Clara returned to the table. Gloria and Lena were enjoying the meal and chatting about what a beautiful day it was going to be. “Well, ladies looks like I did a good job with breakfast. Gloria was the first to reply. “Everything is delicious Clara, you are a wonderful cook”.

“Thank you, Gloria”. Lena noticed that Clara looked a bit pale.

“Are you feeling alright Clara”?

“Yes, I’m fine Lena, why do you ask”?

“You look a bit pale”.

“Nonsense. I’m just hungry”. She sat down and started eating. When all three were done and were enjoying another cup of tea Clara looked at Gloria and asked.

“Gloria, why didn’t you tell us that Clem was your father”? Gloria’s face turned red and Lena looked shocked.

“Clara”! Lena said. The three of them sat there looking at each other in silence.

“How did you find out”? Gloria asked. “Did Clem tell you”?

“No, he didn’t. We sort of found out on our own. Clara replied. Then Clem knew before he died that you were his daughter”?

“Yes. I told him”.

“When”? Tears welled up in Gloria’s eyes.

“I wasn’t really sure if my mother was telling me the truth so I sent a napkin that he used hoping there was some DNA on it and a swab with my DNA to a laboratory for analysis. I didn’t know if I would get any results but it came back positive. I told him about it when I got the positive results. He was shocked, to say the least. He didn’t know because my mother never told him about me. He wanted another test done so we went to a lab together and the results were positive again”.

“Well that’s quite interesting”, replied Clara. “Do you know if he told Jeffery”?

“No, I don’t think so he passed a few days later and Jeffery never mentioned anything to me. I assume he doesn’t know. The only thing I wanted was for him to add his name to my birth certificate. You can’t imagine what it was like growing up with unknown typed in the space where it asks for Father’s name”.

“Was he willing to do it”?

“Yes, but it does take a while and now it will never happen because he’s gone”.

“You do realize that Jeffery is your half-brother I’m sure. Have you spoken to him about this”?

“No Lena I haven’t. I don’t know if Clem told him or not, he never brought it up so I assumed he doesn’t know”.

“What about this? Clara put a copy of the blank prescription pad on the table.

“Where did you get that? What were you snooping in my belongings? Is that why you offered me a room here rent free so you could snoop around and dig up information that is none of your business? I thought you both really were sweet and kind ladies but I guess I was wrong”.

“Not true Gloria”, replied Clara.

“We do like you and I found this information quite by accident while cleaning your room as we were waiting for the plumber”.

“Are you going to tell me it just fell out of the dresser drawer by accident, I wasn’t born yesterday Clara”.

“You have every right to be upset, Gloria”. Replied Lena.

“But Clara feels that Clem was murdered and we are trying to find out if we are right or wrong. Maybe Clem did die of a heart attack or maybe someone had a motive to kill him”.

“Well, it wasn’t me! Why would I want to kill my own father? He didn’t even know I existed. I couldn’t hold that against him”.

“Can you explain why you have a blank prescription pad sheet”?

“Yes, I can, not that it’s any of your business but the doctor left it there one day after he came to see my mother, and I never returned it to him because my mother passed shortly after and then I just kept it for sentimental reasons”. Lena and Clara looked at each other. “I believe her Clara”.

“So do I, the question now is who killed Clem”? The sisters apologized to Gloria for snooping and told her they truly liked her and this was all a coincidental misunderstanding. Gloria was crying, she took the prescription paper and went up to her room. Lena got up to follow her but Clara told her to leave Gloria alone for a while. They could talk to her later. “That phone call I received was from Jack, there was a needle hole in Clem’s jugular vein”.


Thursday night Gloria found the note that Lena and Clara left inviting her to have breakfast with them. She showered and fell into her warm comfortable bed happy to have such a beautiful room. She fell asleep almost instantly, she had a long day at work as the Tea Room was busy and she was exhausted.

Clara rose early as usual and headed to the kitchen to start baking biscuits and muffins. She would also have bacon, eggs and hash brown potatoes, coffee and tea for her and Lena. As she was preparing everything she couldn’t help thinking about the conversation she had with Jack Peterson on Thursday afternoon. She saw him as she was driving past the Beauty Bar and pulled over to speak to him. He was dropping his wife Millie off for her appointment as she didn’t drive since she had a heart attack last year. It was not that she couldn’t drive but she was quite frail and was afraid to get behind the wheel for fear something would happen. So Jack or one of her friends drove her where ever she wanted to go. Clara greeted Millie before she entered the salon. “Hi, Millie going for some relaxation I see”.

“Oh, Hi Clara and they hugged, yes, I have to keep my man happy you know, don’t want any young chicken catching his eye”. They both laughed and Millie entered the salon. Jack was just starting to leave when Clara called out to him to wait a minute. He stopped and she walked over to the driver side window. “Hi, Jack, do you have a few minutes to spare”?

“Hi, Clara. Yes, but I’m heading to work. Is everything alright”?

“Yes, yes, Lena and I are fine. But, I need to inquire about something and I need your expertise, do you mind”?

“No, not at all as long as it doesn’t take too long”.

“If someone was given an injection in the jugular vein would you be able to tell while doing the autopsy”?

“Probably, why”?

“Did you check Clem’s jugular vein carefully and if you didn’t could you”?

“I could but what reason would I have to do that”?

“I think he was given a shot of Potassium Chloride and that’s what killed him. You said there was a small cut on his neck. If someone gave him a shot in the vein and then scraped the needle on his neck wouldn’t it look like a slight cut”?

“Well, yes, but that’s pretty far-fetched, Clara”.

“Could you please check it before you release his body to Jeffery. If you don’t find anything then my gut feeling is wrong and I can lay this to rest.

“Clara, Clem was an elderly man, a heart attack is not unusual”.

“I know Jack, please do this one thing for me. I knew Clem for many years and I just have a bad feeling about this. You know I have been right in the past, please. You can call me and if I am right it’s a kudos to you, and if I’m wrong we can lay him to rest in peace”. Jack agreed. That was yesterday Clara thought and Jack hadn’t called her yet. She heard Lena and Gloria coming down the stairs to the kitchen. “It smells delicious from here”. Gloria said as they headed into the kitchen.

“Yes, it does, Clara is an excellent cook”, replied Lena.

“Come and sit down you two before everything gets cold”.

“All of a sudden I’m starving”. Gloria replied. Just then the phone rang, Clara said; “You two start eating, I’ll get it”. It was Jack.


“It’s a doctor’s prescription pad but it’s blank”.

“I see that Lena but what is Gloria doing with a blank prescription paper.

Is this the only one she has or could she have had more than one”?

“Don’t jump to any conclusions Clara.”

“I am not jumping to conclusions Lena, but, there is something fishy going on here and I intend to find out what it is. I wonder if Gloria confronted Clem about their relationship and if Jeffery knows he has a half sister. I left a note on her dresser that if she is off on Friday we would enjoy her company for breakfast”.

“Clara, she seems like such a sweet girl, don’t go giving her the third degree while we’re eating”.

“I won’t, I’ll wait until she is finished, smiling at Lena. I also just remembered something that is bothering me”.

“What is that”, replied Lena.

“Isn’t Marcus’s wife a nurse at the hospital”? In a sarcastic like tone, Lena said,

“Yes she is, has been for over twenty years, why? Do you think she could have killed Clem too”?

“Not really but, there might be some sort of a connection there”.

“You do beat all Clara, you have a twisted mind, did you know that”?

“It’s not twisted Lena, I am just inquisitive, always have been”.

“You don’t have to tell me that Clara, I live with you remember”. Just then the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it”. Lena said. It was Jeffery Bristol. “Why Jeffery, what a pleasant surprise, do come in”.

“Thank you, Miss Lena but I’m on my way to the airport, I will be gone for a few days and was wondering if you ladies would just keep an eye on my house while I’m gone. I should be back by Saturday”.

“Yes, of course, Jeffery, have a safe trip and we’ll see you soon”.

“Thank you, the house is all locked up but it’s always nice to know someone is keeping an eye on it. And, if you see anything just call the police don’t take any chances I would hate to see you or Miss Clara get hurt”.

“Alright, we’ll be careful, I promise”. With that, he left.

“Who was it, Lena”?

“It was Jeffery, he asked us to keep an eye on his house, he is going out of town for a few days”.

“Really. Did you tell him Clem had given us a key to the place years ago in case anything happened while he was away”?

“No, I forgot about the key”.

“Well, I didn’t”. Clara replied with a smile.


“I have just read something I can hardly believe. It seems our Ms. Gloria is the daughter of Clem Bristol”.

“What! Where did you hear that”?

“I didn’t hear it, you know that envelope, we saw. I opened it and it was a letter from her mother telling her that her father was Clem”.

“I don’t believe that”. Lena replieD.

“Believe it, Lena. It seems Clem was in New York on business and she met him at a restaurant she was working in and they had a short affair. In the letter, she wrote that she never told him because she knew he was married but she didn’t want Gloria to go through her life not knowing who her father was”.

“I am shocked, just shocked”. Replied Lena.

“If you think that’s a shock, listen to this, there was also a form of a DNA testing lab stating that the results were 99.9% that the two samples that were sent were related. Examples were brother and sister/brother/mother/father”.

“How would she get a DNA sample from Clem”?

“Oh, come now Lena, she works in a restaurant that Clem frequented, ate from the utensils, drank from the cups and glasses. It’s a no-brainer. I only wonder if she told Clem. And, Jeffery for that matter. When Gloria is off on Friday you and I are going to have a nice long chat with her, but first I have to do a little research”.

“What research? What are you talking about”?

“I also found this”. She handed Lena a slip of paper.


Clara picked up the phone and dialed the police station’s number. Marcus answered. “Chief Kent, how can I help you”.

“Marcus. Hi, I am sorry to bother you but I forgot to ask you before, was Jeffery home when you took Clem home”?

“No, Clara he was at the Town Pub according to his statement”.

“Will there be an inquest”?

“I don’t think so unless the rest of the toxicology report shows something”.

“Yes, of course, thank you, Marcus”.

“You’re welcome, Clara”. The line went dead. Lena waited for Clara’s answer.


“No, he was at the Town Pub”. Clara’s phone rang it was Gloria. “Hello, Gloria. Is everything alright”?

“Yes Clara, I just wanted to let you know that the bathroom sink faucet is dripping”.

“Alright dear, I will call the plumber and have him fix it today”.

“Thank you, Clara. I left the door to my room open, but I would prefer if you or Lena would be there when the plumber comes to repair it. Would you mind”?

“Of course not dear, I was going to vacuum your room today anyway”.

“Thanks, Clara, I have to hang up, we are busy right now, I will see you both later”.

Clara dialed the plumbers’ number and asked him to come over and check the faucet.

They made an appointment for one o’ clock. Lena was vacuuming Gloria’s room. She noticed a photo of her mother on the dresser and a few little nick nacks here and there. The room was neat and tidy. Clara walked in just as Lena was finished. “Wow, I came into to dust and see what else I could do, but, I see Gloria is quite neat”. Then she noticed the corner of a white envelope sticking out of the bottom drawer of the dresser.

“What’s that”?

“What’s what”? Lena replied. Clara walked over to the dresser and opened the drawer, she pulled out an envelope. It was not sealed but it was closed. “Clara don’t you dare read that”.

“Oh, hush, Lena. I am just going to take a peek and I’ll put it back exactly the way I found it”. Just then the doorbell rang. Clara put the envelope back with the end sticking out and closed the drawer.

The plumber had arrived and Lena showed him up to Gloria’s room. He examined the faucet and fixed the leak. “Just needed a new washer ladies”. They paid him and he left.

“Now back to the envelope”. Said Clara.

“Clara, you wouldn’t want Gloria snooping around your room would you”?

“I am not under suspicion, Lena, and besides if it’s nothing I will put it right back and no harm done”. Lena just shook her head.

“I won’t have any part of it Clara, you’re on your own”.

“Alright I’ll be right back. You make a couple of sandwiches and some tea for lunch”.

Lena headed toward the kitchen and Clara up the stairs to Gloria’s room. She opened the draw just enough to get the envelope out, opened and carefully removed the papers. She was sitting on the floor not to make an imprint on the bed. She opened the paperwork and started reading. The more she read, the further her jaw dropped open. She quickly put the paperwork and envelope back exactly the way she found it and headed down to the kitchen. The sandwiches and tea were ready. Lena took one look at Clara and knew something was wrong. “What’s the matter Clara”?

“You are not going to believe this Lena. You better sit down.


Clara and Lena packed up the chicken dinner and brownies. They headed over to Clem’s house to deliver the meal to Jeffery. “I hope he invites us in to share the meal with him”, Clara said to Lena.

“If he does don’t question him……too much Clara”. The sisters giggled as they walked.

Jeffery Bristol answered the door when the bell rang. “Hello Jeffery, how are you doing”? Lena asked, giving him a hug, as did Clara.

“As well as can be expected”. He replied. “Please come in ladies and thank you for bringing me dinner”. The sisters stepped into the house. “We brought you some roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, and we made some brownies, we hope you like brownies Jeffery”.

“I do, thank you, Miss Clara”.

“Let’s go into the kitchen, and let me take those packages off your hands”.

“Thank you, Jeffery”, and they followed him to the kitchen.

“The food smells delicious and I am hungry. Would you like to stay and have dinner with me”?

“If you’d like the company, we’d love to”. Lena and Clara opened the packages and Jeffery got plates and flatware out to set the table. “Did you get the autopsy result yet”? Clara inquired.

“Yes, but they are waiting for the toxicology report”.

“Did they find the cause of death”?

“Yes, it was a heart attack”.

“Really? That’s so hard to believe, Clem was always the picture of health and he was very active”.

“I know”. Then, looking at Clara said; “he had quite an active social life, as you probably know”, and then added; “I don’t understand it myself”.

“We are so sorry Jeffery if there is anything we can do to help please don’t hesitate to call us”

“Thank you, Miss Clara. My father was well liked and everyone has been so kind offering to help. Why don’t we all sit and eat this delicious food you brought”. They chatted as they ate, but Jeffery didn’t seem to want to discuss his father’s death. When they were finished Clara asked;

“Will you be staying here at the house now or will you be going back to California”?

“I have to go back to California to tie up some loose ends, but will return in a few days. This dinner was delicious ladies. Shall we have the brownies now”? Clara could see that this was not going to be easy. Jeffery was not willing to talk about anything right now. She didn’t know if it was out of sorrow or a different reason. “We are going to pass on desert Jeffery. It’s getting late and we have to get home, but we will be happy to clear the table and do the dishes for you”.

“No, no thank you ladies, you have done enough. I will take care of this. It will keep me busy”.

“We will say goodnight then. Are you ready Lena”? She saw the look in Clara’s eyes. They said goodbye to Jeffery and the sisters left. As the ladies walked the short distance to their house Lena said; “What is it Clara”?

“We have to go see Marcus tomorrow and get some information about the autopsy. I don’t believe Clem had a sudden heart attack. And, did you see the look he gave me when he said, “as you probably know”.

“Clem Bristol had many affairs. He was not looking to get married again. Last I heard he was pretty hot and heavy with Beanie. Maybe his son hated him for that. I think that’s why they didn’t get along. And, what was he doing back here anyway, staying at the Golden Lion and not with his father”. As they entered their house Clara said; “There’s more to Clem’s death than meets the eye, Lena”.

“Clara, they did an autopsy”.

“Well, I don’t believe the result, I think they are overlooking something, and I intend to find out what they are missing”.

“Clara, let’s have a cup of tea and get some sleep. Don’t read more into what Jeffery said. His father just passed away. He was a child when you and Clem dated”. Lena put the kettle on and made the tea. She knew tomorrow was going to be a busy day. Clara was working on the computer for quite some time before she went to bed. Lena heard the printer humming away as she drifted off to sleep.


“Lena, listen when Gloria comes back to take our order, just follow my lead. And, for goodness sake don’t get that wide-eyed look on your face. I have an idea and it just might work”.

“What idea”?

“She’s coming over, just follow my lead. I will tell you later, okay”? Gloria was at their table.

“Ready to order ladies”?

“Yes, I’ll have a Cobb Salad and a small bowl of that delicious Corn Chowder, thank you”. Clara replied.

“It is delicious chowder, I have it every time the chef makes it”, Gloria said. She then looked at Lena.

“I, um, I’ll have the same, thank you”.

“Gloria, before you put our order in I, heard that you were living at the Rock Hill B&B. How do you like it there”?

“It’s alright I guess, the room is pretty nice but it’s a little pricey and I have to take the bus to get here. If I work late I always have to bum a ride from someone to get home. I am looking around for a more affordable place, why do you ask”?

“Well, we have a spare room at our place that we never rent out because it was our mother’s room but you are such a pleasant girl and a great waitress and our house is so close you could walk here and we are right across from the beach”. Lena’s eyes shot open but Clara kicked her under the table and she put a big smile on her face.

“Yes! That’s a wonderful idea”. Lena said.

“I don’t think I could afford your price. I make pretty good money but I don’t think it’s enough to live in your beautiful house”.

“Oh, don’t be silly. We could never charge you for our dear mother’s room. You are such a lovely young lady. We will even throw in whatever meals you would be home for”.

“You mean I could live there at no charge? Are you just kidding me”?

“No, we’re not kidding. One thing though, do you have a boyfriend? It would be only for you not for two people”.

“No, I don’t have a boyfriend and if you’re serious I’d love to move in. This is so kind of you, I can’t believe it. I’ll even help whenever I can when your summer rentals arrive”. She was smiling from ear to ear and Clara could hear the excitement in her voice.

“Thankyou, thankyou so much. I can’t believe this. It’s like a miracle. Let me put your order in ladies and lunch is on me”!

“There is one other thing Gloria”.


“We insist that you call us Clara and Lena”.

“Of course, if that’s what you would like”.

“Yes, we’d like that fine, wouldn’t we Lena”. Lena just smiled and shook her head yes. Gloria rushed off to put their lunch order in with a big smile on her face.

“Are you nuts”? Lena asked.

“Oh, please sis we will have her right where we want her. It is the perfect plan. Don’t you think”?

“No, I don’t think, what I think is you’ve lost your mind”.

“Lena, don’t be an old fuddy-duddy, this will be interesting and it will be nice to have a young person around. Next, we have to find out what the autopsy concludes. Then speak to Marcus Kent, maybe even invite him over for dinner. After we get the autopsy report of course”. Lena just shook her head and smiled. “You are unbelievable Clara Hayes. You’re nuts, you know that”.

“Shush, here comes our lunch, our free lunch I might add”.


The Hayes sisters had a reputation for being busy bodies, however, they did help the police solve several cases.

Clara was the older of the two and had been quite a looker in her younger days. Lena was the timid one but was also attractive.

Lena did have a lover for several years but he left one night and she never saw him again, although she still talked about his return, which Clara thought was ridiculous but Lena held fast to her hope that Roger Sims would someday come looking for her. Clara had been engaged three times in her life and broke each one. Together they made quite a pair.

Clara was 73 and Lena was 71. They both aged well and kept themselves in good shape for their ages. They both made regular trips to the Beauty Bar (the local beauty parlor) to get their hair done and have manicures and pedicures.

They knew just about everyone in Cape May and what was going on with who.

At one o’clock they arrived at the Tea Room. The lunch crowd had started to dwindle so there was no wait. The atmosphere in the Tea Room was designed like an old Victorian dining room. Ornate pictures adorned the walls. Each table was covered with a white tablecloth and there was a lit candle on each one. The dinnerware and flatware were of the Victorian period as well. The food was excellent and they did offer a four o’clock tea. The sisters were happy to see Gloria was working that day and she was their server. “Good afternoon ladies”. She placed a menu down on the table in front of each sister.

“Can I get you something to drink while you decide what you want”?

“Good afternoon Gloria, yes I will have a cup of Irish Breakfast tea please”, replied Clara.

“I’ll have the same”, said Lena.

“Cream right”, said Gloria.

“Yes, thank you”, the ladies replied.

“Gloria, have you heard about Clem Bristol”?

“Yes, it was all over the news, everyone has heard. Didn’t you ladies know”?

“We have been away for just over a week. We just got back last night and I read it in the newspaper this morning”. Clara said. “He came in here quite often Gloria, didn’t he”.

“Yes, quite often. I’ll be right back with your tea”. She turned and walked away.

“She was a bit snippy, don’t you think Lena”?

“I thought she looked sad Clara”.

“We have got to get her alone so we can question her”.

“Oh, Clara, what could she possibly know about Clem’s death”.

“Still water runs deep Lena, very deep”.


Clara continued to read. A short while later she heard Lena coming down the stairway that led to the kitchen. “It’s about time you woke up Lena”.

“It’s only eight o’clock Clara. I don’t get up with the birds like you”.

“The early bird catches the worm”. Replied Clara.

“I don’t like worms”. Lena said with a smile as she entered the kitchen.

“Clem Bristol is dead Lena”.

“What”! Lena said with a shocked look on her face.

“You heard me. Clem Bristol is dead. Seems he died while we were in Atlantic City. The newspaper said they are doing an autopsy but that he most likely died from natural causes”.

“I don’t believe that”, Lena replied. He was the picture of health”. Clara handed her the newspaper.

“Here, read it for yourself”. Lena took the paper from Clara and sat down at the table. Clara made her a cup of tea and some toast.

“It says here they are trying to get in touch with his son Jeffery. Oh, that poor boy and him an only child. Does he still live in California Clara”?

“I suppose so, but I saw him in town a day or so before we left, he was at the Tea Room having lunch with Clem. Sounded like they were having a disagreement about something but I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I only know he was staying at the Golden Lion Motel and not at his father’s house”.

“Really”? Lena looked up at her sister in surprise.

“That’s what I heard. The new waitress, I think her name is Gloria told me. Come to think of it, she was being quite flirty with Jeffery that day. Personally, I don’t think Clem died of natural causes”.

“Oh, Clara, you’re not going to start playing detective again are you”?  Acting like she didn’t even hear her sister she replied with a smile; “I think we should have lunch at the Tea Room today”. Lena just shook her head and said;

“Here we go again”.


Clara Hayes sat at her kitchen table sipping a cup of tea and reading the morning paper. She was enjoying the quiet and the sound of the waves from the Atlantic Ocean crashing against the jetty’s that ran along the beach. It was the end of April and the crowds would soon be swarming to the small town of Cape May. The peaceful town would soon be filled with people for the summer. Her sister Lena wasn’t an early riser nor a morning person so Clara had the kitchen to herself. The sisters lived in a big Victorian house left to them by their parents. Both ladies were in their seventies and had lived in the big old comfortable house all of their lives, neither was ever married, however, they were not virgins either. They just returned from a trip to Atlantic City late last evening. Both sisters liked to play the slot machines and took several trips a year to visit the casinos. It was the one luxury they allowed themselves.

On the front page, the headline MAN FOUND DEAD IN HIS HOME. Clara was shocked to read that it was Clem Bristol. She and Lena had spoken to him before they left and he seemed the picture of health. Of course, he was also in his seventies but was a bright and active man. He lived a few houses down from her and Lena. Most of the homes on Beech St. were big Victorian homes built many years before. Clem kept his home in beautiful condition as he like Clara and her sister made their additional income renting rooms to the summer stock, as they were classified. When the crowds left after the season he was known to entertain quite a few lady friends but never married after his wife Isabella passed away from Cancer. They had one child, a two-year-old son, Jeffery. Clem raised Jeffery with help from his mother Rose until she passed when Jeffery was twelve. Clara thought him quite sexy but not that good in bed.

The newspaper said an autopsy was being done but there were no results yet. The paper stated that his Handy Man found him lying on his Parlor floor when he arrived to do some work and called the police. The article said that it was probably a natural death but Clara didn’t believe that for one minute. She would discuss it with her sister when Lena woke up. Something was fishy on Beech St. and she intended to find out what.