Title: A friend of the family
By Author: Laird Long
Tag line: Trevor was dead, and to Marguerite, it sounded like a case of murder!
Police characters: None.
The gist: Marguerite and Trevor were sweethearts. They had planned to spend a lovely weekend in his country home, but Trevor’s three kids, adults in their 30s, showed up uninvited: Brandon, Bruce and Beatrice. The kids had spent much of the day arguing with their estranged father, quarreling about how he should still be supporting them and what a tightwad he was. The night before had been a bad night with Brandon snoring all night, Bruce tossing in his sleep, and light sleeper Beatrice yelling at both of them to quiet down. Tonight at midnight they finally all retired to bed. A loud bang awakened Marguerite from a sound sleep an hour and a half later. She went to investigate. She saw Trevor’s bedroom door ajar at the end of the hall, which was unusual. She went to his room and found him dead, sprawled face-up on the floor with a bullet hole in his forehead. On her way back to her room to get her cell phone to call the police, she peeked in each of the children’s rooms. Brandon was lying on his back, eyes closed, seemingly asleep. Bruce was on his side apparently sleeping. And Beatrice was curled up under her bedcovers fast asleep. Marguerite called the police and then knocked loudly on each kid’s door. The three roused themselves and stumbled into the hallway rubbing their eyes. Marguerite told them their father was dead and the police were on their way. There was little emotion from any of the kids. None of them claimed to have heard a gunshot. Marguerite was sure it was murder and she knew who did it.
Crime scene: Trevor’s home.
Clues: How the three siblings slept.
Suspects: All three kids.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: All three siblings did it. For a loud snorer Brandon was dead quiet when Marguerite opened the door. Bruce was still, dead asleep. And for a light sleeper Beatrice was pretending to be asleep despite the loud gunshot that awakened Marguerite.
My two cents: I’m underwhelmed. So let me get this straight. All three adult kids got up and went into their father’s room and one of them shot and killed their father, and then they all crept back to bed and pretended to be sleeping. Have I got that right? Marguerite was awakened by the gunshot. She was just down the hall. She got up to investigate. There were no lights flashing on or off, no noise of doors closing, feet running, excited utterances…just one bang and all is silent. Maybe they’re zombies. Zombies are pretty cold, can see in the dark, and are dead quiet.
Snorers don’t snore every second they’re sleeping. Nor do tossers toss all night. Light sleepers may not sleep well all night but they do fall into deep sleep for a portion of the night. What Marguerite saw when she opened their doors for a moment proves nothing as far as who killed dad.
If Trevor had shot himself there would have been a gun at the scene. At least tell the reader that no gun was seen, so we can look elsewhere.
Three last comments from me: I think Trevor should be shot for naming his offspring Brandon, Bruce and Beatrice; this case would make a defense attorney salivate; and I don't get the title.