Monday, December 2, 2013

Back Home in Clover Hills...from "Murder in Half Moon Bay"

This is the final chapter from "Murder in Half Moon Bay." I hope you enjoyed the story. 


“That was a delicious meal, Jillian.” The chief laid his fork down across his plate and wiped his mouth with his napkin, a true gentleman.
The rest of the guests joined in with high praises of their own.
I smiled.
“I thought it would be fun to do the Indian fare–it’s one of my favorites.”
I loved it when people enjoyed my hospitality.
Teddy sauntered off to his dog bed, ready for his day to end.
“I can’t believe it’s already been a week since we’ve seen each other.” Margaret sipped her lemon water. “I’ve barely seen Frank because he’s been so busy with the Westover case.”
“It was pretty involved, but we finally have enough concrete evidence to bring Thomas to trial for sentencing. The sad thing is, Thomas might be happier in prison rather than spending the rest of his life with his cantankerous wife.”
Several chuckles reverberated around the room, but people tried to keep as straight-faced as possible.
“Perhaps that’s why he confessed.” Margaret chimed in.
Now no one could hold back. We all had a good laugh.
“Why don’t we have some dessert and you can tell us all about it, Chief. There’s chocolate cinnamon torte or pecan pie with whipped cream.”
“May we have both?” Ann grinned. “Small slices?”
We laughed and I took everyone’s orders for dessert. Margaret insisted on helping me clear the table.
After everyone had their dessert choice, I poured coffee and passed around the cream and sugar.
Ann couldn’t wait to hear what really happened with Thomas Westover. Nicole and Dominique seemed subdued, but I could tell in their eyes they wanted to know what happened as much as Ann and I did.
“I think you’d better start with Spencer Hausman since that’s where I left them, Chief.”
The chief had just taken a bite of his torte, but after a sip of coffee, began where I had left off.
“According to Thomas, Spencer would have been a dead man no matter which way he turned. We know the mob was after him for the unpaid gambling debt because of the thug in the Camry showing up.
“Meanwhile, the terrorists, rattled by Regina’s death, figured they had better get rid of any evidence linked to them before they hit the road. They assumed Spencer Hausman knew of their activities because his name was on the plagiarized articles. They weren’t taking any chances. They wanted him eliminated just in case.
 “On the night Spencer was murdered, he had gone to the Westovers’ office to siphon off more funds from The Venus Flytrap. He must have been desperate by then, knowing that the mob was after him. When he accidentally came across a link to the bioterrorists in the file, he thought he could blackmail Thomas into giving him even more money to keep him quiet.
“Thomas agreed to meet him and then called Jillian to set her up. He figured he would take care of her nosing around and Spencer at the same time. Thomas met Spencer and shot him.
“Thomas had Lewis Ibarra set up Teddy to be kidnapped to keep Jillian from prying, but it only made her more determined to find out who did it.”
“It was Lewis Ibarra, the hotel manager?” Dominique sounded incredulous.
“Oh, yes. And unfortunately, Dr. Nagera paid with his life to help us get that information. I’m sorry, Dominique, I know he was a friend of your family. But if it hadn’t been for Dr. Nagera’s help, we would have had a hard time trying to figure out who was working with Thomas from inside the hotel. Dr. Nagera was a brave man.
“We checked with Walter who remembered Ibarra was working when he wasn’t scheduled, which was very unusual. Ibarra probably made the call to Jillian, or made the key for the kidnapper to use.
“Jillian guessed the perpetrator kidnapped Teddy because she was getting close, so she scrutinized what she knew even further to catch them. That’s when we put our heads together and figured out, by process of elimination, that no one else involved had the motive, means, or opportunity to carry out such heinous murders.
“When we talked to the FBI agent and listened to the information he had on Regina, the Anatolias, Dr. Grant and the Westovers, we surmised it had to be one of the Westovers. We didn’t know which one until we brought Evelyn in for questioning to see what her reaction would be.
“She cooperated fully and gave us enough information to show us it had to be her husband. When we confronted him, he denied murdering Regina vehemently. He said we had no proof. However, there was proof.
“Evelyn provided it indirectly for us.”
The chief stopped to drink some coffee I had just warmed up.
“When we questioned Evelyn, she told us what really happened. She woke up to use the bathroom the night of the murder, right after Thomas had slipped out of bed. She knew then what she had suspected all along–Thomas must be having an affair. She also figured it had to be Regina.
“She pretended to be asleep when he came back and she could tell he was not himself. She waited until morning. After the news of Regina’s murder hit, Evelyn knew Thomas had done it. She decided to remain silent, knowing a wife couldn’t be forced to testify against her husband.
 “After she suspected Thomas, she went to her office, closed the door and perused the books more carefully–looking for evidence of Thomas’ adultery. She found what she wasn’t looking for–The Venus Flytrap account.
 “She called the police anonymously and tipped them off about Thomas’ business. It was a little cold of her, but she wasn’t going down with her husband.”
I took up the story after I refilled everyone’s coffee. “Thomas thought he would be safe going to Regina’s room that night. Evelyn wore earplugs, and usually took a sedative, but since she’d had a few drinks, Thomas thought he’d be safe in slipping out to go to Regina.
“Everything was ready. He couldn’t wait until morning to tell Regina that he’d made all the plans to leave Evelyn. He let himself in with a key that Lewis had made for him. When Thomas told Regina of his plans, she laughed. That’s when he killed her.
“I told the chief that I suspected the book we found in Regina’s brief case inscribed ‘all my love’ was one of the two I saw Hugh Porter sign for Thomas when I stood in line in back of him at Hugh’s signing.”
“They were Thomas’ prints all right.” The chief sounded satisfied. “His DNA will also likely be confirmed when we get the tests back from the lab. It will prove he was the last person to see her alive.”
I added, “Thomas had plenty of time after he played a round of golf that afternoon to stop by Regina’s room for a rendezvous. I heard them. I just didn’t know it was Thomas.”


It was getting late, and the chief stood, saying he had a big day tomorrow.
Margaret stood with her husband.
“He’s taking me away for the weekend to get a little rest and relaxation.
I insisted on doing the dishes myself and began walking my guests to the front door.
“You know, I actually feel sorry for Evelyn Westover,” Nicole remarked, as I helped her on with her jacket. “She lost her son, and now, she’s losing her husband.”
The chief nodded. “I tend to agree with you, especially in light of the fact that Thomas confessed to having their son’s girlfriend meet with a deadly accident.
“He also confessed to murdering Katherine Anatolia when she wanted out. He really came unglued in the end. I think everything he’d done finally caught up with him.”
“Confession is good for the soul, they say.” Nicole sounded sad.
After saying goodnight to everyone I thought about the terrorists who still lurk, plotting to do harm. I knew we had to be vigilant and remain on the alert, or one day–they would succeed!  
Not the End

If you like to read about lovely places and fabulous cuisine, enjoy the Jillian Bradley mystery series. Book 1 MURDER IN HALF MOON BAY for your e-reader is free! 

All books are G-rated and contain no profanity.

  See you in my books!
 ~Nancy Jill 
Mystery novelist Nancy Jill Thames has published Christian fiction since 2010. The author of seven books in the Jillian Bradley series, she is an award winning blogger and listed numerous times on the Author Watch Bestseller’s List. In addition, she won first place in her church's 4th of July celebration for her chocolate cream pie.

When she isn’t plotting her next book, she spends time with her six grandchildren, tags along with her husband on business trips, and plays classical piano for her personal enjoyment. She is an active member of the Leander Writers' Guild, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW),  CenTex Chapter-ACFW, and supports the Central Texas SPCA with a portion of her book sales. She resides with her husband in Leander, Texas.

No comments:

Post a Comment