Saturday, September 28, 2013

Title: Station break
By Author:  Leslie Padgett

Appearing in issue #40, October 7, 2013

Tag line:  The detective had to get a new perspective on the crime scene before he could figure out who was guilty…

Police characters:  Detective Jason Holt

The gist: Someone murdered DJ Todd in his booth at the radio station.  He was found slumped over his console still wearing his headphones.  A sheet of paper with the writing 337 H was found near the body.  He was found by Hannah, the station’s secretary, who came in to work first at 6:00 a.m. and saw his car in the parking lot.  She figured he had stayed overnight to work on some promo material.  She brought him coffee and found him dead.  She had a love interest in DJ Todd, but it wasn’t returned.  Hannah had knocked over a stack of papers in her haste to back out of the booth.  She picked them up and put them back on the desk, then called the police.  She told the detective that DJ Todd’s death was going to be a disaster for the station.  The station manager, Hank Lee, arrived 20 minutes after Hannah.  The detective found Hank in his office.  Hank was on the phone ordering up an older show to fill the air time.   Hank told the detective that Todd had wanted a raise and when he was told no Todd threatened to take his show to a bigger station.  Another DJ, a competitor who resented Todd because he took over his prime time spot, told the detective that Todd was an insensitive jerk.   No one knew what 337 H meant.  Hannah suggested it was a page in Todd’s journal, a journal that Todd kept under lock and key because it contained inside info on everyone Todd has ever met.  

Everyone left the crime scene, but before they did Detective Holt took one last look and figured out who the killer was. 

Crime scene:  DJ booth at a radio station. 

Clues:   337 H

Suspects:  Besides everyone in the world in his journal?  Hank or the second DJ.

Red herrings:  The journal with dirt on everybody he had ever met in his entire life.   And Hannah, who had a crush on him that wasn’t returned. 

Solution:  After the DJ was shot he tried to ID his killer by writing down his name.  H Lee looks like 337 H upside down.  Hannah had dropped the papers and in her haste had gathered them up and put them on the desk backwards. 

My two cents:   Geez, didn’t anybody like this guy?  There are a lot of moving parts to this story.  You almost need a map.  Not only were there three people at the station who had a motive (Well, Hannah’s wasn’t really a motive.  I mean you don’t kill someone who doesn’t love you back. ) the author made sure there was a journal that had dirt on everyone the DJ had ever met.  Seems a bit over the top.  I’m not sure why Hannah surmised that the DJ had spent the night at the station because his car was in the lot before hers.  Maybe he came in early that day?  That seems more likely.  Her comment that the DJ’s death was going to be a disaster for the station seemed odd for someone who was in love with him.  She seemed to care more about the station.  If the DJ threatened to leave and take his show, which apparently was an important show for the station and it would be a disaster if he left, how would killing him solve that problem? 

I don’t recommend having the characters names as close as they are; Holt, Hannah, Hank.  It’s too confusing. 

Also if I was dying and I had a moment to scratch out the killer’s name, I would probably write Hank…not H Lee.   Just a thought.  This story was just so-so.


Mary Jo said...

Haven't I read that clue in other mysteries? I don't remember where, but it seemed very familiar.Yes, this seemed like a very busy story for only 700 words.

Tamara said...

Jody, I think killing him would have prevented another station from getting his popular show, which would be competition. I though this story was okay, except for the assumption that the victim had spent the night. I would have assumed he'd gotten there early.

Chris said...

I enjoyed the story but felt that the ending was contrived. Who's going to write H Lee when they could just write Hank? It jarred for me. And I seem to remember a High School story with a similar ending a few months ago. Different setting but pretty much the same solution, I think. Have to agree about the use of the same initial, too. Unless it's done deliberately to cause confusion, different letters for each character's name make things much clearer.