Thursday, January 9, 2014

Appearing in issue #2, January 13, 2014

Title: Lights, Camera…Attack!
By Author: Kendra Yoder

Tag line:   Could the detective tell which suspect was lying?  It’s not easy when dealing with actors!

Police characters:  Detective Alan Werner.

The gist:   Movie director Frank Jordan, whom everybody hated, was attacked from behind while he was in the prop room.  He was whacked with a tennis racket.  He fell to the floor, dizzy but he never losing consciousness.  He couldn’t see who did it but he heard the sharp echo of hurried footsteps leaving the room.  He had a cell phone on him and called 911.   As only employees are allowed in this area, it was easy to find out who could have been there.  The culprits were narrowed down to three actors, all who had come in earlier than normal. 

The first actor was playing an American Indian and was dressed in the part right down to his moccasins.  He denied doing the crime but said he’d shake the perp’s hand.  He said Frank had it coming and that Frank was ruthless.  He said he arrived early because he said he was a morning person.

 The second suspect was cast in a Roaring 20s movie and was wearing a flapper dress and black heels.  She denied the crime and said she liked to come in early and rehearse on the quiet set. She confirmed that everyone hated Frank and that Frank had just fired the costume designer, Joe, after 40 years of service.   Joe lost his job and his pension. 

 The third actor was in a tennis movie and was in a tennis outfit from head to toe.  She didn’t have her racket and didn’t know where it was, suggesting it must be in props.  She also denied the crime.

Crime scene:   Prop room of a movie studio.

Clues:   The actor’s costumes.

Suspects:  The 3 actors; Indian, flapper, tennis player.

Red herrings:  Joe being fired and upset.  The fact that one of the actors was in a tennis outfit.

Solution: It was the 20’s flapper.  Frank couldn’t see but heard the sharp echo of footsteps leaving the scene.  The Indian had moccasins and the tennis player wore sneakers.

My two cents:    I thought this story was very well laid out.  The revealing clue was in the first 75-100 words and the reader got so absorbed in the rest of the details that it was forgotten.  The clue wasn’t obvious or in your face.  Everyone was a suspect as everyone disliked Frank.  There were two good red herrings in this story.  Neither the title nor the tag line gave the story away.

 Although not mentioned in my ‘gist’ above the detective was said to like things in black and white and that gray areas bothered him.  As the story unfolded the author stuck in black-and-white or gray-area tags.  Also the black and white was a reference, although a light one, to the movie industry. 

  All in all a good job by veteran author Yoder. 


Chris said...

I agree 100% about that buried clue, Jody, very well laid early on so it wasn't to the forefront of the reader's mind. I did remember it but only when I actually thought about it, which is how a whodunnit should work. For me, this was one of the better ones.

Tamara said...

Good WW mystery. I figured it out, but I had to think.