A Novel - The Drugstore by RC Marlen

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In 1955, John Bartlett realizes that his drugstore and the neighborhood are going downhill. There is a rash of holdups and burglaries and then an elderly man is murdered after cashing his Social Security check in the drugstore. But that is just the beginning. John fears his daughter is going to be raped by a man who escaped from the police, and his son Billy is shot by robbers. Not just one bullet; the robber empties the gun into Billy! Will the boy live? Will they find the shooter? As if this isn't enough, the police feel that someone in the family or working in the drugstore is leaking details to the robbers.


Becky Bartlett, the daughter of Ellie and John Bartlett, tells the story. As her father often says, "Becky is wise beyond her years." As her mother likes to point out, "Becky's too well-developed and going to have problems." And problems come running after her in the form of Freddie Payne.

Freddie Payne holds up the Marlen's Pharmacy one night while Becky is working. He can't take his eyes off her. She thinks he is cute until he gets rough. In a few days, he is calling and watching her. One minute, Becky is scared of him and, in the next instance, wants to help him. The whole situation explodes at the end of the book.

John Bartlett is a father of five and a pharmacist with a drugstore located in a declining neighborhood. Through his daily work, you witness his patient disposition and watch as he passes love and kindness to all people who walk into his drugstore. John's life changes after one of his boys is shot in a holdup. He begins to help Detective Frank Wharton solve the crimes; they think it was a inside job.

Claire Scaglione is a fun loving and determined woman who has been a friend of the Bartlett family for all of Becky's life. She owns the confectionery down the street from the drugstore. Claire fears that her store will be robbed soon and wants to help find who is leaking information about the drugstore to the crooks. She and the detective seem to have eyes for each other.

Detective Frank Wharton is a Lieutenent in the St. Louis Police Department and suspects something bigger than just robberies. He is tall, good looking and smokes cigars. His own smoke must be getting in his eyes because Becky starts seeing clues he knew nothing about. He's impressed and asks for her help in finding the crooks.