Title: Over a cliff
By Author: Jean A. Davidson
Tag line: Someone had been in a big hurry to get rid of Randolph Dunlop. Question was, who?
Police characters: Detective Josh Adams and Detective Tony Donato.
The gist: The story starts out with the detectives watching the funeral of a millionaire, Dunlop, who had died a week earlier of a car crash where he lost control of his vehicle and careened over a cliff. The police knew, but not the public, that someone had cut Dunlop’s brake lines. At the end of the funeral service three people remained, Dunlop’s second wife Carolyn who was almost as young as Dunlop’s daughter, his daughter Victoria who did not get along with her step-mom, and Carolyn’s brother, Fred, who lost a fortune taking the advice of Dunlop. After Dunlop had married, he changed his will cutting out his daughter and leaving it all to his new wife. After the funeral the detectives met with the three relatives and announced that it was not an accident that killed Dunlop and that someone has sabotaged this car. Victoria pointed a finger at the new wife, calling her a greedy gold digger. The new wife accused the daughter because she was angry that dad had changed his will. She added that Victoria’s boyfriend knew all about cars and that if anyone tampered with the brakes it was him. Then Victoria turned on Fred, claiming he must have done it because he was angry about losing all his money. Fred told the police he had heard Victoria yelling “I wish you were dead” to her father the day before he died. Victoria denied saying that. Detective Adams received a cell phone call from the police department saying that they had found a fingerprint on the car in an unusual spot and he now knows who did it.
Crime scene: Tampered car.
Clues: A fingerprint in an odd spot.
Suspects: The 3 relatives. (WW loves three suspects.)
Red herrings: The changed will. The lost fortune. The daughter wishing her dad was dead.
Solution: The new wife did it. Even before her fingerprint was found she gave herself away by accusing Victoria of tampering with the brakes, a tidbit of info no one else knew except the police. She said she killed him before he could change his will back to his daughter.
My two cents: “Question was, who?” Well, duh. Extremely uninspiring, unimaginative tag line. The killer gave herself away by knowing a fact that only the perp would know. ((yawn)) Once you read that you might as well not even read the rest of the story. Why can’t we have some fun, imaginative, interesting, makes-you-think kind of clues? We really don’t need two detectives now, do we?