The Yard Sale
The Yard Sale
(But It Ain't No Bargain)
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This book pits the good against the bad and the good win--how imaginative. However, it is not your typical murder mystery in that the hero, Chas Kirkland, is a married homicide detective and he doesn’t get involved in affairs with every woman he meets. The story revolves around a friend of the detective who disappears travelling to the beach in Delaware. The detective learns that other women are also missing and he pulls out all the stops with his fellow police officers, his wife and their friends to find the women. Will he be too late or does he rescue them? Is one of the missing women a secret lover of a state Senator--did he kill her? You learn to hate the villainous leader of the Sparks Clan and root for justice to be done. Root for Chas and he might let you in on some other exciting police stories.

My wife, Linda, has gone off with her group of friends for a bonding weekend and has given me orders to have fun and not go to work--she knows me too well. Well, here it is Saturday afternoon and I am sitting in the Police Station in Annapolis, Maryland, plowing through a series of disappearance cases for Jerry Carter of the Rehoboth, Delaware, Police Department. I don’t normally work on missing person cases, since I’m assigned to Homicide, but Jerry has been getting calls about several women over the past month that have failed to show up at the beach resort area. He is at a dead-end and has asked his old Air Force buddy Chas, that’s me, to give him some help from the Annapolis area. I didn’t realize when he called how personally involved I was going to get.

* * *

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and just warm enough to have the top down on her new BMW Z-3 convertible. Lisa thought this was going to be the start of a new life and there was no better way to begin than with her friends, who were waiting for her at the "Sea Colony" resort in Bethany Beach. Her next 45 minutes was pure pleasure in her new Bemmer convertible. She had time to think about life and what she really wanted to do, without the distractions of work and other people being around. Lisa loved her new car and was enjoying the cool fall breeze flowing through her hair.

As Lisa turned left and pulled away from the light at the crossroads of Routes 50 and 404, her life was about to change forever.

Lisa continued on Route 404, toward the beaches, and was enjoying the music from her CD of "Les Miserables." Not long after she turned East on Route 16, and crossed the Delaware State Line, Lisa spotted a Yard Sale sign in front of a large farm house that set back about 200-yards from the highway. There were many large trees and bushes obscuring the house from the road and not the smartest place for a lone woman to visit strangers. However, the cutest little brunette girl, about 8-year’s old, was next to the sign and waved and smiled to Lisa. Lisa could never resist yard sales and especially cute little children. While this girl was a little on the dirty side, she had an angelic face, beautiful brown eyes, and an enticing smile. Lisa would never feel the same about that smile again.

* * *

Ashley Sterret had been the first to disappear at the Sparks’ Yard Sale. She had left home the weekend after Labor Day and headed to Rehoboth, Delaware, to visit her friend Sheila and Sheila’s brother, Paul, on whom Ashley had a crush. After the busy Holiday weekend, Ashley had earned a well-deserved vacation and wanted to relax with friends and do a little searching for art bargains. She had always been interested in art and had spent time in college visiting the fine art gallery’s in and around Washington, D.C.

After stopping at several galleries before she turned off Route 404 on to Route 16, Ashley was breezing along in her deep green, Porche Boxter, when she saw a sign up ahead that made her begin to slow. She traveled this route enough to know the sign could mean bargains were near. The cute little brunette by the sign signaled her in with a smile and wave of her hand. Ashley was mesmerized by the little angel by the side of the driveway and turned into the dirt road toward the rustic old homestead.

Elizabeth McKinley was the second victim to succumb to the pretty little brunette’s smile that weekend. Elizabeth had to finish up her work as the new manager of the First Savings Bank of Annapolis on Saturday before heading to the beach for a rendezvous with her lover, Senator William Franklin. The beautiful redhead did not like having to work on Saturday’s, but she was off on Sunday and Monday. She was looking forward to spending some time with her lover and lounging on the beach while he was at the conference during the day. She also hoped to stop at a few antique stores or yard sales before they closed.

Zoe left her home in Silver Spring, Maryland, Saturday morning at 8:00 AM. Her mother was still asleep, so she left her a note saying she loved her and would be home Monday evening. She liked living with her mother, but she enjoyed getting away for awhile, also. Zoe was looking forward to the three-hour drive to Dewey Beach, Delaware. She found it relaxing driving her Mazda Miata on these long trips. It was a beautiful September day and, with the top down, the wind in her hair felt wonderful. Her feeling didn’t last long.

After having some breakfast at the "Silver Diner" in Laurel, Maryland--one of her favorite places, she headed out on Route 32 toward Annapolis. Her travels were uneventful until she succumbed to the same enticements that Ashley and Elizabeth couldn’t resist--a Yard Sale and a beautiful child. Morgan beckoned her in and Randy, Vera and Robby did the rest.

Randy felt that three beautiful women at a time were enough and no more yard sales were held until they were through with the women and disposed of their bodies. Unfortunately for Lisa, they had finished too early.

Cal Kirby was born in Mt. Shasta, California, but lived his formative years in Stockton--his brother and two sisters still reside there. After a stint in the Air Force, he moved to Maryland, where he now lives with his wife, Linda. He attended University College at the University of Maryland and spent 35 years with the Federal Government before retiring in 1994. Cal has been a professional actor since 1973 and has appeared on stage, TV, and in at least 30 theatrical releases (mostly as an extra).

Cal’s favorite times are when he is with his family, friends, and helping at his church. He has three sons, a daughter-in-law and four grandchildren (all of whom he adores). His friends and family were big inspirations for characters in The Yard Sale--hope they enjoy their alter egos.

"I was inspired to write this book several years ago when I was coming back from a long weekend at Bethany Beach, Delaware, and saw a creepy house with a yard sale sign in front. This is my first book, but I already have a good plot for my next Chas Kirkland Mystery. If this book goes well, I hope to get "Our Fathers" out next year.

Cal Kirby


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