Robert Thornhill
Lady Justice and the Ghost Whisperer


Lady Justice and the Ghost Whisperer

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    What do a Confederate soldier who died on the field of battle, a woman who was driven from her home by the ravages of the Civil War, and a man who perished in a turn-of-the-century asylum have in common?

    They all contact private investigator, Walt Williams.

    A bizarre series of events surrounding these paranormal visits culminate in the discovery of a terrorist plot to detonate bombs at a crowded festival.

    Once again, Lady Justice pairs Walt with forces from beyond the veil to solve mysteries hidden for decades and bring evil-doers to justice.


 The Home Office of Walt Williams Investigations

Kansas City, Missouri

August, 2016


    “Yes, Mrs. Fitzhugh, I’m sure Harold loved you very much.”

    (Pause, listening)

    “Yes, Mrs. Fitzhugh, I have no doubt that Harold is trying to contact you from beyond the grave, but I’m afraid we can’t help you. We’re private investigators. Why don’t you try a psychic or a medium? Maybe they can help. Good luck.”

    “That’s four in the last two days!” I muttered, hanging up the phone.

   Kevin, my brother-in-law and partner in Walt Williams Investigations, chuckled, “Maybe we should buy a Ouija Board franchise. I’ll bet you could have sold one to Mrs. Fitzhugh.”

    “They say that there’s no such thing as bad advertising, but since that article appeared in the paper, I’m not so sure.”

    We had just wrapped up a case where, admittedly, a strange sequence of events led us to a hidden treasure. Somehow, the story was leaked to a reporter who must have been having a slow news day.

    The article read, Paranormal Investigators Find Hidden Gold.

    Immediately, the phone began ringing with folks wanting us to summon the dead or find their grandfather’s watch or their mother’s brooch.

    “The last thing we need,” I continued, “is to get labeled ‘psychic investigators.’ People will think we’re kooks and won’t hire us for legitimate jobs.”

    “You’re right about that,” Kevin replied. “Once you get identified with something, it sticks. No matter what Leonard Nimoy did after Star Trek, he was always Spock.”

    “And John Cryer,” I added, “He was on several episodes of NCIS, playing a doctor, but all I could see was Charlie Harper’s goofy brother on Two and a Half Men.”

    “So, where do we go from here?” Kevin asked. “We need work!”

    Actually, we didn’t. Since we were both in our seventies and financially secure, it wasn’t a matter of putting food on the table. It was a matter of keeping busy.

    When Maggie, my wife, who is still a successful real estate agent, left earlier, she gave me a peck on the cheek and suggested that if I didn’t have anything better to do, I could run the vacuum cleaner. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with pitching in on the household chores --- but I’d rather be sleuthing.

    I looked at the old Kirby Maggie had conveniently left in the living room. “How about we head over to Mel’s Diner for a piece of pie and a cup of Joe? Maybe something will come to us.”

    “Sounds like a plan.”

    We were just leaving the building when we met Jerry, one of my tenants, coming up the sidewalk.

    Jerry is a really good guy, but we try to avoid him whenever possible. He fancies himself as a stand-up comic and is constantly trying out new material on anyone who will listen.

    “Oh crap!” Kevin muttered under his breath.

    “There’s our celebrity sleuths!” Jerry gushed. “Our geriatric ghostbusters!”

    Then he broke into song.

    If there’s something strange

    In the neighborhood

    Who you gonna call


    If there’s something weird

    And it don’t look good

    Who you gonna call



    “Please, Jerry. Not you too.”

    “Sorry, too good to pass up. Listen, I’ve got a real good spook joke for you.”

    “We’d love to hear it, Jerry,” Kevin said, pushing me along, “but we’re on our way to a very important appointment. Maybe later.”

    “Okay then. I’ll save it for you.”


    “Important appointment?” I said, as we were driving away. “You should be ashamed.”

    “It is important. There’s a piece of lemon meringue pie at Mel’s with my name on it. I don’t want to keep it waiting.”

    Much to Maggie’s dismay, Mel’s Diner is my favorite eatery. When you step through the door, it’s like you’ve taken a time machine back to the 50’s. Mel sells nothing but comfort food. Everything’s cooked in butter and smothered in gravy. The pies are home-made, baked by somebody’s grandma.

    I’ve been eating there for years. While we don’t have a relationship outside the diner, Mel and I are pals.

    We ordered and when Mel brought our pie and coffee to the booth, he hesitated a moment.

    “I’d be really grateful if you’d do me a favor.”

    “Sure, Mel,” I replied. “Anything. How can we help?”

    He pointed to a young woman in a booth at the far end of the diner. “That’s my niece, Mandy. I’d like you to talk to her.”

    “About what?”

    “I’ll let her tell you,” he replied, waving to his niece. “The pie’s on the house,” he said, walking away.

    I slid into the booth beside Kevin, leaving the other side open.

    “Hi, I’m Mandy Tucker,” she said, slipping into the booth.

    “Pleased to meet you. I’m Walt and this is my partner, Kevin. How can we help you?”

    She hesitated. “I’m --- I’m not sure you can. This is really embarrassing. Uncle Mel said you were investigators.”

    I nodded.

    “And that you just solved a case where you were led by spirits.”

    My heart sank. Not another kook, I thought.

    She must have seen the expression on my face.

    “Look, I’m sorry I bothered you. I just needed someone to talk to. Someone who would understand.”

    I felt like an ass. Mel was an old friend and he had just given us pie. I owed him.

    “No, I’m sorry. It’s just that we’ve received so many strange requests since the article came out in the paper. Why don’t you start at the beginning, please?”

    She sighed. “Very well. My mother passed away a month ago. That’s when it started.”

    “I’m so sorry. What do you mean by ‘it?’”

    “I was going through my mother’s things when I found this,” she said, pulling an old bible from a bag she had brought with her. “This is a family bible. I didn’t even know it existed until I found it in an old trunk in Mom’s attic. It’s really old. It belonged to my great-great grandmother, Amanda Beecher. It dates back to the Civil War.”

    “Amanda --- Mandy,” I said. “I’m guessing you were named after your great-great grandmother.”

    She nodded. “I didn’t realize how significant that was until I started studying my family history. Amanda Beecher was an amazing woman.”

    “How so?”

    “Do you know much about the Civil War in Jackson County?”

    I hated to admit that I didn’t. “I just know there were some battles fought. I remember seeing a marker in Westport about some famous engagement.”

    “That’s right, but what happened to Amanda predated that. Have you ever heard about General Order Number 11?”

    I shook my head as did Kevin.

    “It was issued by a Union General in 1863, ordering everyone in Jackson County to leave their homes.”

    I was shocked. “You mean that EVERYONE was forced off their property?”

    “Exactly. Then anything of value was taken by the Union soldiers and everything remaining, homes, barns and fields, were burned. That’s what happened to Amanda Beecher and her two children.” She patted the bible. “It’s all in here. On the day the soldiers came, she made this entry. Here, read it for yourself.”

    She handed me the bible and pointed. “Start here.”

    From Blue Mills Road, my children and I watched as the soldiers looted our home and then set everything afire. My only prayer is that they will not find what I have hidden. I swear on the grave of my beloved husband, Andrew, that, God willing, one day I will return to claim what is ours.”

    “She never returned,” Amanda said, wiping a tear from her eye. “She and the two children spent the winter in a refugee camp. She contracted pneumonia and died.”

    “Tragic! Just tragic!” I said. “She said she had hidden something. Do you have any idea what it might have been?”

    “I don’t, but this is where it gets weird.”

    “Define weird.”

    “This has never happened to me before. On the night of the day I found the bible, I went to bed as usual. I was sleeping soundly, but then I began to dream. It wasn’t like my normal dreams. It was like I was actually there --- watching my great-great grandmother bury a metal box under a huge oak tree behind their barn. When she finished, she scattered hay over the fresh dirt to hide it from the soldiers.”

    “Did she speak to you?”

    “No, not in so many words. I just had the feeling I was meant to find that box. Maybe reading about her stuck in my subconscious. Maybe it was just a dream --- but what if it wasn’t?”

    I felt a shiver go up and down my spine and the hairs on my arm stood at attention.

    “So, you’re asking us to help find Amanda Beecher’s metal box?”

    “Yes, I guess I am.”

    I looked at Kevin and his grin told me everything I needed to know.