Friday, January 19, 2018


Rubato, an Italian word, means to intentionally rob time.

It may be that I appear to be self promoting my new book by rambling about it here but I'm learning so many amazing things by writing this fictional mystery. It was my intention to write about the world of music, most especially piano teaching, because that is my day job. 

It was also intentional that I added musical terms and used them in a different context, namely the world of a homicide detective. What wasn't so intentional was the necessary study of motivation and response. To my surprise as I thought about the victim and how she came to be murdered by the hand of someone else, a process emerged. I was peeling away the layers of impulse and action. My victim made decisions not necessarily based on right or wrong but on what should be right. Her actions left the strict tempo of law and order and applied 'rubato' to actions that had devastating effects. She robbed justice just like a pianist robs a measure of it's strict beat by holding on to certain notes intentionally longer than prescribed. I found myself assessing my own attitudes about right and wrong. Just yesterday I was parking in front of my son's house in the wee hours of the morning. The little side street was lined with cars, that's what happens when a neighborhood builds apartments without parking accommodations. I parked in front of a fire hydrant, knowing it was wrong but expediency pushed me forward, after all, I wasn't going to be there long. When I saw the parking ticket on my windshield I felt mad. Then, I felt the justice of that ticket. 
So, long story short, I'm learning unintentional lessons from writing this book. I invite you to read some free chapters below. 

And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel, Rubato. It is the story of a piano teacher found dead and a valuable Liszt autograph manuscript gone missing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Writing Wednesday- Rubato Chapter 12

Reggie Watts and Stevie Dangerfield are homicide detectives called in to investigate in the suspicious death of a piano teacher.

Rubato- Chapter 12

“Liszt was a man of many faces or, to put it another way, a man with many masks, a man whose ability to present a facade to the world many of his contemporaries found bewildering and even annoying.”
                         Franz Liszt: Musician, Celebrity, Superstar
                            Oliver Hilmes

   Writing was one way Judith kept peace in her mind and heart. When life pressed her to react she remembered the world she was creating in her book. While writing she was open, engaged and free from the expectations of others. The book was close to being done and maybe it would be better if someone else kept it safe.

    The precinct was quieter on Friday afternoon. Many detectives were finishing their paperwork and looking forward to the weekend. The olive green walls looked particularly somber against the contrasting steel grays of the desks. Stevie hated the color palette of the homicide department. When she first started working there she felt she might die from the lack of ambience but the stress of police work mirrored the starkness of the environment and it felt congruent. 
   Stevie settled Angelika into a small room with the sketch artist who happened to still be there. The artist was solicitous and very good at making a difficult situation easier. A great surge of love for her mother tightened her chest and she patted her gently on the back before she left to check in at her own desk.
    As she walked into the office she got heckled by a few detectives for the break-in at her home.
  “Dangerfield! Do you need a security team to check your house?”
   The heckling was good natured but she stayed serious as she looked for Jay, the computer expert. He was a short, balding man everyone teased but also the man they all relied on when information was needed. She pulled up a chair alongside his desk.
  “What can you tell us about Judith Whitesides’ banking records?”
  “I was lucky to get access so quickly. Her accounts have been frozen. She had three accounts. A business account where she deposited her paychecks from the university and from her private students, a savings account and a checking account which has seen a lot of activity.”
  “What do you mean?” Stevie asked with more interest.
   “The checking account has deposits of $25,000 every month since August.”
    “Where do they come from?”
   “A bank in Budapest wired the money. The originator of the wire is a Professor Roland Kemény.”
   “Well, that’s interesting. Why was he paying her money?” Stevie didn’t expect Jay to answer but the wheels in her mind were turning.
   “Thank-you. Let me know if you dig up anything else. Oh, and Jay? Did the crime team find sleeping pills at the murder scene?”
    Jay typed into the computer. “Yes, the log says they found a half filled bottle of  Silenor.” He looked up at her puzzled face. “It’s chemical name is doxepine and it is prescribed mainly to help people stay asleep.”
 “Thank-you. I’ll look into that.” Stevie headed over to the crime lab where she was hoping for more information on the fingerprints found at the Whitesides’ house.
   She saw Reggie there already talking to two techs. She listened in on their report.
   “There were very few fingerprints found at the break-in today, which is expected since the place was recently swept by the crime team. Whoever broke in there used gloves and took some effort to clean up any trails they left behind. However, earlier at the murder scene, there were many prints which we still can’t identify.”
   Reggie asked, “Did you pick up Horvak’s prints?”
   “Yes, they were found after the burglary, in the living room, kitchen, music room, downstairs bathroom, and in the upstairs bedroom.”
   Stevie looked at Reggie. “It is very likely that he wandered around in every room before the police arrived.”

 They found Angelika waiting in the hall with the sketch of the man who broke into her house. She shuddered as she presented it to Stevie.
  “Is he likely to return?”
  Stevie took the picture and checked to see if he looked familiar. He seemed thin, with dark hair and a youngish appearance. No one came to mind. She handed it to Reggie.
  “Thanks, Mom. I don’t think he will come back since he didn’t find what he was looking for. I know this ordeal has worn you out. Why don’t we go home. It’s Friday and the detectives are all hoping they don’t have to work tomorrow.”
   Since they came in Reggie’s car they headed out to the parking lot. Angelika settled into the back seat unable to completely relax. She listened to Reggie and Stevie bantering in the front. She was tired but a restless energy vibrated through her veins. Beyond the bright lights of the parking garage, day was turning into night. They waited to turn onto the main street from the garage when suddenly a tall man walked out in front of them. 
   “That’s him!” Angelika screamed.
    Reggie put the car into park and jumped out. He ran down along the sidewalk where the man was walking but he was gone from sight. Stevie made her way on the other side of the street, visually combing all the entrances to buildings and side streets. After a few minutes they both came back to a stricken Angelika, who cowered in the back seat.
  Stevie got in and reached for her hand. “I think he was loitering around the precinct, waiting for who knows what.  He is obviously still after the autograph manuscript, which is now safely locked away. Let’s go home.”
  “We now know that your sketch is correct and don’t you worry, we will find him.” Reggie said.

  After Reggie left Stevie and her mother in West Seattle he turned  onto Highway 99 and started back toward police headquarters. He wanted to look at the camera video around the building where they saw the intruder. He should call and tell Stevie what he was doing but he knew she needed time with her mother. 
   When he arrived the office looked dark. There were only a few desk lights on and it was his lucky day to see that Jay was still at work.
   “Hey, Jay! I know it is late but can you bring up video surveillance around the inside the parking garage, close to the exit? We saw the suspect lurking around the building. He got away from us, unfortunately.”
   Joe laughed. “Lost your man, huh? Okay, what time should I search for?”
  “Start at about 5:00 o’clock and let it run. How many cameras are there in the garage?”
   “We have at least ten set at different angles. I’ll bring them all up on different screens.”
   Heads together, Reggie and Jay watched as people came, got into their cars and left. Reggie saw his car with Stevie in the front and Angelika in the back. They drove towards the exit, onto the main street. 
  “There! Stop the camera and back it up. Okay that’s our man, right there. What is he doing?”
   “Looks like he is watching for you to come out.” Jay said confidently. 
   “Do we have a camera on the street to see what he does right after?”
   “We do. Let’s see. There he is walking towards that bar down the street .”
   “Stop!” Reggie caught his breath. “Oh my gosh. Do you see that woman he is talking to? That is Judith Whitesides’ housekeeper. Well, I’ll be.” He paced away from the desk and returned. “There is our connection between the intruder in Stevie’s house and the Whitesides’ murder. We need to pick these two up.”
    “Let me see if I can get facial recognition to bring up a name. It is a long shot, but what the heck?”
    Reggie pulled out some paper on the desk and  made a list of suspects. He jotted down the facts they had on each person. There was Horak, the husband, Tony Chavez, a piano student, the housekeeper, and this professor named Roland Kemény. In the middle he made a circle and wrote ‘The Franz Liszt autograph manuscript’. It all circled around this piece of music. 
    “Ah, Reg?” Jay looked around to find Reggie. “Her name is Yolanda Valenta and she is wanted by Interpol for trafficking in pharmaceutical drugs.” Jay smiled smugly. “How could you live without me?” 
   “Where is she from?”
   “Her country of origin is Hungary.”
   Reggie slammed his fist on the desk. “There it is. This all started in Eastern Europe. Now we have to find a connection between Yolanda Valenta and Roland Kemény.”
    “Who is Roland Kemény?”
    “He is a professor who is very anxious to get his hands on an original piece of music by Franz Liszt.”
     “Who?” Jay asked.
     “A Hungarian composer living in the 1800’s.”
    Jay shrugged his shoulders. “Okay, must be famous if you would kill someone to get his music. I don’t see anything else for you.” Jay switched off his computer and gathered his belongings. “I’m getting out of here. I am looking forward to this weekend football game. Are you going to the game or watching somewhere”
   “Maybe, could you just do one more thing for me? Could you print a picture from the camera shot of this Yolanda woman and the guy she’s with?”
   Jay rose from his chair. “Already did it, Bro. Pick it up over there on the printer. See you Monday!”

  Reggie took his cell phone out of his pocket and took a picture of the two slightly fuzzy people. He quickly made a text file of the surveillance pictures and sent them as a bolo alert to other officers in Seattle. Maybe, just maybe, she would be spotted tonight or tomorrow along with her male companion.

                                      Chapter 13

Writing Wednesday- Chapter 13

Reggie Watts and Stevie Dangerfield are homicide detectives called in to investigate in the suspicious death of a piano teacher.

Franz Liszt

Rubato- Chapter 13

“As for famous men who were not artists, I am beginning to be tired of them. Those poor little scoundrels who are called great men fill me with nothing but overwhelming horror.”
Franz Liszt

  Ever since she found the autograph manuscript, nothing seemed safe. She chose not to leave it with the Liszt Museum, her colleagues in Prague were untrustworthy, and more importantly, she didn’t want Dominik to know anything about it.

   Stevie lay back on her bed staring at the closet that once held the Liszt music fragment. It was safely under police protection now. What sinister relationships caused this piece of paper to be valued over the life of a talented musician? She listened to her mother playing the piano downstairs. That was one of many things she shared with her mother. When life was inexplicable they poured out their confusions onto the piano. The Hungarian Rhapsody No.8 came lilting up the stairs. What would Liszt think about the hullabaloo surrounding his written music? Maybe he would be entertained and it would boost his rather large ego. 
    She felt the need to go down and talk to her mother. When Reggie dropped them off at home they were bone tired and mentally too stimulated to converse. Now she needed to ask her mother some questions about the case and gather more information. She padded down the stairs quietly and stopped in the doorframe of the music room. She loved watching her mother play. There was a peace that enveloped her and made her look years younger.
   Angelika looked up. “Feeling better, dear?”
   “Yes. Can we talk?” Stevie moved to the sofa and grabbed a blanket and pillow. She wrapped the teal colored, knitted afghan around her and settled the pillow behind her back. Her mother joined her, pulling some of Stevie’s blanket over her feet. 
  “How did your conference go in London?” Stevie enjoyed hearing her mother describe the pianists she met.
  “It was fine. It got a little tiresome towards the end and I decided to come home early.” Angelika smiled at Stevie. “Do you miss the music world?”
  “Not at all. I don’t miss turning my hard work into anxiety, coupled with heart wrenching disappointment when I can’t reach perfection. Really, mom, I am happy applying my mind to solving homicide cases.”
   “But, murder and mayhem must bring you equal anxiety as you consider the actions people take.” 
    Stevie grimaced at the tone of her mother’s questions. 
   “Ok, Stephanie, I will hold my tongue.”
   “Mom, do you remember that controversy in London when an autograph manuscript of Beethoven’s was contested at Sotheby’s auction house?”
  “Yes, I do. Sotheby’s was actioning off twenty-three hand written measures of a string quartet claimed to have been recently discovered. It was expected to sell for $248 thousand dollars.”
  “So, who contested the sale?”
   Angelika pulled her legs up under her chin. “A music professor from Manchester England claimed that it couldn’t be an original because the double bars and natural signs looked unlike other music Beethoven had written.”
   “So how did that dispute end?” 
   Angelika sighed. “It was pulled from the auction. But earlier Sotheby’s sold a 232 page manuscript of a Gustave Mahler’s symphony for 5.6 million. Whoever is after this Liszt piece expects to make a profit from selling it, I’m sure.”
  Stevie remembered the music professor at the university who her mother knew as a friend. “So do you think your friend Sydney could help us?” 
  “Sydney Cabine could tell us if there was talk of the manuscript in the music world through her connections. She could tell us what she knows of Judith Whitesides’ interest in Franz Liszt.”
  Stevie took her mother’s hand. “Could you help me make contact with her next week?”
  “Even better, you can join us for lunch today. We have a standing luncheon date once a month and I forgot to cancel it when I went to London.”
   “You are beyond wonderful! Thank-you for your help and I’m so sorry for the scare you had yesterday.”
  “You can reward me by playing some duets with me. C’mon, I brought back a new volume of baroque duets.”
      They both laughed and headed for the piano.

  Later Saturday morning Reggie called Stevie. She was still in pajamas tucked into bed, again, reviewing the murder case. 
  “Good morning!” Stevie answered happily.
  “Are you ready for some interesting updates?”
  Stevie sat up and grabbed a pencil and notepad. “Sure. Whatcha got”
  “I’m on the West Seattle bridge heading your way. Can you be ready in ten minutes?”
  “Ah, okay. I’ll meet you in front. I don’t want to disturb my mother.”
  “See you soon.”
   Stevie pushed the covers off the bed and looked around for her work pants. A shower would be nice but, not likely to happen. And what about her lunch date with Sydney and her mother? Maybe Reggie could join them. Hurriedly she finished getting dressed, ran a brush through her hair, and grabbed her backpack. She could see Reggie out the bedroom window.

  The car door swung open and she slid inside. Reggie handed her a plastic cup of chamomile tea and a breakfast biscuit. 
  “Thank-you! You know how to make my day.”
   “We have an interrogation with a very angry woman.”
   "The housekeeper." Reggie said.
   "How did you end up with her in police custody?”
   Reggie smile smugly. He liked having more information than Stevie. “Well, here is how it went down. After dropping you off I had a hunch and went back to the station to look at surveillance footage of the parking garage from yesterday afternoon. There I was scrolling through when I saw the guy who broke into your house. I watched him walk down the street past the precinct and there on the sidewalk I saw him greet Judith Whitesides’ housekeeper.” He smiled with satisfaction. 
  “Well, what do you know. Maybe she murdered Judith and he was an accomplice?”
  “Her name is Yolanda Valenta, originally from Hungary.”
  “Eastern European? This case is getting more and more interesting.”

   They checked in at the station and headed for interrogation. They stopped to observe Yolanda from an adjoining room, uncomfortably, fidgeting with her hair. She looked overly colorful in contrast to the drab green room. It had a table, three chairs and a one way mirror. 
  “So do you want to take the lead?” Reggie asked. 
  “No, you have more of the current information. I will chime in if I have questions.”
   They walked in confidently. Yolanda rose up and immediately started yelling. “You can’t arrest me for being on the street. I demand that you let me go.”
   Reggie sighed and sat down exactly across from Yolanda. Stevie stood, leaning upright against the wall behind her. 
   “Ms. Valenta, what is your connection to Judith Whitesides?”
    Yolanda looked suddenly less confident. “I don’t know who you are talking about.”
   “You don’t?” Reggie’s tone was mocking. “But do you remember my partner and I meeting you in front of Judith Whitesides’ home after her murder?” There was an uncomfortable pause while Reggie waited for her to answer. She stayed mute. “You told us you worked for Judith as her housekeeper. Why were you so anxious to get access to her home?”
    “I told you. I wanted my housecleaning supplies. Mr. Horak said I could get them.” 
  “How long have you known Dominik Horak?”
  “I met him for the first time when he arrived on the island.”
   “And he trusted you enough to send you over to his home, which was a crime scene, and take those things away.”
   “Yes, I broke no laws doing that.”
   “Who is the man you spoke to in front of the bar last night?”
   “What? Ah, I don’t know. What man?”
    Reggie passed the picture of Yolanda talking to the thief, printed from the surveillance footage. “Who is this man?”
   Yolanda studied the picture. She looked up very slowly. “I don’t know. Can I go now?
   “No, Ms. Valenta, you cannot go. In fact we are going to book you for the murder of Judith Whitesides.”
   “What?” Yolanda stood up and moved toward the door. “I did not kill Judith. I was her friend. I do not know who this man is and I want to talk to a lawyer.”
   “Ms. Valenta, this man,” he showed her the picture again, “broke into my police partner’s home yesterday morning. Are you working together?”
   “Working together doing what?” 
   “Perhaps the two of you killed Judith for the music manuscript she was hiding and perhaps you hoped to sell it to the highest bidder?”
   Yolanda looked outraged. “I am not saying any more. Get me a lawyer.”
  Stevie came around and settled her back into her seat. She sat down beside her, changing the tempo of the interrogation. “Do you enjoy classical music?”
  “Do you mean did I like to hear Judith play the piano? Yes.”
   “Who is your favorite composer?”
   “I don’t know, ah, Beethoven or Mozart maybe.”
    Stevie leaned closer onto the table and smiled. “It is your right to have representation. But, this could go better for you if you agree to cooperate.” Stevie took a long breath. “Maybe you didn’t kill Judith, but this man did.” Stevie showed the picture to her again. “Who is this man?”
   Yolanda sat silent. Reggie and Stevie looked at each other both determined to press her further. Two minutes passed. 
   Yolanda said very quietly, “He is Judith’s gardener. And his name is  Adrián Szarka. Now, get me my lawyer!” She shouted with vehemence. 
  Stevie countered Yolanda’s outburst with her own measured voice. “Ms. Valenta, could this intrigue have started in Hungary? Did you know Adrián Szarka there?”
   “I am saying nothing more.”
    Stevie pressed one more time. “All of this over a silly piece of music? Really? If he killed Judith then you will be tried as his accomplice. Is that what you want?”
    Yolanda looked down. She was visibly shaken. “There is someone else in this picture. I will not say anymore.”

More on Writing Wednesdays

Monday, January 15, 2018

Remembering Me

   I remember a lighter, less burdened person

   How many of us choose a word to carry us through the new year that invites physical change? Does that word invite us to remember previous years of feeling better, more fit, and healthy?

    My word Umkehr, a German noun, certainly does. It means to come back, to change one's ways. To return to a previously healthier time is the motivation for doing my first Whole30 month. If it is a fad, I probably will be the last one to join. The rebel in me likes to wait and see how it works for others first. It was really my One Little Word that goaded me into trying this eating regimen. Thirty days of eating whole, unprocessed food, no products with added sugar, no grains, pasta or legumes, and no dairy. It was the bread, cheese, and chocolate that I missed the most. There were temptations and trials, and to be totally honest, I'm only half way through the month. But, I see positive change and for that I am grateful. 
    This isn't my first diet rodeo. Change to my way of eating lasts a while and then I'm back to stopping in at bakeries, not just once in a while, but weekly. I tell myself that I deserve the treat of unfettered indulgence. However, the flip side of feeling bloated and overfull is a consequence I can't seem to shake and I'm pretty sure I don't deserve it. So there you have it. I need Umkehr, with all it's imperfect attempts and mindful maneuverings. 

   January is destined to become a memorable month. Click here to see some other Umkehr challenges in the future.

And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel, Rubato. It is the story of a piano teacher found dead and a valuable Liszt autograph manuscript gone missing.

Friday, January 12, 2018


Ta-Da! I've figured out how to simplify my life.

  1. Exercise less
  2. Eat less
  3. Clean my house less often
  4. Shower once a week
  5. Drop some piano students
  6. Practice the piano only when preparing for an occasion
  7. Stop blogging
  8. Visit my grandkids less often
  9. Wear the same clothes three days in a row
  10. Never go into my art studio
  11. Stop visiting friends
  12. Take all the unread books back to the library

        There you have it. A dozen ways to make my life simpler. 

If you want to add some fun to your life read my cosy mystery and find out how the piano teacher got mixed up in an international intrigue.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Writing Wednesday- Rubato Chapter 11

Reggie Watts and Stevie Dangerfield are homicide detectives called in to investigate in the suspicious death of a piano teacher.

Rubato- Chapter 11

“Mournful and yet grand is the destiny of the artist.”
 Franz Liszt

Judith searched in the garage for the small closet safe she purchased earlier. It wasn’t on the well organized shelves or stacked against the wall. Was it better to advertise your valuables by locking them up or leaving them among ordinary, everyday things on a shelf?

     Angelika Hanson looked like a weary traveler standing at her door. She unlocked her West Seattle home and turned to wave to the taxi. Her return was earlier than expected, and she was glad to get back. London was cold and rainy, which was familiar weather, but yet it seemed lacking in charm this time. The master classes went well and she made some connections to other professors. A nice hot bath and some relaxation was her most fervent desire. It was afternoon and Stevie would be at work.
      Dragging the luggage through the front door, she surveyed the front rooms. Something was not right. Cushions were haphazardly pushed into the couch, the dining room table had books thrown across the surface, and as she turned to the music room she gasped. Music books littered the floor. She tentatively walked towards the piano. The bookshelves were almost empty and all the contents were piled in front of them. She stooped to pick up the large Beethoven Sonata book and heard a noise upstairs. Without thinking she walked through the kitchen to the bottom of the stairs and glanced up. A tall, dark-haired man stood at the top. In a flash he came running down the stairs and pushed her aside, knocking her to the ground. She cried out. He ran out the back door before she realized what was happening. Angelika tried to get up but found she needed a chair to assist her. Slowly she made her way to the front hallway to get her phone out of her purse. She dialed 911.
   “How can we help you?” 
   Her voice was mute suddenly and she cleared her throat. “I have been robbed and the intruder has just run out my door. I need help.” The words stopped coming and turned to tears instead. “He pushed me down and I’m hurt”. 
   “Hang on Ma’m. Can you tell me your address?”
    In confusion Angelika tried to remember the numbers. 
   “No worries, I’ll stay with you. Where are you hurt?”
   “I’ve fallen down and cut myself on broken glass. My daughter is Detective Dangerfield in the Seattle Police Department. Could you find her?” 
    “Certainly. Stay on the line with me.”

      After the robbery investigation Stevie and Reg stopped in the little island downtown to have something to eat. A Mexican restaurant across from the theater promised some street tacos. They both loved tacos and often stopped on city corners where renovated buses sold good Mexican food. A small table in the back, painted bright yellow, gave them a view of the main highway through town. People were walking by even though the drizzle of rain looked uninviting. Stevie felt the bright red and yellow curtains lift her mood and the smell of spicy salsa made her mouth water.
    When their food arrived, the small folded flour tortillas with green guacamole and a sprinkle of onions looked just as she hoped. Creamy refried beans merged with rice and the whole plate made Stevie smile. Together they polished off all the food rather quickly.
  Stevie’s phone buzzed and she saw it was the precinct. 
“Dangerfield.” She said with the slightest spot of beans clinging to her lip.
“Detective, we thought you should know your mother’s home was burglarized. She wanted us to contact you.”
 “My mother? My mother is in England.” Reggie heard the concern in Stevie’s voice.
 “She said she was your mother.”
  Stevie thought back to her travel itinerary. She wasn’t due until next week. “Thank-you very much. We will be leaving here right, away.” She turned off her phone and looked at Reggie. “My house was burglarized. And, my mother came home early in time to interrupt the thief.”
  “What? Is she hurt?” Reggie said. Stevie shrugged her shoulders. 
   “This is no coincidence.”
    She phoned her mother next but the call when to message immediately. “Mom, it’s Stevie. I am on my way home.”
    They cleaned up lunch and quickly left the restaurant. When they got into the car Reggie reached into the glove compartment and grabbed the light, placed it on top of the car, and turned on the siren. They sped out of town towards the ferry dock. Above the wail Stevie asked if he thought it was the same burglar as the one who hit Dominik’s house. 
  “If it is, then he was aware of our investigation and he knew you would be going to the island this morning. Are the music documents in a safe place?”
  “I think so. Look, there’s a boat just docking.” Stevie pointed at the ferry landing. Inwardly she prayed that her mother was fine and that the autograph manuscript was still there.

     As Reggie and Stevie approached her house she saw a police car parked in front. Most people parked their cars on the street in West Seattle but Stevie was lucky enough to have a garage in the back alley. She gave Reggie directions how to drive behind the house. As Stevie got out of the car she looked around the yard and back to the alley. She had a feeling they were being watched. The back door, with beautiful beveled glass, was missing a pane and someone had placed a piece of plywood inside. There were still glass pieces in the entry way. 
  “Mom?” Stevie called as she came through to the front. “Mom. Are you alright?” 
   Her mom was sitting on the music room floor sorting through music scores. She looked up and smiled sheepishly, “I told you being a policewoman was too dangerous.”
  Stevie sat down and embraced her. “I’m sorry this happened to you. Can I get you anything?”
  “No, the policeman has been very kind. Do you know what this is all about?”
  “Maybe. It is a long story and I do want to tell you about it because you may be able to give us some information. Let me help Reggie finish with the policeman.”

  Stevie broke away and slowly went upstairs. As she entered her room she saw that the intruder had been there. Her desk under the bay window was strewn with the papers from her drawers. The bed was covered with the contents of her closet. In the closet she carefully climbed over her shoes to reach inside to the hidden wall. Slowly she rotated the thin wood and it opened to reveal a cavity big enough to put papers and books. Judith’s documents were undisturbed. She gave a sigh of relief and sat still on her floor. Her eyes closed to center her thoughts. Someone knew she was investigating this murder and found out where she lived. They wanted this fragment of music very badly. Now she had inadvertently put her mother in danger. The documents would have to go to the police station today. She gathered Judith’s papers, clutching them to her chest and walked back down the stairs.

  After picking up the mess in every room, Reggie, Stevie, and Angelika sat around the dining room table. It was time to explain in detail about Judith and her autograph manuscript. Angelika, being a music professor, would understand the motives of those desperate to acquire and perhaps sell it. She took the Liszt fragment out of a folder and moved it across the table towards Angelika. 
   “This seems to be the wanted treasure. Do you know anything about the original Hungarian Rhapsody No. 8?”
   “The No.8? Hmm..very virtuosic but I have played it in the past. Quite beautiful.” She hummed the melody as she looked at the ink impressions of black and white. “His notation is beautiful, isn’t it. Liszt was an eccentric composer and his music demanding. The Rhapsodies are his homage to the gypsy influence in his culture.  The trills in this piece sound somewhat like a Hungarian folk instrument.” Angelika studied the music as if she could hear it in her head. “I don’t know about the whereabouts of his original manuscripts. I assume the Hungarians would have them in a museum. Have you talked to Sidney at the university? She likes to think of herself as somewhat of a Liszt expert. Did you say that Ms. Whitesides taught in the music department at the university?” 
  “Yes, she did.” 
   “I think I have met her. I remember gossip about a professor coming from a position in Eastern Europe. Where did she get this manuscript?” Angelika asked.
     “We don’t know for sure but likely in Budapest or Prague where she taught.”
      “Why is it in her possession? Wouldn’t it be placed with a museum?”
     “Good questions, Mom. What was your friend Sydney’s last name?”
      “Cabine. I can help you get in touch with her.”
     Stevie mentally thought through who they still needed to interview. The university was a place to ask questions. 
  Reggie watched Angelika and noticed the resemblance to her daughter. Her anxiety was abating and he could see strength and fortitude in her face. He asked if she thought she could remember enough about the face and appearance of the thief to sit with a sketch artist and create a likeness. Angelika thought she could.
   “Can you go with us to the police station now, before your memory gets hazy?” Stevie asked encouragingly. “I need to take Judith’s documents  to the police station and have them locked up. I should have done so earlier but I wanted to take my time studying on my own. 
    “Yes, I’ll go and do my best to remember his face. It all happened so quickly. But, can you both help me with a few more things? I want to come home to a secure house.” 

   They put things back the best they could and together made their way to the car out back.

                More chapters on Writing Wednesdays

Monday, January 8, 2018

Inviting Back and Letting Go

"Umkehr ist der schnellste Weg voran."
C.S Lewis

My translation; Coming back or returning is the fastest way forward.

Each month I will be choosing a new way to invite my word of 2018 into my life. This January I wish to invite back a practice I did last January. My diet needs a reset so I'm letting go of sugar, bread, and dairy. Today is day eight and I must say yesterday and this morning have been the hardest. I felt light headed and lacking energy and I can't help thinking it may be my body letting go of the hold sugar has on my physical and mental well being.
The foods I am eating are whole, unprocessed, and plentiful, so I'm not hungry.
Last year I found after two weeks I didn't want sweets. As in many good things I invite into my life, time dulls the positive consequences and I need Umkehr. 

Click here to see a table of contents of this year's process.

And, I thank-you for reading some of my mystery novel. It is the story of a piano teacher found dead and a valuable Liszt autograph manuscript gone missing.
Click here for chapters