The Stratenhoufen Case
Author's note: This was my first detective story with my fictional detective, Jack Mason. But since then I've... Show full author's note »
The Disappointing NoteMost of the next day, as Jack was at home in his apartment, he sat contemplating the previous day, and what was most prudent as to their next action. Several times throughout the day, his thoughts came to the footage of Mr. Stratenhoufen he had seen in Mr. Hunter's violin shop, and tried to think if he had seen the man anywhere the previous day. But he hadn't.
As it helped him think, he kept his coffee cup full, constantly sipping it, thinking. Often his thoughts were interrupted by the impatient meow-ing of his cat, wanting attention, so he would have no choice but to either pet her, or give her a treat, to quiet her. Most of the time he had his little dog on his lap, and he later realized that that probably had something to do with it.
That evening, at about 5:30, as Jack was just about to doze off, the phone rang. He answered it, revealing the voice of Inspector Burrow.
“Mason! Get down to the station! Better bring a gun. Hurry!” Then Burrow hung up. (Jack had received the address of the police station that the inspector was based out of, earlier on.) It took a few moments for Jack's tired brain to function properly, but he was finally able to slam the phone down on its hook and run into his room. He opened his small safe, loaded the Ruger LCR pistol inside it, and put it and a holster on his waist. He then pulled on his jacket and rushed out the door. On the street, he caught a cab and had the driver hurry to the police station. When he arrived, the inspector pulled him into his office and shut the door.
“What is it? Have you found him?” Jack said excitedly.
“Well, sort of. You see, we've heard reports of him, the same man, mind you, robbing another violin shop.”
“Another one? What does he have against violin shops?” Jack grinned.
“Who knows. But anyway, we have been able to trace him, and were wondering if you'd like to come along.”
Jack laughed and said, “Do you need an answer?”
The inspector smiled and said, “Excellent.” He pulled out a map and laid it on his desk. Jack saw at once that it was a map of the city. The inspector circled a certain area on it with a pen and said,
“Here is where we know he must be. He has been seen going in and out of it several times, and we think it must be his base. Of course, he is most likely armed, so we must be cautious.” Then, rolling up the map again and replacing it to its shelf, Burrow said, “A group of my men are waiting, so let’s go. You... did bring a gun, right?”
Jack pulled back his jacket to show the LCR.
Departing the police station, Jack, Burrow, and the small squadron of men headed for the building in question, arriving several later. They parked a safe distance away, then moved in, encircling it. After Inspector Burrow gave the signal, they broke in, weapons ready, and searched all the rooms. The results were very disappointing indeed: a note, addressed specifically to Jack. It read:
Mr. Jack Mason:
You're going to need a bit more wit than that.
Did you really think you would find me?