Tuesday, April 08, 2014

H is for Henry: Blogging the ‪#‎atozchallenge

Yes, this is an old picture of Iain Glenn
but he sure would have made a great Henry back then.
I have a confession to make: I'm in love with Henry. Chief of Police Henry Werner is the central figure in most of my Marienstadt stories in both The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall and The Christmas Daughter. He is a big, blond, handsome man whose rakish behavior hides a broken heart. Henry is essentially a good man but he's not above breaking the law to protect the people he loves. I swear I keep writing Marienstadt stories just so I can spend more time with Henry.

from The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall
Henry Werner knew that being the Chief of Police in Marienstadt, Pennsylvania, was an easy job but any day that started out with a visit from Sister Adelaide, the Prioress of St. Joseph's Convent, and which was followed by a call from the State Police, was off to an unpromising start. Despite the fact that he was close to forty and had been a policeman ever since he left the Marines, one withering stare from Sister Adelaide could reduce him to a
single throbbing nerve. The worst part was, she knew it.
“Henry,” she said, looking at him over the top of the half-moon glasses perched on her long, patrician nose, “is it really necessary to ticket the convent's automobiles at every single opportunity? I understand that the sisters need to be more mindful of making sure there is adequate money in the parking meters but, honestly, the time had barely run out when Patrolman Ginther wrote this out.” She waved the bright orange ticket in front of him.
“Give it to me, Sister,” he said. “I'll take care of it.” He knew that by 'taking care of it' he meant that he would pay for it himself but he preferred that she not know that.
“No.” She jerked the ticket back and tucked it into the pocket of the impeccably tailored black wool coat she wore. “We do not expect favors but we would like a small amount of ...” She paused, raised her eyebrows, cleared her throat, and then said, “a small amount of courtesy, shall we say?”

“I'll have a word with Dean, I'm sure he'll be reasonable.” Actually he was quite sure that Dean Ginther would be anything but reasonable. 

from The Christmas Daughter
 “Good morning, Boone.” The door opened and Henry came in, the bright sunlight making his hair glow.
“Hey, good morning. I'd shake hands but...” Boone lifted his, with coffee in one and strudel in the other. “Help yourself. I think we're going to have leftovers today.”
“No thanks.” Henry leaned against the counter. “I got a disturbing call this morning from Grant Caruso at the State Police barracks and I thought I'd better come by and have a word with you before the State Police show up.”
“Yeah?” Boone sat down behind his desk and bit into the strudel. “What did we do now?”
“Well, I'm sure you didn't do anything but it seems one of your guests might have been distributing child pornography from one of your rooms.”
Boone put the strudel down on a napkin and stared at him. “You're kidding?”
“I'm not kidding. It seems Mr. Vickery got himself in some trouble last night.”
“What kind of trouble?” Boone took another bite of strudel.
“Well, that's the thing, nobody knows exactly how it happened but the state police got a call this morning from a truck driver who reported a man tied up in an old green Bonneville that was parked at the Roadside Rest out off Windfall.”
“Tied up?” Boone laughed. “Tied up in his own car.”
“Not just tied up but stripped naked, pretty badly beaten, and wrapped up like a Christmas package with duct tape.” Henry looked at his cousin and suddenly felt an odd but familiar shiver. “His hands were taped to the steering wheel; his mouth was taped shut; and the duct tape was wrapped around his chest, arms, and the back of the seat.”
“Sounds like he pissed someone off,” Boone said.
As they were talking, Lucius came through the door from the tavern, nodded to Henry, and drew himself a cup of coffee.
“Uh-huh.” Henry continued. “On the passenger's seat were a couple computers and an old digital camera with a slide show of naked kids.”
Lucius walked over and perched on the desk. “Sounds like one sick puppy to me.”
“No kidding,” Boone agreed. “Do they have any suspects?”
Henry looked back and forth between them. “Geez, Lucius,” he said. “What happened to your hand? You've got some nasty bruises.”
Lucius examined his knuckles and shrugged. “I whacked it while I was changing out the beer kegs in the bar. I'm not the tough guy I used to be.”

Henry closed his eyes for a second and decided he needed to get going—the sooner the better.

Thanks for reading.

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