The Case of the Hazardous Water
It was a crisp fall day and the leaves were starting to turn a beautiful orange and gold. Perfect for a game of golf. Cathy and Steve were standing at the 16th tee ready to tee off. Steve said “I sure have been hitting a solid game today.”
“Don’t jinx yourself!” Cathy told him.
“Oh, I don’t believe in that sort of thing. It is all in the angles.” he returned.
Steve lined up on the ball and took a powerful swing. Shanking the ball to the left. Cathy gave him an all knowing look and took her turn. The drive did not go anywhere near as long as Steve’s but it was in the middle of the fairway.
“I will help you look for your ball” Cathy offered. The two headed down the fairway and into the woods. Just past a row of trees was a small lake. Steve was poking around the underbrush near the edge of the water. “I found it!” he said.
Cathy joined him and spotted a piece of plaid clothing a few feet away. “What’s this?” she said as she reached for it. Cathy let out a loud scream!
Cathy and Steve were looking for a lost golf ball on the 16th fairway when they discovered a gruesome sight. Steve moved the underbrush to reveal a dead man with a gash to his head. The plaid jacket he was wearing had a Russian flag on the shoulder and a name embroidered on the front. The name was Aleksei Petrov.
Steve said “That’s the name of the missing Russian golfer!”
Cathy replied “What missing golfer?”
Steve answered “You know, the one here in Chicago for the PGA Tournament that disappeared last week. The news said they thought he might be trying to defect.”
Cathy reached for her phone and called the police.
That night Steve and Cathy were at Brio with the other Delightful Diners recounting the events on the golf course. Cathy searched Petrov on her phone and a smiling man in a plaid jacket came up. She passed the phone around “This is the guy” she said.
Susan said as she held the phone in her hand “I know this guy! He came into the bookstore yesterday.”
“Are you sure?” was the response from around the table.
“Yes I remember he was looking for a copy of “My American Dream”. I only had one. He looked at it but did not buy it. “
“Maybe it was a dead drop like in the movies and he left a note in the book” Cathy said.
“We can stop by the store after dinner it is only a few minutes away.” Susan offered. “I know the book is still there.”
Steve said “Sounds great!”
The waiter arrived with everyone’s dinners and the mystery was put on hold for a while.
A Russian golfer made a mysterious visit to Susan’s Little House of Books before he was killed. Susan was leading the group of Delightful Diners into her bookstore looking for clues. She snapped on the lights and said “Here I will show you the book he was looking at.”
She took them to the History section and pulled “My American Dream” off the shelf. She flipped through the pages and found a piece of paper nestled in the pages.
“I don’t get it.” Susan said handing the paper to Steve.
The paper was a list of numbers. “it’s a cypher of some kind” Steve said.
“How are we ever going to figure out what it says?” Cathy asked.
“Maybe the book is the legend” Susan offered.
“I think your right” Steve said as he went to the table and sat down. “Look 25-7-4. I turn to page 25 line 7 word 4 the word is “Agent” 13-2-6 is “Following” I saw it on TV on The Last Ship”
“This looks like it will take some time. I will make some coffee” said Susan.
Steve said “What do you think?” He held out his decoded message.
“Agent following me. Danger. Save Anya. Hiding safe house 331 Walnut down grove”
“Down Grove!? What’s that?” asked Cathy.
“I bet it’s Downers Grove – they probably couldn’t find ‘Downers’ in the book” Susan offered.
“Let’s go see what there” said Cathy.
They all agreed and headed to Walnut Street in Downers Grove.
The intrepid group of Delightful Diners have been following clues left by the murdered Russian golfer, Aleksei Petrov and a mysterious woman named Anya. There investigation has led them to the front of a cute yellow frame house on Walnut St. in Downers Grove. Steve asked “Now what!?”
“Let’s ring the bell” said Susan as she got out of her Jeep. The rest of the group followed her up the walk.
They rang the bell and waited for what seemed like an eternity. The door opened a crack and a petite brown-haired woman was peeking out. “Yes?” she asked in a small heavily accented voice.
Cathy stepped forward. “We are here about Aleksei Petrov. He sent us.”
Susan was about to contradict her. “Well in a way he did.”
“Is he alright?” came the question from behind the door.
Cathy said “No. I’m sorry. We came here to see if we can help you. May we come in.”
The door opened wider and the woman invited them in. “Are you Anya?” Susan asked.
The woman nodded her head yes.
Cathy said “I am sorry to tell you this but Aleksei was found dead yesterday on the golf course. The police are saying it was murder!” She went on to tell Anya how they had followed the clues Aleksei had left in the book ‘My American Dream’ in Susan’s bookstore and they led them to Anya.
Anya with tears streaming down her checks cried “My dear Aleksei. We were trying to defect. I have relatives here but they would never let Aleksei leave Russia. He was too important to the State. This is my cousin’s house. I came several months ago and Aleksei was supposed to join me this week.”
“Do you think you are in danger?” asked Suan.
“No they don’t care about me; only Aleksei Petrov Great Russian Golfer.” she said sarcastically. “I will be able to stay here. I already have my papers.”
Cathy handed Anya a business card. “Here is the name of the police detective that was working on the murder.”
“Thank you. I will make a good life here for me and Aleksei Petrov, my son.” Anya said as she put her hand protectively across in middle.