From the Kansas City Star Tuesday, 6 February, 1900
A CAR KILLS A SCHOOL GIRL
Little Hortense Petty Horribly Mangled
On the Northeast Line
Hortense, the 12-year-old daughter of Wilfred Petty of 4116 St. John Avenue, was killed by an electric car at St. John and Jackson Avenues, almost directly in front of her own home at 8:30 o’clock this morning.
The little girl was on her way to school with her brother, Willy, 9 years old. They attended the Scarritt School, the little girl being in the fifth grade. There is no sidewalk along the north side of St. John Avenue west of Jackson and the two children were walking westward in the street along the north side of the track. The little boy says they heard no car coming. The cars run swiftly there, the neighbors say.
Just before the children reached Jackson Avenue, the little girl being at the left of her brother and a little in advance, started across the first car track. Just as she was stepping over the last rail of the first track the westbound car, running at high speed, struck her.
The man reading the previous evening’s newspaper lowered it to his lap. Across the bedroom a woman huddled against the wall. The lamplight transformed her red skirt into a pool of blood on the carpet around her.
That would work and well, the man thought. People constantly blundered onto the tracks of Kansas City’s streetcars, cable cars, and railway trains. The schoolgirl was the first of the month to die in that way, but undoubtedly not the last.
Not if he had anything to say about it at least.
He glanced over his shoulder at the rumpled bed and then at the girl. “Get up. You’re not hurt all that bad.”
“I’m sorry, sir. I’m not sure–“
“I told you to get up.”
“Yes, sir,” she said in her light, pretty voice and began a long, slow climb to standing, first her left foot, then hands flat on the floor as she got her right foot under her, but also on the hem of her dress. Still crouching, she yanked the red cloth out from under her scuffed shoe, and straightened, but never fully. Propping herself against the wall, she folded her arms across her hips and moaned softly.
“Quit your belly aching.”
When she glanced toward the door, he said, “You’re not leaving until I’m good and ready.”
“But, sir,” she blubbered.
“Don’t worry. I’ll see that you get home.” It wasn’t his plan to take her home, but she wasn’t to know that.
He’d made a mistake with this one.
The others hadn’t mattered. But someone might care about this girl, a pretty thing with red hair. People might come looking for her, and if they found her alive, she might tell them what he’d done. That would never do.
Besides, she was ruined now, quite ruined. Why, if she knew what he planned, she’d probably thank him for ending her misery.
But evening was hours away and he needed darkness. Meanwhile, there was the bed and there was the girl. The newspaper dropped to the floor as he stood.
Then, quite by chance, somewhere nearby a train sounded its whistle, its great metal wheels rumbled on the tracks, and he smiled.
She surprised him by smiling in return.
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That morning, at her desk at Price Investigations, Minty Wilcox pounded the keys of her old Remington typewriter. She stopped and lifted the carriage of the blind strike machine to check the date on the report from earlier in the week that she was typing.
Did I get it right? she asked herself. Yes, she had. She had typed Wednesday February 7, 1900, and not the 1899 that she’d typed more times than she cared to admit so early in the year . . .
It’s February 1900, and a young woman has gone missing from a Kansas City garment factory. Price Investigations has been hired to find the girl, who may have come to harm. Minty Wilcox longs to help, but her boss doesn’t approve of women sleuthing. He also forbids any office romance at all, especially with the dashing detective, Daniel Price. When Minty decides to defy her boss and go undercover to find the girl, Daniel helps her, but he also hinders her with outrageous flirtation and other ploys. And, as she digs into the case, Minty comes into danger herself. Will Daniel rescue her? Will Minty even let him try? Read Fatal February to find out.
From January through December, the Calendar Mysteries tell the story of Minty Wilcox and Daniel Price from newly met to newly wed and beyond in Kansas City, a place that could get downright deadly a century or so ago.
Buy Fatal February from February 14 through February 20, 2017, for only 99 cents at www.amazon.com/dp/B017081JHM.
Praise for January Jinx
Book 1 of the Calendar Mysteries
Mystery and romance in old Kansas City
By Juliet Kincaid
What fun it is to read a mystery set in a different locale, Kansas City in this case. Set at the turn of the last century, the book is well-researched and the details of daily life are woven into the story so expertly that you are transported. The characters are lively and everything they do and think is suitable for the era. The main character, Minty Wilcox, is the kind of young woman you root for: gutsy and daring for her time while still trying to maintain her manners. The love interest is fun, the plot engaging and the ending a surprise. Jump into another century with a rich variety of characters and have a good read.
The story moves with no dead spots at all. One little surprise after another triggers the wonder when the next in the series will arrive. Overall, an enjoyable few hours of reading. Cleverly done.
Sometimes a girl just can’t catch a break and that’s certainly true for Minty Wilcox. Everything just keeps getting worse, but Minty knows she’s not a murderer and she’s bound to prove it. January Jinx is a great mystery and a great kick-off for this series.
The delightful, creative, and charming January Jinx introduces a terrific character in Minty Wilcox, a good old-fashioned cozy mystery persona who will surely be able to carry the planned-for series. It’s Minty who drives the readable narrative, and author Juliet Kincaid keeps the pace steady and fast at the same time for quite a readable experience. The writing is appropriate for the historical setting without ever being gimmicky or archaic . . . The unique setting of 1899 Kansas City is full of flavor that never overwhelms the story and characters. With a terrific, original, but still comfortable series concept, there are certainly big things afoot for Juliet Kincaid and Minty Wilcox’s Calendar Mysteries.