Title: The late Mr. Dobbs
By Author: Shannon Fay
Tag line: Someone had decided that the wealthy investor’s time was up!
Police characters: Detectives Sonja Nager and Ryan Burnell.
The gist: Mr. Dobbs, a wealthy man, was found dead by his nephew, Connor, who had had a 9:30 appointment to see him at his office. The nephew, who called the police, claimed he arrived and found his uncle lying on the floor, and the office was a mess. He said someone had hit him on the head hard (yep, that’s what he said), and while checking his uncle for a pulse the nephew got blood on his shirt. Detective Burnell admonished Connor, telling him he should not have touched the body. Connor retorted that he wasn’t exactly thinking about a defense when he checked to see if his uncle was dead. When asked why he was there to see his uncle, he claimed he was just visiting to catch up. The police told the nephew that they had spoken to Dobbs’s lawyer and was told Mr. Dobbs recently learned he had a terminal disease and was planning on changing his will. This looked bad for the nephew who might be cut out of the new will.
The detectives viewed the crime scene more closely. The furniture was overturned and papers scattered all around. Post-it notes were stuck everywhere with dates and notes on them. Mr. Dobbs seemed to be forgetful. A battery operated mantel clock was found on the floor. The battery had come loose, and the time on the face read 9:45. As the detectives were looking around, a woman rushed into the office. She paled at the sight of the body on the floor. She said she was Dobbs’s secretary. She claimed she had come in late this morning because she was sick earlier. She said Dobbs was a kind and sweet man, and he had planned to leave all his money to charity. She told police that both Dobbs’s nephews were unhappy with that news. (Ah, the plot thickens. Two nephews.) She also informed them that both nephews were scheduled to meet with their uncle today, one at 9:00 (Sam) and one at 9:30 (Connor).
An alarm began to beep, and the secretary explained it was Dobbs’s wristwatch, and that he always set it to remind him to go the gym. Detective Nager pressed the stop button and noticed that the watch read 11:35 but the actual time was 11:05. The secretary told her that Dobbs always set his clocks fast because he often ran late.
Detective Nager knew who killed Dobbs.
Crime scene: Mr. Dobbs’s office. (Don’t you hate that double S situation with names? I never use a character name that ends with an S just because of that.)
Clues: The appointment times and the clock times.
Suspects: The two nephews.
Red herrings: One nephew had blood on his shirt.
Solution: When the mantel clock fell and broke it read 9:45 but it was really only 9:15, the time when the first nephew, Sam, would have been in the office.
My two cents: Well…let’s see, where do I start?
1) Another rich man who doesn’t have security in his office building. Not realistic.
2) The police called and talked to the man’s lawyer. Really? How did that happen? They find a body and they call his lawyer? Lawyers don’t give out that kind of info on their clients. Attorney/client privilege. So, not happening.
3) The police tell this info to the nephew. Uh-uh. Police don’t give out details like that. That would give someone time to form a convincing alibi/story for themselves.
4) Mr. Dobbs was quite forgetful and had lots of Post-its everywhere. What am I missing here? Who cares? He’s got a secretary to take care of all that. Waste of words here.
5) This man who had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness still goes to the gym. Okay, maybe he loved working out. But me…if I’m going to die…I’m eating cake and ice cream. By the gallon. Oh, and drinking will be going on. Lots of drinking.
6) The police yelled at Connor for checking on his uncle. Puuullleeze. And if the man had not been dead, and Connor never checked on him and then later Dobbs died… who would be to blame, huh? It would take a pretty cold person to look at a relative all bloody on the floor and just say eww and call the police. Not believable.
7) The place was tossed. Why? The nephews knew their uncle was leaving his money to charity. They knew he had a lawyer. What is this guy looking for? A copy of the will? Is he that dumb to think the lawyer doesn’t have the master?
8) I’m not a fan of the train left the station at 4:30 and was headed east to Dallas at 45 miles an hour, and another train left Houston heading north at 4:55, traveling at 40 miles per hour…so what did Mrs. Smith have for breakfast, eggs or donuts? But beside the fact that you have to write up a timeline to solve this tragedy (and I don’t mean the man’s death) what was the murder weapon? I guess we don’t need to know. It was probably the mantel clock but it got cut and is at this very moment sitting on Johene’s floor, still all bloody and stuff.
9) I’m not sure why Connor lied about why he was there. Both nephews knew about the will change. This wasn’t just a “catching up” visit. He had scheduled an appointment. Maybe that was a red herring.
10) Was it just a coinkydink that both nephews had appointments with their uncle today a half hour apart and Connor didn’t know about it?
11) One has to wonder why the nephews came to their uncle’s office to talk to him. Doesn’t he have a home for family visits? And they had to schedule an appointment to see this ‘kind and sweet man’?
12) What kind of kind and sweet man cuts his relatives out of his will for no apparent reason? Maybe his terminal illness was a brain tumor that made him loopy.
Lucky 13) So what’s the motive here? There was a murder here all right, but it wasn’t the one in the story. This author ignored all the problems, paid no attention to common sense, and just dumped all these loose parts together and let them hang. And it sold. Go figure.
Too many dumb things going on in this story. I think this is my first “1 star”.