed most of the applicants were qualified, although he had no real way of knowing; he was more interested in their looks. A tall attractive redhead, dressed in black and wearing a black veil, walked through the doors of his office. She was absolutely gorgeous. Before she could speak, Delano exclaimed:
"You're here for the receptionist job, right? You can start immediately."
"I think we have a misunderstanding. Is this the Clancy Detective Agency?"
The Clancy Detective Agency had gone out of business recently. The name was never taken off the marquee in the lobby. Delano couldn't bring himself to let her walk out.
"The Clancy Agency morphed into Delano, LTD."
"So, Mr. Delano, you're a detective?"
He half nodded, with a weird grin.
"What can I do for you?"
"I need a detective. For personal reasons, I need a detective who's discreet."
"Let's just say, I put the private in private eye."
She sat down and introduced herself. Her name was Demi Tasser, and she was recently widowed. She told the story of how she was brought up in an orphanage and never knew her parents. While her husband was alive, she started to investigate her background. Her husband was a wealthy man, who died suddenly, and left her well off. Although the orphanage where she was raised was no longer in existence, she was able to find some record of her past. Her parents died in a car accident soon after her birth. She also discovered she had a brother two years her senior. Since she was now totally alone, with no family, it was important to her to find her older sibling. That was the reason for her visit. Delano sat down and contemplated the situation.
"My agency is used to handling situations like yours."
"What is your fee, Sir?"
"We can talk money later. I am kind of in the middle of a big case right now, but I can fit you in. How about I take you to dinner tonight, and we can discuss the case?"
Harvey Loose had not shown up at the bank for several days. There was no answer when his employees phoned his residence. The local police station was called to do a welfare check. When they arrived, they smelled a foul odor coming from his home. The door lock was broken, and they entered the apartment. Harvey Loose was found slumped over a coffee table with a bullet in the back of his head. He had been shot while sitting on the couch. His large penthouse apartment occupied the entire top floor of a luxury building. None of the neighbors had heard anything. There was no sign of a struggle, which led police to conclude that he knew his assailant, and allowed him or her in. The coroner's report showed that he had been dead for three days. A ballistic test on the bullet determined it was from an old style .38 caliber Colt revolver. The bullet could not be traced to any known gun. A homicide investigation ensued.
Delano sat at his desk reading about the murder of his former boss. It saddened him. Meanwhile, he had his own problems. He passed himself off as a detective and took on a case, even though he had no idea what to do or where to start. He held in his hand a piece of paper with the name 'Raymond Stymes' written on it. That was the name provided by Ms. Tasser, of her brother. Stymes was Demi's maiden name. He didn't know how long he could get away with his fictitious updates on her case, but it gave him an excuse to see her. Other than not doing what he was hired to do, things were good between them. His personal relationship with Demi had been progressing. He was starting to have feelings for her, and it appeared the feelings were mutual. But then there was this stupid case. Maybe it was time to hire a professional. He got the home phone number of Mike Clancy, the former owner of the Clancy Detective Agency, from the front desk. Maybe Clancy would take the case.
Mike Clancy was an ex-Philadelphia cop. He was one of the most talented detectives on the force. One problem: He was an alcoholic. Most times he was sober, but then there were those binges. Sometimes they lasted a few days; sometimes they lasted longer. Clancy lived alone and had never married. He was a bit of an oddball. Probably his different take on things is what made him a good detective. Because he was talented, the department carried him longer than they would have otherwise. Occasionally, he was sent to rehab to dry out while still on the payroll. After a while, it got to be too much, so they pensioned him off. He opened up a private eye office and made a living. Most of his cases involved being a bodyguard for rock groups and celebrities. Over time the jobs got shorter, and the binges got longer. Eventually, he just closed down the business. Clancy, was in one of his sober periods when his phone rang.
"Hello, Mr. Clancy?"
"My name is Barney Delano, president of Delano, LTD. I have an office in the building where you had your agency."
"Whatever you're selling, I'm not interested."
"I'm not selling anything. I was wondering if I could retain your services?"
"What kind of business is Delano, LTD?"
"I'm not sure."
"Maybe if I was drunk, I'd understand what the hell you're talking about."
Delano took the time to explain. He leveled with him and told him the whole story. Clancy thought for a moment.
"So, what you want me to do, Mr. Delano is find this missing Raymond Stymes. Okay, I'll take the case. I can reach you at your office?"
They hung up.
Clancy didn't bother to ask what his fee would be. Didn't matter. His life was pretty empty, and money wasn't a problem. Any diversion was good. It was also good for Delano. It gave his make-believe business some sort of legitimacy.
Betty and Ramona Loose sat uncomfortably next to each other in the law offices of Meetam and Beetam. Even though people act sad, the reading of a will is often a happy occasion. There was a lot of money involved, so Harvey Loose's affairs were handled by Mr. Meetam, the senior partner. The reading of the will began:
Ramona got an annuity with a generous annual payout that would last the rest of her life. There were no children from that marriage.
Betty got the proceeds from the sale of the bank, the penthouse apartment and the proceeds of a generous life insurance policy. Their divorce proceedings had not yet started, and Loose's demise came too soon for any changes in the will. Ramona wasn't happy. Betty walked out of the office with a big smile.
The police weren't getting anywhere with their investigation of Loose's murder. They pulled in the most obvious suspect, Betty Loose, for questioning. She had the most to gain. That turned out to be a dead end. She had an air-tight alibi. When she walked out on Loose, she had an airline ticket for L.A.; she left the next day. Friends and family verified that she was in Los Angeles for the period before and after Loose's death. She had gone there to look for an apartment. Betty was originally from L.A. and was in the process of moving back. The reading of the will was the only reason for her return to Philadelphia. His former wife, Ramona, had more of a reason to kill him after the will was read than before. She was questioned and cleared. The bank embezzlement case wasn't going anywhere, either. The Feds still didn't have a clue who Raymond Peale was. Those composite sketches never look like who they're supposed to look like. Most of the people they showed it to, said it resembled some neighbor they didn't like.
Barney Delano was sitting at his desk, staring into his empty entrance, when the phone rang.
"Hello, Delano? Clancy here. Got an update for you."
"Great. What did you find out?"
"I found out that there were no orphanages that closed down in this area in the last thirty years. Made me wonder about your girlfriend, Demi Tasser. I did a little research on her and found out she was never an orphan. Her parents are still alive and retired in Florida. Her maiden name is Robinson, not Stymes. She married this older guy named Norman Tasser, who died of a heart attack at his job about three months ago. Demi thought he had money, but it turned out he had a lot less than she thought. He did leave her a little something, but not what she expected."
"I can't believe this! So why is she so interested in finding this Raymond Stymes?"
"That stuck in my gut. I took a stab in the dark and went to my old buddies at the police station. Maybe, just maybe, she was involved with this guy Raymond Peale. You know the guy who pulled the Loose Change Savings Bank job. Could have been her boyfriend and he skipped out on her. The detectives are so in the dark on this case that they are checking out every possibility. She was picked up for questioning. I'll keep you posted."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Plots"
Copyright © 2018 Philip Pak.
Excerpted by permission of Prodigy Gold Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 | DON'T BANK ON IT,
2 | THE BLAST DETECTIVE AGENCY,
3 | THE EVERY OTHER DAY DETECTIVE,
4 | TILL DEATH DO US PART,
5 | AS SEEN ON TV,
6 | THE FORLORN PARROT,
7 | DNA (DO NOT ASK),
8 | THE SINGING LAWYER,
9 | ARRIVEDERCI BABY,
10 | THE OFFICE PARTY,
11 | MURDER IS A SIX LETTER WORD,
12 | THE RETIRED DETECTIVE,
13 | THE SHIP'S DETECTIVE,
14 | THE WINDOW,
15 | SIXTEEN FEET UNDER,
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Further Reading: The Drunk Detective: A Dotty Davis Comedy Suspense,
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