Title: As clear as mud
By Author: John M. Floyd
Tag line: Someone had left footprints at the crime scene. All that was left to do now was to track down the murderer…
Police characters: Sheriff Chunky Jones and the Chief Randolph.
The gist: A local businessman, Larry Anderson, was killed in a downtown parking lot by a blow to the left temple, apparently from behind, as he was about to enter his SUV. It was a rainy, muddy day and they found footprints from a small size sneaker. His wife went out of town last night visiting her sister. When she was summoned to the police station the next day she told them she had been walking in the downtown area yesterday and at one point she saw a man looking down at her from the roof of the garage where her husband later died. There were security cameras at that location but they only covered drivers coming in and out, not in the garage itself. The garage is three levels but the wife claimed she got a good look at him. She described him as on the small side, dark shirt, jeans, sneakers, a mustache, a blue ball cap and he was wearing a heavy-looking metal watch on his right wrist. Since the mortal blow had come from behind the killer was probably left handed, and left handed people often wear their watches on their right arm. When the wife signed some papers to gather her husband’s personal effects, she signed with her left hand. Sheriff Jones, who was in the big city for a seminar, formed a theory and ran it by the Chief. “Good grief,” the chief said, wide eyed. They arrested Mrs. Anderson. Chief Randolph asked Sheriff Jones if he learned ‘this kind of thing’ in the seminar he had just attended. Jones replied, “No, I learned it from my former school teacher.”
Crime scene: A downtown garage.
Clues: Small sneaker prints. Left handed killer. A view from the street.
Suspects: The wife or some mysterious man on the top of the parking garage.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: If the wife only got one look from street level she wouldn’t have been able to see the man’s feet to know what kind of shoes he was wearing.
My two cents: Why is a man considered a suspect because he was looking at a woman from a place where someone later died? Men check out women all the time. That was not strange behavior.
I’m confused about the wife. Why wasn’t she a suspect from the get-go? She just happened to be walking around downtown near where her husband was found dead before beating it to her sister’s? What a coinky-dink. “This kind of thing” never even occurred to the chief. In fact, the CHIEF of a modern police force, with years of experience was stunned. Lucky for him Chunky, who learned much of what he knows from an old woman, was around.
Once again Mrs. Potts was mentioned, but not involved. I have to wonder why John is breaking up his successful duo.