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. 


Marian Lanouette said...

I enjoyed it, Jody. Great website. Happy New Year!

Wes said...

Please keep up the good work. I liked the analysis.

Jody E. Lebel said...

Marian and Wes, thanks for stopping by my brand new site. I hope to see comments from you two on future stories. Good luck with your writing.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Jody for your great analysis.

Jody E. Lebel said...


Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see your name in the magazine one day.


Michelle Dobbins said...

I'm so glad you started this! I took Kate's class, too. I've submitted 4 romances. The first one was mailed on July 31, 2011 and haven't heard back on any yet. I'm wondering if the SASE on the first one got lost, but it's not quite 6 months yet, so I'm waiting patiently. I've been thinking of trying a mystery and was hoping someone would do this. Thanks! :)

Jody E. Lebel said...


So glad you stopped by. My romance that sold was submitted 7/15/12 and sold on 11/13/12. I got a letter in my mailbox with the red and white WW logo on the return spot. At first I thought they were trying to sell me a subscription and I put it aside. Later when I opened it, inside was a contract! Johnene added a PS that she had lost my SASE. The lesson in that is always put your name and address on the footer of each page. If they really want your story, they will contact you if they have your address.

Best of luck in your submissions. I hope I get a chance to post YOUR story.


Jody E. Lebel said...

Vote: 4 Loved it.
1 Liked it.
1 Not for me.