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dog, Tampa, investigation, suspect

Next morning at the office, Jack called Brogan to get Harry Tucker’s address. Brogan called back ten minutes later with an address near the docks. Tucker was a longshoreman and lived by the docks.

Tucker’s apartment was in a cul de sac. His landlady said he was on the docks working. Jack left his car nearby. The docks were a beehive of activity and Jack had to ask a number of people before he found Tucker busy loading a ship.

Tucker was a big burly man who was afraid of nobody. The scars on his face told a long story of fights and brawls. Tucker agreed to meet Jack at a neighborhood bar near his apartment after work. Back in the office, Jack received a call from Sam Grant asking if there was anything new in the case. Truthfully, Jack had nothing to add to the information in the file.

Jack asked Lucy to check on the maid, Doris, Mrs. Matthews’ daughter, and the son-in-law. Jack put his feet on his desk and covered his eyes for a quick nap. The afternoon sun attacked the building with intense heat. The ceiling fan did a good job of circulating the heat around the room.

Jack slept in a trouper until Lucy woke him up. “You told me to wake you at four o’clock. It’s past four and I’m leaving now.”

Jack had a glass of hot water from the water cooler. He looked at Lucy, who was cool and collected. “Find anything out about the maid or the relatives?”

“Nothing on the daughter, Jane, or the son-in-law, Reginald. Both live off mother Matthews.”

“What about the maid, Doris?”

“She’s a local girl, went to University of Tampa a couple of years, then dropped out. Held numerous jobs before becoming Mrs. Matthews’ maid.”

“Did she leave with Mrs. Matthews or stay here in Tampa?”

“She stayed here. Her mother and brother live in Tampa.”

Jack thought for a moment, “Get me her mom’s address.”

Lucy handed Jack a piece of paper, “Here. I thought you might want the address.”

Jack locked the office and he and Lucy walked down the stairs in the heat.

Doris’ mother lived in the poorer part of Tampa just north of the downtown. Jack pulled up in front of the unpainted clapboard house and saw a young woman leaving.

“Are you Doris McGee?”

She looked Jack up and down, “Who wants to know?”

Jack stepped up to the woman who was medium height, brown hair, blue eyes, mid-twenties, and plain looking.

“I’m Jack Hamilton. I represent the Con Life Insurance Company. I’m investigating the death of Charlotte.”

“That filthy dog can rot in hell. You wouldn’t believe the amount of shit I had to clean up from such a little dog.”

Jack smiled. “Mrs. Matthews left for New York yesterday. Why didn’t you go with her?”

“She didn’t ask me. Besides, I’m getting married soon.”


“Yes. Soon, I’ll be Mrs. Harry Tucker.”

“Well. Congratulations.”

“Thanks,” she smiled.

“What do you think happened to the dog?”

Doris thought for a moment, “I don’t know. The dog seemed healthy enough, probably died of a heart attack. That old bag, Mrs. Matthews, used to feed the dog rich food. If those are all the questions, I have a date.”

She started walking away from Jack.

“Wait, Miss McGee. If you are going to meet your fiancé, Harry, I’m on my way to see him myself. I’ll give you a lift in my car.”

“Gee, thanks, Mr. Hamilton. What do you want with Harry?”

“I just had a couple of questions for him.”

They drove to the docks to the bar Harry had suggested. After pleasantries and a drink in clean glasses, Harry asked why Jack wanted to talk to him.

“The cops gave me a list of people who have had animal problems in the past. Your name was on the list.”

At this comment, Harry blew up. “Those damned cops. Years ago, when I was a teenager, my dog got loose and was run over in the street. The neighbor lady said I mistreated the dog and let it run loose in the neighborhood.”

“Harry loves Animals,” said Doris. “He would never hurt anything or anyone.”

Later, at Rollo’s, Jack told Beans what the two lovebirds had said.

“Interesting story,” said Beans, “plenty of fiction and romance. Harry runs dog fighting contests around Tampa and Central Florida. Dog fighting is not illegal so Harry runs some big games.”

“But how does that fit into Charlotte’s death?” asked Jack.

Beans took a sip of beer, “Simply that they know more than they’re saying.”

The next day, Brogan confirmed Beans’ story. Brogan then asked the obvious question, “What do a singing dog and dog fighting have in common? Answer: nothing.”

“But being dogs,” replied Jack.

Brogan laughed, “I think you are barking up the wrong tree, Jack.”

Jack was getting frustrated again.

All investigators hit a brick wall of how to get a suspect to talk, not only talk, but tell the truth.

Next day, he placed a call to Mrs. Matthews in New York. She wasn’t in but Magus said to call back around five o’clock.

Jack asked about Doris, the maid, but Magus didn’t know much about her. She kept to herself and lived with her mother, he said.
Published: 2010-03-28
Author: Fred Westmark

About the author or the publisher
Fred W. is a freelance writer of six film scripts, three novels, twenty-five short stories, and many blogs. He enjoys football and reading English authors. Traveling is a passion for him. He also writes articles on privacy for an Internet newsletter on

He is an avid and serious student of history. His favorite historical characters are Skooby Doo and Dr Who. Seriously, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the French and American Revolution interest him.

He teaches collegW

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