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Would you know how to Murder a Ghost?

Young PAUL DAVENPORT finds $250,000 while jogging in a desert park and turns it over to the police. That leads to a TV interview, which leads to an estate lawyer telling him he can inherit $75 million from a previously unknown uncle—but only if he agrees to save a  young naked ghost from her evil ghost husband; and do it in two weeks.

To receive Justin Davenport's money, the attorney says Paul must rescue his uncle's one true love, a beautiful 18-year-old ghost from eternal torture by her husband. Problem: Paul doesn't believe in ghosts. He thinks Justin was insane.

In a letter, Paul's uncle tells what happened. In the nineteenth century, Fortune Montmartre caught Helena sleeping with his son, Talon. Enraged, he murdered Helena and tried to murder Talon, but Talon killed him. His uncle spent twenty-five years trying and failing to save Helena He hopes Paul can to find a creative way to destroy Fortune and save the girl.

If you want to learn how Paul, his best friend Yoshi Kawasaki and Samantha Duet, the beautiful groundskeeper's daughter, solve the seemigly impossible task, read and enjoy How to Murder a Ghost by Charles Hampton. It's full of mystery,suspense, romance and danger.

ONE

Paul Davenport's life was a total mess, and he had just done a stupid thing to make it even worse. He could have solved most of his problems by being clever and not so damned honest. But it was done now, and it couldn’t be undone.

He pushed open the front door of the Pasadena Police Department and stepped aside to allow detective Sergeant Bill Johnson to exit first. The detective nodded his thanks and walked out onto the building’s front portico. Paul followed and then stopped, astonished by the odd group of people waiting for them under a deep-blue Sunday afternoon sky.

Three photographers, two video cameramen, several male reporters, one pretty young woman with short brown hair and a few others were arrayed on the cobble-stone sidewalk in front of the building. They ignored the detective and gawked up at Paul.

Panic ripped through him like a sharp-pointed icicle, freezing his spine. The last thing he needed was to talk to reporters. He turned back, intending to escape, but Bill Johnson grabbed his arm. “Won’t do any good to run,” he said. “This is a big story, and they won’t let you rest until you give them an interview.”

“But who told them I was here?” He regretted even more his dumb decision to get the police involved.

“Good question. They got spies everywhere, and they probably know most of it already. When a young jogger finds an enormous amount of money and turns it over to the cops, that’s big news. They’ll buzz about it for days.”

Dressed in navy-blue jogging sweats that were still wet in spots on his back and under his arms, Paul could have been a stand-in for Christopher Reeve in the movie Superman. A lock of dark wavy hair fell over his brow, pointing to dark blue eyes set deep behind a tall Roman nose. He stood two inches taller than the tough, gray-suited detective. His lean face showed doubt, but he said, “Okay, if you say so, but I’m pretty sweaty.”

“Don’t worry about it. They’ve seen runners before. I’ll try to get them off your back, but you’re a hero. They won’t let go until they have something to take home.”

Paul shrugged. “Okay, Sergeant, I’m game. Go ahead.” He surveyed the reporters again. They were a pack of hungry dogs, starving for food but the sergeant was right. Finding that much money was a big story. He spotted a couple of friendly faces and nodded his recognition of them. He resigned himself to answering a few questions and then hurrying home to his apartment for a shower and a nap.

The detective nudged Paul into the sunlight. Several reporters, waving hand-held mikes, came toward them. TV cameras targeted them. The photographers were busy eyeing him through their view finders and taking pictures.

Bill Johnson waved them back. They halted their progress.

“Okay folks, I’m not sure who leaked this, but I have nothing for you. You understand the procedure. If you want details, see the information officer.”

“Aw, come on, Sarge. Give us a break,” one reporter called. “We know he found two suitcases full of money and turned it in. How about a few tidbits, anyway?”
The detective pinched his brow, deciding, and then shrugged. He looked at Paul. “Sorry, they’re onto us. Will you answer a few questions?”

Paul nodded.

Sergeant Johnson turned back to the reporters. “Okay, here’s the story.” He motioned to Paul. “This young man’s name is Paul Davenport. He’s thirty years old, and single. Paul jogs regularly at the Hahamonga Watershed Park. On this Sunday afternoon, he spotted something odd under a big rock. He investigated and found two large leather suitcases containing more than a quarter million dollars. He realized it was an important find. As a good citizen, he brought them to us. My guess is he stumbled on a pickup point for drug dealers, but we’re uncertain about that. The department will draft a press release as soon as we learn more.” Johnson paused. “Mr. Davenport has agreed to take a few questions, but don’t overwhelm him. He did his duty by bringing in that money, so let’s not punish him for it.” The sergeant nodded to Paul. “All yours.”

Paul squelched a nervous knot in his stomach and then mimicked what he had seen others do on TV. He chose an older journalist who was closest to him. The man’s face was friendly, so he said, “Sir, I’ll take your questions first.”

The reporter climbed three of the seven steps leading to the portico. “Mr. Davenport, why did you turn in that money? Weren’t you tempted to keep it?”

“Hell, yes. I was tempted, but it’s not mine, so I brought it to the police.” Paul tried not to look as stupid as he felt.

“I doubt many people would give it up so easily,” the reporter said. “Are you a rich man?”

“I wish. I’m a freelance CNC programmer at an aerospace company. There’s not enough money in my account to buy two tickets to Disneyland.”

Someone yelled. “So what are you, some kind of overgrown Boy Scout?”

“No.” Paul tried to pick out the questioner. “It’s more accurate to call me a former jarhead who believes in doing the right thing.”

There was a scattering of laughter. Paul relaxed.

“Hey, what’s a CNC programmer?” someone shouted.

Paul looked around and spotted the shouter, an older man in a rumpled brown suit and battered hat. “Sir, CNC stands for computer numerical control. I write G-code programs that run advanced metal-working equipment. It’s not very exciting, but it buys the bacon.”

“Where did you go to school?” someone else called.

“Three years at UCLA.”

“You saying they teach CNC programming at UCLA?” the first reporter asked, surprised.

“No, they may, but I studied mechanical engineering there. I learned to program in the Marine Corps and studied G-code at a local trade school.”

“Hey, I was in the Corps,” an older reporter said. “How’d you land working with computers?

Paul tossed the man a quick salute. “Sir, if you were in the marines, you know they test you to see where you belong. They sent me to electronics training school and then one day the opportunity to switch came up, so I took it.”

The man chuckled. “You must be a smart dude then.”

“Not according to my sergeant.” Another smattering of laughter.

The dark-haired young reporter elbowed her way to the front. “Mr. Davenport, weren’t you frightened by what you found? I would have been. Drug gangs are notoriously vicious.”

Paul returned her smile. “No, though maybe a little nervous.”

“What about the money? Did that surprise you?”

“Sure, but I figured it was counterfeit. Who finds suitcases full of real cash? Detective Johnson thinks it’s drug money, which makes sense now.”

“Suppose you had kept it,” the girl insisted. “What would you do with it?”

Paul saw her question was serious. “Are you asking what I would do if I won the lottery?”

The girl giggled. “I guess I am? What’s the answer?”

“Well, I’m like everyone else. You name it, and I’ve dreamed it.”

“Does your family live in Pasadena?”

“No. I’m alone.”

“Oh, sorry,” she said.

“No problem.” He looked around at his audience. “If there’s nothing else, I think I need a shower.”

Paul looked at the detective for agreement.

“Hey, Davenport. Why don’t you tell us the whole truth?” The voice was caustic, accusing and loud.

His face turned ashen. What truth? He tried to locate the questioner. A young guy his own age stepped forward. Paul frowned. “What are you talking about?

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