Friday, April 24, 2015

Title:  Crime of passion

By Author:  Risa Hutson


Tag line:     The killer’s alibi wasn’t quite picture perfect!

Police characters:   Detective Samantha Washington, Detective Glenn Sullivan

The gist:    The detectives were called to the scene of a dead man sprawled on the floor next to a coffee table.  Time of death was estimated to be at four o’clock and the cause of death was bludgeoning with a heavy candlestick holder.  (Very Clue-like.)  The holder had blood on it   Sarah Johnson called in the murder. Her sobs could be heard from the kitchen.  Detective Sullivan rolled his eyes when he heard her crying and told Det. Washington that Sarah had called in the death.  Sarah told police she believed she knew who the killer was, telling the detectives that Mitch, the deceased, was trying to end things with his former girlfriend, Allie.  According to Sarah, Allie had asked Mitch to come home early to talk things out.  Mitch had promised Sarah he would text her when Allie left, but when he didn’t Sarah rushed over and found the body.

The neighbors told police they heard Mitch and Allie in a shouting match at around four in the afternoon.   Another neighbor told police that Sarah was the new girlfriend, but that Mitch had never really broken it off with Allie. 

The detectives drove across town to meet with Allie, who was crying when they arrived.  Allie told them that Sarah had already called and accused her of killing Mitch. When asked where she was that afternoon, Allie claimed she was at her yoga class from four to five.  She said that Mitch had told her that he wanted to get back together and that he was going to dump Sarah and that he was going to end it at around four that afternoon, adding that Sarah had a horrible temper.  Allie’s home contained many photographs of her and Mitch together. There was also a photo of Allie standing next to her sister who wore a hat and sunglasses.

Later at the yoga studio the detectives asked if Allie Meyer had been in class.  The yoga instructor replied that they must mean Ellie Meyer but when the police showed her a picture of Allie she concluded that that photo was of the woman who had been in class and that she must have registered the name wrong when Allie enrolled.

The detectives noted that both Sarah and Allie have motive and that both their fingerprints would be in the apartment.  Detective Sullivan said that the neighbor swears she hear Allie shouting but she had an alibi and Sarah didn’t.

Detective Washington said Allie was in two places at once and she knew how she did it.

Crime scene:  Mitch’s home.     

Clues:    The photograph of Allie and her sister.  Mitch never really broke it off with Allie.

Suspects:   Sarah and Allie, the two girlfriends.

Red herrings:    Sarah’s horrible temper.

Solution:   When Detective Washington looked at the photographs she noticed that Allie and her sister were twins.   Ellie never missed a yoga class, so Allie decided it was the perfect alibi.  If she couldn’t have Mitch then neither could Sarah.

My two cents:    Here we go again.  The clue to the mystery is in the solution.  Twins for gawd’s sake.  Notice the story didn’t mention the sister’s name.  If it had it would have made a better story.  The police could have mused over the similarities in the names.  At least the reader would have some inkling of how it could have been done. 

The photograph could have shown the sister in a yoga outfit.  That would have been a good clue even if you couldn’t see her face well because of the glasses and hat.

The neighbor swore she heard Allie yelling.  Twins sound alike so I guess this one is okay. 

The police asked Allie where she was that afternoon and she immediately jumped to the 4-5 hour mark. To me that would be another clue right there.

The male detective was not likable.  What kind of human being raises his eyebrows in annoyance at a woman crying over the death of a loved one?  What a terrible cop this author portrayed. 

I didn’t find this particularly well written and it had more than a few clumsy spots.  The clues were missing and/or found in the solution.  The character building was pretty lame.  There was motive.  The police work was okay.   So… two stars.


Mary Jo said...

The detective was not the only one who rolled his eyes. The more I read these little stories, the better mystery writer I become.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Mary Jo. We get something out of it at least. :)

Interesting.. I had to select pasta to prove I wasn't a robot.

Jody E. Lebel said...

I have a new follower; Jessie. Feel free to comment any time, Jessie. Thanks for hitting that follow button. :)

bettye griffin said...

This story didn't work for me. I not only rolled my eyes, but said a curse word after reading it.

Mary Ann said...

The twins thing is just a little too far-fetched for me. I mean, it might have worked, if we even had an inkling it was an issue before the solution spelled it out. All we are told, as a reader, is that the neighbor "swore" to hearing Allie. Well, what are we supposed to believe? Or deduce? I felt cheated.

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Mary Ann

It surely was a stretch. We WERE cheated.