Title: Eyes wide open
By Author: Richard Jones
Tag line: The rookie detective’s attention to detail helped her figure out who had a murderous grudge against Charles Higgins! (Anybody know why that exclamation point is there? I don’t.)
Police characters: Detective Matt Howell and rookie Detective Amy Tedesco
The gist: The employer, Mr. Higgins, is found stabbed to death in his study. His male private secretary called 911. When the police arrive he tells them that Mr. Higgins has been stabbed and that he (secretary) did not enter the room but saw all the blood and knew he must be dead. The secretary claimed he arrived at 8:00 AM as usual and finding no daily schedule on his desk went to look for Mr. Higgins and found the body lying face down on the floor. There was no sign of a break-in, but the study was in disarray. The only people who had keys to the house beside the secretary were the two sons. Both worked for Mr. Higgins, but son Graham was absent a lot and just had had an argument with his father about it. Son Gordon was seen in the study with his father last night around 9:00 PM. The medical examiner estimated the time to death to be about two hours prior. The medical examiner had to peer beneath the body to see the weapon (a letter opener).
Crime scene: Mr. Higgins’ study.
Clues: It was not a robbery. There was no break-in. The medical examiner had to move the body to see the stab wounds.
Suspects: Both sons and the secretary.
Red herring: Graham had argued with his father.
Solution: Rookie Amy remembered the secretary said he didn’t enter the room when he found the body. Higgins was lying face down. How could the secretary know that Higgins had been stabbed when he couldn’t see the wound? During questioning the secretary admitted he had been embezzling money and when confronted he had killed his employer.
My two cents: Twice in this story the veteran detective told the rookie to keep her eyes wide open. That was also the title. Rather contrived but at least it didn’t give the solution away.
Okay, there are a couple of things. If you find a bloody mess and your boss of nine years is lying still on the floor, you don’t go see if maybe he’s still alive? Lots of blood doesn’t mean death. Ever had a bloody nose? It seems like gallons of blood goes everywhere. I could understand being afraid and being grossed out but wouldn’t you check for a pulse at least? To me that made the secretary suspicious. We have read so many stories that use the same solution; the killer couldn’t have seen or known something. Not going to check on your boss, to me, was a good indication of guilt and would have been a better, more fresh, clue.
There was no mention of blood, or lack of it, on the secretary. We have to assume he cleaned up before he called the police. When you stab someone, you make a mess and are most likely to get splatter on yourself. Although killers don’t always think things through, if he had gone over to the body to check him, and stepped in some blood or got some on his clothing as he bent over the body or rolled him over to take a better look, it would be a good reason for him to have blood on his person. Just thinking ahead to the trial..lol.