Excerpt Cedar Key Mystery

CONTENTS

Chapter 1 : SPECIAL DELIVERY
Chapter 2:      MIXED BEGINNING
Chapter 3:      AWKWARD MEETING
Chapter 4:      JOLLY JEZEBEL
Chapter 5:      DEAD MAN BRUCE 
Chapter 6:      THE THERE'S TWO
Chapter 7:      THE 'HIDE'
Chapter 8:      KEY SEARCH
Chapter 9:      SILVERTON ESTATE
Chapter 10:    "FREEZE, COWBOY"
Chapter 11:     THE PIXIE LADY
Chapter 12:     UNSCHEDULED LANDING
Chapter 13:     DEATH MARCH
Chapter 14:     SNARLY & BANG-BANG
 Chapter 15:    AGGISON LAB
Chapter 16:     ADD KIDNAPPING
Chapter 17:     RANSOM NOTE
Chapter 18:     ESCAPE TO UNCERTAINTY
Chapter 19:     SHE SAY 'DADDY'?
Chapter 20:     SWAMP MONSTER
Chapter 21:     THE GAME'S AFOOT
Chapter 22:     HASTILY LAID PLANS
Chapter 23:     THREE BOAT BATTLE
Chapter 24:     WRAP UP
EPILOGUE



Chapter One

Special Delivery

[ A reflection ]

As soon as I hit the sidewalk, my barber and tenant, rushed out to greet me, “Special delivery!” Marvin yelled waving an envelope.”

I like the P.I. business. I like it because PI cases don’t usually surface midweek and I set my own hours. Saturdays and Sundays are for recreation. Monday is my golf day, scheduled strategically to miss Monday morning domestic cases and ‘done-me-wrong’ feuds.

Only reason I was at the office this Saturday morning was to check on the renovations the contractor started several days ago. Okay, I also wanted to pick up my new putter I’d left there and get used to it before Monday's game with Jack. I signed for the envelope and ascended the metal fire steps on the side of the building to my office. Tossing the letter on the desk, I grabbed the putter and headed for the golf course.

[ Day 1 -- Sunday ]

Sunday morning I went to church. I’d made a deal with God in a tight spot a short time back. It's become a refreshing routine somehow. The preacher's topic today was ‘priorities’. I left nagged by something he said.

We all naturally and habitually put ourselves first, ignoring the special and more important things.

I realize the preacher was speaking of eternal matters, but it reminded me of the Special Delivery letter. My curiosity stirred, I went to the office. The envelope was addressed to “Abel Rose PI, 221-B Harrison Blvd., Clairisville, Ohio”. The Florida return address and the bold red “PERSONAL” got my attention.

Special Delivery is always bad news.

I considered leaving it, but couldn't. Sitting down behind my desk, I hesitated to opening the letter. It was dated July 18, 1983 and postmarked July 28, which reflected trouble mulled over and a hesitance to share a private matter. It read:

Dear Mr. Rose,

I apologize for being blunt. But it is not easy to write about my uncle’s death. They are calling it an accident. But that’s a boldfaced lie. He was murdered!

I guess I’ve inherited what little he had including his unfinished business. And I plan to finish what he started, but I need your help. Need someone with gumption and detecting no-how that can get some respect. So, I’m sending for you cause I don’t know what else to do. Things are real complicated, and I’m afraid I might be next.

Why should I expect you to come? Cause you just gotta. I got nobody else and besides you’re my father. My mother was Brenda Ramsey. I got proof.

Hurry, I need your help right away. Come to 7672 Oak, Cedar Key, FL white house with a full front porch, south dead end. Don’t tell anybody—trust no one. Hurry! Bring this letter so I know it’s you.

                                                        Sincerely,

                                                       Rosa Lee Ramsey

My mind tumbled back as I returned the letter to its envelope. Rosa Lee … Rosa Lee Ramsey … Brenda Ramsey…

Considerable time passed as I sat trance-like cherishing velvet memories and fighting painful haunts.

Ramsey … the name can’t be coincidence. Brenda, my first love, you stir my heart with perplexity from the grave! But daughter? No way!

And that's how my perfectly good Sunday languished in grieving and forsaken disappointment. Confused misery entombed for fifteen years, resurrected in a profusion of heartache. I tried to sort out the facts. There were few.

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