Chapter 15 Pieces to the Puzzle

The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land

Pieces to the Puzzle

 publication1                                I guessed Ted Blaylock to be in his mid 40’s, just about right for a World War II pilot – which he was.  Slender, balding and a significant presence of intelligence in his manner and speech. Air Force Captains were a well-respected group – Ted Blaylock fit that model.

He greeted me at the hanger door. “Hello, Mr. Reno. Very nice to meet you – I’ve heard so much about you from Nickie, I feel that I know you already.”

“Please call me Carson, and it’s nice of you to take the time to see me.  Hopefully, Nickie has been kind with her words.  We’ve been friends for a long time and do kid around a lot.”

“She speaks very highly of you, and I’m flattered you’re seeking information from me – although I have no idea how I can help.  And don’t be…

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Chapter 12 Strategy

Episode 12. Strategy…..including a brush with the bad guys. Enjoy

The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land


publication1                     I thought Nickie would faint when I walked into the restaurant and waved – it was 5 minutes past eight.  Leroy was already seated in the booth, and had coffee ready for both of us.

I ordered biscuits and gravy, and we ate while he briefed me on the Bosley Buick caper.  He was still a bit sensitive about the whole thing, but I know it was a big feather in his cap to get these guys behind bars – where they belonged.  Alfred E. Dollar would turn states evidence and probably seek a reduced sentence.  Jack Logan was already in town and suing for a petition to have all charges against Kathy Ledbetter dropped.

Other than the innocents that were injured at the dealership, I guess things turned out best for everyone.  Some bad guys off the streets, some real crooks behind bars and a truly innocent…

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Chapter 9; City Hall

The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land

City Hall

publication1Repeating myself, I am not an early person.  Eight o’clock on Sunday morning was not a time I ever knew existed – much less participated in.  However, Larry’s message was urgent and I knew he was serious – Larry was my friend.


Parking was no problem; the garage was almost empty.  The desk sergeant directed me to a third floor conference room. I grabbed a cup of stale coffee from a pot in the hallway and knocked on the door.

Larry quickly opened the door and before I spoke, I noticed he was not alone.  He introduced me to Chuck Hutchinson, Memphis Police Chief and Carlton Scruggs, Shelby County Sheriff.

Larry spoke first. “Carson, I have taken the liberty to brief the chief and sheriff on our conversation of last week. And, I’m going to assume you aren’t aware of any events that happened while you were out…

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Chapter 8; Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Episode 8 – Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”We’re not happy until you’re not happy”. Enjoy.

The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

    publication1                                 Liz had to work a noon flight to London, so she dropped me off at my car on her way back to Memphis. The old Ford looked lonely sitting in that field all by herself – I had left her all night.  It worked out best to ride with Liz and her Corvette – she didn’t like my car anyway.

When I got back to Chief’s the breakfast crowd was heavy – this was a Saturday morning in a small town.  I waved at Nickie and took a stool at the end of the bar – hoping she had some messages for me.

“Jack and Coke, Mr. Reno?” she asked grinning.

“Tell you what.  Just hold that thought and bring me some coffee – I’ve already had breakfast.”  I should have known better than to say that.

“Well, you didn’t have it in…

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Chapter 7; The Party

The ‘Party’ and the ‘Beauty’. Episode 7 of my serial novel ‘The Price of Beauty’. Enjoy.

The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land

The Party


The geography was perfect. Humboldt airport was located just across the highway from the Humboldt County Club, and the Mary Ellen Maxwell house was situated less than a quarter mile from the runway.  Logistics were also perfect.  Caddies from the club drove golf carts, shuffling people from the airport to the club, to the Maxwell house and to/from the parking areas. Parking was either at the Country Club, at the Maxwell home or in a large parking area in a field just off Warmath Circle.  I chose the field.



Humboldt Airport

 The Humboldt airport was small – very small.  Aircraft operation after dark required pre-arrangement and payment upon use.  Nickie’s cousin, Ted Blaylock, ran the airport, and according to her, he had been contracted to keep airport operations open all weekend.  It was apparent many guests would be flying in for the party.  This was shaping…

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Chapter 4; The Manhattan Club

Come along with Carson to the Memphis Manhattan Club. Episode 4 of my serial novel ‘The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land’

The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land

The Manhattan Club

     publication1                                    Marcie had already left when I finally got back to my office. She had a note posted where I COULD NOT miss it. 

Call Elizabeth Teague at 901-478-2233.


It was a Memphis number, so I knew that Elizabeth Teague must be back in town. She had an apartment in Germantown, and despite placing many calls to her; we had not spoken in several weeks.

Elizabeth Teague is the kind of woman every man needed to know – at least once in his life. Taller than most, she had those kind of legs that just keep going and going. Unlike most women I meet, she had class – sometimes to her detriment, but she had class. Slim, blonde, well put together and a personality that gave your hormones an electric shock.  Liz worked for Southern Airways and was, literally, a jet setter – traveling across…

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Chapter 3; Watson Clark

Episode 3 of my serial novel ‘The Price of Beauty’. Carson takes a trip to Arkansas and the problems begin

The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land

Watson Clark

      publication1                          I stopped by the Commercial Appeal building on my way into the office. The receptionist informed me that Watson Clark no longer worked for the paper.  Evidently, he had resigned unexpectedly a few weeks after the Barry Lassiter incident.  I guess that is the reason I couldn’t locate any additional details to match with his initial reporting of the death.

She had no idea where I could locate Watson, but offered to ask around among his former close friends. I left her my card and asked her, or anyone, to call me if they knew how I might locate him.  She seemed nice and agreed to call if she found out anything.


Mason Brown was the first person I met as I entered the Peabody lobby.

“Mason, I understand you had some excitement around here yesterday.”

“Yes sir Mr. Reno – we certainly did. That…

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The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land Chapter 1

Come join us with Episode 1 on my serial novel ‘The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land’. And tune in each Sunday for a new episode. Enjoy.

The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land

Monica Jeffers

     publication1                                  My office address is officially listed as 149 Union Avenue – L6, which means I occupy office 6 – located just off the lobby of The Peabody Hotel – Memphis, Tennessee.  I actually would consider my address to be 3rd avenue – not Union, but the address has its perks.

The location itself is also handy.  All my phone calls come through the hotel operator, which is also my answering service. I eat lunch and breakfast in the employee dining room at a great price. I have a beautiful lobby to greet potential clients – and please don’t forget the duck show, it happens twice a day. Aside from the perverts who hang out in the lobby restrooms, I can’t find a lot of fault with my office arrangements.


Besides, this is 1962 and people are accustomed to the modern ways of doing business…

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The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land Prologue and Introduction

The Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land

The Price of Beauty in

 Strawberry Land


A Carson Reno Mystery

Written by

Gerald W. Darnell

Copyright ã 2011 Gerald W. Darnell

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews, without permission from the publisher.

Gerald W. Darnell

cr press

ISBN 978-1-105-34331-5

The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.


Be sure to check out Carson Reno’s other Mystery Adventures

Murder in Humboldt

Killer Among Us

Horse Tales

SUnset  4


the Illegals


Dead Men Don’t Remember

The Fingerprint Murders

Cast of Characters

Carson Reno – Private Detective

Rita – Hostess Starlight Lounge

Marcie – Peabody Hotel Telephone Operator

Andy – Bartender…

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