Can you solve this mini-mystery?
By Richard Ciciarelli
Detective Megan Quinn looked at the body of the young woman dressed in a dingy blouse, faded blue skirt fraying around the bottom and sandals who lay at the foot of a flight of stairs in a small apartment building. The cord from a nearby window shade was wrapped tightly around her neck and tied off.
“She might have been pretty,” Quinn thought.
“Her landlady found her there this morning,” Detective Jake Gleason said, pointing down a hallway to the left of the stairs. A woman in a bathrobe stood in a doorway watching.
Quinn went to her and introduced herself.
“I’m Joanna Griffith,” the woman said. “Amy is one of my tenants.”
“How did you discover the body?” Quinn asked.
“On Saturdays I usually get up around nine, have breakfast and then check for the mail. When I went down the hall to the front door, I saw her. I came back here immediately and called the police.”
“What can you tell me about Miss….what was her name?”
“Amy Lynch. I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but I didn’t like her very much. She told me once she wanted to be an actress. She was waitressing at a diner down the street until she got her big break.”
“And?” Quinn asked.
“Her career wasn’t going anywhere, so she decided she’d just marry someone with money. A golddigger, if you ask me.”
“Did you hear any commotion last night?”
“No, my apartment is far enough away that I can’t hear a thing.”
Quinn thanked the woman and returned to the crime scene.
“One of our men found this in the dead girl’s apartment,” Gleason said.
In an evidence bag was a sheet of notepaper on which was written, “Make date for Fri. C Barton, O Forte, B Partridge”
“Find out who those names belong to and get those people to my office on Monday,” Quinn said.
On Monday three men sat in police headquarters. The first one called into Quinn’s office was Brian Partridge.
“Yes, I know Amy,” he said in answer to Quinn’s question. “I saw her when I went to the diner for lunch.
“Is that the extent of your relationship?”
“No. We dated a few times. I think Amy saw more in our relationship than I did.”
“Where were you Friday evening?”
“Amy called and asked if we could get together – maybe for a movie or something. But I had a meeting that night – monthly meeting with the bank manager and our board to go over interest rates, investments, things like that.”
“So you weren’t on a date with Miss Lynch?”
“Not on Friday, no.”
Colin Barton was called into Quinn’s office next. Quinn recognized him as a local television reporter.
“I dated Amy several times,” Barton admitted, “but I broke it off when my aunt told me what she was after.”
“Aunt Joanna. Amy’s landlady. Amy told her that she was looking for a sugar daddy, not knowing she was my aunt.”
“So you weren’t on a date with her on Friday?”
The last suspect was Brian Forte.
“I dated Amy,” he said. “She saw my television ad. You know –The lawyer for your tort is Brian Forte. She actually came to my office and said she thought we’d make a perfect couple.”
“So on Friday you and she went out?”
“No. On Friday I was with a client until after nine making out his will. He’s an invalid and I had to go to his house. Then I went home.”
Quinn excused Forte and joined Detective Gleason.
“Lynch’s note said she planned to go out with one of those guys on Friday,” Gleason said, “but they all deny being with her. Somebody’s lying.”“Yes,” Quinn said. “And I think I know who.”
WHO DOES QUINN SUSPECT?
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