Sponsored: Denise Hartman’s Nosy Neighbors
Looking for a new read for the holidays or to give as a gift? How about Nosy Neighbors, a new mystery from Denise Hartman?
Blanche Binkley is living the retired life in Florida and likes to keep things orderly. When a suspicious new neighbor slinks around the Seaside Flats condos, she starts snooping. No one’s going to mess up her corner of paradise. Neighborhood robberies are on the rise and she wonders if the new neighbor is linked, but when she learns more she begins to feel sorry for the skinny haunted girl in Condo 209. Then the condo homes association loses $40k and wants Blanche to find it before the president, Sal, gets out of the hospital. It get’s messy before it’s over — someone will be dead, someone else will be kidnapped and Blanche’s friend Al from second floor won’t be speaking to her.
A Taste from Chapter One:
Blanche pulled up short with her key in the door. Something was wrong. Blanche’s key
flipped loosely in her apartment door. She stared at the tiny brass knocker and peephole. It
didn’t feel right. It was like the door wasn’t locked. She knew she locked it. She always did
even when she trotted down to knock on a condo neighbor’s door.
She crept inside and looked around. Footprints in the freshly vacuumed cream carpet pattern weren’t hers. She’d vacuumed this morning. The sliding patio door was open a crack.
She knew she’d closed it after breakfast outside. Temp predictions for 90 made sure she popped the A/C on before she left.
“Burgled!” She said out loud when her eyes moved to the kitchen counter. Her last ATM withdrawal of cash was not on the counter where she left it. She’d taken the tip for Sammy, her hairdresser, and left the rest lying on the counter.
She reached for her weapon of choice and pushed 911 on her telephone.
“All operators are busy. Please be prepared to explain the nature of your emergency.”
Right. Blanche knew that meant that officers were busy too and weren’t going to be dispatched to her tiny burglary in the Seaside Flats. She dialed Alice the condo secretary and explained the situation.
“Oh yeah. Sarah in 201 has missed some cash and the Achmeds in 420 reported some silver figurines missing.”
“What? Why haven’t you sent out a warning or something to the residents?”
“We’re getting one organized, but Klaud had problems with his duplication-thingee.”
“You guys are incompetent.” Blanche drummed her fresh red nails on the end table by the red phone appreciating how they matched.
“What are you all worked up about? Would you have put your jewels in the bank or something?” Alice knew how to dish it back. They’d been on the condo board together for years.
“Maybe.” No one needed to know that Harry had never been the jewelry buying type. He wasn’t really the buying of anything type.
“You coulda left your door unlocked. Sure, you should be more careful,” Alice said.
“I never leave my door unlocked. Not even when I go to the laundry room.”
“Well, we’re all getting older. Maybe you forgot.”
“I did not forget. And who are you calling old?” Blanche heard Alice snort on the other end of the line. She knew Alice was older than her. They always exchanged good natured banter.
“Anyway, I thought someone in the condo should know. I’m driving over to the police station now to talk to them.”
“To tell the truth, they haven’t been much help.” Alice complained.
“We’ll see what I can do about that. I’m going to get to the bottom of this.” Nobody walked off with $200 from Blanche Binkley’s kitchen and nobody was getting away with thinking she was an absent minded old lady either.
She searched the rest of the apartment but found nothing more missing. A piece of the patio screened in porch was loose. She creased her brow. This was the fourth floor and it seemed unlikely that someone entered that way. She hadn’t noticed the loose screen before but couldn’t be sure either. It wasn’t something she paid attention to normally. Maybe age was a factor after all. Apparently the thief had been in a hurry since only the obvious money on the counter was gone. She had a couple necklaces in the bedroom that hadn’t been bothered. She’d go see what the police had to say.
Anyway, why waste a good fresh hair-do?
About the Author:
Denise Hartman has worked as a full-time journalist and as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers. Fiction pieces have appeared in several local and national magazines.She has been a graphic designer and video producer – including production staff of the first Christmas program broadcast in the Ukraine after the fall of communism. Denise is a member of Sisters in Crime, and a former local chapter president. She was an active member until moving to Spain in 2005. Denise has a passion for reading, books, travel and teapots, not necessarily in that order. You can learn more about Denise on Facebook, read her blog here, and follow her on Twitter @DeniseMHartman.
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