The sixth story in the Carson Reno Mystery Series
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Carson Reno Mystery Series
In 1962 the quiet, and seemingly innocent, activities at the Humboldt Motel in this small West Tennessee town went unnoticed and unchallenged. Besides, a little booze, a little gambling and maybe an occasional ‘lady of the evening’ never hurt anyone, right?
Then one fall night after a football game, things began to come apart. It seemed that everything was not how it should be, or at least, how it appeared.
Unfaithful housewives, a football coach fixing game scores, a crooked private detective and eventually a murder, would bring exposure to ‘SUnset 4’. And that was something its operators didn’t want.
Carson isn’t involved in the investigation, but it seems everyone thinks he is. Protecting a friend, he tries hard to ignore things that are simply not right. Finally, he follows instinct and tackles the innocent and the guilty in
To everyone’s knowledge and observation Sandra Kelly had the perfect life and family. After a failed first marriage to her high school sweetheart, she had met and married David Kelly, an Executive Vice President at Wayne Knitting. Together they had two children, David Jr., 17 and Brenda, 15. Both were excellent students and very active in Humboldt High School extra-curricular programs. David Jr. was the star football quarterback and Brenda was a cheerleader - both always recognized as ‘Most Likely to Succeed’ in their classes.
Sandra was a Vice President of People’s Bank, and she and David’s social circle was the rich and elite of Humboldt. Their main street home was recognized as one of the most beautiful in town, and an invitation to one of their many parties was an absolute necessity for one’s social standing.
Everything was perfect – or so it seemed.
During football season, Friday’s activities were already planned. For home games, David and Sandra were always first to their reserved seats and normally the loudest as they cheered David Jr. and the Humboldt Rams to victory. After the game football parties at the Kelly home were always open for the players, band members and cheerleaders to stop by and share in the celebration. Afterwards, the adults had their own party – often lasting into the early hours of Saturday mornings.
This Friday started and ended like most others. David Jr. and the Humboldt Rams had beaten the highly ranked Milan Bulldogs. The celebrations were perhaps a little louder and the participation more exciting, but it finally ended with the last partygoer leaving the Kelly residence shortly after 2 AM.
As it sometimes happened on late party nights, Sandra had retired early. This allowed the men to relive the evening and drink without worrying about their manners or speech. David would always bunk in the guesthouse, leaving Sandra to sleep without being disturbed. The kids had made it home at midnight, meeting their curfew. That is the way this Friday ended.
Saturday mornings were reserved for Sandra’s special breakfast. She would wake early and prepare her famous blueberry pancakes, sausage, biscuits and gravy for everyone. It was a family ritual.
At 10 AM David wandered into the kitchen looking for some relief with a cup of Sandra’s coffee and an early biscuit before David Jr. and Brenda got them all. The kitchen was empty. No coffee, no pancakes, no biscuits and NO SANDRA.
Thinking she had slept in, he made coffee, grabbed an extra cup for Sandra and headed up the stairs to their bedroom. This would give him an opportunity to tease her about oversleeping.
The bedroom was empty. It wasn’t just empty, but evidently the bed had not been slept in the night before! Nervously David searched the house – spare bedrooms, the kids’ rooms, the den, the living room – everywhere. Sandra wasn’t there – she wasn’t in the house.
In the garage he found his car, David Jr.’s car and his deceased mother’s car, which would soon become Brenda’s car. Sandra’s car was missing. Sandra was missing. Sandra had disappeared!
Our story starts on the previous Monday.