Can you solve this mini-mystery?


By Richard Ciciarelli

Detective Lieutenant Anne Rivers stared at the television cameras that seemed to be everywhere in the huge house.

"Do you ever watch Roommates After Hours?" her partner, Sergeant Mel Hanna, asked.

"No. I'm not interested in so-called reality shows."

"Too bad," a voice behind her said. "Our show is in the top five every week."

Rivers turned to see a tall, tan man dressed in gray slacks and a dress shirt with an open collar.

"I'm Todd Goodman, the show's producer," the man said. "I'm the one who called you."

Rivers nodded. "You said that one of your people is missing."

"Sandy Carlson," Goodman said. "She left the house yesterday afternoon and hasn't come back yet."

"Left the house?" Rivers asked. "I thought..."

"Our show is different from other shows," Goodman explained. "We don't sequester our contestants. They go to work as usual, go out on dates, live normal lives. Until evening, that is. Then they come back here and our cameras start rolling."

"And you need Ms. Carlson to come back... why?"

"Sandy is the contestant our viewers love to hate. She's loud, obnoxious and calculating. She brings in big viewer numbers. Without her we're just another show."

"Who might know where she is?"

"Maybe the remaining three contestants," Goodman said. "They're all in the den."

Rivers followed the producer to a room at the back of the large house where two men and a woman sat.

After introducing herself, Rivers said, "I'm here because Sandy Carlson has disappeared. I'm hoping you can help me find her."

"I hope you can't," a large man said.


"Sandy is a jerk, that's why. She scared two of our former housemates out of here."

"Excuse me?"

"She found out one girl was deathly afraid of spiders, so she bought a bunch of rubber spiders and put them on her pillow, in her dresser, in her shoes. The girl finally quit."

"That's right," the girl of the group agreed. "When she discovered another roommate was allergic to peanuts, she ate peanut butter in front of him and cooked with peanut oil. He left in fear for his life. I hate her. She's just plain wicked."

"How about you?" Rivers asked the second man. "What do you think about Ms. Carlson?"

"I think the only reason she was on this show was because the producer knew she'd create big ratings. Anyone as miserable as she was would have been voted off other shows a long time ago, but all her tricks brought in viewers, and that meant big money from advertisers."

"May I ask your names, please?" Rivers asked.

"Don't you watch the show?" the big man said. "Everyone who watches knows our names."

Rivers shrugged. "Sorry."

"I'm John McGreevy," the big man said.

"I'm Lucy Overton," the woman said.

"And I'm Bob Laramy," the second man said.

"Would any of you know where Ms. Carlson might be?"

"She's a pro beach volleyball player," Lucy Overton said. "You might check the beaches where she and her team practice."

"Or go to any store that sells jokes and gags," John McGreevy said. "She spends a lot of time and money in them so she can pull pranks on us."

"I don't know where she hung out," Bob Laramy said, "and I don't care. She was never a nice person. Nobody liked having her on the show. I hope you never find her."

Just then Sergeant Hanna signaled to Rivers.

"I just got a call from the station," he said. "Sandy Carlson's body was found in an alley downtown. She's been murdered."

"Interesting," Rivers said. "After talking to these three, I'm really not surprised. And I think one of them may be responsible for Ms. Carlson's death."


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