Can you solve this mini-mystery?


 By BJ Bourg



Detective Grace Winston walked up to the well-lit front porch of the Acadian-style home and surveyed the scene. The door frame was splintered and the door hung precariously on its damaged hinges.

Detective Brandon Sharper appeared in the hallway in front of Grace and smiled. “Glad you could make it.”

“I do have a personal life, you know.” Grace photographed the damage and the surrounding area. She then took a close-up of a single bullet hole that was centered in the wooden door, about chest high. She looked up at her partner. “What do we know so far?”

“Clear case of justifiable homicide,” Brandon said.

Grace picked her way into the house, careful not to step on any evidence. The hallway extended from the door to the living room, where an evidence cone marked the location of a spent shell casing. Brandon pointed to the casing. “That’s about where Beverly Shaw’s boyfriend was standing when he fired the shot.”

“Is it true her ex-husband is the victim?”

“Suspect,” he corrected. “He came here to break into the house and attack them. But yeah, it was her ex-husband. His name’s Jerry Klein. He didn’t survive the ride to the hospital. Died in the ambulance, about five minutes out.”

“I want to talk to the boyfriend.”

“Follow me.” Brandon led Grace to a neighbor’s house, where they found Beverly Shaw and Trent Snell sitting in the kitchen, talking quietly with each other. Beverly’s face was white and her voice shook when she introduced herself.

“I’ll need to speak with him.” Grace waved Trent over and led him to the living room. She pointed to the sofa and when he was seated, said, “So, tell me what happened.”

Trent shook his head. “It was really scary. I had come over to spend the night with Beverly, because she was afraid that her ex-husband would come over and start trouble. He’s given her nothing but trouble since they split up, you know?”

“Looks like her fears were valid.”

“Yeah, we heard a knock at the door and it scared Beverly. She gave me her gun and I walked out into the hallway and that’s when he kicked the door open.” Trent shook his head. “I yelled at him to stop, but he ran toward me. I didn’t know if he was armed, so I fired out of fear for my life and Beverly’s life.”

“How many shots did you fire?”

“Only one.”

Grace instructed him to return to the kitchen and she interviewed Beverly next.

“Thank God Trent was with me,” said a tearful Beverly. “Otherwise, I’d be the one dead.”

“How long have you been divorced?”

“Oh, we’re not divorced yet. We’ve only been separated for three months. I would’ve had to wait seven more months before the divorce could be final.”

“Did you see the shooting?”

Beverly shook her head, shuddered. “I heard it and that was bad enough. It’s the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I heard Trent yelling for Jerry to leave and then I heard one shot. I came out the bedroom and saw Jerry lying on the ground in the hallway. He’d almost made it to the living room.”

Grace frowned. “Why do you think Jerry came over?”

Beverly sighed. “Probably to beg me to take him back. He does that every couple of weeks and then he gets mad when I tell him it’s over for good. He threatened me the last time he came over, so I bought a gun for protection.”


* * *


“It’s a clear case of justifiable homicide,” Brandon told Grace when they were back at the crime scene. “Open and shut.”

“Not so fast.” Grace pointed to the porch. “Spray this area with the luminol solution.”

Brandon scratched his head. “But he was shot inside.”

“Just do it.”

Once Brandon applied the solution, the floor of the porch glowed bright blue and showed a trail of blood from there to the hall where Jerry’s body had been located.

Brandon’s jaw fell open. “How’d you know?”

How did Detective Winston know?


Please click here to reveal the answer.

Copyright 2015 BJ Bourg. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of the author is prohibited. OMDB! and OMDB! logos are trademarks of Over My Dead Body!

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