Friday Focus: The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall, by Kathleen Valentine


Whiskey-Bottle-All-300pxlPatrolman Dean Ginther appeared in the doorway of Chief of Police Henry Werner’s office with a peculiar look on his normally-smiling face.

Henry kept his eyes on his paperwork. “What’s up, Dean? Did one of the nuns out-run you when you tried to pull her over?”

Dean stared at him. “Candy Dippold has a guillotine on the sidewalk in front of his store.”

Henry looked up. “What?”

“I just drove past and I swear to God there’s a guillotine right there on the sidewalk. He was talking to a bunch of kids from St. Walburga’s and they were all asking questions about it.”

Gunther Dippold, known locally as Candy because of the endless variety of penny candy he sold in the small market he owned directly across the street from St. Walburga’s Parochial School, was one of Marienstadt’s most interesting citizens.

“Where would anyone get a guillotine?”

Dean shifted uncomfortably. “That’s just it. One of the kids said he made it.”

“Oh, great,” Henry said, standing up slowly. “I suppose I should go over and have a look before the phone starts ringing.”

“It’s really big. It’s kind of scary looking.”

Henry buttoned the top buttons of his shirt and adjusted his tie. “Did you talk to Candy?”

“No. I…” Dean fumbled for words. “I didn’t know what to say. It’s… Well, it’s not the kind of thing you ever think you’re going to run into, is it?”

Henry chuckled. “No, I don’t suppose it is. I don’t remember hearing anything about dealing with guillotines either in the Marines or the police academy.” He took his hat down from the rack and settled it on his head. “You’ve got to admit, Dean, we face unique weaponry in our little corner of the world.”

“Like The Hole in the Woods Gang’s tank?”

“Precisely.” Henry laughed. “Donna, I’m going to take a run over to Candy Dippold’s store.”

“Checking on his guillotine?” she looked up with a smirk.

“How do you know about that?”

“I just got lunch from the Strudel Shop and old Mrs. Hauber was telling Lola about it. She sounded pretty upset. She said to tell you she was coming over to talk to you once she finishes her strudel.”

“Thanks,” he said. All the more reason to get out of the office.

By the time Henry pulled up in front of Dippold’s Grocery there were at least twenty children gathered around what was very obviously a guillotine towering at least twelve feet above the sidewalk.

“Look what Candy made,” one of them yelled when Henry got out of the cruiser.

“Wonderful,” he said to the kid. He walked around the front of the cruiser looking up at the imposing structure as the kids told him all about it – simultaneously and each in his own words.


About the book

The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall: Secrets of Marienstadt, a novel in eleven stories, is set in the fictional town of Marienstadt, a Pennsylvania Dutch community in the Allegheny Highlands. Marienstadt’s vibrant, versatile characters include Father Nick Bauer, the priest who wants to revive local heritage; handsome, sexy Chief of Police Henry Werner; Gretchen Fritz, owner of The Calico Cuckoo Quilting Fabric and Supplies; lovely, elusive strudel artist Lola Eckert; and the huge but reclusive woodsman, Oliver Eberstark. These stories will charm you with their wit, poignancy, and colorful supporting characters including a dance champion turned pig farmer, a nun who runs a snowplow, a shopkeeper building a guillotine, a 17-foot tall fiberglass woodchuck, moonshiners and hippies, woodhicks and chainsaw artists, ladies fighting over dumpling recipes, the multi-generational Winter family, secret identities and secret loves long hidden. Marienstadt and its citizens will tantalize your senses and warm your heart.

About the author

KV-300pxKathleen Valentine was born and grew up in the Allegheny Highlands of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in The Arts and worked for over twenty years in the art/marketing departments of high-tech corporations. Since 2003 she has run her own design business, She is the author of “Fry Bacon. Add Onions”, a cookbook/memoir of growing up, Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as 4 novels, several novelettes and short story collections, and knitting instruction books. She has been listed as an Amazon Top 100 Author in Horror. Her novellas, The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic and Ghosts of a Beach Town in Winter were Amazon Top Ten Best Sellers in Horror and Ghost Stories for over 20 weeks.

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and follow her on Twitter @Kathleen 01930

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