By Author: Rosemary Hayes
Tag line: John Grady was fortunate that his forgiving wife was willing to pay the ransom…
Police characters: Detective Tanya Tate
The gist: John Grady shows up at the police station claiming he was kidnapped the night before and that his wife had paid the ransom. Grady told Det. Tate that he owned a hamburger joint. He closed last night around ten. He claimed as he was getting into his car someone hit him over the head. When he came to he was in the back of a van. A person dressed in black showed him a typed letter stating he would be released unharmed when his ransom was paid. He claimed he was locked in the van all night. In the morning another person got in the van, they drove, pulled off the road, untied him and let him go. He flagged down a car (the old guy in the car didn’t have a cell phone) and got a ride. His burger place was closer than home, so he had the guy drop him there where his car was. He called his wife, Maggie. Maggie told the detective she was frantic and wanted to call 911 but her husband said he was fine and would drive himself home. She insisted they go to the police station and report the crime.
Grady said he could not see neither their faces, nor their license plate. Grady said the restaurant two doors down from him (Chinese) was having financial troubles, and they would know when his burger shop closed for the night. Grady touched his head and winced while at the police station. When his wife said of course she paid the ransom, she loved him, he gave her a thin smile.
Maggie said the kidnappers contacted her last night on her cell phone and demanded $200,000. She could not tell if the voice was male or female. She was instructed to leave the money in a deserted industrial shed at 1:00 PM. She had been warned not to call the police, so she didn’t. Before she got the ransom call, Maggie said when Grady didn’t come home last night she got worried and went to his shop to look for him. She said she found the shop locked up and the parking lot empty. The man who owned the Chinese store was still there. He said he had not seen Grady. Maggie said she thought she was going to catch Grady at his shop with his mistress, Sara. Grady seemed surprised that his wife knew about Sara. Maggie said she thought maybe Sara was involved in the kidnapping because she must have known Grady’s burger place wasn’t even breaking even, and she knew Maggie had a successful financial firm.
Detective Tate knew the real scoop.
Crime scene: Burger joint.
Clues: Grady’s car. Him giving his wife a thin smile.
Suspects: According to the wife, it might have been the mistress. According to Grady, it might have been the Chinese restaurant owner.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: Grady faked his own kidnapping to get money from his wife. She reported not seeing his car in the parking lot. That’s because he drove off and hid out somewhere until he could pick up the ransom and then head home. He wasn’t going to even report the crime, but his wife made him.
My two cents: Not a bad little scenario. A man with a girlfriend. A man with a failing business. A man with a wife who has money. The story didn’t say he was going to run off with the girlfriend, but we could assume that. Otherwise he could have just asked his wife for a loan for his failing business. She seemed to really care about him. She paid the ransom even though she knew about the affair. He didn’t know that she had come to the restaurant looking for him last night, so he didn’t know she would tell the police the parking lot was empty.
This story was different from the norm. A faked kidnapping. Haven't seen that yet to my recollection. The story was well paced, the details fit, and it was a good clue. Him giving his wife a thin smile while she's gushing over how much she loved him was another clue. Although small, it was snuck in there nicely. Nothing was overdone or corny. In real life the police would have looked at and taken photos of his head wound. Ah’m jus say’n. It didn’t spoil the story. The tag line is off, but I can’t put my finger on it.