The Artimus Box

“One night in February 1932, they saw a boy leaving the shop late after the other workers had left. They had noticed that the lights in the shop had not been turned off by the last man they saw leave before the boy came out, and had decided to keep watch on the place. When they spotted the boy with a box, the boy saw them, and ducked behind a corner of the street. When they fired a warning shot to stop him, the boy ran through an alleyway and they gave chase. They lost sight of him for a while and then one of the men saw the boy with the box under his arm. The moon silhouetted him crouching by a corner beam on a first story platform in a building site. They moved to a position that would afford them a shot at the boy and fired several shots. They all saw the boy fall with the box.”

“As they ran to the lot where the boy fell, they saw people were already coming out of some of the neighboring buildings to see what the noise was.
The man with the rifle hid it and the rest of the men split up to search the dark lot. They found the boy but, before they could take the box, the neighborhood men were coming into the building site. They pulled the boy’s body out of view to a dirt berm built up around a hole dug by a support beam.

One of the men grabbed the box from the boy’s grasp. A policeman approached them, the beam of his flashlight moving back and forth scanning the lot. The leader of the killers quickly moved toward the cop to distract him. He stepped around the cop to make him turn away from the other men. Hidden from the cop’s view the other men dropped the box and pushed it along with the body into the hole. One of the men kicked dirt from the pile around the hole to cover the body. The policeman asked what they were doing. The leader of the men said, in a thick German accent, that they had heard shots and were looking to see what was going on.

The policeman turned and ran the beam of his flashlight over the other men. He wanted to know why the man was kicking the dirt. The leader replied that one of the men had just taken a leak there. The policeman walked over and looked at the men, glanced at the dark hole and then told them to go home. He said he would do the investigating.

When they cautiously returned to the site the next night, they discovered the whole area around where they had left the boy, covered in concrete. A policeman also stood guard at the entrance gate.”

“It seems that not only justice is blind.”

Van Taylor, a veteran LAPD detective, pushes back his thoughts of retirement when he is assigned the pending investigation of a 1932 murder. The old murder comes to light when the demolition of an old building unearths skeletal remains and a large wooden box. With the remains Van finds the driver's license of a young man, Harry Artimus, reported missing in 1932. Van and his wife Kathy, both avid vintage auto racers, recognize the Artimus name as that of a well-known mechanical genius in the early racing industry. The detective eagerly delves into the investigation. His inspection of the box revels an incomplete encoding machine. Before he can make any sense of the box's purpose, a vicious motorcycle gang tries to get the box by beating the detective and threatening his wife. The leader of the gang murdered a Hollywood producer to gain the secret to the box. However, Van cannot understand why the box would spur such violence until he follows a trail of greed and corruption. The motorcycle gang's leader goes on a murder spree in his attempt to steal the box. Each time he fails to get it, he becomes more violent. In a drug-induced stupor, he attempts to kill Van. When he finds he did not finish job, he goes into a wild rage then kidnaps Van's wife as ransom for the box. Can Van save his wife from the madman? Will the box provide any answers? Buckle your seat belt and take a wild ride.
Passion is a sustaining element in my life. Passion for living, for producing good work, and for expanding my abilities. After a forty-year career of professionally racing sports cars, writing became a passion. As an avid follower of American history and early auto racing, I have combined the two in my novels.