Friday, November 22, 2013

Appearing in issue #47, November 25, 2013

Title: Half-time heist
By Author:  Tracie Rae Griffith
Tag line: An expensive watch left out in plain sight is tempting – and someone had succumbed to the temptation…

Police characters:  Detective Kristine Kay and Sgt. Bill Morgan

The gist: Three friends are at Kip’s house watching a football game.  Kip had won an expensive Rolex watch from his job for high sales and he had it out  showing it to his friends.  It wasn’t on his wrist; it was on a table.  It went missing and Kip called the police.  

Here is the sequence of events:  The 3 guys are watching the game.  Halftime comes and they order a pizza. When the pizza guy comes, Kip goes to pay for it, Al goes to the bathroom to clean off a food spill on his shirt, and Sam goes to the kitchen for more chips.  Kip thinks that both men left the room so they wouldn’t have to pay for the pizza.  He claims they both had gambling debts and also both are cheap. 

Det. Kay noticed spare change and business cards scattered on the table top.   (I can’t figure out what relevance that sentence has to the crime.)

Sgt. Morgan asks Kip:  “So that means you were alone with the watch for some period of time?  Was it insured?”  I guess he’s hinting that Kip stole his own watch.  Kip said that the watch was insured. He stated that he had to go to the bedroom and get his wallet and after he paid for the pizza he went out into the kitchen to help Sam bring out more food.  At that time Al came out of the bathroom with a wet shirt and they all settle down to eat and watch the game.  During the third quarter Kip notices his watch is gone. Kip accused Al (the bathroom guy) of being alone with the watch when he was in the kitchen with Sam.  Sam added that Al was also alone with the watch when he (Sam) spilled beer on his shirt and before he (Al) went into the bathroom, because Kip went to the kitchen for paper towels, and he (Sam) went into the garage for more beer. Al shot back that when it started raining during the second quarter he (Al) and Kip went outside to close their car windows but Sam stayed inside, alone with the watch. 

  Sgt. Morgan is basically clueless.  He thinks the watch is in one of the cars, thinking either Kip (the owner of the watch) or Al stole it.  Or perhaps Sam put it in the garage when he went out there.  Sgt. Morgan says they will need a search warrant for the cars and the garage. 

    But Det. Kay  figured it out. 

Crime scene:  Kip’s house. 

Clues:   I’m so confused I couldn’t even get it.   I will tell you though, after reading the solution the clue is that Kip had to leave the room to get money for the pizza. 

Suspects:  One of the three men; Kip, Al or Sam.

Red herrings:  Beats me if there are any. 

Solution:  It was the pizza delivery man. When Kip left the living room to get his wallet Al was in the bathroom and Sam was in the kitchen.

My two cents:  Too many suspects and too much moving around.  The story was laid out in a very confusing manner and it was disjointed. It was even difficult for me to get it down on paper for this blog.  First they’re watching the game.  Then Al gets food on his shirt and has to go get cleaned up.  Then the pizza guy comes and they all scatter like rats.  Someone goes to the garage for more beer.  Someone goes to the kitchen to get more food.   We learn later that Kip spilled his beer in the middle of all this and went for paper towels.  It starts raining and a couple of them go roll up windows.  And of course, the stellar clue of some change and business cards on the table.  Huh?  And they both have gambling debts?  

Kip is ticked off that the guys leave when the pizza man shows up.  Why didn’t he collect some money when they ordered the pizza?  Especially if he knew that his two friends are cheap.  That’s what we do when we’re with a bunch of people.  

I like Tracie’s stories usually, but this one didn’t make the grade.  The one part I did like was that it wasn’t any of the three men in the house.  Nice twist.  I didn’t even think of the pizza guy.  I just wish the story flowed better. 

It was kind of a shame that Kip blamed his friends and it wasn’t even one of them.  I guess those friendships are over.


Mary Jo said...

I have never known a pizza delivery guy to come into the house. So how could this one spot a watch or anything else on a table in the room much less come in and steal it? I assume he still had the pizza boxes in his hands?

And what guy cares if he spilled something on his shirt, especially when there are no women present?

This was almost like the Abbott and Costello comedy routine, Who's on First?

Chris said...

I didn't give the pizza man one thought as a suspect, so well done to Tracie Rae for hiding that one so well. I agree that the set-up was confusing, though, just a little too much going on in the story to get the head around in a single read.

Tamara said...

I was surprised by the guilt of the pizza delivery man, so I think Tracie Rae did her job. I thought the chaos was intended to confuse us so we wouldn't figure it out. I actually could see waiting 'til the pizza arives before each man digs into his pocket. Not the best caliber of friends, but it's WW.

majbooks said...

I actually guessed the pizza delivery man right off. I didn't think it was that hard to figure out. The author slightly mentioned that he was alone for just a minute, and then gave you all sorts of other information that was really to throw you off. I think I am getting better at seeing the if I could get better at writing the mysteries...