Thoughts for this story was a play, musical or a novel. A Doll Shop robbery in NYC results in the death of its elderly proprietor who falls down steps that come into shop from an apartment above. The only thing stolen is a dollhouse that is actually a model of a house. The mystery is why the house was stolen and whether the proprietor was murder or just an accident. The police ask for help from an expert on the houses’ architect. The actual house is in Westchester suburb and the house is undergoing major renovations. But, what is the connection if any?
Chapter 1- A Murder Mystery
Brrr, brrr, brrr….
It was the phone. Who the hell was calling at this hour? And, in the middle of a pandemic for gods sake? And, on my land phone. The one I keep in my office. I stumbled about in the dark till I reached my office. It was down the hall from my bedroom. With the lights on I uncovered the phone buried under a bunch of papers, books and other stuff. Everything scattered as I retrieved the headset. The ringing had continued incessantly till I got to it. The phone was dated with no answering machine attachment. I kept it mostly for emergencies and don’t give the number out anymore. I had no clue who would be calling me on the line or even at this hour. It was 12am.
“Hey, what’s up?” I said to the caller after putting the headset to my ear.
“It’s Ray,” the voice on the other end said.
“Ray?” I paused to think. “Ray? Oh, not Ray Cohen?”
“Yeah, its me. Your old partner,” Ray began. “I need your help.”
“You’ve got to be kidding. Right? I’ve been off the force for a decade.”
“I’ve got a case I need your help with.”
“What the fuck can that possibility be about?”
“A dollhouse. I need help with a dollhouse. Well, its not exactly a dollhouse but a replica of a house. A house designed by Andrew McKee to be exact.”
“Andrew McKee? The architect? You couldn’t have Googled that?
“I did but I got nothing I could use. And, then I remembered your hobbies. As you would call them. You used to dabble in stuff, like architecture and stuff like that.”
“Yeah, I still do but what’s so important about this house.”
“It was stolen from a shop in the Village. But, there’s more to it. The owner is dead. We’re investigating a possible robbery-murder. I know it’s a bother and late and all… but I’m stuck.”
“At this hour?”
” Well, we’re all still here at the scene. Wondering if you come… to the scene…while its fresh?”
“You’ve got to be crazy? Where is it, you said?”
“I’ve sent a car to pick you up.”
“Well, in that case, I guess I better come. My building has no man bellman. Have them ring me when they get here on my cell. Do you have it?”
‘”No, what is it?
After giving him my cell number, I hung up to get dressed. After grabbing my cell, wallet and a small note book I took the elevator down to the lobby. A few minutes later the officer sent to pick me up phoned me. Ray must have known I would come all along. The streets were deserted and few cars were about. The marked car and officer were waiting by the hydrant that was in front of my building.
I am a retired police officer for 10 years now. I still dabble in quite a few things besides architecture. Art, literature and history were all interests of mine. I keep a blog on my discoveries. I happen to know a lot about Andrew McKee. He was an architect of multiple brownstones, small apartment buildings and an assortment of single residential homes in the City near by..
The ride to the scene brought us to Greenwich Village. We had the roads mostly to ourselves so we made good time. I used the time to catch up on my phone messages.
When I arrived, I was given booties and protective gear including gloves and a face mask. The shop was in the basement part of the building. There were apartment units above the shop with Doll Shop & Hospital. There were steps down to the shop where I was escorted in. I found Ray in the center of the shop talking to a younger woman.
“Oh, good. You’re here. Miss Jones this Joe Greyson, a consultant on the case.”
“Consultant?” I inquired.
” He knows a bit about the architect.”
Miss Jones seemed to brighten up at that.
“Oh, that’s a good thing. The dollhouse was important to Miss Raburn.”
“Do you pictures of the house?”
“Yes, there’s a whole file,” she said and picked up a file from a counter. “Everything’s in this.”
“That’s great,” I said as I took the folder. It was full all right.
“That’s great then,” Ray said wiping his hands together. “Do you have any questions Joe other than that?”
“Not, right now. I’ll take this home if you don’t mind.”
“I would appreciate getting it back when you get a chance to view everything,” Ray said to me and then to Miss Jones “Thanks for staying. You are free to go home for now. We’ll call you if anything comes up.”
At that Miss Jones put her coat on and head to the door.
——to be continued——