Title: Hildy’s fortune
By Author: John M. Floyd
Tag line: Hildy Price’s boss was right when she figured the missing bank teller was tied up with personal business…
Police characters: None.
The gist: Angela Potts got a call from her friend Ruby asking if Angela had seen their friend Hildy. Hildy hadn’t shown up for work today and hadn’t called in. Angela promised to check on her. A newspaper article last week revealed that Hildy’s estranged father, a multi-millionaire, had passed and since Hildy was an only child there was speculation that he may have left his fortune to her. Since that article Hildy had been flooded with calls from people asking for money and salesmen trying to sell her things, so Angela figured Hildy might be laying low, but thought it strange she didn’t call in to work. Angela went over to Hildy’s house. When she knocked on the door, a strange man answered claiming Hildy wasn’t feeling well, that he was Hildy’s nephew visiting from Mobile, and asked that Angela came back later. Angela suspected this man and quickly made up a story about Hildy borrowing her work light and how she needed it back. She pointed to the storm cellar in the back yard, and told the man it was in there and she’d just go get it. The man asked if he could help and Angela told him there were some tall steps to maneuver and she’d be glad to have his help. They walked out the back of the yard, pulled the heavy door open, and he descended down the stairs to the back shelves where Angela told him the light was. As soon as he was down a few steps, Angela slammed the door and clicked the padlock over the latch. She then went into the house and found Hildy gagged and tied to a chair. She rescued Hildy and called the police. Hildy told Angela that the man had been turning the house upside down trying to find hidden money and he kept asking her where the money was hidden. Angela asked Hildy if she had any hidden money, and Hildy said no, that all of her dad’s fortune had been left to his second wife.
Crime scene: Hildy’s house.
Clues: Hildy is an only child.
Suspects: None in the traditional sense.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: Angela Potts was suspicious of this man because he had told her he was Hildy’s nephew but Hildy is an only child.
My two cents: This is a decent tale, but it’s not really a solve-it-yourself story. I guess the question would be: How did Angela know this man was lying? This is a new format for WW and it opens up new story possibilities on the mystery page. I gave it four stars because it flowed nicely and the clue was well placed.
There’s a missing piece to this story though, an odd sock so to speak. Why did this guy think there was money hidden in Hildy’s house? People who inherit lots and lots of money don’t have it hidden in their house. Hildy worked in a bank, so common sense would tell anyone that if Hildy did have money it would be either in an account or a safe deposit box. Perhaps the reason someone thought there was hidden money in her house got cut and is sitting on Johnene’s office floor.
The tag line was pretty clever.