Title: Crime ring
By Author: Patrick Scaffetti
Tag line: Linda wasn’t exactly sure who had stolen the diamond ring but she was leaning toward one suspect…
Police characters: None.
The gist: We’re at Whispering Breeze senior condominiums. Linda, who likes to do crossword puzzles and fancies herself a mystery solver, is at the pool. Also in the pool is Simon, a guy who fancies himself a ladies’ man. There is Lillian who is sitting with Harold, and also Helen who is sitting across from them. Lillian had been nicknamed Diamond Lil because she liked to wear lots of expensive jewelry. Harold was known to favor the blackjack table. Helen was known to be jealous of Lil’s jewelry and often made catty remarks about her. Also at the pool was Chester, a man with a reputation for filing false insurance claims. Chester was limping from a recent suspicious fall. His left leg was allegedly injured.
All seemed calm at the pool… until Lil cried out that her diamond ring was missing. Simon started looking in the water for the ring. Harold said he had to leave to go gambling. Helen speculated that Lil didn’t really lose the ring, that she just wanted the attention. Chester said it was time for his medication and left the pool area leaning on his left leg.
Linda said she knew who had taken the ring.
Crime scene: The pool area at the senior condos.
Clues: Chester’s limp.
Suspects: Harold the gambler, Chester the cheater, or Helen the coveter.
Red herrings: Harold liked to gamble. Helen was jealous of Lil’s jewels.
Solution: There was a column long explanation about how Chester stepped on the ring in the pool and clenched it between his toes and tried to walk off with it but it was in the wrong foot from the leg he had injured and Linda saw him limping on the wrong leg.
My two cents: Good grief. Did the man never hear of bending over in the water and taking the ring out of his clenched toes and slipping it into his bathing suit? Into his cheek? Or just palming it? What a dumb story. Too many characters introduced all at once. The entire first column talked about Linda and how she liked to do crosswords and how she liked to solve mysteries and how long she lived at the condos and how she knew all the neighbors….yada yada yada. Get on with it already.
Then we get a plethora of old people at the pool with very little background or even any details of real interest. We’ve got Linda. Well, she didn’t do it because she’s the ‘sleuth’ here. We’ve got Simon, who thinks he’s a ladies’ man. That doesn’t shout thief. Then we’ve got Lil and Harold. I supposed he could steal from her. He certainly made a quick getaway and didn’t stop to help her look even for a minute. Some boyfriend. Then we’ve got Helen, who was jealous of Lil’s jewelry. The author never did say why. There’s no depth to these characters. Finally we have Chester, a man known to pull a fast one.
Clue: Chester’s limp.
Motive: None specifically written into the story. Was it greed or did Chester just like to take advantage?
Police Work: None.
Writing: It was a bit convoluted with too many characters. Linda got the most attention but the others were rushed. I can see why. With six people in the story it’s hard to give us a nice feel for the characters. The solution was not believable. Imagine an old man with a diamond ring clutched in his toes trying to walk out of the pool area? Ridiculous.
Characters: Wooden. Too many.