Friday, August 7, 2015

Appearing in issue 31, August 3, 2015

Title:  Not a Lovely Lady!
By Author:  Tracie Rae Griffith and Robin Christine Ireland
Tag line:    The beauty pageant contestant turned out to be not-so-beautiful after all!

Police characters:   None.

The gist:    A woman, Bobbi, who has a home business, Lovely Lady, gets an e-mail from a beauty pageant contestant ordering $400 worth of products, a big order for her.  The pageant is called Miss Sunshine. The woman said she would be in the area on Tuesday and wanted to meet at a café to pay for and pick up her order. Being wary of scams where people are lured out of their homes for some purpose and then their homes are burgled, Bobbi gets her brother to house sit while she makes her delivery. Bobbi waits at the café meeting place, but the woman doesn’t show.  Just as she was about to leave, a man came rushing in and introduced himself as Marie’s husband.  He said Marie got tied up and couldn’t come herself, but he had a copy of her order and a check for $642.18.   When Bobbi asked for another check for the correct amount, the husband said he didn’t have another check on him and that Marie must have made a mistake. He asked her to refund him the difference and that would make them square. He pressured Bobbi a bit saying he would have to go buy the products somewhere else if this didn’t work out.  
Bobbi knew it was a scam and told him so.  How did she know?
Crime scene:   This was an e-mail scam.

Clues:    It’s a Miss Sunshine pageant. 

Suspects:   The “husband”.

Red herrings:    None.

Solution:   In the e-mail “Marie” said she was entering the Miss Sunshine pageant, a contest where the contestants cannot be married.  The “husband” sent the e-mail with the intent to get $400 worth of products, and a nice little check for $242.18.  Bobbi got his license plate number and reported the scam to the police.

My two cents:   I liked the setup of this story.  It starts with an e-mail.  Something different.  Bobbi was in tune with how scams work and asked her brother to watch her house.  I thought that was a good detail.  This was all believable and relevant to today’s world. There was nothing corny or dumb in this modern tale.  The title fit and the tag line didn’t give it away.
Clue:  I had to go look up the rules for Miss Sunshine.  I didn’t realize you couldn’t be married and be a contestant, so I missed the clue.  But it’s there.

Motive:  Greed.

Police Work:   No officers were included in the story but the bad guy was caught by the license plate, which happens all the time in real life.

Writing:   The story flowed well, it was well constructed, and the authors made you like the ‘victim’.

Characters:   Believable.  The bad buy was smooth and even though Bobbi wanted that sale she hesitated and gave it some thought.


Tamara said...

I thought this was a clever story. And a little less hokey than some of them--most of them.

Bettye Griffin said...

Best story I've seen in awhile!

Mary Jo said...

Jody, I think this was a great review. You made the story appear even better than it was. In my opinion, the analysis of a good story like this is so much more helpful as a learning tool than is one of a poor story. Thank you very much.

Chris said...

Terrific, wasn't it. Bang up to date, made you think, and a satisfying solution. Very good.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thought that, in this day and age it's unlikely a woman (or man) would meet a stranger unaccompanied and carrying valuable (read stealable) products, even in a public place? If she considered that her home might be burgled, wouldn't she also consider she might be mugged on the way to the cage? Well written (I did get the clue, "Miss" Sunshine), but I had an issue with plausibility.

Anonymous said...

Er, that's cafe, not cage LOL

Jody E. Lebel said...

@ Anony, My thinking is that she thought she was in a public place so she'd be safe. She did think about leaving her home unattended. If it were me, I'd go to the café with a friend. You know... this day and age and all that. You've heard of TSTL? That's the premise that propels many stories.