Authors note: This is a work of fiction. It does not reflect any actual events, and all of the characters are fictional. Any similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
There is a real city of Oceanside, California. It’s San Diego County’s third largest city with a below-average crime rate.
The Grand Pacific Hotel is fictional, but during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were at least two similar resort hotels that did exist, primarily serving railroad passengers and tourists as described in this book.
— Tom Morrow
Beatrice Cryer was in fact still living and was listed in the Oceanside telephone book. The address was easy to find. It was a small bungalow on Ditmar Street in the heart of old Oceanside facing west overlooking the Pacific.
When they pulled in front of her house, they found her on her hands and knees weeding a flower garden alongside the front stoop.
“Miss Cryer?” Danny lightly hollered from the sidewalk.
“Yes, that’s me! Wha’da ya want?”
Beatrice Cryer was a semi-stout woman appearing to be in her mid-seventies. When she stood from her garden, the detectives were awestruck by her attractiveness—and ample chest; albeit a bit saggy, but, nonetheless, quite an eye catcher.
Danny and Joe walked to the stoop and identified themselves and explained their visit. She removed her garden gloves and invited them to the front porch to sit down. The sun was bearing down and it was starting to get hot.
“You want to ask me questions about my time at the GP?”
“Yes, we would, if you don’t mind,” Danny said.
“This have anything to do with those bodies I’ve read about?”
“Yes. We’re trying to talk to as many people as we can who worked there in the past,” Danny said in his detective voice—bland.
“Probably not many of us left from the old days.”
“There’s more than you think,” Joe said.
“Yes ma’am. Talked to a few already,” Joe said again.
“Aaron Hinkle. Remember him?”
“That ol’ fart still living?”
“Yeah, he’s still living. You talk to him lately?”
“No. Haven’t talked to him or any of those folks since we closed.”
“That a fact?”
“That’s a fact. But what did ol’ Seth say about me?”
“That you were pretty, just like your mother. Also said your mother had control over the ‘girls’ who used to visit the GP. You know anything about that?”
“Well, I suppose it’s no secret. My momma did run a men’s club back in those days. I grew up there.”
“Men’s club?” Joe asked with raised eyebrows.
“Son, back in those days, a whorehouse was known as a ‘Men’s Club’.”
“Yeah, she owned and ran the place. Had a steady clientele, mostly local businessmen. And the Marines came when they had some money.”
“You remember any of the customers?” Danny asked.
“Not really, no. I was only eight when momma closed down.”
“What year was that?”
“Around 1942, I think.”
“Why did she close down?”
“The mayor’s wife. She found out her husband was a regular.”
“Yeah. She in turn went to the police chief and demanded he do something. But what she didn’t know was he was a regular, too. When she found that out, she threatened to take it to the newspaper and spill the beans. That would’ve meant trouble for everybody.”
“What happened?” asked Joe.
“Well, Momma didn’t have much choice but to close down because of the pressure put on her.”
“That when she went to work at the GP?” asked Joe.
“More or less.”
“How’s that?” Joe asked again.
“You see, about a month or so after closing, she got a call from the GP manager.”
“Well … he used to stop by the club once in a while to relax.”
“He offered her a proposition.”
“A proposition?” Danny said piping in.
“If you want to call it that. You see, when Momma closed the club down, there were a lot unhappy men in town, including the police chief and the mayor. Between the two of them, and the manager, they devised a plan to keep her in business.”
“They got with the manager and worked out a deal. Officially she was given the job as head housekeeper…”
“She had to bring some of the girls with her.”
“So your momma became a madam again?”
“Yeah, I suppose she did.”
“No housekeeping duties?”
“Depends on what you call housekeeping, huh, detective?”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Danny said looking at Beatrice with a grin. Joe slightly chuckled to himself looking at Beatrice. After a moment of silence, Joe piped in.
“So, your momma just kept the place clean?”
“Yeah, she kept the place clean, detective.”
“So, where did you and your momma move to after she closed the club?” asked Joe.