Title: The telltale clue
By Author: Kendra Yoder
Tag line: The killer mistakenly believed he’d left no evidence behind…
Police characters: Detective Jillian Bennett and her partner Ed Mackin.
The gist: A divorce attorney, after a struggle, was felled from a head wound and died. His receptionist told police she arrived at work at the usual time, began to log into her computer, then heard a loud thump coming from her boss’s office. Before she could get up to check it out a tall male, wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap, burst through the door, ripped his raincoat from the wooden coat hanger in the closest and ran out the door. He was not wearing gloves but had a handkerchief and opened the door with his forearm. Video surveillance captures this man using the stairs instead of the elevator but he was slick enough to hide his face when in camera range. Hoping for a fingerprint, Detective Bennett asked crime scene to sweep the office and reception area, but they were unable to find any prints, even on the large paperweight which was the murder weapon. The CS techs told Bennett the place has been wiped clean; paperweight, doorknob, chair arms, etc.
Detective Bennett realized there was one place that he didn’t wipe. Can you figure out where?
Crime scene: Divorce attorney’s office.
Clues: The raincoat.
Suspects: One of the attorney’s disgruntled clients, or one of their husbands.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: The killer arrived at the office, hung his coat on a wooden hanger in the closet, and went in to have it out with the attorney. Things went bad. The killer wiped off every spot he could think of but in his haste to leave forgot that he had handled the hanger when storing his coat.
My two cents: This story had a clever clue. Where oh where could that fingerprint be? What did he forget? Except the timing is off here. The receptionist heard a loud thump, presumably her boss hitting the floor, and in the next second the killer bursts out the door. He didn’t have time to wipe the door knob, the desk, the arm chair, the weapon, etc. This altercation was planned. He dressed like a man who didn’t want to get caught and wanted to keep his identify unknown, he snuck in up the stairs -- yet he takes the time to hang up his coat?
The story was well paced. The police details were good. But the timing and the fact that he even stopped to hang up his coat in the first place marred the story.