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Samara Spade and the Case of the Slumbering Singers
12/22/2019 5:30:00 PM by: Susan Lyttek

Can you guess which seasonal song inspired this? The correct guesser with the funniest comment, judged by my sons, will receive a free copy of A Wedding to Die For. Have fun!

 

I love Christmas! The lights, the gifts, the celebrations…

But I was especially rejoicing this year because in two days I would become Mrs. Aba Menatari.

I’d only come in to check the mail. The newspaper on top mentioned the Caroler Kidnapper. More people had been removed from nursing home caroling events only to wake up elsewhere with smiles painted on their faces. They weren’t harmed, but it was creepy.

I had just stashed the bills in my pocket when she barged in, ignoring our “out of office” sign.

“I need your help.”

I pointed to the sign. “Sorry. Not in.”

“But somebody has to do something.”

A lot of people qualified as somebody. “Get another PI.”

She marched in and put her hands on my desk, staring me down. “I can trust a Spade to get to the bottom of this.”

“What exactly do you mean by ‘this’?” I acquiesced.

She plopped in our guest chair like an old friend. “Carolers.”

“You must work in a nursing home.”

She nodded. “My name’s Mary Bethlehem Angel and I’m the head nurse at Comfort Retirement.”

The name and the time of year got me. In spite of my best effort to be polite, a chortle escaped. “You were given that name?”

She looked down at her hands. “My mom obsessed about Christmas. My poor brother is Joseph Shepherd Angel.”

I heard a story. “And?”

The woman grimaced. “She never wanted us to forget the story of the first Christmas. Said our names would help us remember.” Mary moved abruptly as if trying to get away from what she had just said. “Anyway, our event is tonight. As you can imagine, the carolers are threatening to back out unless they have assurance of protection.”

I might still get out of this. “Why not cancel the caroling?”

“I would, definitely. But our most influential resident and benefactor, Mr. May, is insistent that every holiday event happen as scheduled. Whatever Mr. May wants, he gets.”

I knew the type. I rubbed my forehead to try and stave off the approaching headache. “And that means…”

“Surely a detective who sings in the church choir can go undercover as a caroler.”

Blast. The woman had done her research.

Mary arranged for me to meet up with the other carolers in a room off the lobby. We reviewed the songs and were handed robes similar to the one I wore every Sunday.

An orderly came in. “Sorry for the delay, folks. There’s some issue getting the residents into the meeting room. Just hang out and enjoy the cider.”

People shuffled around, making small talk, and sipping on the hot beverage.

“I can’t believe we’re going through with this,” one gentleman confided.

“They guarantee we’ll be protected.” I tightened my grip on the cup to avoid patting my gun.

“Maybe,” he grumbled. “I just know I’ll feel better when tonight’s over.”

The door opened. “Call for Mr. Fennel,” someone in a white uniform said.

The guy I’d been talking to grunted. “I’d better take it.”

He left.

Being younger than most of the carolers meant I wasn’t alone for long. I imagined a neon sign that said ‘talk to me’ above my head.

“Can you believe how long they’re keeping us waiting?” a silver-haired man with bright blue eyes asked.

I nodded.

“People had more respect for carolers years ago,” he continued.

An orderly opened the door again. “Call for Greg Jones.”

The man I was with winced. “That’s odd. Who knows I’m here?”

The other guy still hadn’t returned, so I thought it much more than odd. I discretely followed Mr. Jones out, and then ducked into a nearby closet. I saw the orderly guide the older man to a door that had a telephone sign over it.

Less than five minutes later, the orderly left. Mr. Jones did not. I waited.

I rehearsed the lyrics of our scheduled carols in my head—twice—before I heard distant strains of our first selection, Joy to the World. Assuming everybody’d be occupied, I edged toward the door where I’d last seen the complaining caroler.

The small room did indeed have a phone on the far wall. It also had some medical equipment on the right side and two familiar men on the floor with smiles painted on their faces.

My goosebumps danced. I didn’t want to stick around. I started to back out when I heard the metallic clatter of a cart coming down the hall.

I peeked around the door. I thought it was the same orderly who had escorted the gentlemen on the floor into the room.

There was nowhere to hide. Great. I backed behind the door and took out my gun.

He sang as he pushed the door open. “…Comfort and joy.” He chuckled. “Aren’t you merry guys resting now?”

I usually don’t use my gun, but I was irritated. I had a wedding to prep for, Christmas to celebrate, and a fiancé to kiss.

“What’re you doing?”

He dropped his eyes to my gun and laughed again. “You don’t need that.” He held up a syringe. “Got to keep them resting.”

I kicked the needle out of his hand, sending it skittering across the hall.

As the final strains of song and a smattering of applause echoed, I grabbed his arm, ducking under and twisting it around behind him. “Who are you? Why’d you do this?”

“I’m Joseph. I help gentlemen obey Christmas.”

Joseph? What were the chances? “Your last name wouldn’t happen to be Angel, would it?”

Keeping pressure on his arm, I led him to his sister. Mary crumpled. “Joseph? How could you?”

“They were complaining, not following the spirit of Christmas. I helped them be good gentlemen.” He smiled at her. “Just like Mom always said.”

Mary assured me that Joseph, a licensed anesthetist, would get the care he needed.

I couldn’t get back to Aba fast enough.

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5/12/2016 4:40:02 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Living As Called
4/22/2016 10:37:35 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Making Writing Fun Again
4/15/2016 12:52:15 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Springing
4/6/2016 6:26:30 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Good Friday Thoughts
3/26/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Confessions of a Delinquent Blogger
3/23/2016 8:42:49 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Accepting the Gift of Free Time
2/29/2016 7:45:10 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Rest vs. the Type-A Female
2/22/2016 3:43:20 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Lessons on Sickness and Rest
2/14/2016 9:09:30 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Sick Lessons
2/6/2016 11:17:24 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Blocked
1/27/2016 11:11:44 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

When Inspiration Fails to Strike
1/16/2016 9:32:15 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Stumbling Into the New Year
1/13/2016 11:02:06 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Annual Christmas Letter
12/26/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Parent: Help with Work
10/31/2015 10:50:23 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Homeschool Parent: Home
10/24/2015 4:55:48 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Benefits of Unscheduled Free Time
10/16/2015 8:03:39 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Homeschool Parent: More Empathetic
10/9/2015 7:46:24 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Homeschool Parent: More Empathetic
10/9/2015 7:39:56 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Parent: More Willing to Persevere
10/2/2015 8:50:54 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Homeschool Parent: Closer to God
9/25/2015 8:33:01 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Homeschool Parent: More Intuitive
9/18/2015 7:07:30 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Homeschool Parent--Weaker
9/11/2015 7:42:33 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Parent--Seeing God's Hand
9/4/2015 9:59:53 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Homeschool Parent: Savvy-er
8/28/2015 6:49:31 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Homeschool Parent: Braver
8/21/2015 7:34:00 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits to the Homeschool Parent: Wiser
8/14/2015 7:33:44 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Benefits to the Homeschool Parent: Smarter
8/7/2015 7:31:13 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Benefits of Being a Homeschool Parent (Intro)
7/31/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Lessons from my Great Aunt Ansie
7/24/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Virginia Writers Conference
7/14/2015 11:43:28 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Relearning Fitness (Part 2)
7/10/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Some Truth About Independence Day
7/3/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Relearning Fitness (Part 1)
6/26/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Under the Sun
6/19/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

A Lesson I Keep Needing to Re-Learn
6/13/2015 9:17:18 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Times of Transition
6/6/2015 8:43:26 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Blog Ideas
5/30/2015 7:06:10 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Mercs Next Door, Part 2
5/23/2015 7:36:30 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Mercs Next Door, Part 1
5/15/2015 9:00:41 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Getting to Mom
5/9/2015 9:32:42 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

To Blog or Not to Blog
5/2/2015 9:57:39 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Driving Lessons
4/25/2015 2:01:36 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Gaming Education
4/18/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Fast Lessons
4/11/2015 7:37:50 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Resurrection Thoughts
4/4/2015 6:47:45 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Power of the Coupon
3/28/2015 6:18:32 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Spring Planting
3/21/2015 7:36:53 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Showing My Age
3/14/2015 7:51:06 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Teaching Women
3/7/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Beware the Ides of... February
2/28/2015 1:10:50 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Honoring a President in Fiction
2/21/2015 7:35:35 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Gratitude Lessons
2/14/2015 7:12:56 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Pros and Cons of Research
2/6/2015 8:13:38 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Off the Hamster Wheel... Part 3
1/30/2015 9:01:50 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Off the Hamster Wheel... Part 2
1/24/2015 7:55:59 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Homeschool Hamster Wheel
1/16/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Etiquette Education
1/9/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Ready Stance
1/2/2015 7:01:43 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Our Christmas Letter
12/26/2014 8:36:08 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Sharing Christmas, Part Two
12/19/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Sharing Christmas
12/12/2014 5:32:30 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Swedish Christmas Education
12/5/2014 10:08:38 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Worry/Grumble Antidote
11/28/2014 11:07:16 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Milestone Days
11/21/2014 9:58:07 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Volunteer Education--via Operation Christmas Child
11/14/2014 8:32:03 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Veteran Education
11/7/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Reformation Education
10/31/2014 8:51:31 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Reluctant Vegetarian
10/24/2014 2:55:59 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

What I Didn't, Couldn't Teach
10/17/2014 4:30:17 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Learning to Stand
10/10/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Christian Work Ethic
10/3/2014 6:36:19 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Animal Education
9/26/2014 10:54:19 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Changing the Love of Learning
9/19/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Blog Block
9/12/2014 9:50:31 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Educating Mom
9/5/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Debate
8/29/2014 7:22:59 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Interview with Jane, a non-homeschooling friend
8/22/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Homeschool Rebel
8/15/2014 8:11:24 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Other Countries, Other Peoples
8/8/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

George Washington Lessons
8/1/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Interview with Heather Day Gilbert
7/25/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

A Creation Education
7/18/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Blessing of the Church
7/11/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Free to Homeschool
7/4/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Best Thing
6/27/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

School Lite
6/20/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Homeschooling Poetry
6/13/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Homeschool Preschool
6/6/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

AWANAcation (or Awana Education)
5/30/2014 4:40:30 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Drowning in the Ideal Schedule
5/23/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Penpal Encouragement: An Interview with Sandi
5/16/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Unexpected Education
5/9/2014 8:31:18 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

When Is a Homeschool Mom NOT a Homeschool Mom?
5/2/2014 8:08:10 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Relax, It's Just Writing
4/25/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Purpose Driven Homeschool
4/18/2014 9:38:10 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The Heart of the Music
4/11/2014 3:11:23 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Music Lessons
4/4/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Teaching My Testimony (Part 2)
3/28/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Teaching My Testimony (Part 1)
3/21/2014 8:16:29 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Glimmers of Homeschooling
3/14/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Failed Days
3/7/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Other Side of the Homeschool Table...Leanne Hanson
2/28/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Fairy Tale Theology
2/21/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Things I Love about Life and Homeschooling
2/14/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Limitless Creativity by Bonnie Rose Hudson
2/7/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Weaving Christ into Math
1/31/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Paula Mowery Interview
1/24/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Historic Field Trips
1/17/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Snow Days... Homeschool Style
1/10/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Homeschooled Mom Resolutions
1/3/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

Off Schedule
12/27/2013 11:17:52 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Teaching Christmas
12/20/2013 10:24:16 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

The (Writerly) Benefits of Learning Together
12/13/2013 2:11:46 PM  by: Susan Lyttek

Homeschooling reinforced that I am not perfect
12/6/2013 11:33:13 AM  by: Susan Lyttek

And they said homeschooling would be easy...
11/29/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Susan Lyttek