Sunday, December 30, 2012

The last act
By Laird Long

Appearing in January 7, 2013 issue. 
For sale date: December 28, 2012.

Tag Line:  The curtain had come down on the drama critic’s career – and on her life!
The cops:  Two detectives; one male and one female

Overview: Two actors received a terrible review; one of them killed the drama critic who wrote it.
Crime Scene:  Living room of victim.  Time of death: 11:00 in the morning.

Clues:   A newspaper was lying next to the dead critic’s body.  It was open to the Arts and Leisure section.  The headline read, The Fatal Affair is dead on arrival, a blistering review of two actors in the play.  A toppled over chair was found next to a handgun.  There were no prints on the gun.  The victim had been sitting beside a tea table when she was shot.  On the table were a china teapot, creamer and sugar bowl, two cups and saucers.  One cup had the victim’s pink lipstick on the rim.  The other cup had a red lipstick mark to the left of the handle.  Both actor suspects were interviewed together.  The female actress wore heavy make-up.   The actor said he went to see the critic about the bad review at around 10:00 o’clock to talk to her, but when he left she was still alive.  The actress claimed she did not visit the critic that day.  One of the detectives asked them to both sign autographs on her pad claiming to be a fan.  The actress picked up the pen with her left hand.  The actor wrote with his right hand.
Red Herrings:  The actress had heavy make-up, which leads you to believe it’s her lipstick. 

Solution:  The actor did it.  He tried to incriminate the actress by leaving a lipstick imprint on the second teacup.  A left handed person picks up the teacup with her left hand and would leave a lipstick mark to the right of the handle on the cup.
My two cents:   This was a tight, solid mystery.  Even though the author told us the red lipstick was to the left of the handle, I didn’t catch on until I read the solution.  I saw the word “left” and assumed it was the actress.   

The only fault I can find is that the police never interview suspects together in real life.  That would give the two of them the opportunity to hear each other’s story  and cooperate to stay out of trouble.  Detectives don't have offices.  They use interview rooms. 

White as snow

By Marianna Heusler
Appearing in December 31, 2012 issue.

Tag Line:  The detectives took statements from the victim and the suspect.  Now they had to decide whose story had the ring of truth!
Overview:  Ms. Stanton’s diamond ring had been stolen from her home while she was at a Weights for Women class. 

Crime Scene:  Ms. Stanton’s home.  They observed the inside of the home with a broken window and shards of glass on the rug, as well as the area outside beneath the window.

Clues:  Overlapping footprints outside the window.  Shards of glass on a pristine white carpet.  The ring was insured for $20K.  It was muddy outside as it had just stopped raining.  Nothing else was stolen.  The neighbor claims Ms. Stanton hated her diamond ring. 

Red Herrings: Neighbor is also in the Weights for Women class and knew when Ms. Stanton would be away.  The neighbor’s husband is a convicted felon.   Neighbor’s house was messy and disorderly as a result of neglect indicating a need for money by them.
Solution:  Ms. Stanton staged the robbery for the insurance money.  Although it was muddy outside, there were no footprints on her white rug.

My two cents:   Easy to figure out.   Mud outside vs clean carpet inside.  This was a little too simple for my taste.