Title: Accidents Happen
By Author: Rosemary Hayes
Tag line: It looked like Tony Anderson had loved his wine collection to death!
Police characters: Detective Tanya Tate, Officer Pete Neller
The gist: Tony lived alone in a tidy house on Elm Street. When he didn’t show up to drive his elderly neighbor to the doctor and didn’t answer his door or phone, she called the police. Tony was found at the bottom of his cellar stairs with a broken neck. Time of death was estimated to be between 8:30 and 9:00 yesterday. Another neighbor told police that he had heard arguing the day before around nine in the morning. Det. Tate noticed the trap door to the cellar was located near the sofa and there was a rolled up rug pushed to the side. Officer Neller told the detective that during the first sweep of the house when they were looking for Tony, they hadn’t found him and had missed the trap door to the cellar because the rug was covering it. Upon finding the cellar opening and going down, the officer noted that the third step was wobbly. The cellar was well lit and had an impressive wine collection.
Det. Tate looked through Tony’s cell phone and saw that he had intended to go to a wine auction with Jim Mills yesterday morning. When Jim was questioned he said that Tony did not go to the wine auction claiming he wasn’t feeling well. He said he arrived at Tony’s house a little before nine. When asked about the arguments, he said they were not arguing, but they often traded mock insults and Jim liked to tease Tony about his procrastinating ways. Tony liked to tease Jim about his compulsive tendencies. Det. Tate speculated out loud that perhaps Jim wanted to stop Tony from buying some wine. He claimed that Tony was alive when he left. As he was speaking to the detective he straightened out a picture frame that was a little off kilter. Jim knew about the wobbly step as he had been in the wine cellar many times. He said Tony would go down into the cellar and close the trap door so he could have peace and quiet down there and speculated that because Tony wasn’t feeling well, he must have hit that wobbly stair wrong and fell.
Detective Tate knew that it was not an accident and she knew Jim killed Tony.
Crime scene: Tony’s wine cellar.
Clues: Jim was compulsive. The rug was covering the trap door.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: Jim didn’t want Tony to go to the auction. He pushed him down the stairs, closed the trap door, and because he was a neat freak he put the rug back in place.
My two cents: Well…this one was quite easy to solve. We didn’t even have any other suspects. Tony either fell or he was pushed. The rug over the trap door was pretty obvious. I guess Det. Tate’s speculation about the ‘why’ of the murder will have to do as a motive, although it was never confirmed.
This story was just okay. Nothing to write home about. It was a bit of a tedious read, and it got bogged down in places with dull, cumbersome writing.