Lady Justice and the Ghostly Treasure

BOOK: Lady Justice and the Ghostly Treasure
9.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

What People Are Saying

About The Lady Justice Mystery/Comedy Series


I recommend this for anyone who enjoys mysteries that are clean without bad language and sex. Loved the humor and the over the hill gang. Jodiblonde – Amazon Review


Thornhill is a great writer.... funny and true to life. I have read most of the series so far, and love them all. PhilJake – Amazon Review


This was a fun read. I look forward to more of Robert Thornhill's books. Elizabeth – Amazon Review


Love Robert Thornhill's books. They are extremely entertaining. His characters are charming and the stories fun. Gail – Amazon Review


Robert Thornhill novels are always such fun to read. His characters are older and yet he finds a way to involve them in each story in a dignified manner. Always clean language and just a few sexual innuendos will keep you smiling. I really appreciate his reader friendly style when offering titles to my older friends and family. Adrienne – Amazon Review


I have read about 5 of the Lady Justice series and have loved every book. Robert Thornhill's sense of humor cracks me up. I love the two main characters
and their escapades. I will continue reading these books until I have read them all. Highly recommend. Sandra – Amazon Review


Yet another amazing book from Robert Thornhill. The characters are endearing and by the end of the book you want more story. So glad there are more books by Robert Thornhill. If you haven't read any of the Lady Justice series you are seriously missing out. Ed – Amazon Review


A Great Mystery/Comedy Book. Walt and the Gang are even better than Stephanie Plum. Gail A. D. Amazon Review


I loved this book. Very few "series" books catch my attention, but this sure did. It's fast paced and humorous. I loved the characters a lot. I read the entire book without taking a break. I was definitely craving more after I was done! I intend to purchase the entire series although I'm on a tight budget. Some Authors books cannot be ignored. I know I'm going to enjoy them all. Keep writing these wonderful books! Kindle Customer – Amazon Review


I am enjoying this Lady Justice Series. Robert Thornhill's books combine hilarity with mystery. They are easy quick moving books. Good cozy reads for the beach or a lazy afternoon. Gailirob – Amazon Review
















Lady Justice and the Ghostly Treasure

Copyright May, 2016 by Robert Thornhill

All rights reserved.


No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any way, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without prior permission of the author except as provided by USA copyright law.


This novel is a work of fiction. Names, incidents and entities included in the story are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, events and entities is entirely coincidental.



Published in the United States of America


  1. Fiction, Humorous
  2. Fiction, Mystery & Detective, General






    “Well, Stan,” Kevin said, shaking his head, “here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into!”

    “Really?” I replied. “We’re about to be blown to smithereens and you’re doing Laurel and Hardy?”

    “Lighten up, Walt. We’ve got fifteen minutes before that thing goes off. Plenty of time. We’ll figure a way out of this.”

    “I certainly hope so. Oscar is going to be royally pissed if we turn his rental into a pile of smoldering rubble.”

    “Not nearly as pissed as our wives when they discover we’re a couple of crispy critters. Now pipe down and let me think.”

    If there was one ray of hope in our desperate plight, it was that Kevin, my brother-in-law and partner in Walt Williams Investigations, was a geriatric MacGyver. I had witnessed first-hand his uncanny ability to weasel out of impossible situations using only his wit and ordinary stuff just laying around. I hoped he could pull one more miracle from his bag of tricks.

    While Kevin was racking his brain for an exit strategy, my mind drifted back to the phone call that started the unlikely series of events that landed us in our current predicament.

    The call was from an old friend, Oscar Evans. Back in the days when we were both landlords, we worked together in the Landlord’s Association and often got together to share war stories that only another landlord could relate to.

    Six years ago, I had my fill of stopped up toilets, leaky roofs and belligerent tenants. I sold all my rentals and joined the Kansas City Police Department. Oscar was still fighting the good fight.

    “Walt! Oscar here. I need a favor.”

    I was still somewhat miffed at my old friend. A few years ago, he had heard through the grapevine that I had a vacancy in the building where I live and offered to give me a referral. He was selling one of his buildings, and a long time tenant, Jerry Singer, was looking for a new home. Oscar sang his praises, saying Jerry had never been a day late with his rent. Oscar’s only regret was that he had no vacancies himself.

    I rented to Jerry, and soon discovered that Oscar had neglected to share one important detail --- Jerry fancied himself as a stand-up comic and was constantly haranguing us with stupid jokes, practicing for his weekly gig at the local comedy club.

    In all fairness, once we reached an understanding about the jokes, Jerry had been an exemplary tenant.

    “A favor? Seriously? After dumping Jerry the Joker on my doorstep?”

    I had to give him a hard time.

    “I’d hoped you’d forgiven me for that. I could really use your help.”

    “Forgive and forget --- that’s my motto. Come on over.”

    Thirty minutes later Oscar was sitting in my office.

    “So what’s up, Oscar? You said something about needing my help.”

    “Indeed I do. I think I’ve got a meth lab in one of my rentals.”

    So there it was --- every landlord’s worst nightmare.

    Crystal meth was the poor man’s cocaine. It was relatively easy to make using ingredients that were readily available off retail shelves. So easy in fact, that pretty much any dumb ass could set up a home-made lab, and plenty of dumb asses had done just that. Missouri had the dubious distinction of being the ‘Meth Capitol of the World.’ In one year, over 1,500 labs had been located in the Show-Me state.

    A popular misconception was that the labs were found exclusively in low income rentals, but during my five years on the force, we had found them in hotel rooms and in fancy estates worth a half million bucks.

    At that moment, there was a knock at the door. It was Kevin.

    “Hey, Partner,” he said, “Things have been a bit slow. Thought we might brainstorm about getting some new clients.”

    “I think we might have one,” I replied, leading him into the office.

    “Kevin, I’d like you to meet an old friend, Oscar Evans. Oscar, this is my partner Kevin McBride. Oscar was just telling me about a possible meth lab in one of his rentals.”

    “Ooooh, bad news!” Kevin replied. “What tipped you off?”

    “Well, I don’t know for sure. I just rented to these two young men about two weeks ago. Their references checked out and they both were working. I always stop by after a new tenant has settled in, just to make sure there are no problems. It happened to be trash day, and dogs or coons had ripped open a couple of bags on the curb. I noticed right away several boxes of cold medicine, an acetone can and a couple of empty propane cylinders. I remembered the officer from the Drug Enforcement Unit talking about stuff like that at our Landlord’s meeting. I thought I should follow through. Better safe than sorry.”

    “So how can we help?” I asked, knowing full well what was coming.

    “I’d like you to check it out, Walt. Maybe it’s nothing. If so, I don’t want to upset my new tenants, but if not, I’ll need your help to get them out.”

    “Why us?” Kevin asked. “If we do find a lab, just call the cops.”

    Oscar and I exchanged glances. Kevin was a good P.I., but he obviously didn’t understand the intricacies of being a landlord.

    “It’s not that simple, Kevin,” I replied. “Landlord-tenant laws are quite specific. Oscar can’t just give them the boot. If they have a lease and are paying their rent, Oscar would have to file a Landlord’s Complaint, go to court and prove that they’ve broken their lease by committing an unlawful act on the property. The process would take months, and in the meantime, the creeps are contaminating the building with their lab.”

    Kevin was perplexed. “Okay, I get that, but if we find evidence that they’re cooking in the basement, why not just call the D.E.U.?”

    “He could do that, and the cops could put an end to the whole thing right away, but not without consequences.”

    “Like what?”

    “In order to circumvent the landlord-tenant laws, the cops always bring someone from the Building Codes Unit. There are very few old buildings in Kansas City that meet current building codes. If an inspector finds even one violation, he can declare that it’s a dangerous building and have all utilities shut off. What it amounts to is a forced eviction.”

    “So, problem solved.”

    “No, in that situation, the landlord’s problems are just beginning. If a structure is declared a dangerous building, it can’t be reoccupied until it meets current building codes. That can cost thousands of dollars. In some cases where the contamination is severe, the codes people call the Environmental Protection Agency. I’ve seen them recommend stripping everything down to the wall studs to meet their remediation requirements. The landlord finds the cost prohibitive, abandons the building, and we have another derelict property that draws rats and human vermin as well.”

    “Holy crap! Glad I’m not a landlord. How can we help?”

    “Well, I’d say the first step is to see if there’s really a lab on the premises. Oscar, if you have a key, we’ll watch the place and when they leave, we’ll check it out.”

    “I was hoping you’d say that,” he replied, handing me a key. “This fits both the front and back door.”

    “Great! As soon as we know something, we’ll be in touch.”

    Oscar thanked me, and stepping into the hall, came face to face with Jerry.

    Jerry was beside himself. “Oscar, so good to see you. I’ve been meaning to call and thank you for recommending me to Walt. I love it here.”

    “Glad it worked out, Jerry,” Oscar replied, obviously trying to slip past without further discourse.

    But it wasn’t to be.

    “Oscar, before you go, have you heard the one about the woman who goes to the doctor for a check-up? When she comes home, her husband asks, ‘So how did the appointment go?’ She replies, ‘He said I have the body of a twenty-year-old.’ Her husband says, ‘Oh yeah. What did he have to say about your forty-year-old ass?’ The woman replies, ‘Your name didn’t come up.’”

    Oscar gave me a look that screamed,
Help me please!

    As I closed my door, I winked and whispered, “Paybacks are hell!”



    I hate stakeouts, but they’re a necessary part of the P.I. business.

    Kevin and I parked across the street and a few houses down from Oscar’s rental on Olive Street. Not knowing how long we might have to wait for the tenants to leave, we came prepared with coffee and snacks.

    The afternoon drug into evening and just as the sun was going down the garage door lifted and an old Toyota pulled into the street. The driver had a soul patch on his lip and the passenger had stiff, spikey hair.

    “Just like Oscar described them,” I said. “Looks like the coast is clear.”

    “Crimeny, Walt. I thought your tenants at the Three Trails were the bottom of the barrel. Guess you could do worse.”

    Kevin never tired of disparaging my one rental no one would buy, a flop house on Linwood with twenty sleeping rooms. In his defense, most of my renters were barely hanging onto the bottom rung of the social ladder, but as the old saying goes, ‘Everybody has to be somewhere.’ I consoled myself, knowing that without the Three Trails, most of them would be living on the street.

    We waited until the Toyota’s tail lights disappeared around the corner.

    “Got the flashlight?” Kevin asked.

    “Right here,” I replied.

    Thankfully, the sun had set and the lone streetlight was shattered, so we were able to make our way to the back of the house under the cover of darkness.

    When we reached the back door, I flicked on the flashlight and Kevin tried the key Oscar had given us.

    It didn’t fit.

   “Well, that tells us something right there,” Kevin said, pulling his lock picks from his pocket.

    Two minutes later, I heard the ‘click’ and we were in.

    The back door opened into the kitchen. A cursory look around confirmed what we suspected about the two young occupants. The counter was littered with pizza boxes and empty beer cans, and trash was spilling onto the floor.

    “Obviously good housekeeping and sanitation are not priorities,” Kevin whispered.

    A quick inspection of the rest of the main floor revealed that their sleeping accommodations consisted of two sleeping bags.

    Back in the kitchen, we found the door leading to the basement. The moment we stepped on the stairs, we were hit in the face with a stench that stung our eyes and took our breath away.

    “Yep, they’re cooking,” Kevin said, covering his nose with his handkerchief.

    I flipped on the light and at the base of the stairs we found the source of the offensive odor.



    “Amateurs,” Kevin remarked, examining the drug paraphernalia. “It’s a wonder they haven’t blown themselves to bits.”

    I had to agree. I had been on drug busts with the D.E.U. where the basement lab looked like a branch of Putnam Pharmaceuticals.

    I snapped a couple of photos with my cell phone. “Looks like they’re right in the middle of a batch. They might have just gone out for supplies. We’d better skedaddle before they get back.”

BOOK: Lady Justice and the Ghostly Treasure
9.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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