Title: A safe bet
By Author: Janie Turnbull
Tag line: The burglar had made a pretty good haul, but the police were intrigued by what had not been carried away …
Police characters: Detective Nina Lucas, Rookie Patrol Officer Reilly.
The gist: The Copelands returned home after a weekend in the country to find a glass panel in their front door shattered. They called 911. They didn’t enter before the police got there and didn’t touch anything. Detective Lucas, who usually doesn’t get called in on B&Es, was asked to oversee this investigation because the patrol officer is new. When the police arrived the patrolman reached through the broken glass panel and unlocked the door. The alarm sounded when he opened the door. The cops noticed that the artwork and expensive pieces were still in the house untouched, including jewelry in the upstairs bedroom. The Copelands did a quick inventory and reported that the only thing missing was a portable safe normally kept in the closet that contained 20K. The only two that knew the combination were Mr. and Mrs. Copeland. Their son knew they were going away for the weekend, as did the housekeeper (who was out of town) and the gardener. It was mentioned that the next door neighbors also knew but that they were with the Copelands in the country.
Crime scene: The home of the victims.
Clues: The door was locked and the alarm was on.
Suspects: The Copelands themselves, the son, the housekeeper, the gardener or some random thief.
Red herrings: None. This story wasn’t clever enough to have a red herring.
Solution: The Copeland’s son took the whole safe, not knowing the combination. From habit he had reset the alarm and locked up when he left.
My two cents: What kind of dummy steals from his parents, then locks the door and resets the alarm? He deserves to go to jail.
The solution, which was quite lengthy and took up almost one whole column, mentions that the son was the only other person who knew what was in the safe. Really? Where did it say that in the story?
I was leaning towards insurance fraud, but 20K really isn’t enough to temp a rich guy now, is it?
It was a waste of words to mention the next door neighbors. We had enough suspects. Instead a nice red herring would have been welcomed.
Technical faux pas: Patrol officers respond to 911 calls. Period. They don’t call in detectives to do a patrolman’s job because he is new. They call in backup officers. The detective bureau would get involved with the case because that is exactly their job…to detect. They would be called next, along with Crime Scene. This author doesn’t know her way around the police or a crime scene.
Kind of ho-hum this week.