Diana Trevor was asleep and dreaming of her husband Steve. It was a sign of how deep their love was that, after years of marriage and her meeting dozens of larger-than-life heroes, he was still the object of all her passion. She stirred suddenly as the phone rang. She sat up and grabbed the receiver.
“Trevor residence,” she said groggily.
“Di! Can you please come quickly down to the main Georgetown Police Station?” asked a desperate voice on the other end of the phone.
Diana knew the speaker to be her close friend, Etta Candy Darnell. She stood up as she continued speaking. “Etta, dear, of course I will come. What’s wrong?” she asked. “If they need Wonder Woman, why didn’t they simply call here?”
“That’s just it, Di!” said Etta. “I’m the one who needs you. They’ve arrested my Holly for murder!”
“Great Hera!” cried Diana, who promised to be there in moments.
The amazing Amazon called Wonder Woman was true to her word. She stood in a small holding cell before the Darnells and their daughter Holly after making a rapid trip from her suburban home to the city via her super-swift invisible plane.
She noticed how concerned the normally stoic General Phillip Darnell was. He had been her boss during World War II, and she knew him to be a man of courage and vision. His wife Etta had been her closest friend as well during her years in Man’s World. Etta had always been brave, fiery, loyal, and a bit brash. Time and marriage had changed her into a slender, matronly teacher who ran an elite girl’s school with her retired military-man husband. Still, for all their past courage, the Darnells were parents, and like all parents, the plight of their child could wring emotions and fears out of them like nothing else could.
Holly Darnell was in many ways a second daughter to Diana, since the young woman had spent years growing up with Diana’s own daughter Lyta. Holly had her mother’s spirited manner and a keen mind as well. She was a college student and an aspiring singer.
She hugged Diana and said, “Oh, Aunt Di, thanks for coming! My folks and I appreciate it!” Holly’s concern was genuine and natural, but she always had the theatricality of the born performer. Her gestures and expressions and the way she carried herself all combined in a dramatic package.
Wonder Woman kissed her and said, “No thanks are needed. We’re family. Holly, what exactly happened? The police say you were found standing over the body of nightclub owner Eric Monroe with the gun that killed him, according to all evidence from the labs. You know that you do not need to tell us that you are guiltless. We know that, of course!”
“Diana, she says she did!” said Etta.
Holly nodded sadly. “Right. I don’t know what came over me, but I shot Eric! I can see it all so vividly! It is like I saw it all as a movie! The look on his face, the scent of his aftershave, and his dismissive tone are all still etched on my brain!”
Diana frowned and said, “Tell us what you do know. Be calm and start slowly.”
“I knew Monroe was a snake!” said Phillip. “I should never have allowed Holly to work in his club. Just because the best people flocked to that place didn’t mean it was a fit place for a young girl!”
Holly rolled her eyes with impatience. “Dad! You know I can handle myself. It was a great place to sing. Those same big shots could have helped my career greatly! Plus, Eric was always nice to me. I still can’t understand why he decided to terminate my contract so abruptly.”
“Eric Monroe was a wealthy man,” said Diana. “That club was but one of his holdings. You were doing well there, and he was pleased with how you were attracting customers, right?”
Holly ran one hand through her hair and sighed. “Yeah! I thought so, too. He was really happy, and then he called me up and said I was fired. The contract did give him the right to terminate it at will. I was happy just to get the chance to do my thing!”
“The gun belonged to Monroe,” explained Phillip Darnell. “Holly had gone down to the club after closing to try to get him to explain his sudden change of heart. She says he said some rather cruel things, and she got mad. She’s got my fiery temper! She knew he kept a gun in his desk drawer, and she just grabbed it in a blind rage! The police showed up at response to a neighbor’s report of a gunshot.”
“I was mad enough at Eric to beat him senseless, but I wouldn’t have shot the dude!” said Holly. “I mean, I never would have imagined I could have done so. Funny, I could have sworn I had never seen that gun before. I mean, I just sort of knew it was in the desk, but I can’t explain how that was possible.”
“Maybe she saw the real killer, and it is all shock,” said Phillip. “I know she would not murder anyone!”
“Well, except for a couple of critics from the paper,” quipped Holly with some of her old humor.
“Young lady!” shouted Phillip. “Those comments will not help matters!”
Etta placed a calming hand on his arm. “Stay with her. Let us walk for a bit of air.” She followed Diana outside, where she made an earnest plea. “Di, can you place the gun in the Magic Sphere and let us see exactly what happened to it in the last few hours?”
“I think we can get that with Amazon science, but that’s not admissible in court,” said Diana. “Still, it could help us learn the true facts. Holly’s confession is damaging, to say the least, but clearly there’s more to the story than she recalls. She could not have known about that gun, and yet she says she just knew where to find it. That’s very strange. Plus, I know her, and none of us really believe that story!”
Etta nodded. “No mother would ever believe the worst about her child. Still, I can’t believe Holly could end a life. She is so very full of life and fun herself! I don’t know what we’d do if something happened to her!”
Wonder Woman hugged her friend and said, “Eric Monroe was a big man in the city. He had to have made a few enemies. Let me see what I can learn while we wait on approval to use the gun in the Magic Sphere.”
“I’m sorry to drag you into this,” said Etta. “I know you’ve got enough on your mind, what with Steve being on a case and that whole Titan mess hanging over you!”
Etta referred to a crisis on Mount Olympus where Wonder Woman’s Olympian patrons had been trapped by their own progenitors, the recently freed Titans. Now their freedom was dependent upon the completion of six labors by Wonder Woman. (*) She had accomplished one already, but she waited uncertainly for the next assignment to be given. (*) The Titans had their own sense of time. She had also been dealing with the amorous attention of Zha-Vam, a new male champion who was staying in the Trevor home in an effort to assist her in her trials. He was noble, capable, and hopelessly smitten with her.
“Forget about that,” said Diana. “The Titans have been silent for many days now. I even persuaded Zha-Vam to visit with Doctor Mid-Nite, who was kind enough to offer to show him around his city a bit.”
“Eric Monroe has to have made some enemies,” said Etta. “I wonder who hated him enough to kill him and frame Holly.”
“We’ll find out,” said Wonder Woman. “I’ll go to his estate now! Try to keep calm. We’ve always been able to triumph over adversity before!”
Wonder Woman summoned her invisible plane, and soon enough she was soaring high over the city. Hera help me! she thought. I can’t let Holly go to prison for a crime she did not commit! While we wait for the approval to check the history of the gun via my Magic Sphere, I’ll investigate the late Mr. Monroe.
She was aware of the location of the Monroe Estate and was heading for that stately structure when she saw a scene of impending disaster below. A limousine was racing down the freeway below at a wild speed, and the driver’s path was changing from moment to moment as the car veered wildly from side to side.
“A drunken driver! If I don’t take matters into my own hands, he or she will kill someone!” said Wonder Woman as she commanded the amazing plane to drop lower.
Wonder Woman matched the speed of the out-of-control limo and frowned as the tinted windows prevented her from seeing within. Too bad they don’t make ordinary cars out of the transparent substance in my plane, she thought with a wry smile as she dropped in front of the car and prepared to stop its wild race.
Standing calmly in its path, Wonder Woman slowly used her remarkable strength to bring the rushing car to a halt. She moved rapidly and lifted the car over her head as she carried it off the road to a safe spot. I was able to stop the car without hurting the driver or letting it hit anyone else, she thought. Now I’d better see just what madness drove the occupant to drive like the hapless Phaeton.
She placed the car down and opened the door. A woman fell out into her arms and sobbed hysterically. She was middle-aged and was clearly beside herself with fear and worry. She was not intoxicated in any way, as far as Wonder Woman could tell.
“Oh, thank goodness you stopped me!” she cried. “I could not control myself. I knew I was going to hit someone or get killed, but I could not stop driving like that! I couldn’t stop myself though I knew all along that I was in danger!”
“Do you recall anything odd before you began to drive?” asked Wonder Woman. “What occurred prior to the feeling that you had to drive in such a heedless manner?”
“I’m Leonore Gray,” she said. “My memories show nothing odd. I left my home but left the normal driver behind. I just had to drive myself. I can’t even say where I was headed. I just know I got in the car and began to drive like a madwoman! What would poor father think?”
“Gray? Are you Richard Henry Gray’s daughter?” asked Diana. “He was a fine soldier during the war.”
Leonore Gray nodded. “Yes! Father is rather famous for his past service. I am his only child. He and I have not been getting along all that well lately. He has a new lady friend who is younger than I am!”
“Let me take you to the hospital,” said Wonder Woman. “You need to be checked out by an expert.”
She took the worried woman to Mercy General, and they were soon joined by the elderly Richard Henry Gray, who had been known to Diana during the war years. He looked frail now, and his age was made all the more dramatic by the fact that his beautiful, young girlfriend clung to his arm in a possessive manner.
“Leonore, are you hurt?” he asked. “When they called us, I thought I’d need my heart pills! What exactly happened? Wonder Woman, what’s this all about?”
“Nice to see you again, sir,” said Diana. “I wish it were under happier circumstances. Leonore lost control of her car. I managed to stop her before any serious harm was done. We’re waiting to hear from the doctor now.”
“I don’t know why I did it,” said Leonore. “I just could not control myself or the car!”
The younger woman with Gray took her arm. She was strikingly lovely with a mane of golden curls and expertly styled clothes and makeup. “Leonore, you must not upset your father so,” she said. “I feared he’d become ill when we heard of your accident. You know how he worries.”
Leonore frowned and said, “I’m sorry, Linda. I am so sorry!”
Gray patted his daughter’s arm. “Just rest. The docs will tell us what’s wrong. You may have just been under a bit of stress. Good thing we have my Linda, here, to run things around the estate, eh?” He caressed the flashy blonde, who smiled confidently.
The doctor entered and said, “I found nothing wrong. Ms. Gray is fine. I can’t understand what came over her, but I recommend we keep her for observation.”
Diana nodded. “Thank you. If I can be of help, let me know. I’ll check in with you all tomorrow.”
She shook her head as she departed. “Perhaps I’m grasping at straws, but after the years I’ve spent in the business of helping people, I’d learned to trust my instincts. Leonore’s plight is related to Holly’s own irrational conduct. I feel as if they both were being manipulated by someone. Gray’s Linda certainly would benefit from the death of his daughter. I’d say that flashy blonde will get the poor man’s fortune if Leonore dies first. He certainly was smitten with the younger woman. I wonder just who inherits Eric Monroe’s fortune.”