Saturday, May 25, 2013

Title: Self defense
By Author: Tracie Rae Griffith

Appearing in issue #22, June 3, 2013
For sale date: May 23, 2013

Tag line:  Willy Armbruster had dodged a bullet.  Dale Garrison hadn’t been so lucky.
Police characters: Detective Kay and Sgt. Morgan

The gist:  Willy called in to say he had just shot Dale in self-defense.  Dale was the president of the company, while Willy was VP of operations.  He claimed he had been suspicious of missing money and had told Dale an audit was necessary.  According to Willy, Dale called him into the office from home after hours.  Feeling funny about the late meeting, Willie brought his handgun.  He claimed that even before he got to sit Dale pulled out a gun from his desk drawer and shot at him putting a hole in the wall behind Willy.  (There was indeed a bullet hole in the wall opposite the desk.)  Willy then shot Dale dead.  When the police arrived Dale was slumped over his desk with a handgun in his right hand.  When asked where Dale had kept the gun, Willie told police he kept it in his right-hand desk drawer.  Det. Kay opened the right hand drawer and noted it was large enough to have held a gun.  When asked what Willie thought Dale might have told the police if his shot had not missed him, Willie claimed there had been burglaries in the area lately, which was why Dale had the gun to begin with.
Crime scene:  Dale’s office.

Clues:  Bullet hole in back wall.  Gun kept in desk drawer.
Suspects:  Only Willie.  It was Det. Kay’s job to determine if it was murder or self defense.

Red herrings:  None.  Sort of.  (See my 'writing tips' on this story.)
Solution:  Det. Kay realized she had to open the desk drawer to look inside.  If Dale had pulled a gun and shots were exchanged, the drawer would still be open.  Willie had been embezzling and had killed the boss to keep him from reporting the crime. He then put the gun in Dale’s right hand, but out of habit shut the drawer.

My two cents:  Another solid story from Author Griffith.  Again, we knew from the get-go who did it, it was just a matter of whether it was self-defense or not.  I expected the solution to include the same old tired left hand/right-hand explanation and was pleasantly surprised to hear the open/shut drawer clue.  I have to say because I was sure Dale was left handed, I didn’t even see it coming.  And that’s rare for me.

1 comment:

PAM said...

Yep, the red herrings were the right drawer of the desk and the gun in the right hand. The minute the author said that any mystery reader is immediately thinking the guy was left-handed. Great twist. I was led and followed the wrong path. LOL