Friday, April 11, 2014

Appearing in #15, April 14, 2014


Title: The night shift

By Author: Adele Polomski

Tag line:   When the police arrived at the scene of the crime, they found one dead body and some unanswered questions…

Police characters:  Det. Holiday Price

The gist:   The story opened with Det. Price driving to the town’s industrial district to a brightly lit warehouse where police cruisers were already on scene.  A male, about 40 years old, dressed in jeans, a Hawaiian shirt and gray hoodie was under a blue tarp, the apparent victim of a single gunshot wound to the chest.  Det. Price raised the hole in his shirt to match the hole in his body. A shot straight to the heart.  Sonny and Nigel, the owners of the warehouse, arrived due to a call from their security guard, Archie.  The victim was identified as Rocco.   Nigel confessed that Rocco was an undercover investigator that he had hired because there had been some recurring thefts.  Nigel was sure it was an inside job but hadn’t been successful in catching the thief even with the company’s hi-tech security cameras.  Sonny was unaware that Nigel had hired this man.   Although the warehouse was insured, Sonny noted that reporting the thefts would have raised the premiums.  Nigel said, “This is clearly an accident.  Archie mistook, Rocco for a thief.”  Archie, who was neatly dressed and appeared to take pride in his appearance, said he had been with Alpha Security for over 30 years. He said in all his years he has never pulled his gun but tonight he said this man came at him and it looked like he was pulling a gun.  There was no weapon found on the victim.  Archie said he found this man coming out from behind the Dumpster. After the shooting, Archie called the owners and then called 911.   Det. Price asked Archie to open the trunk of his car, which he did.  Inside was a load of stolen merchandise. 

How did Det. Price know?

Crime scene:   A warehouse.

Clues:   The victim’s shirt.

Suspects:  None in the traditional sense. We know Archie shot this man.

Red herrings:  None.

Solution:  Because Det. Price had to lift the material of the shirt up to match it to the bullet hole in the man’s body, she knew the victim had had his hands up when he was shot.  Archie and the day guard were partners.  The day guard would store the goods behind the Dumpster and Archie would put them in his trunk when he came on his shift.

My two cents:    A private investigator carries a weapon.  Wonder what happened to it.  Must have been an interesting character.  He wore a Hawaiian shirt to work.  Way to fit in and not be noticed.  

Dumpster is a trade -marked named, like Kleenex, and is capped.

I can’t find anything majorly wrong with this story.  It was well written and it had a good clue, so it gets four stars.

7 comments:

Chris said...

For me this was another good story spoiled by a solution that didn't ring true. Hawaiian shirts tend to be loose-fitting, so the fact that the hole wasn't sitting right over the bullet wound meant nothing. Rocco had crashed to the ground - movement is to be expected. According to the solution, the detective only had to raise it 'slightly' to get it to match up. It would have been more suspicious if the two holes HAD been in line, since that would imply that the person was laying motionless on the ground when they were shot. Maybe I'm over-thinking it, but for me it was a decent mystery with a disappointing answer.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Chris Interesting comments. Perhaps the author should have used a button-down shirt that had been tucked in his pants. That type wouldn't move around much, but would pull up a bit when the arms were raised. I did wonder why a professional PI working a case would wear such an odd shirt. It certainly would make him stand out, which normally he wouldn't want to do. But we often have oddballs in stories and they work...Columbo, Monk...

Mary Ann said...

I liked this story because it actually tried to use a clue that was a little bit different. So many of these mysteries have a clue that is something like: Since the detective never mentioned that John was shot, only that he had died, Mary is guilty because she asked, "Who would have shot him?" I'm not saying there is anything wrong with those stories, but at least the author took a chance here. It's entertaining.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Mary Ann. I agree. I didn't get the clue on the first read. Bless this author for submitting something different.

Darlene Walton said...

Well this story says Archie was the PI. I never read original story.

Chris said...

Darlene, well spotted. Archie was the night security guard, not the undercover investigator. That was Rocco, and he'd been hired to investigate the thefts. He was shot by Archie when he discovered the security guard was responsible and the police were then called in to investigate his death. Complicated, isn't it. If you want any scans of the stories I can email them to you...

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Darlene. Oops, you caught me. Thanks for the correction. Without reading the story it must have made you scratch your head. :)

Thanks for stopping by.