from the mystery Dumpster Dying by Lesley A. Diehl
Detective Toby Sands was with the Big Lake Police Department for over twenty years. His record of closing cases was disappointing until the captain paired him with Detective Stanton Lewis. Following his last and most famous murder case with Stanton, Sands “retired”, a forced retirement for medical reasons according to the police department. I was fortunate to be able to track him down at a cabin on the Kissimmee River.
Detective Sands, tell us about this case.
Call me Toby (He spits brown liquid from his mouth toward a rusty coffee can on the floor and misses.) See, I’m just a good ole boy from rural Florida. I don’t do fancy cop stuff, none of that high tech BMW stuff.
Do you mean DNA?
Whatever. Like I said, I’m old fashioned in my approach. I can sit in my car under a palm tree for hours waiting out my perp. This case was no different. My partner, Detective Lewis was running around after leads all over the county, but I just sat tight and the killer kind of fell into my clutches.
What made this case so special?
Well, what was special about the case was that the wealthiest rancher in the county was killed and his body put into a dumpster at the country club just outside town. Now that means you got to step lightly around these folks. They’re real important, got lots of money. Don’t cross ‘em none. Like his widow. Widow Davy was a gal to reckon with. I tried not to rile her none. She had some temper. I could tell you stories… Well, anyway, I kept a low profile in my cruiser cuz I knew better than to upset the Widow Davy. See, Toby’s been around here a good long while, and I know how to get what I want out of a suspect.
What made the case hard to solve?
Like I told you, it wasn’t so hard. Just took a lot of sitting and waiting and listening to folks talk, like my favorite bartender at the Burnt Biscuit. Let me tell ya, he knows more about what’s happening around here than I do. And, of course, I know plenty. I’m appealing those bribery charges. I took that money only temporarily to find out what was going on with some crooked lawyers. I was intending to give it all back, but I got jumped by some federal cops and… Well, that’s another story.
Did anyone outside of the police department help you solve this case?
Hell, no. Even my partner was useless. Course he was sweet on that little gal who found the body. Now there’s the real problem. Women. Women always get in the way of solving a crime. I don’t have no women in my life. My dog, ole Pokey, is a boy. Don’t trust bitch dogs none.
Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Hell, yes, it has. I’m sitting here out on bail waiting for my second trial. No one in the department, not my partner, not the captain appreciated all I done to solve that case. I lost my house, mortgaged it to pay my lawyer—he turned out to be a crook—to get me off, and here I sit in this crummy dump waiting for the next trial. Yeah, you could say it affected my life. (Toby spits in the can once more and once moremisses.)
It’s rumored around the police department and town that you’re a crooked cop. How do you respond to that?
I already told you. I was just trying to find out what was going on, and someone offered me money, so I took it. Otherwise how could I win their trust? In my years in law enforcement, I always played friendly when someone offered me money. Let me tell you, I found out plenty about folks around here. I got a reputation for being willing to play ball with those who were generous to me. I was the guy in the department you could trust. If the price was right.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today, Toby. Good luck with your trial and appeal.
Lesley A. Diehl retired from her life as a professor of psychology and moved to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—a place where spurs still jingle in the post office. Dumpster Dying was released by Oak Tree Press, January 2011. Her books can be obtained through
Amazon.com, B&N.com, and independent book sellers. For more information visit her website at www.lesleydiehl.com or her blog http://anotherdraught.blogspot.com.
from Seven Deadly Samovars by Morgan St. James and Phyllice Bradner
Today we have 80 year old former vaudeville magician Flossie Silver with us. Her twin daughters, Goldie Silver who lives in Juneau, Alaska and Godiva Olivia DuBois, a Beverly Hills advice columnist often wind up knee-deep in murders. Sometimes Flossie and her brother-in-law Sterling, a fellow magician, use disguises and tricks to help her twins, even though they are warned to stay home and smell the roses. This time they almost made their final curtain call.
Flossie, you are obviously not with the police department. How and why did you get involved in this case?
Well, I spent lots of years in show business, you know. My dear departed husband was the great magician Harry Silver and he taught me and his brother Sterling how to spot things. My brother-in-law and I have some pretty nifty tricks and disguises. Now you see, lots of people don’t even know that a samovar is a big fancy Russian teapot, and some of the antique ones are worth a bundle. But they’re not worth killing for, so when my daughter Goldie sold some samovars and folks started getting killed, we knew there was some dangerous monkey business going on. Godiva’s boyfriend Caesar Romano, he’s the fancy TV chef, you know, had one of the samovars and that made him a sitting duck. The girls tried to keep us out of it like they always do, but you gotta get up pretty early in the morning to stop this old lady! When the no-goodniks got down to LA, Sterling and I jumped right in the thick of it.
Tell us about this case.
Well, my daughter Goldie got this shipment of seven antique samovars at her Silver Spoon Antique Shoppe. They came all the way from Vladivostok—that’s in Russia, you know. It so happens, when the shipment arrived Godiva was in Alaska for a big shindig for Goldie’s crazy mother-in-law Belle Pepper’s birthday. Luckily, Sterling and I got out of going because we had to be in Seattle for the Icons of Illusion banquet. They were honoring my Harry (he should rest in peace). Good thing, too, because that woman is nuts, but that’s another story. I think she made her money as a madam, but you didn’t hear it from me. Anyway, five of those teapots had been sold when these two big Russians stormed into Goldie’s shop demanding all of the samovars. She said they were sold and they threatened her. She had to call the police.
Wouldn’t you know it? Her shop was broken into that night and, oy vey, the crooks stole the last samovars and all of Goldie’s sales slips. The next day her friend who bought two was killed and her samovars were gone. The girls tried to tell the police about the Russians, but those cops are as dumb as a box of rocks. The girls gave up on the police and came to Seattle for the banquet. A lady from Seattle, a passenger on a cruise ship, bought one those fersthunkener teapots and they wanted to warn her before she met the same fate as Goldie’s friend. They were too late. The woman’s maid was killed and the samovar was missing. That’s when we decided the girls needed our help. My girls never could resist a good mystery, it gets them into hot water all the time. Sterling and me—well we spot things they don’t see and we do have lots of tricks up our sleeves.
What made the case so hard to solve?
All four of us figured out that something was hidden in those cursed samovars. That wasn’t the hard part. It was my daughters that made it hard. They tried to clip our wings. Even after we helped them, they warned us to stay out of it. Would you believe they threatened to take away Sterling’s car keys?
Anyway, we pulled one over on them. Ha! They’re no match for Sterling and me. We’re still the Scintillating Silvers. We may be old, but we’re pretty darn clever. So we snuck out saying we were going to a movie and dinner at Denny’s, but instead we headed for Caesar’s house. Any fool could see it was the next place those Russians would hit if they were after the samovars. Even though Godiva’s friend Ricky was watching the place—he was in the Special Forces, you know—we had a great idea to trap the crooks with one of our special illusions. But it didn’t work out the way we expected. Those bumbling thugs
tried to kill us. Can you imagine?
Did anyone help you with your investigation?
Oh, I guess you have to give credit where credit is due. The girls figured out what was hidden in the samovars, and I guess they did their share. We had a little help from a lady whose husband is a police chief. She was one of crazy Belle’s friends—they met at a Mad Hatter conference—they all wear funny hats. Then there was a motorcycle gang that helped Ricky. All I can say is it ended in one wild affair. For one time in my life, I was really scared. I’m too young to die.
You know what really fries my fanny? That we didn’t get to pull off the illusion at Caesar’s house before the “surprise guest” made me tie up Sterling and tried to kill us all. The jerk. I used the trick knots from one of our illusions. Then he made Caesar tie me up. It didn’t take Sterling long to get out of the ropes, after all, it’s part of our act. He untied me and even though everything looked fuzzy---I lost my glasses in the scuffle---I grabbed a heavy candlestick and knew just what to do.
How has this case affected your personal life?
Well, those girls never give us proper credit. We’re used to top billing and they shove us in the corner like a couple of worthless old troublemakers. We both live in cottages on Godiva’s Beverly Hills estate, so she keeps a close eye on us. Sterling and I agreed that we need to polish up our act, get out from under Godiva’s thumb. Her son just moved to Las Vegas and we figure maybe we can get on a big stage again instead of our Thursday gig at the Home for Hollywood Has-Beens. Magicians are hot there, you know.
Thank you for being with us today. Good luck in taking your magic to Las Vegas.
Morgan St. James has written three Silver Sisters books. Seven Deadly Samovars is the second in the series. The third book is due out later this year. She also writes as Arliss Adams. Information on her or any of her books can be found on any of her websites at www.silversistersmysteries.com or www.morganstjames-author.com.
Interviews with fictional cops and other crime-solving characters