Title: A bad deed
By Author: Emma Courtice
Tag line: Old Mr. Mathers’ had been sitting on a fortune in real estate. Until someone decided to evict him, once and for all! (I don’t understand the apostrophe after Mathers.)
Police characters: Detective Marie DeLuca
The gist: Old man Mathers was found dead in his bed apparently smothered by his pillow. He lived on a ramshackle farm that was surrounded by property that was owned by builders who were putting in modern housing units. His property was worth a lot of money if only he would sell out to the investors…but he refused. The first on- scene cop, a veteran of the force, had suspicions and called in the DB. There were no signs of forced entry but the old man never locked his doors as he was way out in the country. Mr. Mathers had taken to living downstairs because he couldn’t handle the stairs any longer. The living room had been turned into a bedroom and a small bathroom had been added.
There were three people at the scene. (The magic number for WW.) The grandson, who was well dressed and drove a new car, told police that, yes, he had wanted gramps to sell, but there was no rush. Grandpa was getting up in years and eventually he and his sister, the two heirs, would get the property. He added that it just goes up in value over time anyway, so it wasn’t a problem to wait it out. The granddaughter, who was crying, said she didn’t care about the money; she only wanted her grandfather to be comfortable and happy. She had done all the renovations to the downstairs. The third person was the nearest neighbor lady, who had come over when she saw the lights and heard the sirens. The neighbor said Mathers was a cantankerous old coot, stubborn, and kept to himself. She didn’t see anyone visit him besides the two grandkids in years. She thought it was sad, him living all alone here, living out his years in a tiny corner of such a big old house.
Det. DeLuca had all she needed to point a finger. Can you figure it out?
Crime scene: The farmhouse.
Clues: IMO there weren’t any.
Suspects: The two grandkids and the neighbor lady.
Red herrings: I didn’t see any.
Solution: The neighbor did it. The solution read “She (the neighbor) claimed not to have visited the farmhouse or spoken to Mathers in years, but she knew the old man was confined to the ground floor.” She did it because her property was up for sale and she was getting a great price, but the deal stipulated that the Mathers’s property had to be included in the package. He wouldn’t sell so she took care of business.
My two cents: First of all, let’s talk about the first on-scene cop. He had suspicions. No kidding? Mathers was smothered with a pillow. Did the VETERAN cop think the old guy did it himself? Good thing there wasn’t a dog, or he would have pointed a finger at the mutt.
Next, do you feel cheated? I do. Nowhere in the story did it state that the neighbor hadn’t visited or spoken to Mr. Mathers in years. She certainly was right on the spot when she saw there was trouble and the police were there, which would lead one to believe she knew this neighbor, cared about him, and had been there before.
Lastly, why would you kill someone in a remote place, then show up when the police come? Wouldn’t you be trying to establish some kind of alibi for yourself and not chit-chatting with the cops?
I liked the title.