CHICAGO—A string of inner-city stabbings left five residents of Chicago's wealthy Highland Park suburb maidless this weekend.

According to police, the crimes seem to be related, in that all five residents were left without kitchen and dining room service for their morning meal.

"It was horrible," said Highland Park resident Edmund O. Rayburn. "We were left with no choice but to perform such tasks as making the bed, running cold water from the tap, and pulling out chairs for ourselves before sitting on them."

The Chicago Police Department is conducting a full-scale investigation of the interruption in maid service, and plans to issue a formal report to the Highland Park Gate and Security Service by the end of this week.

"We're doing everything we can to find the perpetrator," Police Chief Stan Jacoby said. "And we're urging everyone on Chicago's streets to be wary. We don't want any gardeners to disappear. There's been enough suffering."

According to reports, the Highland Park residents' agonizing maidlessness lasted over 12 hours, ending only when a Chicago-area domestic temp agency airlifted in emergency replacement maids, free of charge. "It was the least we could do," said Marcy Peters, assistant manager of Maid Just For You! "Nobody should ever have to go maidless. Ever."

Highland Park, IL, residents Bunny and Peter Devlinger were left with dirty towels and unmade beds when maid Georgette Davis was stabbed 47 times in the neck and chest Sunday morning.

Victims reported feeling confused and vulnerable, sometimes even frightened, during the hours in which they were maidless.

"The doorbell rang and we didn't really know how to react," Lillian Worthington, 58, said. "We just sat at the table looking at each other until it stopped."

Fortunately for Worthington, the maid was the only member of her staff to be stabbed repeatedly in the throat, allowing services such as cooking and car-washing to continue unaffected.

"The wet towels in the bathroom didn't get replaced until after noon, and my newspaper wasn't even ironed," said victim Peter Devlinger. "Georgette's murder couldn't have been more inconvenient."

The Devlinger household was further disrupted when the deceased maid's daughter arrived to pick up her mother's belongings. "She came in, sobbing hysterically, and I didn't know what to do," Devlinger said. "Normally, that's just the type of thing that Georgette would handle."

For several of the residents, simply not knowing if their maid was all right was the hardest part.

"I spent a lot of time on Sunday tracking my maid down," said Edwina Haversham, head of the Haversham Insurance Trust Ladies' Board. "I had to find out her name, and then I had to get her phone number from one of the other help, and then I actually had to speak with her family. It was a horrible, exhausting bother, and for what? Just to find out that she'd been killed, and I had to hire a new girl anyway."

Bernetta Voorhees, vice president of ChicagoCom, a local telecommunications corporation, located her maid Sunday morning in an unresponsive critical state in a Chicago hospital. "I guess all we can do is pray," Voorhees said, "that we can find someone else who can shine a silver service the way Minnie could."