4. Harry Hogan – The Missing Madonna

Harry stepped back to let them in. “Then I guess you had best come in and tell me about it.”

Mrs. Thorne was looking around. “I like what you’ve done,” she said. “It’s comfortable but still business-like.”

“Thank you. Now, Mrs. Johnson, please tell me what you think has happened.”

“It’s not really valuable, sir... not financially anyway... but it does have a great sentimental value.” She twisted her hands nervously.

Harry nodded encouragingly. “Nothing wrong with that. Tell me about it.”

“My great-grandparents, who were farmers, brought it from Sweden. It belonged to my great-great-grandmother, Ingaart, who was a midwife. A family once gave her the statue to hold as collateral until they could pay for her services during the birth of twins. Apparently, they never paid the fee or came to claim the statue.”

“It’s a statue of the Madonna and child, Detective Hogan,” Mrs. Thorne added. “And it’s gold-plated.”

“I doubt that Ingaart’s fee would have been very high so it probably wasn’t worth much,” Mrs. Johnson said. “That might be why no one ever claimed it.”

“Or it might be that the family never had the funds to reclaim it and never mentioned it to anyone. It might have been forgotten,” Harry said. “How big is it and where did you keep it?”

Mrs. Johnson thought for a minute. “About ten to twelve inches high, I suppose. And I always kept it on the dresser in the spare room because that was my grandmother’s room when she lived with me. It was always handed down to the oldest girl in each generation of the family.”

“Is there any chance it might be more valuable that you were told? Could someone have got into the house and stolen it sometime when you were out?”

She shook her head. “No one outside the family knew I had it. Not until yesterday when I told Nellie about it.”

Harry rubbed his chin. “I see. Have you had any visitors who might have had the opportunity to see it? Perhaps someone who thought it was worth something?”

“That’s what worries me,” Mrs. Johnson’s voice lowered to a whisper.

‘What do you mean?”

“My granddaughter, Amy, spent a few days with me during Christmas. She had her fiancé with her and they slept in Grandmother’s room. It was the day after they returned to the city that I discovered the statue was missing.”

“Did you call your granddaughter or report the statue missing?”

She shook her head. “I fear the fiancé might have taken it and I don’t want to embarrass Amy. If you could look into it maybe we can keep it quiet.” She looked at Harry. “I don’t know what you charge, Mr. Hogan, but I will find the money to pay you.”

Harry shook his head. “Don’t worry, Mrs. Johnson. Unless I get stuck in the city by bad weather, the only thing you will owe me is gas money for the trip.”

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author
Now retired, after 39 years as a Librarian, Fay Herridge is a voracious reader, avid family historian, and a love of writing. She also enjoys walking, gardening, knitting, crocheting and photography; and is active in church and community events. Her poems and stories have been published in newspapers and magazines. “Satisfaction comes when others enjoy my work while inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.”
2 Responses
  1. author

    Ed Janzen1 week ago

    I really liked this story!

    Reply
    • author

      Anonymous1 week ago

      Thank you, Ed. I enjoyed writing it.

      Reply

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