Getting Old is the Best Revenge
on my face, Hy grins. "Gotcha!"

    My book bags are dragging my shoulders down as I lug them to the entrance of the Lauderdale Lakes library, one of my favorite places. It is a small brick building in a residential section. This branch is very bright and inviting. It is my weekly job to return all our finished books and to choose new ones.
    In the good old days, three months ago, pre-P.I. biz, I was the only mystery reader. The girls adored romance novels, modern novels, and anything about Hollywood stars. But now it's only mysteries, except for Ida, of course, who always has to be different. The girls feel these are their textbooks on crime. Besides, they like being scared.
    Roly-poly Conchetta Aguilar became my good friend years ago, after discovering that I had been a librarian, too. Her assistant, young Barney Schwartz, loves to hear the gossip and stories I tell about those wacky characters I live with. His favorite was always crazy Greta Kronk, who raided our Dumpsters at night and wrote odd poems and made sketches of everyone. Poor Greta, who no longer is with us.
    The library is quiet right now, and we sit at one of the tables peacefully enjoying Conchetta's wonderful strong Cuban coffee as we gossip. "So, what's the latest word?" Barney asks, eager to relish a new story.
    "You want a word? I'll give you a word. How about-- sex! "
    That was a surprise. For me, too. I didn't know I was going to say that.
    "In your senior world? At your age?" tut-tuts the cheerful, thirtyish Conchetta. "Aha. The girls must still be spying on you."
    "More than ever. Jack thinks it's amusing and I can't stop blushing."
    "You're blushing right now," Barney says impishly.
    And my cheeks feel warm enough for me to know I am. "Not only are the girls glued to Sex and the City reruns, they try out the smutty language on one another."
    "I can just imagine." Conchetta grins as she refills my cup.
    "Then there's our new case. An elderly Italian couple from Plantation. She's eighty-two and he's eighty-five and she thinks we're going to catch her husband in bed with some floozy."
    "Delicious," says Barney, "considering that my folks are much younger and they haven't looked at one another in years. And neither one cares."
    "I can relate to Gladdy. My mom and aunts are drooling over the actor Chayanne, after they saw that sexy dance movie about Cuba," says Conchetta. "I tell them Chayanne's a Puerto Rican, but they don't believe me. He played a Cuban so he must be one. Hollywood wouldn't lie."
    "And to continue my sordid list," I say, "what about Hy Binder's nonstop dirty jokes? I wish everybody would just grow up."
    "Must be something in the water at Lanai Gardens," Conchetta suggests slyly.
    "Or maybe our local Publix supermarket is putting aphrodisiacs into everyone's hamburger patties," suggests Barney.
    "And wait 'til you read Evvie's latest movie review, which comes out tomorrow."
    "Wouldn't miss it," says Barney. "She can put an unusual spin on anything. Pauline Kael would have loved her."
    "She dragged us all to see a terrifying French movie about sexual obsession."
    "Now I really can't wait to read it," Barney says with a leer.
    "But here's the topper. Just as I was about to drive off, I learned we have a Peeping Tom on the premises. What the hell is going on?"
    We are still laughing when the front door opens to admit a vanload of talkative seniors from a nearby retirement home, carrying books to return and eager to get more.
    Conchetta and Barney go back to work while I pick out new titles for my gang.
    I have Carl Hiaasen's Skinny Dip in my hand when I suddenly get an idea. I drop it in my book bag and head for the newspapers section in an adjoining room.
    On a hunch I look up the obituaries of those two rich women who died. Thinking about the twenty-five-wealthiest-women list losing two members less than a week apart gets me wondering.
    I have the library table covered with newspapers, and I'm searching for articles about the dead heiresses,

Similar Books

Murder Most Strange

Dell Shannon

Death and Mr. Pickwick

Stephen Jarvis

The Scarlet Thread

Evelyn Anthony

The Starter Wife

Gigi Levangie Grazer