By Author: Phyllis Whitfield
Appearing in issue #21, May 27, 2013For sale date: May 16, 2013
Tag line: It was a dark and stormy night when one of Pete Patton’s many enemies came to call.Police characters: County Sheriff Eddie Smith
The gist: The power is out in River Falls for a half hour. At 8:05 Sheriff Smith gets a call that Pete Patton, who lives in the neighboring town of Glen Oaks, has been shot. Nobody likes Pete. He’s bad tempered and has made a fortune selling organic potatoes to fast-food restaurants. Sheriff Smith meets Alex Till at Patton’s door, who tells him the body is upstairs. Alex, the plumber, had an 8:00 AM appointment with Pete. He said no one answered the doorbell but lights were on and since Pete was expecting him, he just went on inside and found Pete dead. Alex said he got along with Pete but that he didn’t always pay on time. The coroner announced Pete was killed an hour ago.Pete’s ex-wife, Helen, wasn’t happy in the divorce. She lives in Glen Oaks. She wasn’t sorry that he was dead. When asked where she was at 8:00 she said she was working on her computer.
Pete’s nephew Jesse fought with him all the time. Jesse lives in River Falls. He said his uncle used Jesse’s savings to start the business and even though the money was paid back, Peter wouldn’t give cut the nephew in on a share of the profits. He said he had been home been watching TV all evening with his girlfriend and she would vouch for him.Pete’s sister Connie was treated poorly by Pete. She lives in Glen Oaks. She said they were family and she just put up with his mean ways. She claims she was reading a good book at the time her brother was killed.
Crime scene: Pete’s home.Clues: The power was out at the time of the death.
Suspects: Ex-wife Helen, Sister Connie, nephew Jesse.Red herrings: None. We had four 'suspects' but not one of them had a good enough motive to even be considered as a red herring.
Solution: Jesse was the only one who lived in River Falls. He claimed he was watching TV all night but there was no power for a short time. He didn’t know the power was out in River Falls because he was in Glen Oaks fighting with his uncle, a fight then ended up with him shooting Pete.My two cents: Well, there are a couple of things here. Just because the power was out in one city doesn’t mean it was not out in the neighboring city. The sheriff never asked if the power was out in Glen Oaks. And it was only off for 30 minutes. The wife said she was on the computer. Computers work without power. The sister said she was reading. You can read without a lamp. Jesse said he was watching TV all night, and he could have been. Just because he didn’t say I was watching TV all night expect for 30 minutes when the power went out doesn’t make him a killer.
How many plumbers do you know that just walk into your house when no one answers the bell?There were four people to keep track of and two cities. It was a bit confusing and crowded in the ‘ole suspect room’. Nobody had a really good motive to kill Pete. He had paid back the money. His divorce wasn’t pleasant but whose is? (And we didn’t all kill our exes. um...we didn't, right?) Pete treated his sister badly, but she didn’t have to take it. There’s no compelling reason to kill here. That along with the vague inference that the power must have been on in the neighboring city makes for a ho-hum mystery