Title: A hole in the story?
By Author: Clare Mishica
Tag line: Uncle Eli had an unhealthy diet, but was it really the doughnuts that did him in?
Police characters: Det. Delia Thorne and her partner Det. Barker
The gist: A 911 call brings Det. Thorne and her partner to Eli’s house where his nephew, Gage, reported he found him lying on the floor. Thorne took photos as she surveyed the kitchen where Uncle Eli’s body lay. There was a half-eaten doughnut on the table along with other pastries, a frosting smeared newspaper, a cell phone, a set of keys, a cracked coffee mug that had rolled towards the sink leaving a trail of coffee, and a briefcase leaning against a nearby cabinet with coffee splashes on it. The ME announced Eli had been dead for less than one hour and could not rule out a heart attack until further tests were done. Eli was on heart medication and was not known to eat healthy. Eli was wealthy and a major supporter of various wildlife organizations. In fact he had publically stated that he had already made bequeaths for the animals.
Nephew Settler said that Uncle Eli was fine last night and that his uncle had invited him to go fishing this weekend. Settler was at work when his brother called him with the news.
Nephew Gage said that Uncle Eli had asked him to stop by this morning to talk about a fund raiser he was planning. When Eli didn’t answer the door Gage used his key (both brothers had a house key) and went in. He said he found him face down on the kitchen floor. He dropped down beside him and checked for a pulse, found none, and called 911. He then rolled his uncle over and tried to administer CPR. The EMTs took over when they arrived but they could not revive Uncle Eli. Gage said his keys and briefcase were still in the kitchen.
Det. Thorne looked over her photos again and knew it was not a heart attack but murder. She suspected poison and she knew who did it.
Crime scene: Uncle Eli’s home.
Clues: Coffee spatter on the briefcase.
Suspects: The two nephews….or his own heart.
Red herrings: His bad heart, his poor eating habits.
Solution: Gage supposedly arrived after Uncle Eli had fallen, but his briefcase had coffee splatter which could only happen if he were there when the man fell and dropped his coffee. Gage had gambling debts.
My two cents: If Gage had dropped to the floor, turned over his uncle, and attempted CPR wouldn’t his clothes have been wet from the coffee mess? The lack of that should have been a huge clue for the detectives but it wasn’t mentioned. Maybe it got cut.
Detectives don’t generally take photos of the crime scene, but they can. Maybe it was a quirk of hers. I don’t think this story really needs photos but they didn’t spoil the tale.
Seems like a lot of people in these stories have gambling debts. That’s getting a bit old. Along with the scads of rich uncles and aunts making their heirs wait for the money.
There was nothing wrong with the story. It was just okay. It wasn’t particularly entertaining or clever. The clue was quite easy. Three stars.