The Library That Whispered Murder, part 2

Good Morning!

How’s Everyone doing today? Welcome back to the next part of the new Croste Mystery. If you missed the beginning of our tale, you can read it Here.

If you’re curious about the previous Mysteries of A. Croste you can click the following links:

Double Croste

Croste Your Heart

Each story is a stand alone piece, so you don’t have to read the earlier tales to know what’s going on with this one. Enjoy folks, and have a great weekend! 🙂

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The Library That Whispered Murder (part two)

Demons, Arlo. I don’t like this one bit, not one bit. The last Demon we dealt with nearly killed us!

Just breathe, Alan. We’re better prepared for a demon this time, but it’s not going to get that far.

“Hey! You just going to zone out again, Croste?” Detective Berkowitz snapped his fingers at us. “What’s this about rituals? You’re saying this isn’t just some sicko?”

One of the other Detectives snorted a quick laugh. “Maybe it was a ghost or a wizard what killed him, hey Berkowitz?”

We ignored the mocking stares and snickers. If any one of them had seen the things we’ve seen, it’s guaranteed they’d still be in the Levington Institution. Either that or they’d have killed themselves. We didn’t wish that kind of awareness on any of them.

“Have you found the gun or knife?” We asked as we stepped back to the desk. We sat in the chair and began checking through the drawers.

“Nothing. The killer must have taken them with him.”

“Please tell me you checked for fingerprints on the railing where the rope was tied and on the door? When I was a Homicide Detective, that was still part of the job.” In the front of the top drawer, plain as day, sat a small dark glass vial. “I’ll lay you ten to five I found your poison.”

A Detective came forward and tucked the small jar into an evidence envelope. He placed it with the glass and bottle on the desk.

Arlo, we need the Police on our side. Try being a little nicer to them.

Not a chance, Alan. Every chance to ridicule us, they take. And I’m tired of it. You be friendly with them when you’re driving, for now I’m in charge. Unless you want to throw-up all over the crime scene and pass out? Didn’t think so.

Berkowitz scraped the wad of chewing tobacco from his lip and tossed the cup into the waste bin beside the desk. “Prints are on their way to the lab. And we’ve got suspects down at the Station. The Captain may have wanted you here, but we just don’t need you, Croste. You’re a charlatan, a washed up old Cop. Why don’t you tell us why you spent all that time in the hospital?” Berkowitz nodded his head to the other Detectives, motioning towards the door. “Go back home and have another drink, Croste.”

We watched the officers leave the room, there was nothing to say.

Let it go, Arlo. They’re not worth it, besides, if you’re right we’ve got a job to do. Someone wants to raise a Demon and we can’t let that happen. Get out the Lens, consult the Book, and let’s go to work.

Alright, Alan, I have to check the body. You might want to focus on something else.

We took out the Lens and leaned closer to the corpse. There was nothing, no trace of residual energy. This is strange, Alan. There should be an aura surrounding the body. What’s going on here? We moved across the library and up to the second level to check the rope that suspended the body. Again, nothing special, the knot should have been very specific for the type of ritual this scene displayed.

“Alan, this is a set up. The murderer wants us to think this is a supernatural killing.”

Why would someone do that, Arlo?

I don’t know, but the Police think it’s got ties to the occult or we wouldn’t have been called. If it’s not a summoning ritual, Alan, it’s your turn.

The Book rustled in our pocket again. I took it out and opened the blank pages. The ink spread across the yellowed paper forming words. It said: He’s coming…

“Who? Who’s coming?”

The ink reformed in a well penned script: HE IS COMING.

We tucked the book away; it was no help at the moment. We descended to the main floor and went back to the desk. I put the Lens back in our coat and handed the reins over to Alan. We looked over the polished surface. It held all the usual things; a lamp, a small clock, a gold pen set in its stand, and a telephone.

We grabbed the phone and clicked the switchhook a few times, then waited. The operator answered; a sweet female voice.

“Good morning, Doll, this is Alan Croste, Private Detective. Can you do me a favor? I need to know what the last number this phone was connected to? Can you do that for me, sweetheart?”

We knew Harold Huxley was the type of guy to have a private switch board operator, and he had the bankroll to make it so.

“Of course, Mr. Croste, we keep record of every call Mr. Huxley makes and receives. Last night at 9:34pm he connected to Mr. Roger Mayer. The call lasted twenty-one minutes.”

“Thank you, Doll. You’re a peach.” We hung the phone up.

Then we saw it, the crumpled pages in the waste bin beneath Berkowitz’s spit cup. We reached in and pulled them out, smoothing the pages. Most of them were blank, but the very middle sheet in the stack had three words in Huxley’s hand. We could smell the almond trace of cyanide still holding to the paper, undoubtedly handled by the same person who added the poison to the brandy.

Midnight. 3-Mil. Jones

We dug through the desk drawers and tucked the pages into an envelope before stashing it in our coat.

Arlo, we’re going to Movie Land. I think it’s time to pay Mr. Mayer a visit.

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Thanks for reading! Tune in next Tuesday for the next part of the mystery!

Feel free to comment, I’d love to hear from you.

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10 thoughts on “The Library That Whispered Murder, part 2

  1. I was just thinking about the dual nature of the text of these stories. Even the description of action inside the story is told through the lenses of the Croste boys, and how it switches back and forth between I and We. So we really are dependent upon their telling us the truth based around the troupe of the Dashiell Hammett-like commentary. They better be reliable narrators!

    May I offer a guess for the killer? The barking dog from the HGM logo! There’s something fishy about that dog… Called it first.

    • A very wise prediction, hehe. 🙂
      The narrative is certainly fun to write! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I can say in all honesty that the Croste Boys are straight shooters, I don’t picture them the type to lie to us. Thanks for reading long, T!

      (Thanks for the word correction. Quick edit will fix that.)

  2. NIce twist with the body being a set-up. Is someone out to get the Crostes? Hmmm. The book is trying to warn them about someone. Mention of the Institution or Hospital again…mental institution? That raises some thoughts. The mystery grows, which clues are important to solve this? Well done, Joe. Love Alan and Arlo, but I’d be happy to help Arlo kick Berkowitz’a butt!

    • Only time will tell where the mystery leads. The clues are piling up around Huxley’s death and Croste still has suspects and witnesses to talk to. Not to mention Mr. Mayer…
      And what is with all the talk about the Institution Croste spent time in?
      Thanks for reading along! 🙂

  3. Ah, I’m afraid I found a serious problem here. There’s a reason why I don’t watch TV (well, more than one) — why I wait for the series to be over and then watch the whole thing in one sitting: This story is too fun for my level of patience. Now I have to WAIT to read more? Lookin’ forward to it, Joe. You continue to please. Nice job!

  4. Er… I didn’t mean one sitting. I meant without having to wait, if that makes sense. Anyway, I like the concept behind the main “ahem” character(s) and am enjoying this one. Is it Tuesday yet? 🙂

    • The Croste Boys got their start from a flash fiction, the challenge gave me dual personality occult detective. Sp Alan and Arlo were born. This is their third story so far and I have many more planned.
      Thanks for reading along, Bob!

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