Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Mystery of the Missing Glasses

By Dorothy Parker of the Algonquin Round Table Mysteries (by J.J. Murphy)...
Lobby of the Algonquin Hotel, New York City
    “I simply can’t find my glasses,” I said to Mr. Benchley, who sat on the other side of the little coffee table. “How can I read the crossword if I can’t…read the crossword?”

We sat in the luxurious lobby of the Algonquin Hotel, wasting a perfectly good Sunday afternoon together. I would have been delighted to sit there forever—if only I could find my eyeglasses.

“Well, Mrs. Parker, where did you have them last?” he asked nonchalantly, not even looking up from the funny papers.

“If I knew where I had them last,” I snapped, “they wouldn’t be lost.”

He turned the page. “You’re in a bit of a pickle then, aren’t you?”

I folded my arms. “I’m in a whole pickle barrel. That was my only pair. I can’t afford to get a new pair.” I became agitated all over again. “Now where are those darn things, anyway? I had them right here!”

“Did you look in your purse? Under your seat? On the floor under your armchair?”

“Of course,” I snapped. “Yes, yes, and yes.”

“Then I guess you are in quite a pickle.”

A white-aproned waiter approached. He set down a cup of tea for me and a mug of coffee for Mr. Benchley.

“Luigi, dear,” I said, “would you please go check the hotel’s lost and found for a pair of ladies’ horn-rimmed spectacles?”

He looked at me, doubt in his eyes. “Spectacles?”

“Yes, a pair of ladies’ horn-rimmed spectacles.”

He spoke hesitantly. “Like the ones on your head?”

I reached a hand to the top of my head, and there they were. On my head all this time. I sighed, exasperated and embarrassed. I had made a spectacle of myself, all right. “Thank you, Luigi.”

The little waiter hurried away quickly. Even he was embarrassed at my oversight.

Mr. Benchley, good fellow that he is, never said a word.

Glasses on, I went to reach for the crossword puzzle. But it was no longer there. “Oh damn! Now where’s the page with the crossword?” I ruffled through the many pages of the newspaper.

“Oh dear. In another pickle?”

“I’m about to be.” I stood up, ready to drag Mr. Benchley to the nearest speakeasy. “Come on. Let’s go get pickled.”

He smiled, and finally looked up at me from his funny pages. “I’ll drink to that.”

Dorothy Parker most recently appeared in YOU MIGHT AS WELL DIE, the second book in the series. She returns in the third installment, A FRIENDLY GAME OF MURDER, in January 2013. Follow Algonquin Round Table Mysteries on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Phew! Glad you found them. I guess you didn't miss the crossword puzzle, after all.

  2. That was a whole *jar* of pickles: dill, bread and butter, gherkins...

  3. Apparently I'm more like Dorothy Parker than I thought. Not that I've ever done that or anything . . .

    ~ Krista