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Authors: H.J. Gaudreau

Tags: #Mystery: Thriller - Hidden Fortune - Michgan

H.J. Gaudreau - Jim Crenshaw 02 - The Collingwood Legacy

BOOK: H.J. Gaudreau - Jim Crenshaw 02 - The Collingwood Legacy
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H.J. Gaudreau - Jim Crenshaw 02 - The Collingwood Legacy
Jim Crenshaw [2]
H.J. Gaudreau
H.J. Gaudreau (2013)
Mystery: Thriller - Hidden Fortune - Michgan
Mystery: Thriller - Hidden Fortune - Michganttt
Retired Air Force Colonel Jim Crenshaw's sister Sherrie is expanding the family cherry orchard. Unfortunately, she purchases land formerly owned by Detroit's notorious Purple Gang. The property comes with an old barn complete with an antique cabin cruiser inside. Unknown to anyone, the boat is the scene of a 70-year old murder and stuffed with a fortune.
As the restoration begins, the wrong man is hired. A boat builder, womanizer, cheat and killer, Cole Prestcott will stop at nothing to keep his business, his toys, and the many women he loves. With the bank demanding its payments, Cole must act fast. Soon he is left with only one choice, lose everything and return to the life of poverty he came from or take what he needs.
Only Sherrie and her husband Gerry stand in Cole's way and soon become pawns in the quest of a mad man to recover the fortune only he sees. As events accelerate to a climax, Jim discovers Sherrie and Gerry are missing, and the frantic cries of a terrorized beagle lead Jim's wife, Eve, into a dark barn from which she doesn't return. Time is running out, the police too far away, and Jim's only hope rests on a dog collar!

A seventy year old murder reaches across the years to tear apart the Crenshaws


Jim’s sister stumbles upon an old boat; a boat that

could be worth a fortune


A self-made man falls prey to his own hunger for

women, money and influence. Only a miracle can save his marriage and his

business. Only a fortune can keep him from

returning to the humble life he escaped so long



Murder follows insanity as the pressure builds.

The bankers want their money, and betrayal stalks

Cole Prestcott’s every move.


Jim Crenshaw faces his toughest test as a madman

rips the family apart.















H J Gaudreau




















Copyright © 2013 Henry J. Gaudreau

All rights reserved.







Copyright by Henry J. Gaudreau

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher.



ISBN-13: 978-0-9894034-2-9



Cover design by Lacey O’Connor


Excerpt from BETRAYAL IN THE LOUVRE copyright 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher.

ISBN: 0989403408

ISBN-13: 978-0-9894034-0-5








For Eve – I’ve never had a better day in my life,

and tomorrow will be better.

Thomas – You’re doing great pal, I miss you every day.

Mom – A gentlewoman too.





Being an indie author is a lonely business. Unlike the big, and dying, publishing houses I don’t have a host of people doing research, suggesting changes, correcting my spelling and editing my punctuation. But, I do have someone who believes in me, pushes me to be more creative, technically correct and, at the end of the day, take her out to dinner. While I may never be on the New York Times Best Seller List, I guarantee I’m on the Most Happy List. So, as they say in the school yard, “Na-na, my editor is better than yours.”


Many, many thanks to Lacey O’Connor.

Lacey, you created a masterpiece for a book cover. Being an expat is kind of fun isn’t it?


While in the Air Force, I deployed a lot of people to various hot spots around the world. Oddly, I believe it was harder on their families than on the members themselves. While none of the men and women, no…mostly kids….while none of my people were ever physically hurt, some were hurt in other ways. I love you all, each and every one of you.


Please Support:

The Wounded Warrior Project











Chapter 1


Detroit, September 1931


Anna Lademan ran an iron along the length of a man’s long sleeve shirt.  Not satisfied with the result she sat the iron on its end and picked up a tall glass bottle with a yellow Vernor’s Ginger Ale label and a cork sprinkler head.  She gave the bottle a shake and scattered small droplets of water along the sleeve.  Again taking up her iron she finished the sleeve, placed the shirt on a hanger, and hung it next to a dozen similar shirts.  After a quick glance at the remaining baskets of laundry she placed her hands on her hips, bent backward, chin to the ceiling and sighed.  At five cents a shirt she could not afford to rest, but she had earned a quick stretch.

Anna then took a woman’s floral dress from her basket and began to spread it on her ironing board.  She did this with a bit of nostalgia. Her wedding dress had been a pretty flowered dress like this one.  They had met in late winter, 1916. Her husband Abell had been a big man, with a full head of red hair and a broad back.  He was also a romantic; he loved flowers and the spring.  He had insisted they marry when the earth was new, crops were in the ground, and flowers were blooming. So, in the spring of 1918, two weeks after Anna turned nineteen they married.

He died the next November.  She always thought that ironic, so many people were celebrating the end of the Great War, and her husband, who had fought in it hadn’t been there.  Abell had gone off to war in January 1917.  By the February of 1918 he was home, one leg left behind in France, but home. She had her man and they would be all right.  Then came the Spanish flu.  Abell left in the morning for his job at the post office, that night he came home with a cough, by evening he couldn’t stand, and he died before morning.  The speed of his death had always troubled Anna. She hadn’t had time to tell him how much he meant to her, about their unborn child, to make plans.  He hadn’t seen his boy, didn’t know how much his son looked like him; never tussled his hair.  Anna’s eyes began to tear.

In what seemed like the Almighty’s ploy to drag her from the depths of depression a crash sounded from the small living room behind her. An instant later Anna’s pride and joy, her son Ezra, exploded into the kitchen.

“David told me he needs help selling newspapers today,” the boy announced.

There had been another murder; one of the Licavoli Squad had been gunned down by the Purple Gang.  The Times had run an ‘extra’ edition.

“He said I’d get two cents for every paper I sell.”

“How much does David get?” Anna asked with a knowing smile.

“He keeps three cents.  He said it’s because he’s the official representative of the Times and he’s responsible.  Come on Ma, I can get us a half bushel of apples if I sell twenty-five papers.”

Anna smiled a mother’s smile and nodded at her boy.  “Give me a kiss,” she said and Ezra was out the door.

The fall of 1931 was cold and rainy. Today was no exception.  David Puginwitz stood outside the Collingwood Manor apartment building and called to the pedestrians on either side of the street. In the last hour he had sold only five newspapers, and the day was turning old. David pulled his collar up and shoved his hands deeper into his pockets.  It worked for a moment but the strap of his newspaper bag slid off his small shoulder and the bag fell to the wet sidewalk.

Worried the newspapers would be ruined, David uttered a curse he’d learned from his father, removed his hands from his coat pockets and hiked the strap back to his shoulder.  He then blew on his clenched fists and jammed them back into his pockets. If he hunched his shoulder the bag held its position.  Sadly, and to David’s never ending annoyance, the moment he relaxed his shoulder it fell to the sidewalk and the process was repeated.

As David pulled the newspaper bag to his shoulder for what seemed the fiftieth time he heard his friend Ezra’s voice. The two boys greeted each other and immediately fell into a detailed discussion of their mutual obsession, the Detroit Tigers. David was a master of recalling the details of each of the summer’s games. And, what he didn’t remember he could invent. Ezra was a walking almanac of baseball statistics. Today, the conversation quickly turned to how bad this season had been and which players their team needed to replace. After a few minutes of baseball David pulled the newspaper bag from his shoulder and handed it to Ezra.

“I’m going inside to get warm. Don’t let the bag get wet. I can’t sell a wet newspaper.”

David got all of two steps when Ezra suddenly exclaimed, “I almost forgot! Look what I’ve got!”

With that, Ezra pulled a tin from his coat pocket and opened it. Inside lay a small stack of baseball trading cards; several packs of cigarettes lay on top of the cards, and candy wrapped in foil lay scattered in one corner of the tin. Ezra put the newspaper bag on the sidewalk, causing David to grimace and handed one of the cigarette packs to David.

David examined the pack of Sweet Caporal cigarettes. “What do I want with these? I don’t smoke. And I ain’t startin’ now. Ma says it makes your teeth fall out.”

“Geeze, I know that. But, turn it over,” Ezra said with a proud grin.

David did as he was told. To his delight on the back of the package was the prettiest Ty Cobb trading card he’d ever seen. “Holy smokes! This is great!” he explained. All thoughts of a warm stove disappeared.

Immediately David began offering combinations of his cards in trade for one of the new Ty Cobb cards. A brief argument over the value of various cards, new cards versus old cards, gum cards versus dry goods cards, a round of potential deals in which both boys tried to dump hated Yankee players on the other and soon a deal was struck. A few minutes later David was examining his new card when the possibility that Ezra had stolen the cigarettes crossed his mind.

“Where’d you get the cigarette packs Ezra?” David said with newly found suspicion. “If you lifted ‘em and my Ma finds out…”

“I didn’t steal nothin’!” Ezra then began to explain how Mr. Kacrozowski left two cartons of cigarettes and four shirts at his house. He was coming to the part about how a drunken Mr. Kaczorowski tried to grab his mother, and what she had called Mr. Kacrozowski when she hit him on the head with a frying pan, when a new, black four-door Chrysler coasted to a stop in front of the building. Instinctively, both boys ceased their chatter.

The front passenger door opened and a man with a dark gray tweed overcoat stepped to the curb. He took a moment to study the street. His glance passed over the boys, then both sides of the street in each direction. Finally, he studied the windows of the nearby buildings. Satisfied, he nodded in the direction of the car. Two men climbed out of the back seat. One reflexively skimmed his hand over his hip and said, “I didn’t bring my gun.”

The other glanced at him, “I told ya, ya don’t bring guns to a meeting like this.” Walking around to the trunk of the car he removed a brown briefcase. The three men gathered on the curb. The driver shut off the engine, got out and walked to the front of the car. As if on command the three men, in matching strides, approached the steps to the building. Their shoes making a rhythmic ‘smack…smack…smack’ on the wet concrete as they approached the boys. The driver hurried around the car and ran to catch up.

Ezra knew something about the street. These guys were going to take his baseball cards and maybe shake down David for his paper money. Realizing it was too late to slip the tin back in his pocket he pushed it to the bottom of the newspaper bag. Then he stepped behind David.

The three men swept past the two boys without looking at them. The driver, now only a step or two behind, turned and flipped a silver dollar in their direction. “You kids! Keep an eye on my car,” he snarled. Ezra tried to catch the coin and missed. The man stopped. The coin rang off the step and rolled to the sidewalk.

“C’mon Sol!” one barked, and the men entered the apartment building.


BOOK: H.J. Gaudreau - Jim Crenshaw 02 - The Collingwood Legacy
3.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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