The Death of Amelia Marsh: A Sally Nimitz Mystery (Book 1)
who I knew she was friendly with, another elderly lady. As it turned out, Miss Carey was standing outside
trying to get through the barricade already set up. The cruisers had drawn a small crowd and Miss Carey was
wailing in her reedy little voice.
“Let me through! That’s my friend, Amelia, in there! Let me through!”
After I identified her they did. Then I had to stay put to give Miss Carey some temporary emotional support.
Eventually the police got all the information they wanted, Barry went to call the owners of the buildings, and
Miss Carey was placed from my care into the capable hands of the Reverend Southby and his wife, who arrived
surprisingly soon after they were called by the officer in charge. I couldn’t remember his name.
That left me free to go home. It was almost six o’clock. Perhaps I was still in shock.
“What is wrong with you, Sally?” I hollered out loud into the air in my quiet abode. Now I was the one doing
the pacing. It came to me that I wanted to talk to someone. It didn’t take me long to know who.
George answered on the first ring. That meant he was sitting by his computer.
“Hello, Sally,” he greeted me heartily. “How long you been back?”
“About three days.”
“Joel doing okay?”
“Joel’s fine.” Joel was my three-year old grandson, the light of my life.
“Are you all right?” George is perceptive. If I do not go on at length about Joel when given the opportunity I
am obviously not myself.
“Well, not exactly. That is, I’m all right, but Amelia Marsh isn’t. She’s an elderly woman I knew here in the
condo unit and she died today.”
George expressed the appropriate condolence. The sentiment was of the “that’s too bad but these things
eventually happen to all of us” variety, so I added, “She was killed. Someone bashed her on the head.”
“What!” Now George was fully awake. “I thought that place you live in was safe and respectable! What’s the
story? Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m not sure, really,” I said slowly. “Do you have time? I think I need to talk to somebody.”
“Have you eaten?”
“Eaten? No. That’s been the last thing on my mind.”
“Well you have to sometime. Why don’t you meet me at Cliff’s? It should be quiet there on a Wednesday
night. You can tell me all about it. Are you up to driving, or should I come get you?”
“I am perfectly able to drive,” I said tartly, “this is upsetting, not debilitating.”
He replied in kind to my acid tongue, said he would meet me in thirty minutes, and hung up.
Cliff’s is a bar and grill with food good enough to draw the Sunday lunch crowd after church. The bar is
closed then, of course. It was open now but only moderately busy, and separate enough from the dining room to
make a quiet supper with conversation possible. I saw George’s truck as I pulled into the parking lot. He waited
for me at a table in the corner. The dining room was less than half full, for which I was grateful. Having our
conversation overheard did not seem like a good idea.
Dear George. He had already ordered my decaf coffee. No doubt a glass of wine or brandy would seem like
the thing to most, but I drink very little and certainly not when I have to drive home. George knows that.
“Ah. Thank you.” I took a grateful swallow of the very good coffee. “No sailor back in port swallowing his
first whiskey appreciates that drink more than I do this right now.”
“Yeah, you always did like your coffee,” George agreed with a grin, “especially after a stressful day. His
grin disappeared, “And speaking of a stressful day ….”
I persuaded him to wait until after we ordered. My appetite had improved a little. I ordered a broccoli and
cheese baked potato and kept my face passive when George ordered a double cheeseburger and fries.
“Not a word out of you,” he ordered. “I have been eating broiled chicken and all my vegetables all week. I
need a break.”
George was fifty-three, with a broad chest, a small spare tire, and the height to carry it off. He had made
certain concessions to age, cutting back on his smoking and his fried foods being two of them. Privately I was
glad he had not become a guru about the whole thing.
George is, very simply, my friend. Only it is not so simple. We have never been intimate, nor will we be,
although no doubt there are people who don’t believe that. The people who do matter know better. George grew