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Harley L. Sachs
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The Mystery Club, five elderly women who live at the Rose Plaza and discuss mysteries written by women, have no idea of the consequences when Viola Cartwright, their blind member, asks them to go over her Medicare bills. That takes them to a phony clinic and leads to suspicion about the real identity of her personal assistant, Dorothy Anderson. Soon the investigation of Medicare bills leads them into a sinister underworld of fraud and revenge, to murder and tragedy. Only raw courage in the face of evil can save the elderly women.
If it hadn’t been for the unpleasant surprise in her in-house mail box, Mary Higgins would not have thought about her pistol. No one would ever suspect that a woman in her eighties, living in a secure retirement complex in Portland, Oregon would own a military pistol. Why would they? Even if she did, it was nobody’s business, or so Mary Higgins thought.
Mary Higgins did not expect to be disturbed by anything in her pigeonhole when she stopped at the mail boxes behind the front desk at the Rose Plaza retirement building. Usually all she found, besides her monthly maintenance bill, were memos about the parking garage (she hadn’t driven in years), the restaurant menu (she did her own cooking), or some missive that didn’t pertain to her. This time it was the latest version of the rules for residents, newly enacted by the Board of Directors.
The tone of the manager’s cover note stapled to the rules set her off. ‘Residents of the Plaza will comply’--indeed. Hitchkock was playing general again. Mrs. Higgins did not try to conceal her irritation. She steadied herself with her gold-headed cane in one hand and the new rules in the other while she waited for the elevator in the lobby. She would read them later.
The residents’ rules were a formality that provided the Plaza board with a means of evicting someone who didn’t pay their bills, wandered the halls in the nude, or misbehaved in some other way that disrupted the friendly and comfortable lifestyle of the two hundred and fifty elderly and infirm.
In the past, Mary Higgins didn’t think any of those rules mattered much to her. She paid her bill on time, always dressed properly, and was a model of dignity. She didn’t think that anything in the Plaza rules could jeopardize her residency. She was in for an uncomfortable surprise.
Once up in her apartment, Mary Higgins settled down on her sofa and caught her breath before reviewing the new rules. Her view from the eighth floor took in a panorama of Portland, the sumptuous green of the forest on Pill Hill to the south, the metallic glint of sunshine on the visible strip of the Willamette river, the spread of suburbs beyond and, of course, the majestic classic volcanic shape of Mount Hood in the distance. Its snow-covered upper elevations were topped with a plume of cloud that looked like an eruption. Though Mount Hood did have steam vents, it was not expected to erupt as Mount St. Helens had back in 1980, literally blowing its top and covering Portland with fine ash. Some day it might.
There was only one significant change to the rules as Mary Higgins remembered them, but her memory was not good. Someone had decided that there should be no firearms in the Plaza.
That seemed entirely unnecessary. Most of the residents were women, and the few men who had lived long enough to move in--the average move-in age being eighty-two--were not the hunting type. One would think their days of traipsing through the forest with a heavy hunting rifle were in the dim past. If one of those old men should actually shoot a deer, none were capable of dragging game bigger than a rabbit out of the forest. No one in the Plaza needed a firearm or had any use for one.
But Mary Higgins did have a pistol.
Her firearm was a war souvenir, a memento of her brief marriage in those exciting days in the RAF in World War II. When the war broke out in Europe there were no women in the US Army Air Corps and no place for them, even as typists. The WAF-Women in the Air Force came later. Mary’s first love was flying. To join the forces, Mary had to go to Canada. She had flown every plane in the British and the American arsenal except the twin-hulled P-52. Once she had even been copilot on a Coronado flying boat.
Though born in Chicago and raised in Indiana, Harley L. Sachs considers himself an international, having lived in Germany, Sweden, Scotland, and Denmark. He earned a degree in English at Indiana University, then served in the US Army in Germany. After getting his Master's degree at I.U. he returned to Europe and worked under cover for several years. He met and married Ulla Hintz in Stockholm, Sweden and they spent a year's honeymoon in a Scottish castle. Returning to the USA, Sachs taught English briefly at Southern Illinois University then moved to Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula where he and his wife raised three daughters. He took early retirement and now divides the year between Michigan and Portland, Oregon.
“It’s got everything-- it’s visual, auditory, an adventure with some romance, a very relevant satire of our beaurocratic society and it has real philosophical and spiritual depth. Ideally, you could get some controversy going over the significance of it, particularly in relation to the positive relationship between Judaism and Christianity. I think it is brilliant. Wonderful, wonderful! And funny also.” -- Pam Erbisch.
WHAT READERS SAY ABOUT THE MYSTERY CLUB SOLVES A MURDER -- "Best yet.", V. Brown, Houghton, Michigan.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 290
Paper Weight (lb): 12.6
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