You never know what’s coming – thus the mystery. Copyright © Jim Jesson & Pete Jesson – All rights reserved. All names, places, objects and things are works of fiction. Full disclaimer on home page.
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From the Case Book - Which Safe is Safe? A cute little story in the Case Book when I was a Chief of Security for a short time…
“Why does the company need a new safe?” I asked Comptroller Jack Mathews after he informed me that the Bellings Safe Company would be delivering a new safe Saturday morning.
He laughed and said, “Jim, we just have too much money.”
We both laughed at that one, I told him I would be on the premises bright and early to greet the new safe and the maintenance staff who had been charged to deliver it to the 900 office, the main office of the 110 Trust Company. As Chief of security, duties like this went with the job, but I couldn’t help but think about someone trying to steal from a new, empty safe.
With three Bellings delivery men and three of our maintenance staff, they walked the new safe into the service elevator and up to the ninth floor easy enough. Riding the huge safe on four dollies, they glided it down the hallway, carefully steering it into the 900 office. Comptroller Mathews and the office manager, Jane Cooper, were anxiously waiting for the safe to arrive and be placed in its new home, exactly where the old safe had been—only this one was wider and three times taller. The old safe had already been moved to a corner of the room until management could decide what to do with it.
Despite the logistics, all was quickly accomplished, and instructions were given to all those in need of them, including the parking lot supervisor, Murray Anderson. Murray was responsible for the parking lot cash collected for events at the sports arena. This was a tidy sum, all cash, put in to a money bag and personally delivered to the ninth floor and placed in the safe. Murray did so this Sunday evening, as he had done for the past ten years. The only difference this time was that the money was placed in the new safe, as per Jane’s instructions. Murray opened the main office door, got the hidden key for the counting room door, and—with the combination to the new safe—opened and placed the money sack in it. He closed the door and spun the tumblers. With his work accomplished, he left for home.
I was hoping for an uneventful Monday morning but as soon as I got in, Jack Mathews called me into the office.
“Jim, the parking lot money collected over the weekend is missing,” he told me.
I was a bit stunned by the news and curious to know what Murray’s explanation for it was. Before I could even ask, Jack said, “Murray says he put the money in the safe last night as usual, and made sure the safe door and main office doors were all locked. But, when Jane came in this morning, the safe was empty.”
I sat there, a bit shocked, Murray had ten years with the company—would he throw it away for a few thousand bucks?
“Did he follow the usual routine of putting it all in a money sack, check it again, and put it in the safe?” I asked.
Jack nodded yes. “Very strange,” I said. I knew all the parking attendants skimmed off the top, but everyone knew that; it was part of the reward for standing out in the mid-winter cold. But to take the whole sack of potatoes, knowing you’d be fired and maybe even prosecuted? No way, I thought.
I got all the details and called Murray at home. I reached his wife, Linda, who was very upset and crying that Murray did not steal the money.
“Why would he?” she asked. “At best we could take a nice vacation with it, but then what?”
I knew she was right. Murray did not steal it. But, who had access to all the keys and the safe but Murray, Jack, Jane, and the owner, Paul Nannos. Nannos came and went as he pleased, and I knew he was out of town at this time.
I ruled out all the others stealing it; a few thousand dollars may be a gold strike to us working people, but it was chump change to them. Did someone find and duplicate the keys or get the combination to the new safe? The problem with that was that they would need both keys and the combination to make the heist. Things did not add up, and no matter how I spun it in my head, it didn’t jive.
Other times when something made little or no sense, I reminded myself not to overlook the obvious. So, that afternoon, I walked into the office and said hello to the girls.
Jane looked over at me. “What’s that look on your face, Jim?”
“Jane, something doesn’t add up here. Could you show me the new safe?”
“Sure,” she replied.
She got up and opened the office door where the new safe sat. I also asked her to open the safe. She did so. It had some office papers and petty cash, but no money bag.
“By the way, where is the old safe?” I asked.
She pointed over to another corner and I asked her if she would open that safe too. She looked at me quizzically, but complied. She pulled out an old key and opened it up.
“What the…” I heard Jane whisper, her eyes wide in disbelief. There it was—a money bag! She opened it and started to laugh and cry at the same time. All the money was in it!
“Oh, good heavens,” she exclaimed, “we accused poor Murray and he must have put the money in the old safe.”
The office was all excited and relieved. Jack dialed Murray at home and gave him the good news, asking him, “Murray, why did you put the money in the old safe?”
Murray kept saying, “Jack, I put the money in the new safe, I swear.” All I could figure was that on a cold Sunday night, Murray had a couple of nips and forgot which safe was safe.
With an elated and relieved office in semi-celebration, just then the owner, Paul Nannos, walked in.
“What’s all the commotion around here?” he asked.
Everyone was happy to see him, and Jane told him the story. He burst out laughing. We all looked at him, rather astounded. When he stopped laughing he said,
“I came in from Miami late last night and decided to make a quick stop at the office to put some valuables in the safe. I opened the new safe just to take a peek at it, saw the money sack in there from the parking lot, and thought it wiser to put it in the old safe.”
We all feigned a quick frown and even Nannos said, “Whoops,” but all was forgiven and celebration ensued. Murray received a big bonus and a raise for his good service.
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Setting: The Richenbach estate
What we are doing here: Investigating several missing items after being called back by Bellingham.
People: Chester (wealthy and on Thurston Richenbach’s Board of Directors) – Drogash (friend of Chester, wine connoisseur and broke) - Magnusson (famous artist, sculptor, poet, and wine bibber) – Tom and Agnes Johnson (elderly couple who adopted Davia) – Davia (ten year old, going on thirty, genius, spy, and much more.) – Dr. Lawrence (haven’t met him yet). – Admiral Weaver (vice Admiral and heavy drinker) – Kingston (the admirals shih tzu dog with an Admirals cap and apparently adopted by Davia.) - August (400 lbs and growing)… Read, Bellingham’s Book Hunt if you want to get acquainted with what we’ve done here so far. I’ll keep you up to date here if I get enough hits…
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Comments about The Next Act
Another reviewer says, “unique cases that you normally don’t’ hear about.” We heard Charlie on the piano as Pete and I walked into the swanky Harbor Port Inn. The manager installed a 2-story money chute to deal with the missing large bills, dropped every half hour down to a small money counting room in the sub-basement. Pete was only 11 YO, but went up to the top of the chute to watch the drop. One afternoon, he came scurrying down, blurting out, “Dad, Dad, I just saw thing!” I said, “What thing.” He answered, “You know, the hand that comes out of the box on the Addams Family,” in the story, Play it Again, Charlie.
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Comments from Editorial Reviewers: “The drama here is in the nuts and bolts of ferreting out the mystery in some off-beat cases.” – Palmettoreview.com - “A highly entertaining mystery and crime book containing 20 short stories.” TBR- topbookreviewers.com - The story, and its placement, indicates right away that this isn’t your typical detective book… Palmettoreview.com
Comments from Amazon Reviews: “I found them to be the most unusual and unique cases, that you normally don’t hear about. Like an office building full of employees who keep getting sick, even after returning from recovering from the illness.” – Amazon review - “Many of the stories have a humorous side to them as well.” - Amazon review - “Jim is often accompanied by his family, primarily his techno-wiz son. I liked this angle, as it shows his family life as well as progresses the current case.” - Amazon review - “Each curious story I read before bed leaves me with a smile.” – Amazon review - “Many of Jim’s cases discussed were sort of off the wall, and it was in that aspect that I really found this book interesting.” – Amazon review
Comments from Friends (whom I’ve not asked to give us an Amazon review): “Should be a text book.” – Cathy. “A teaching book.” – Ann ”Should be a movie.” – Roy. “Something different at last.” – David, “What funny and odd detective stories” – Brenda. “Better than the book I’m reading now that’s a NYT best seller list.” – Johnny (thanks Johnny) and more… I do need you. Folks who don’t know us to give us a fair Amazon review after reading all 20 stories. In return, a free PDF of any book published by us emailed to you. - NEW FREE OFFER. Our newest book is coming out shortly, titled something like …beyond this point. If your interested in the above offer, we’ll include an offer to send this book as a PDF by email also.
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