Friday, July 12, 2013

Issue #29, July 22, 2013

Title: Picture this
By Author: John M. Floyd

Tag line:  Sheriff Jones and Angela Potts witnessed a serious crime.  It took them just a little less than a minute to realize it!

Police characters:  Sheriff Jones and amateur sleuth Ms. Potts, the sheriff’s old school teacher.

The gist: Ms. Potts sits next to Sheriff Jones on a down town park bench on a hot summer day.  She’s got a new camera and is snapping photos.  She shows one to him of some bingo winners from Friday’s game two days ago.  Then she snaps one of a man strolling along behind the buildings.  He climbs into a small parked car and leaves.  The man had been wearing a long baggy overcoat.  Sheriff Jones said he had noticed him coming out of the back door of the bank.   Ms. Potts told him to call his deputy and stop that car as the man had just robbed the bank. 

Crime scene:  Downtown bank. 

Clues:   The man was wearing a long overcoat on a hot day and he came out of the back door of the bank.  Ms. Potts had shown Sheriff Jones her photos of the bingo winners from Friday’s game, two nights ago. 

Suspects:   Just the man in the overcoat. 

Red herrings:   None. 

Solution:   The Friday night bingo game.  If it was taken two days ago today would be Sunday and banks aren’t open on Sunday. 

My two cents:   These two characters are favorites of WW and there are a lot of Sheriff Chunky Jones and Ms. Potts stories.  I have a hard time liking either character.  Ms. Potts is usually mean to Jones, calling him Chunky (a nod to the fact that he was a fat kid in school?)  and reminding him he never really made the football team, things like that.  

And Jones is very cranky.  Even in this story you will find:  “looked grumpy but that was nothing unusual”  “it’s not working, he growled” “he stayed quiet, scowling” “he’s depressed” “the sheriff sighed and rubbed his face” “I need a vacation, he mumbled” “Or maybe I need to retire” “the sheriff gave her a weary look”  “he got disconnected and was scowling again”.  And he made a comment about the bingo winner's photo, insinuating she was ugly enough to scare rabbits out of the garden.  Not a nice man. 

This is not a happy guy and I grow weary of putting up with him.  Maybe he should find a new line of work if he’s on duty on a Sunday, sees a guy walk out of the back door of a closed bank, and doesn’t think anything of it.  Maybe Ms. Potts should run for sheriff.

That said, how come the bank’s alarm didn’t go off?
I’m a fan of author John M. Floyd.  Just not this particular line of his stories.


Chris said...

The sheriff in this story definitely needs a humour transplant, but then fictional cops are often portrayed that way - either grumpy as hell or dimmer than a flash-light in fog. I see him as a bit of a Walter Matthau type and I'm sure one day he's going to surprise us all by beating Mrs Potts to the solution.

I got the 'clue' that anyone walking out of the back door of a bank in a long overcoat on a hot day was probably up to no good and I did wonder why alarms weren't ringing, not only with the policeman but in the bank too. An explanation would have been nice. A lot of the 700 words were used up in scene setting on this one, which I felt was a little bit wasteful. Still, I completely missed the real clue about the bingo win having been on the Friday two days ago, making this a Sunday, so all that careful muddying of the waters worked. Job done.

Jody E. Lebel said...

Yes, I will have to give him that. He did muddy the waters. Almost a red herring in the sense that the reader is led to believe the overcoat is the solution clue. This author often uses several columns building up the characters and their relationship, which is what is selling these stories. The crimes are a bit lame. I wouldn't even mind that if I liked the two main characters. I wished they played off each other in a more engaging way. I guess I just don't like curmudgeons and find crabby people annoying. I certainly don't want to read about them.

Mary Jo said...

Jody, at last I am hearing that you are as impatient with these characters as I have always been. Does anyone feel better after reading one of these little tales? I am sure Mr. Floyd is laughing all the way to the bank.

Jody E. Lebel said...

I was surprised at all the negativity in this story. It didn't leave the reader feeling good. WW is an upbeat and very frilly magazine with pretty pictures of flowers and kittens. So it seems anything goes when you're writing about crime. I guess we have to assume this crook broke into the vault as there is no money in the teller drawers on Sunday. Not a job really for just one man. Another loop hole in this sad tale.