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Paulette Palinsky Travel Mysteries Book 2
BY PATRICIA GULLEY
1947 murders come to haunt Paulette Palinsky in 1963 when she leaves her small town home for the big city of New York to escape her reputation of cavorting with spirits. She starts a new career as an airline reservations agent when she finds herself falling in love with those wonderful old New York houses: Brownstones. Thrilled when she finds a small studio apartment in one, she forgets how old they are and the secrets they may hold.
The first ghost to make contact used to be a NYPD detective and knows exactly what she needs to do to get the case reopened. Reluctantly, Paulette agrees, and learns that three murders happened that day in 1947, and that her landlord is the son of one of the ghosts and the nephew of the other two. He isn’t happy with her poking her nose into his family affairs. Pauly finds herself sandwiched between the living and the dead, finding clues that soon involve the airline she works for.
Paulette Palinsky Travel Mysteries Book 2
BY PATRICIA GULLEY
Rachel and Herman Helenko/1947
CENTRAL PARK gleamed in a vivid display of emerald, copper and gold tones under the clear fall sky. The sun warmed her cheeks and children with their mothers or nannies eagerly returned her happy smile. Or did everything just feel brighter and happier to her now? The idea to walk home across the Park instead of taking the subway was a good one–a way to expend some of the energy that embraced her after hearing the blessed news from the doctor. And yet, like so many other days over the last few months since Herman had arrived with his terrifying stories and distrustful, anxious ways, a hazy fear lurking near the surface of her consciousness welled up and she again felt watched, even followed.
She shook herself. Time, the poor man needed time to get over his terrible ordeal in the camps, stop his over-cautious watchfulness and return to being the man she fell in love with before the war. Surely, her wonderful news would cheer him up and bring some of the old Herman back to her.
She ran the remaining distance out of the park and across Central Park West to 76th Street trying to dismiss the fear and cling to the good news. Halfway down the block she turned up the stone steps of their beautiful home. Well, theirs and five, soon to be six, other tenants whose rent would pay the remainder of the mortgage. When she reached the front door, Rachel couldn’t stop herself from looking back the way she had come to see if anyone looked suspicious. So many people on the street, many looking quite odd from those she had grown up with, how would she know for sure who was suspicious and who was not? She and Herman had to get out from under this cloud of fear he had brought with him from Europe. This new country, nothing like the old, had everything to make a better life for them. She forced a smile, and shook herself while inserting her key in the brand new lock on the very old, but sturdy door.
They lived in the first floor apartment of this old New York brownstone. She rented out the basement unit–which technically should be, but was not, the first floor because it was at street level–and the upper two floors. One day they would occupy the top two floors and have enough bedrooms for their children and maybe one for Tuti Sophie, if they ever found her in the ravaged Ukraine.
Rachel, mama and papa had come just before the war started during those terrible times in Italy, and were lucky to have her sister Joanie and her husband here to sponsor them. But the new world had not brought joy to her parents. Papa had been overwhelmed by the size of the city and not watching traffic, carelessly walked in front of a taxi and died. His death and the knowledge that her home village had been totally destroyed during the war, and no news of her sister Sophie, had really caused mama’s death.
She stamped her foot to stop the tears she felt heat her eyes, and forced her thoughts to her remodeling plans. She wanted to decorate traditionally, but also to add all those modern appliances Americans believed they could not live without. The money Herman had given her before she left Milan had allowed her to buy the brownstone, and the rents would pay off the mortgage, but it still required a good salary to purchase everything Rachel dreamed about.
Herman still hadn’t found a job, but she was sure that with his knowledge of Italian, German, Ukrainian, and Polish, he would soon find work. He was so restless, with dark moods she did not recognize and he never seemed to want to go out and look. She didn’t even want to think of how angry he was and how he reacted when he found out she had spent their money on the brownstone. Time would settle him, she reassured herself. The war had done terrible things to him, and friends and family were now talking about this new thing called survivor guilt. She didn’t expect him to forget, but she did pray that he would heal. She would have to keep her job as long as possible. The store she worked for didn’t even know she was married—they expected married women to give their jobs up to men returning from the war—so they didn’t have to know anything about her blessed event.
She opened the door to their apartment with her key and called his name. No answer gave her the hope that he was out job hunting. The silence brought back that shadowy feeling of gloom she experienced back in the park. It seemed to absorb the noise from outside and cut her off from the world. Her whole body shuddered.
Again, she stomped her foot to rid herself of the feeling. The war is over! She told herself, sternly. You and Herman are safe. ‘Go with your parents, Rachel, I’ll be along as soon as I liquidate the business. We’re very lucky Joanie has married an American and can sponsor us.’ He had said these words with so much assurance in his light hearted and jovial way. Would that Herman ever return to her?
She shook herself for good measure and ran her hand lovingly over her belly before removing her good, wool coat and scarf and hung them in her modern, newly built-in closet. The construction work to cut the huge parlor in half and make the front into an efficiency apartment was progressing, but not quickly enough for Rachel. She wanted it finished so she could rent it out, but there was always some problem according to the workers. Tearing out huge areas of brick from old fireplaces scared Rachel into believing the house might fall down. It wouldn’t they told her, but to save her money, they would leave in the chimney walls and plaster around it to make it look like part of the wall between the apartments. Unfortunately, that wall was too thin, so they came up with the idea of putting in this wonderful closet near the front door. It cut into part of her space and caused more delays, but she loved the built-in closet. So much more modern than coat trees or a wall rack with hooks, even old fashioned wardrobes. And she’d never have to worry about noisy neighbors or them complaining if the baby cried.
On that happy note, she headed to the kitchen to start dinner. She wanted something special tonight for when she told Herman the good news.
Stepping into the kitchen and flicking on the light stopped her dead in her tracks. Shocked senseless by what she saw, she grabbed for the doorframe to support herself and to keep from falling. Sprawled face down on the kitchen floor laid the body of a man. Herman! Half his head was an open wound of matted hair and bone lying in a pool of blood. A large, red spot with a black hole in the middle of it also stained the back of his coat over his heart.
Terror enveloped her and froze a scream in her throat while paralyzing her limbs until a small voice within her shouted to move, to run, to do something, but be sure to get away. Light headed and gripping the doorjamb to steady her shaky legs, she turned her head, and came face to face with a leather-gloved hand lifting a huge black gun up to right between her eyes. A finger moved backwards on the trigger and a soft clicking sound followed by a short rush of air made her think that nothing had happened. Her hands gripped her belly as a wave of relief washed over her, all the way down to the floor and into oblivion.
I was born in Wilkes Barre, PA, and did go off to New York to be an airline res agent. I was a res and fares agent for a domestic airline, met my husband there, then moved to an international airline to be a refunds and fares agent. Codes: EA and BA. When I became pregnant, we moved to Portland, OR, where I became a travel agent. I live on a floating home on the slough side of an island in the Columbia River. Not a boat house or a houseboat, it is like any land house but floats on logs and wrapped foam. I love to travel, especially cruises because I want my hotel to move.
Links to Patricia’s website, blog, books, etc.
Thanks, Patricia, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!