Can you solve this mini-mystery?


By Peter DiChellis

Detective Lucinda Jatano stepped inside the Hollywood home of murdered actor Boone Steele, who’d starred in a string of second-rate action movies. Boone’s wife, a tall former supermodel named Cassandra, had arrived home at 6pm to find two guests in the living room. One of the guests, Nick Grannin, was the financier who produced all of Boone’s movies. The other guest, Kelvin Dumonte, was a professional basketball player who had a small role in Nick’s latest movie. When Boone didn’t join them in the living room, Cassandra sensed something was wrong. She then discovered Boone’s dead body behind the wet-bar in the game room, called 911, and insisted Nick and Kelvin stay until the police came.

“Boone invited Nick and Kelvin to have a drink and play billiards,” Cassandra told Detective Jatano. “Kelvin was quitting basketball to star in action movies and Nick wanted to dump Boone and make movies with Kelvin instead. But Boone’s contract was ironclad. Boone planned to warn both of them that Kelvin couldn’t star in Nick’s movies, only Boone could. Obviously, they disagreed and Nick or Kelvin murdered him. Maybe Kelvin did it so he could replace Boone in Nick’s movies, but I’ll bet Nick murdered Boone to get out of that ironclad contract. Nick is the sleaziest movie producer in the business.”

“Did you come home to join their meeting?” Jatano asked.

“No. It was pure coincidence that I arrived when I did. I’d just finished shopping in Beverly Hills. I always need more jewelry.”

A rookie CSI technician gathering scientific evidence pulled Detective Jatano aside. This was his first week on the job and Jatano could see he was flustered.

 “Boone Steele was shot at close range,” the CSI tech told her. “Just like in the movies. But the bullet went into the bottom of his neck and popped out the top of his forehead. I’m sure he was standing up behind the wet-bar in the game room when it happened. I couldn’t find the murder weapon.”

Jatano thanked him and excused herself to question the basketball player, Kelvin Dumonte.

“I got here late,” Kelvin said. “Nick was already here but he looked nervous, like he was about to leave. I didn’t see Boone. He must have been dead already. That’s when Cassandra showed up. And if you want my opinion, I think Cassandra killed Boone earlier, left the house, and came back to frame Nick for the murder.”

“Why do you think that?” Jatano asked.

“Cassandra was angry at both Boone and Nick. Everybody knew Boone was cheating on her. And as soon as Nick cancelled Boone’s movie contract, Boone would go bankrupt. Cassandra has expensive tastes. Maybe she can cash a big insurance policy.”

The CSI technician returned, still flustered.

“I got more test results,” he whispered to Jatano. “Boone Steele didn’t drink any alcohol today, but two unused cocktail glasses on the bar have his fingerprints on them. I also discovered the billiards table is so wide that no barstools will fit in the game room, so there’s no place to sit.”

Jatano gave him a polite nod and moved on to question the producer, Nick Grannin. His version of what happened was exactly the opposite of Kelvin Dumonte’s.

“I arrived late, around 6pm, right before Cassandra,” Nick said. “Kelvin was already here but he seemed nervous and I got the feeling he was trying to leave. I didn’t see Boone. I guess he was already dead. Maybe Boone threatened to sue Kelvin for stealing his movie role and Kelvin killed him.”

“So you definitely intended to dump Boone and put Kelvin in your new action movies?” Jatano asked.

“Definitely,” Nick said. “Boone’s movies always lost money. You want my opinion as a producer? Action stars don’t need talent, but they should be tall. The taller the better. Boone was over six feet, but Kelvin is nearly seven feet. I figure that’s worth another million bucks a movie at the box office!”

Jatano stared at the producer. Though he looked physically fit, he stood about five feet three inches tall.

“None of that’s true for producers, of course,” Nick added.

The rookie CSI technician returned again. “Still no murder weapon, but I’m going to test everyone’s hands for gunshot residue,” he said. “That will tell us if anyone here fired a gun recently.”

“Excellent idea,” Jatano told him. “But I already know who shot Boone Steele.”

Who shot Boone Steele and how did Detective Jatano know?

Please click here to reveal the answer.

Copyright 2018 Peter DiChellis. 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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