By Author: Shannon Fay
Tag line: A gunshot, a locked door and a body. You didn’t have to be a detective to know there was trouble at the lodge!
Police characters: None.
The gist: Margaret and her husband Don were spending the weekend at Don’s father’s lodge, along with Don’s father and his brothers Jason and Eric. The two brothers bickered over money and their inheritance. Don’s father was in poor health and did not have long to live. Don wanted to spend some quality time with his dad, but his brothers seemed only concerned with getting in a good word about their share. Jason went for a walk around the property. The father went down to the basement to get his fishing tackle and rods. There were also hunting rifles in the basement. Shortly after Jason left for his walk, Margaret, Don, and Eric heard a gunshot from the cellar. They hurried to check on dad, but the basement door was locked. They finally gained entry by popping the lock with a knife. Dad was found dead in front of his work bench, a bullet wound in his head. Don and Eric were crying and in shock. A voice behind them asked, “What happened?” It was Jason at the bottom of the stairs. When he saw his father dead, he appeared upset. Don thought perhaps his father had been cleaning his gun and it had gone off. Eric thought his dad may have committed suicide so as to not suffer from his health problem. Margaret thought it was murder.
What had Margaret figured out?
Crime scene: The family lodge.
Clues: None really.
Suspects: Only Jason was missing when the gunshot was heard.
Red herrings: None.
Solution: Margaret realized that while his brothers argued in the living room, Jason had sneaked down to the basement and shot his father to eliminate any change his father intended to make to his will. He locked the top door then did the deed. When the others hurried down to see what had happened, he had hidden behind the stairs and then appeared as if he had come down the stairs.
My two cents: The way it reads it sounds like Don is there with his father and his father’s brothers…but they are Don’s brothers. Clumsy sentence.
As only Jason was missing when the gunshot was heard, it had to either be an accident or Jason was the killer. Frankly, Margaret would not have been able to deduce that Jason had snuck in and down the stairs. I’m not sure how she “realized” that.
So, yes, we have motive. We have no police work to fiddle with. We have no clue to find. The characters were believable up to the point where Margaret solves the crime. The pacing was good. The writing was fair. I say that because of the clumsy sentence mentioned above and the sorry way that the author had Margaret solve the crime. It could have and should have been more creative.
In real life the police would do a gunshot residue test on everyone’s hands and the killer would be found quickly. Ah’m jus say’n.
Four stars. Minus one for the “Margaret realized” nonsense.