By Author Emma Courtice
Appearing in issue #9, March 4, 2013
For sale date: February 21, 2013
Tag line: It took a real pro – an old pro – to put two and two together and come up with murder!Police characters: Sgt. Norman Bain, Lt. Allard and Det. Gates.
The gist: Mrs. Winslow, a 92-year-old woman who was in poor health with diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, is found dead in her bed. Near the bed was a call button, a telephone and a walker. The paid companion, Anna, had been employed to care for Mrs. Winslow and had been doing so for twenty years. Mrs. Winslow has no family. The victim was found clutching an empty prescription bottle (that had no label) in her hand, the hand that hung over the bed. The childproof cap to the bottle was on the floor. Anna claimed she doesn’t know where Mrs. Winslow got the pills from as she had removed all prescriptions into another room claiming the old lady had been sad and morbid. Sgt. Bain asked Anna if she was the only heir which prompted Anna to retort, “And shouldn’t I be? Have I not cared for her for almost twenty years? Fed her, bathed her?” Sgt. Bain, who has his own aches and pains, pulled his own prescription bottle out of his pocket and tossed it to Lt. Allard, telling him to open it. Lt. Allard realized that anyone could open a regular prescription cap, but not everyone could open a childproof cap.Crime scene: Mrs. Winslow’s home.
Clues: Childproof cap. Anna’s demeanor. No label on the bottle.Suspects: The paid companion Anna Stanley.
Red herrings: The mention of suicide
Solution: Mrs. Winslow could never have opened the prescription bottle that killed her. It had a childproof cap, which as Bain knew well, couldn’t be opened by anyone with severe arthritis. Mrs. Winslow had been murdered and the open pill bottle placed in her hand to make it look like suicide.My two cents: I’m confused. Let’s start with the prescription bottle. No pharmacy would send a senior citizen a prescription with a childproof cap. There was no label on the bottle. So it was obviously not her RX. So an unknown quantity of some unknown pills that were obtained in some unknown fashion by a woman who was practically confined to her bed was ingested in an unknown manner by said woman who not only couldn’t even feed herself but had a paid companion looking out for her? That was the purported cause of death? Because if it’s not the old lady’s RX, toxicology will get to the bottom of that real quick. And once a person dies every muscle stops working, so that container would have fallen to the floor…unless it was inserted into the hand after death. This was all so poorly staged and not thought out by the killer.
So if the pills didn’t actually kill her, how did she die? The author didn’t tell us in the solution. It’s a mystery all right. A medical examiner can tell if someone is smothered. Did Anna smother the old woman and stage a suicide? The woman is 92 and ill. How much longer could she live anyway? Now Anna was out of a job she had had for twenty years. She would have inherited everything anyway when Mrs. Winslow died naturally. There was no motive given to kill her now.
Sgt. Bain has pains of his own, okay. But he carries around his prescription bottle? Even if you take a pill every four hours, most likely you don’t carry around the entire amount of drugs with you. I thought him throwing his RX container at the lieutenant was theatrical. IMO Sgt. Bain should have told Lt. Allard to take Anna in for questioning instead of ‘throwing’ the solution to him. Especially if Allard is as annoying as the story states.Why was Det. Gates even in the story? He didn’t do anything.
I don’t know why we need to know there was a call button, a phone and walker by the bed.Unfortunately, there was too much left out of this story for me to give it a positive review.