Murder by the Written Word XI
By early morning the all-night diner, a replica of the 1950s with its bright red booths and stainless steel back splash, was emptied of customers except for Tiffany and Dale. The waitress, a bottle blonde wearing a bright pink uniform sitting behind the counter chewing gum, concentrated intently on The National Enquirer.
Tiffany laid the stylus down and let her head drop on top of her tablet.
“Are you sure you’ve got everything down, Tiffany?” Dale questioned.
Tiffany lifted her head to look at Dale and replied,
“I’m sure. But even if I didn’t, I can’t tap another word.” She blew a long strand of auburn hair from her face.
“Good,” Dale declared. “Now read it to me.”
Tiffany looked at the man in disbelief before she declared,
“Dale Carter, I’m dead tired. I don’t even remember when I slept last, and you want me to read all of these notes out loud!”
“Waitress, fresh coffee please,” Dale bellowed with a mischievous grin on his face.
Blondie brought fresh coffee and wanted to know if the couple was sure they didn’t want breakfast. Dale thanked her and said maybe later. The lady in pink returned to her seat and once again picked up her Enquirer.
“Take a drink and then get started,” Dale commanded in a deep gruff voice.
Tiffany held the mug of coffee to her lips and watched the steam rise in a swirling motion. Setting the mug down, she picked up the iPad and began to read.
“These notes are for Richard Grendel, Editor of the Gazette, written by Tiffany Armstrong with the help of Detective Dale Carter.” Tiffany looked at Dale and smiled.
“There have been terrible secrets and mysteries in our town over the years. Thanks to the work of Detective Dale Carter and this journalist, Tiffany Armstrong, the secrets have been revealed and the mysteries solved.”
“It seems to have started when Margaret and her husband Albert Andrews, owner of Andrews Industries, had been married for about ten years and were childless. Not much was known about them as they stayed pretty much to themselves, but the staff had told stories about the hateful treatment they received from Mrs. Andrews. They all agreed that Mr. Andrews was a kind man, but that his wife ruled over him.”
“Margaret’s sister, Annabelle, came to live with the Andrews. It seems that Albert and Annabelle fell in love and Annabelle became pregnant with twins. According to Albert he told his wife that he and Annabelle were in love and that the twins were his children. Margaret became furious and insisted that Annabelle should leave. She also informed Albert that she would make sure the world knew what a terrible person Annabelle was. Albert told Margaret he would not leave her for Annabelle if she would just let her stay there until after the birth of the children. Albert did plan to leave with Annabelle and their children.”
“Margaret dismissed the entire staff and hired one young woman, Nora Welch, as housekeeper. Margaret had told the housekeeper that Annabelle’s husband and the father of the children was on a government assignment in Africa.”
“When the time came for the twins to be born, Albert begged Margaret to allow Annabelle to go to the hospital, but Margaret insisted that she and Nora could take care of the births there in the home. And so late one night when Annabelle went into labor, Margaret had Nora bring all the necessary items to Annabelle’s room. The labor was long and hard, but finally one small baby, a boy, was born. As Annabelle held the tiny infant, Nora watched his small eyes open and they seemed to look directly at her. In that instant, Margaret ordered Nora to bring more towels.”
“Nora hurriedly left the room and returned shortly carrying a stack of thick white towels. She hurried to the bedside as a small baby girl had just been born. She noticed Annabelle’s eyes were closed and her breathing was shallow. Nora gently took the child from Margaret and began to clean her and wrap her warmly. She walked toward the crib where the other twin lay. Just as she was feeling good about the night’s work, she noticed the little boy was covered from head to toe with a white sheet. Holding the little girl in one arm, she reached down and pulled the sheet off the baby lying still in the crib. She touched his little chest and screamed to Margaret that the baby wasn’t breathing. Margaret was beside her immediately and ordered her to shut up. Then Margaret picked up the small lifeless body and left the room.”
“Albert had heard the scream from his bedroom and had come running out into the hallway just as Margaret came out of the room carrying the little boy. Nora heard her explain to Albert that the child had been stillborn. The housekeeper said she was shocked when she heard Margaret say that. She had seen herself that the baby had been alive when he was born. Then she heard Mr. Andrews sob and say that these were his children and he would never get to know his little boy. Nora said she was in total shock when she heard that.”
Tiffany hesitated a moment and took another sip of coffee before continuing.
“Nora had no idea that the children’s father was Albert Andrews. She did know, however, that somehow Margaret had killed that little boy and would have probably killed that little girl if she hadn’t returned to the room when she did. Nora further stated that shortly afterward Albert came into the room. He stood by Annabelle’s bedside and held her hand and sobbed as he watched her lay dying. By daylight she had joined her infant son and left a tiny daughter to a man Margaret paid to take the child away.”
“Margaret and Albert buried the small infant with his mother in a grave in the Andrews private cemetery near a big oak tree. Albert had wanted to raise his daughter, but Margaret had already given the child away and refused to tell her husband the man’s name. The housekeeper, Nora Welch left the next afternoon after work and never returned.”
To be continued …