by Hy Conrad
For a woman of leisure, Lucrezia Alworthy kept a demanding schedule. On Thursdays, for example, she was awakened at 8:00 and served breakfast in bed by Guido, her chef. Next came a quick fitness session with Olga, her personal trainer. Lars, her secretary, would be waiting in the study and, at 10:00, Lucrezia would be there to answer her mail, return phone calls and rearrange her social calendar.
At noon, Lucrezia would drive her Jaguar to the station and take a commuter train into Manhattan for her weekly luncheon with Muffy and Buffy Chandliss, her two oldest and dearest friends. Then on to a little shopping. The 4:05 nonstop would bring her back to Connecticut. As Lucrezia drove up to the house at 4:55, Olga would have already set up the massage table and warmed the scented oils for a soothing herbal wrap. It was a grueling life but Lucrezia seemed to thrive on it. On this Thursday, however, there was an unexpected change of plans. Today Lucrezia’s shopping errand involved taking her diamond necklace into the jeweler’s for a cleaning. She threw the expensive bauble into her purse and proceeded on to lunch.
As Lucrezia kissed her friends good-bye and exited “The 21 Club,” she sensed she was being followed. The feeling continued until she reached Fifth Avenue. Then, as she joined the throng of shoppers, Lucrezia felt a tug. Within a split-second, a man on in-line skates sailed past her, grabbing her purse.
The police responded quickly. But there were statements to take and forms to fill out and the 4:05 nonstop left without her. Lucrezia Alworthy stumbled back home an hour late. The ice in the welcome-home cocktail Lars had mixed had already melted.
The heiress was nearly comatose with despair. Olga hurriedly set up the massage table and mixed the oils.
Meanwhile, Lars was in the kitchen watching Guido try to re-time tonight’s dinner. “You know,” Lars said as he tasted the melted cocktail. “This was an inside job. The thief followed her. He obviously knew she was carrying that necklace.”
Guido basted a Cornish game hen as he thought. “You have family in Manhattan, don’t you, Lars? And wasn’t it you who prodded Ms. Alworthy to have her necklace cleaned?”
“You think it was me?” Lars stammered. “What about you? You knew about the necklace. So did Olga. And, if I’m not mistaken, your cousin owns an in-line skating store in Brooklyn.”
“Yes,” Guido replied. “But you had the afternoon off. You could have followed her into town and stolen it yourself.” Late that evening, after they had put Lucrezia to bed, Olga joined the argument, with each servant accusing the others of plotting the jewelry heist.