Title: The train to Graceland
By Author: John M. Floyd
Tag line: Angela Potts was enjoying a leisurely train ride home, when, naturally she ran into trouble…
Police characters: Train security guard.
The gist: Angela did not like trains but found it necessary to be on one. She started talking to her dining seat companion who was the security chief for the railroad. He gossiped with her about the English female and her two male companions who were seated on the other side of the car. One male was dressed in proper British tweeds and was burly. The second male was a young US Air Force officer. The woman paid no attention to the Brit, but was making eyes with the officer, who had blue eyes and curly hair that hung to his silver captain’s bars. His name tag read Prescott. The security guard told Angela the woman was traveling to Graceland, that she was a big Elvis fan, and had two body guards with her; one was her own and the other had been assigned by the government as she was the daughter of the Deputy Prime Minister. Ms. Potts wondered how an Air Force officer had come to be assigned such duty. The train security guy told her that government decisions are not always logical.
Later the security guard told her that the woman’s quarters had been burgled and all her possessions were gone. They were still a half hour from the next train stop. The guard had the only key to the baggage compartment, so he decided to search everyone’s compartments. Ms. Potts accompanied him. They met the two body guards in the hallway by the first passenger car they were going to search, which happened to belong to the body guards. The train security guy lays out the plan to them. Ms. Potts wanted to know if the woman’s cell phone had been taken. It was. The cell phone tone was Jailhouse Rock. Angela told the body guards to call the phone. The guard glanced at the security chief and the Air Force guy and said, Now? Ms. Potts said, Yes, now. And sure enough the phone rang in the Air Force officer’s compartment. “Is that Captain Prescott’s door?” “Yes,” the train security guard said. “What’s –“ and he trails off. Apparently confused. A search of that compartment revealed all of the woman’s stolen property. The real Captain Prescott was tied and gagged and in his underwear back at the train station.
Ms. Potts told the security chief that she knows a bit about US military and that some things never change.
Crime scene: On the train.
Clues: The officer’s hair length.
Suspects: I would think everyone on the train, but apparently the list boiled down to the two body guards.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: Officers in the US military do not have long hair.
My two cents: First of all, I appreciate not having an ! in the tag line. Very unusual. Thank you WW for restraining yourselves. Either that or this story is not ! worthy.
Have you ever ridden on a train? It’s hard to gossip about someone who is seated on the other side of the car from you and not have them hear you. He must have been whispering in Angela’s ear.
Security guards do not eat with the passengers and certainly do not gossip about the other travelers.
Ms. Potts wondered how an Air Force officer had come to be assigned such duty. She’s right. Most visiting dignitaries are afforded security through the Secret Service. But I guess the author needed a military man for the part so we have to believe that the Air Force became involved.
The train security guard runs and tells Ms. Potts there’s been a crime. What the heck kind of security guard is this?
She accompanied him as he investigated the crime…of course. I’m sure he was thrilled to have an old woman trailing around behind him. (That’s what he gets for opening his mouth.) Why he didn’t think she might have been a suspect is not clear. And why would train security not suspect one of the body guards? He told them the search plan for gawd’s sake.
The bit about “Should I call the phone now? Yes, now.” is a waste of words. Also these men don’t take orders from another passenger.
So the stolen cell phone rings in one of the guard’s compartments and the train security guy acts all confused. Puulleeeze. How dumb is everyone on this train? How dumb is the crook to steal when he has nowhere to run? How dumb is this story?
Two weary stars.