Thursday, November 7, 2013

Appearing in issue #44, November 4, 2013

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.


Tamara said...

I thought this was a good enough clue, but I think it should have been used in a different set of circumstances. I wondered how the wife could describe so many details when she saw the man from three levels down -- and also how she just happened to be walking around that spot. I love your funny term "coinky-dink". Did you make that up?

Mary Jo said...

Welcome back from your vacation, Jody. I hope you had a good time. I had forgotten reading this until you ran it by me again. I do recall wondering how the wife could actually see all of the stranger from street level, and of course she could not. Strike one.

I think Mr. Floyd is dumping Mrs. Potts because she has become so unlikeable. All her put downs of Chunky may have been amusing at first, but it stopped being funny a long time ago.

What can you say? The editor obviously likes what he writes...and writes...and writes.

Chris said...

Although there was never any doubt in my mind that the wife had done the deed, the clue about the trainers passed me by because the top to toe description of the 'man on the roof' was so detailed I just assumed that the car park must be fenced instead of walled. The solution was no surprise but the fact that the shoes were meant to be a clue was.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Tamara

Coinky-dink (co-inky-dink) is a common expression up here in New England. I like it, too...especially when I'm being snarky...:)

Mary Jo said...

Co-inky-dink is recognized out here in California, too, Jody. However, it does need two hyphens. When I first read it in your comments, I read "Coin-key" and I wondered what the heck you were talking about. It took me a second. Chris in the UK must think we have a strange vocabulary, but look, her guy was wearing trainers. I think that is a kind of diaper babies wear to train them for the potty. Supposedly we speak the same language. Right.

Bernadette said...

And co-inky-dinky would be used here in the UK too - though not something you'd normally see written down!

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Mary Jo
Coinkydink is one word here. I like to put in a hyphen when I use it but now that I've seen it, I really like the two hyphen version. It's much clearer to pronounce for those who don't know what the heck we're talking about. I'm going to use 2 from now on.

I'm thinking trainers are sneakers. The Europeans don't wear sneakers everyday like we do...only for sports.

Mary Jo said...

Are trainers sneakers or athletic shoes? I think sneakers originally were tennis shoes--you know, like the old time Keds, which a lot of people still use. Practically the whole U.S. population now clomps around in clunky athletic shoes, in case our U.K. friends need to know. Well, maybe with the exception of Texans in their high heeled cowboy boots, even when they are not cowboys. Put those in a mystery sometime.

Chris said...

You guessed right, Mary Jo, trainers are those thick-soled running shoes. I thought that's what was meant by sneakers in the story but maybe you call them athletics shoes instead? They used to be worn only by people doing sport but now they are everywhere and worn by people who would never go NEAR a running track. I suppose it's because they are comfortable and can be bought fairly cheaply (unless they've got a fancy tick on the side, or some other designer logo). I was given a pair years ago but don't wear them as they make my feet look like a hobbit's. Not a great look.

Mary Jo said...

There is very little footwear that I would call cheap these days. I wear Reeboks, either black or white, almost all the time. They are not as clunky as athletic shoes,but are still of the same genre. Very comfortable. Anyway, I try to get them on sale and even then I think they are between forty and fifty dollars. Of course, that is nothing like the $500 plus price some women pay for high heels. Mercy!