A Friendly Update – A Deviled Yeggs Mystery

I’m Detective Staff Sergeant Deviled Yeggs.  I work homicide in the big city of Tracy.  My partner is Jim Wednesday.  Poached Yeggs, homicide detective and my nephew, has been working with Jim and me.

It was Saturday and Pink Lady had invited my wife and me over to her dining room / office / staff conference room for a little afternoon tea, but I think she wanted an update on the latest cases that had consumed a lot of my time.

In attendance were Scrambled and Pink, Tyler and Anna Hill, Aunt Hortense, and my wife, Glyce (known as “Naomi” to Pink Lady and “Mighty” to Aunt Hortense), and me.

I took a sip of the hot tea.  “Pink!  This is the best green tea I have ever tasted.  It is like it is a different type of tea entirely.”

Pink snickered, “That’s because it is from China.  Please, do not investigate the smuggling of small quantities of green tea.  It would cut off my supply.”

I laughed and gave her a wink.

Pink asked, “Naomi, what is the latest from Easter and Jemima?”

Glyce said, “Great news!  Dr. Quinn has cut off the Geoffrey romance.  He has turned to hotel staff, which he has no problem obtaining physical relationships.  But Jemima asked why she cut it off, and Dr. Quinn said that ‘someone’, our dear Jemima, had asked her if her trysts had ever worked out for her.  It caused some honest introspection and she is avoiding anything physical until she works things out.  In the meantime, Jemima has had a few more ‘girl talks.’  As for the team dynamics, Geoffrey has taken over.  Easter only had to remind him once that the driver was responsible for safety, and he would not do what Geoffrey asked if it seemed unsafe, but he demanded that Geoffrey keep him informed of alternate routes in case a storm suddenly changed course.  They only had one mess up when they found out that turtles do not ice skate very well.  They’ve done a great job of avoiding danger otherwise.  And Dr. Quinn is using her added free time without bedroom activities to write a new storm chasing textbook with a lot of Jemima’s photographs.  It will be taught next year in loose-leaf fashion, but the finished published version will have a section on the team.  So, Easter and Jemima will be talked about in an upcoming college textbook.”

Pink nodded. “Dev, why don’t you tell everyone about the cases you have been investigating.  Do you know where Shingo went?  Or is that question where did Shingo go?”  Everyone snickered.

I shrugged, “It is not my case.  We have been helping, or trying to help, Tuesday Wednesday.  Old Man Pear wants answers.  He suggested a Rotten Apple Gang revenge angle.  That got us involved.  But we have no concrete evidence of whether Shingo Pear is within a hundred miles of Tracy, dead or alive.”

Pink smiled as she held her tea close to her lips, “Oh, I am sure he is alive and I am almost positive he is here in Tracy.  What do you know of Shingo Pear?”

Again, I shrugged, “He is an illegitimate offspring of Old Man Pear.  When he started paying for Shingo’s college expenses, he confessed to his wife that he had an affair and Shingo was the result.  Now, Shingo is the only one left to carry on the Pear growing empire in Stout County.  Finishing tops in his class at Duke, he has been groomed by his father in the pear growing side of things ever since, especially with the three half-brothers all deceased.  But every connection that we can make to the Pears here in Tracy dry up quicker than we can ask questions.  The Rotten Apples, the new breed of bad guys, are closed mouth about it, almost antagonistic.  It seems they want to know where he is too, probably to make him permanently in the realm of ‘lost with no trace.’”

Pink asked, “I am not a detective, but have you investigated the mother’s side of things?”

I shook my head.  “Tuesday cannot give us anything about that.  Mr. Pear refuses to divulge her name.  He says that she is a dignified older woman now, deprived of raising her child herself.  She gave up her child and surrogate parents raised the child as their own, only allowing Mr. Pear to visit and provide financial help.  Mr. Pear does not wish to disturb the mother of his son.”

Pink laughed, “But Mrs. Pear does not have any problem talking about her.  She thought I was the woman until she realized that I was a generation too young.  She made the trip to this very room to confront me years ago.  Shingo could be my son biologically, but his mother is older.  She said that Mr. Pear had the fling when he was at a horticulture school for six months, when I was still in high school.  He was ashamed for his breaking of his marital vows, but he still today refers to the mysterious woman as his little ‘apfelstrudel.’ ”

I sat more erect, “You are saying that Mr. Pear’s love interest from decades ago was a member of the Apple family?”

Pink smiled and shrugged, “I’m not a detective.”

I asked, “Do you know of anyone who attended horticulture school about the same time that Mr. Pear did?”

Pink shrugged again, “I was trapped in my home for my entire adult life.  How would I know?”

I sighed, “But, Pink, families talk.  I am sure the mother stayed away through the entire pregnancy.  Who made any disappearances?”

Pink waved a hand in the air.  “Oh, from time to time, a few.  But Ambrosia was the hippie of the family.  She slept around before her husband Pine came along and she had disappearances after they got married.  And my sweet Aunt Honeycrisp, my maiden aunt, had one year when no one knew where she was.”

I muttered, “You know who the mother of Shingo is, but you are not going to tell me.”  My face was getting red from irritation.

Pink held her teacup with the pinky finger extended.  She fanned her face with her free hand, which was covered with a laced glove.  And in her best Scarlet O’Hara voice, she said, “Well, my-my, a big strong detective like yourself does not need a lady to do his job for him.  And it is not lady-like to tell family secrets, especially in a family where secret telling can get you buried six-feet under.  Fiddle-dee-dee. Let’s just change the subject to Mr. Dick Biggers, or is it Bic Diggers?”

I did not need a mirror.  The redness in my face changed from irritation to embarrassment.

I cleared my throat.  “We now have Empire’s DNA for future reference, but the evidence from the murder was too degraded.  We could tell that the DNA was familial, but not necessarily Empire.  We have placed him in the area.  Our little junior sleuth, Sophie, made some innocent high school research project phone calls.  You know the type of call.  ‘Oh, please, sir, my project is due next Monday.  Can you tell me if that luscious looking man, Empire Apple, ever flew into your airport?’  If we asked, we would have to get a warrant.  But they bent over backwards to help a sweet little girl who is not even in high school yet.  For all of Empire’s denigration of Stout County, he used a private jet from Boston to come home whenever he needed to.  Sophie even got the tail number.  Then her next call to Boston got a list of dates in which he was dropped off in Stout County and picked up in Stout County.  We have him in the area at the time of the murder, but not at the scene of the crime.  Frankly, he was the college boy.  I do not think he had the stomach to pull the trigger.  After all, Dick Biggers was his friend.”

Pink smiled and looked out the window.  “Yes, and Dickie used that friendship to get a free pass to the girls that were here at the time.  The girls, I call the remaining ones ‘ladies’ now, talked to the customers.  It seemed Dickie knew too much, according to Baldwyn.  Dickie got wind that Baldwyn was after him.  Little Dickie went into hiding, but one person could cause him to surface, his best friend who was in school in Boston, with the message that all was clear.  Empire had to be there.  If he was not there, Dickie would not have surfaced.”

I fumed, “And why did you not tell me then or even now?  Do not give me that stuff about you not being a detective.  You were suppressing evidence in a murder investigation.”

She laughed, “Six years ago, I had no freedom to say anything.  I had Baldwyn bragging.  Baldwyn claimed to be the one who shot JFK, although he wasn’t even born yet, and JR Ewing, which he was born by then, but not old enough.  But once Baldwyn gets out of the hospital, you can ask if he pulled the trigger or made Empire do it, but it could be any number of the goons that are still around.  He might barter the information for a change in prisons, away from my father who put him in the hospital and swore he will do it again when he gets out.  Daddy loves me in his own way.  He won’t kill Baldwyn.  He wants the pain to last longer than that.”  She paused.  “And if you dangle the right carrot, he might divulge who killed the former D.A.”

I sputtered, “But he died of a heart attack.”

Pink fluttered her eye lashes, “He calls himself a detective, and sometimes, he has no clue.  Again, Baldwyn loved to brag.  Little Dickie was making a deal with the D.A., talking to no one except the D.A.  So, when both died, there was no connection to trace.”

My stomach was doing strange flip-flops.  That’s when Otto and Zuzka came in with apple strudel from the bakery.  Pink Lady was having a lot of fun at my expense today.  And I thought I was her favorite brother-in-law…  No, wait a minute.  I was her only brother-in-law, so that made me the least favorite too.

Pink turned to my wife, “Naomi, do you agree with my assessment about men.  Your husband thinks he has finished all of his updates, but he has hardly started.  Men!  They focus so much on their work, they do not see the mysteries under their noses.”

Glyce nodded, “Dev is still a detective in his dreams.  He talks in his sleep about cold cases, and he might even solve them.  Then he wakes up and cannot remember a thing.”  There were a few snickers around the room.

As I thought about how I had been the center of attention, and not in a good way.  I suddenly became ashamed of my reaction to all the news that Pink Lady calmly gave me.  I had to see things from her viewpoint.  As a member of a crime family, even one who tried to stay out of the crime business, loose lips could easily get you killed.  And if all she had was Baldwyn bragging, did she have any true evidence at all.  And me being the hot-shot detective, I had a gold mine of Rotten Apple gossip who wanted to tell me the gossip, but she needed to be asked.  My sister-in-law used this “tea party” as her way of nudging me in the right direction.  From now on, if there was even a hint of Rotten Apple involvement, I would ask her first.

Pink waved a hand.  “Now onto other business.  I talked to Juici Apple this week.  She loves to talk.  She has no filter at all.  So, Dev, if you want to know how I got a copy of a letter from Red Delicious to Empire and the knowledge of how the letter was delivered, you will also know the leak at the precinct.  Your new patrol officer, that sweet little Guy Weiss, a.k.a. Wise Guy, is dating Juici.  She is family, but not connected to the Rotten Apples.  But since she is family, they talk.  You may want to establish a relationship with her, as a formal Confidential Informant, although any thing you tell her will never stay confidential.  Juici is also friends with a few of the ladies here.  They think that the conversation is innocent, since Juici does nothing illegal, but she is probably the leak back to Empire and Envy Apple.  Like I say, Juici likes to talk and has no filter.  So, Anna, you and I now know where the leak is and we need to plug it on this end.”  Anna smiled and nodded.  Pink turned back to me.  “But, Dev, keep Juici in play.  Empire may consider her too great a risk in the future, and I hope you can plan some sort of extraction if that happens.  Juici is sweet.  She is fun to be around, but she is brainless.  Brainless does not work in a crime family.”

I asked, “But what is in the letter from Red Delicious, your Uncle Delly, and how was it delivered?”

Pink laughed, “Uncle Delly praised Empire for his investment skills which make the Rotten Apples richer without doing anything illegal.  But he wanted a firm reminder that he was still in charge and the goons belong to Uncle Delly.  As proof, the messenger pulled a bloody head out of a burlap sack and threw it onto Empire’s lap.  Did I mention that Empire no longer owns a thoroughbred race horse?”

Glyce ejaculated, “No!  He didn’t?!?!”  Pink nodded.

I nodded too, “Thanks for the information.  I’ll have a heart to heart with Wise Guy about his love interest.  Wise Guy has just now proven to not be too ‘wise’.  He might think that since she is fun and not connected to illegal activity, that we would not care much about the relationship, but I like your idea of using her as a C.I.  We might even slip some false information in with the true stuff to keep Empire off balance, maybe see if he is using what Juici tells him.”  Then I paused.  “And, Glyce always says, ‘Detective, detect!’ when she gets angry.  What else have I not detected?  I am nearing ‘clueless’ at this point.”

Aunt Tensie laughed, “I am so glad you said it that way.  I am sure that you know that Sophie and Blaise have been visiting me a lot for the past month.  Dev, my doctors down east said that I did not have much longer to live.  I know.  Look at me.  I am almost 100 and as strong as ever, but my spark was not there.  I needed someone to light the pilot light.  Since I have no grandchildren, I chose Sophie and Blaise to be the heirs to the ‘Design by Tensie’ empire.  Not much money there, but they are looking at the projects where I failed.  We had a rough start.  Sophie is not very forgiving if Blaise messes something up, but we have nice hugging sessions until everything is talked through.  I never had children and these two make me feel twenty years younger, and I got a few patents in my 80s, just none in my 90s.  My inner circle includes Pink and Mighty with Maeve, my counselor, and Pauline, who brings Baffy over to play with her adopted auntie.  I did not want you to know, until now. I was afraid you would interfere with Sophie and Blaise coming over.  And I hate being fawned over.  What happens will happen.  Do you understand?”

I nodded, “I do get into the Protect and Serve mode on occasion.”  Then I looked around the room.  I had been the target of a lot of ‘information,’ making me look bad with each new revelation.  When I got to Scrambled, my older brother, I asked, “And why am I the only one being picked on today?”

Scrambled chuckled, “I’m usually the punching bag.  I am just so glad Pink picked on someone else for a change!”

Pink asked, “Oh, everyone, do you want to know what my Scrammie asked me yesterday?”

Then everyone laughed, except for Scrambled.


Apples and Pears are very closely related to each other.  Many think that the Asian pear varieties are grafted blends of apples and pears, but most modern Asian pears, that look like apples with that characteristic apple crunch, are crossbred between different Asian pears.  Yet, that does not stop people from talking about how they are pears that look and sometimes feel like apples.  And the conclusion is usually the idea of cross pollination, or some other method.

Some of us can remember the Dallas television show’s summer cliffhanger.  Everyone was asking, “Who shot JR?”

And the bloody horsehead scene in The Godfather movie is right up there with Marlon Brando saying something along the lines of, “Give him an offer he can’t refuse.”  Those scenes get stuck in your mind.

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