We always like to hear about baby boomers changing careers not because they have to, but because they want to. That’s the case with Warren Friedman, the longtime owner of a pharmacy in the Cleveland area, but now a novelist with his first book, The Chicago Cap Murders. In this excerpt provided for BoomerCafé, detective Slats Grodsky has just investigated a murder committed on the same day the Chicago Cubs lose their opening day game at Wrigley Field. The only murder clue? A Cubs cap on the victim’s head. Then, there’s a similar crime just a few days later.
The second murder took place in the Fifteenth Police District in Chicago. Though he never worked in the district, Grodsky had visited the area many times. Within the Fifteenth was the Austin Career Education Center, an alternative high school where he had placed many juveniles to demonstrate there was a better life course than delinquency. Many youths dropped out, but for the few who remained, it was life altering. Slats was proud of those graduates.
The house they were responding to was around the corner from the school. Slowly flashing their badges from their unmarked car to the officers manning the roadblock, the two detectives weaved their way through the parked patrol cars on the street. The illumination from the rotating flashing beacons was more reminiscent of the light and sound exchanges from Close Encounters of the Third Kind than of a murder scene.
“Can I help you gentlemen?” Detective Parnell Jones questioned, stopping them at the door.
“Grodsky and Brainard. We’re from the Eighth,” Slats answered. “Heard about this and was told to come down here to help out.”
Jones turned to his partner and asked, “Since when do we ask the Eighth for help? Don’t you guys have the most robberies of all twenty-five Chicago districts so far this year?”
Charlie, more insulted than his partner, had to put the officer in his place.
“Officer Grodsky here helped examine the exact same murder four days ago on North Rogers.”
Jones’s attitude warmed a little. “Heard about that. Sorry, man.” He nodded toward the house and motioned them in. “Let me tell you what we know. The woman’s name is Patricia. Perp exited the house through the front door and left it open. Matter of fact, it was jammed open, as ifthey wanted someone to see it. Lady across the street thought it was strange for Patricia to have the front door open during a winter storm and tried to call her but got no answer, so she called 911. Her story holds up. Her phone number is the last one on caller ID. Later, when we called in the details, we got a call from the Seventeenth, who said theywere sending a detective. Your station must have picked it up aswell. You got here before they did.”
“Actually, the Seventeenth called our captain who then notified me to get my butt over here,” Slats corrected as he walked around the body. “Is there another entrance to the house?”
“Yes, but the backdoor is locked, and there are no footprints in the snow leading to it. No forced entry from windows either. Apparently, they entered through the front door. We’re checking house to house to see if anyone saw anything. So far, all we have is the corpse.”