Mystery & Crime

Havana Rules

By

This book will launch on Jul 28, 2020. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒
Synopsis

This is the third Mike Callahan mystery. This 1930’s mystery has Mike Callahan, and Ginny Maitland married and traveling to Cuba by boat with the Hemingway’s on their honeymoon. Richard Jordan, who had plotted to kill Ginny, has fled to Havana and is hiding in the city. Jordan sees Ginny at their hotel and plots with smugglers to kidnap Ginny and to hold her for ransom. The kidnappers take Ginny and Police Inspector, Joaquim Cortez, a corrupt cop, investigates seeing this crime as an opportunity for him.

The nightclub owner, Carlotta, provides Mike with information about the kidnappers. Mike, Doc, Hemingway, and men, provided through local contacts race to the kidnapper’s hideout. They attack the hideout, and the leader of the gang escapes taking Ginny with him. Mike leads his men to the smugglers base in eastern Cuba with Cortez hot on his heels. Callahan and Cortez head toward Baracoa, each wanting to rescue Ginny for their own reasons. The events in Cuba will affect everyone involved in ways they could not have foreseen.

The time passed quickly since the events on Dog Island. The preparations for the wedding had been elaborate. The wedding was to take place at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and the reception was slated for Gotham Hall. Gotham Hall was considered one of the prominent venues for weddings in Manhattan. The hall could hold up to six-hundred guests, and that was allowing for a dance floor. When they had visited Gotham Hall, Callahan taking in its beauty had thought he was dreaming as he gazed at the beautiful gothic architecture and chandeliers.

           Once during their discussions of the wedding, Callahan had politely suggested that they didn’t need such an elegant venue, considering the cost. Giving him a loving smile, she apologized for not sharing with him the value of her estate. Saying that when they are married, it would be his estate too, leaning over, she whispered the amount of her fortune in his ear.

           Awestruck at the amount, his eyes wide, he had stared at her for a moment and then asked her, “Are you kidding me?”

           Her response was, “Michael, I never kid about money.”

           The financial cost was not mentioned again, and Michael agreed with her choices on everything.

           A couple of weeks before the wedding Doc had presided over the bachelor party. Mike had been surprised again with the number of superior officers who had attended, including the police commissioner Edward Mulrooney. 

           Mulrooney had taken Michael aside and asked if he and his wife were invited to the wedding. Mulrooney had stressed that given the growing press that the affair was getting, his wife was dying to attend. Michael assured him that they were invited. The man shook his hand with a smile of relief on his face. Michael made a mental note to confirm the invitation with Ginny.

1

           The evening had grown more festive as time passed, and alcohol was consumed. The police had added patrols to the area to assure that there were no altercations or problems. As they talked and laughed and told stories, Michael relaxed and enjoyed himself. Finally, it came time for Doc to speak to the group, which was now somewhat inebriated. 

           Standing, Doc called for quiet.

           “I don’t know how to begin. . .”

           “That’s a first,” came a shout from the audience.

           Doc smiled happily. “Okay, I want to talk about my friend. Mike has been more than a friend. He’s the brother I never had. We’ve been through a lot together, and I knew he always had my back. I know many of you heard the stories of what happened on that island in Maine.”

           Another interruption, “You mean with that ghost broad.”

           The audience laughed heartily.

           Smiling, Doc turned to Callahan. “You said you wouldn’t tell, huh?”

           Returning the smile, “And you believed me?” Callahan replied.

           “Mike, I just want to say it’s been a privilege working with you.” He began to choke up and looked down for a moment. The room was dead silent.

           “I wish you and Ginny all of the happiness in the world, my friend.” He continued.

           Turning to the audience, “Gentlemen, please join me in toasting the marriage of Michael and Virginia Callahan.”

           The men in the bar rose as one and raised their glasses, repeating the toast.

           Callahan slowly rose from his chair and raised his glass, accepting the toast.

His heart full of emotion at the outpouring of warmth and good cheer; he took a moment to compose himself.

2

           Again, the room was silent as they waited for Michael to speak.

           “I want to thank Doc for setting this up and all of you, my fellow officers and friends, for coming tonight. The department has been such an important part of my life and will always be part of who I am. Wherever life takes me in the future, I shall always remember with pride my time in the department.” Turning to Doc, he clapped a hand on his shoulder. “Thanks for always being there, Doc,” Callahan spoke with emotion.

           Unable to contain himself, Doc gave Callahan a bear hug.

           The room burst out with applause.

           The party continued for some time with people slowly saying their goodnights. Kroon had arranged for a line of taxis to convey the guest's home. Biting back the desire to take Mike to an exclusive speakeasy he knew, Doc and Callahan took a cab to Ginny’s mansion. As Mike tried to put the key in the door, it opened quickly. Standing in the doorway, they were surprised to see Ginny instead of the butler. 

           She scanned both men and seemed to relax, noting their condition.

           Standing back, “Well come in, you two,” she bid them enter.

           Pushing Callahan ahead, Doc said, “The cab is waiting; I’ll leave you two alone.”

           “Nonsense Doc, I have a room ready for you, please send the cab away.”

           As Doc went to pay off the taxi, Ginny helped Mike stand against the door.

           Giving him a compassionate look, she asked, “How are you?”

           Giving her a goofy smile, “I’m fine, how are you,” Callahan answered.

           As Doc walked up the steps she thought, it could have been worse.

3

           Ginny got them into the house, “Help me get him upstairs, please Doc. You have the room on the second floor; you know the one I mean.”

           As they reached the master, Ginny took Mike, and looking at Doc, she smiled.

           “Thanks, Doc, for not letting it get out-of-hand.”

           Doc smiled, “You know me, Mr. Self-control.”

           Ginny laughed gently, “Oh yes, that’s you, good night Doc.”

           Bidding them good night, Doc went to his room and quickly fell asleep. In the master bedroom, Ginny helped Michael undress, and she got him into bed.


           The time until the wedding seemed to pass quickly. Callahan spent the remaining time at his apartment. On the day of the wedding, a police car arrived with a small motorcycle escort to take him to Saint Patrick’s.

Riding in the back seat with Doc, Callahan asked, “You got the ring, right?”

Doc gave him a surprised look, “I thought you had it.”

Seeing his friend nervous, possibly for the first time, Doc added, “Relax partner, I’ve got your back. . . . And I have your ring. Don’t worry; we’ll be there in plenty of time.”

As they pulled up to Saint Patrick’s, Doc spoke, “Will you look at that crowd already?”

Looking past his friend, Callahan could see the well-dressed men and women walking into the cathedral. When he had awakened, Callahan had immediately checked the weather. He again checked out the sky as he exited the police car. As they walked up the steps, a voice called out to him. Turning, he saw the photographer he and Ginny had hired holding a camera gesturing for them to stop. Callahan and Doc turned and smiled as the photographer took some photos. Mike knew that there would be at least two additional photographers inside.

4

Entering the cathedral, Doc and Callahan walked calmly up the aisle toward the altar. Mike having chosen Doc as his best man had selected another four men for his wedding party. Included in the party was Kroon, who seemed surprised when Mike had asked him. Mike had an honest affection for the man whom he greatly respected.

Ginny had no family ties; her parents had passed away, asked Claire to be her maid of honor. The other women were friends and one a business associate. 

As they walked down the aisle, Mike and Doc made eye contact with several people already seated. Reaching the altar, Mike greeted the other members of the wedding party and then headed for the vestibule to await the arrival of the bride. From the rear of the vestibule a man entered, “Well, Michael, are you set for your big day,” asked Patrick Joseph Cardinal Hayes.

Cardinal Hayes was also known as the “Cardinal of Souls,” never forgot his humble beginnings, and he and Michael seemed to hit it off from the start. Walking over, he shook hands with Mike and Doc. 

“A lot of emotion here. Your Eminence, all of it good,” Mike answered the cardinal.

Nodding, the Cardinal replied, “It is a great day when God joins a man and woman in holy matrimony.” He turned to Doc, “Are you married, detective?”

Caught by surprise, Doc shook his head, “Not yet, Your Eminence.”

“Well, you’ll excuse me, I need to get ready. I believe your bride will be here shortly.” The Cardinal spoke and quickly left the room.

           At the appointed time, Callahan and Doc made their way out on to the altar.

           The organist began the “Bridal Chorus,” and the wedding party started to make their entrance. Once they had entered, Ginny entered being escorted by a close friend. Callahan stared, entranced by her. Her gown seemed to flow gently around her as she made her way down the aisle. Michael could see her smile as she acknowledged those people in the seats. 

5

           As they reached the altar, Ginny’s escort gently raised her veil and gave her a respectful kiss on the cheek as he presented her to Michael.

           Standing as he looked into her eyes, he whispered, “You are so beautiful.”

           She gave his hand a gentle squeeze, and they turned to face the Cardinal.

           The ceremony seemed to move quickly, and when the Cardinal pronounced them man and wife, they turned to the audience, who applauded. Walking down the aisle with his new wife, Callahan radiated happiness he hadn’t felt in years. Reaching the doorway, they waited as the many guests departed, thanking them for attending. Callahan recognized a few of the notable guests, such as Mayor Jimmy Walker and the Police Commissioner, who, as he shook his hand, gave him a wink of understanding. Callahan could see how happy his wife was about having being invited.

           The bridal party was again treated to a police motorcade as they traveled from the Cathedral to the reception hall. Once inside the limousine, he poured her a drink of wine from a chilled compartment.

           Handing the drink to her, he poured one for himself. Touching their glasses together, he gazed lovingly at her. “Simple words can’t describe how beautiful you are or the happiness I feel.”

           “Michael, I love you with all of my heart, to our long and happy life together.” She said.

           With the police clearing traffic, they were quickly at the reception hall.

           Once announced, the bridal party entered, and the band started playing. Once they had crossed the floor, the bandleader announced they would dance together for the first time as man and wife to the new song by Cole Porter, titled Night and Day. 

6

           After a couple of songs, Doc took the microphone to offer the toast as best man. After which Claire addressed the attendees. Once the formalities were taken care of, Michael and Ginny began their rounds of the room greeting friends and associates. 

           Michael was impressed with the photographers who seemed to stay in the shadows while taking candid and staged shots of the partiers. 

           Finally, it was the end of the evening, and they bid those remaining a good evening. Arriving back at the mansion, they were pleased to see that their travel bags had been packed and were waiting near the front door. They had agreed on taking the train to Tampa out of Grand Central Station. They had booked a duplex, sleeper car for the journey. They had contacted the Hemingway’s and would stay at their house in Key West and with them then travel to Cuba. 

           As they got into bed, Mike leaned over and kissed Ginny, “Good night, sweetheart, it was an incredible day.”

           “We shall have many wonderful days together, Michael, good night, my love.”

7


About the author

Stephen Larkin has been a lifelong resident of Long Island, NY and has been an avid reader since his teens. Steve is the author of "The Kiss Off" and "Murder on Dog Island." Steve has been married to his wonderful wife, Gabriele and they have two children. view profile

Published on June 08, 2020

80000 words

Genre: Mystery & Crime

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