Can you solve this mini-mystery?

Fairview Rose Killer

A Sheriff Marge Crump Mystery

By S. Furlong-Bolliger

Marge Crump, longtime Sheriff of Fairview County and her deputy, Harvey, were in Flora Simpson's garden staring at a shriveled plant.

"Just look at it!" Flora lamented. "It's ruined. And, I was a shoe-in for this year's competition."

Both Marge and Harvey knew that Flora was referring to Fairview's annual rose contest. It was sponsored by the Fairview Garden Club and over the years had become quite the competition.

Harvey bagged the empty herbicide container lying next to the dying plant. "I'll send this to the state lab and see if they can lift some prints," he said.

Marge nodded, although she knew that even if there were prints on the container, they wouldn't match anything in the databases. More than likely, the culprit was one of the other ladies in the garden club and none of them were career criminals.

Flora continued, sobbing. "Who would have done this?"

Marge placed a comforting hand on the woman's shoulder. "Don't worry, Flora. I'll find out who did this." Then she motioned to Harvey. "Let's question a few of the neighbors, Harvey."

A gray-haired woman opened the door of the first house. "Well, if it isn't Sheriff Crump and Deputy Harvey. Come in. Would you like some tea?"

"Afraid not, Ms. Grey. Marge and I are on official business."

Ms. Grey's brows furrowed. "Is that right?"

Marge nodded. "It seems your neighbor's garden has been vandalized."

Ms. Grey gasped. "Is that so? Well, I wouldn't know anything about it. I've been inside all day baking bread." She offered them a slice of banana bread to go.

"This is delicious," said Harvey as they crossed to the street to Ada Longfellow's home. They found her in the back, tending to her own garden.

"What are you doing, Mrs. Longfellow?" Harvey asked, noticing that she was sprinkling something around the base of her roses.

"It's coffee grounds," she stated, matter-of-factly. "They do wonders for the soil."

Marge interrupted. "We're here to ask you a few questions about Flora Simpson's garden."

"What about it?"

"It seems someone killed her prize rose this morning."

"Hmph. Well, it wasn't me. I only use organic methods of gardening. I would never touch anything toxic. But, you could check with Leonora next door. She uses herbicides all the time."

"We'll do that," Marge said, taking one last appreciative glance at Mrs. Longfellow's beautiful plants.

Ms. Leonora was in her back yard pruning back some wild briars.

"Good morning, Ms. Leonora," Harvey called out.

Ms. Leonora startled, dropping her pruning shears. "What are you two doing here? This is private property. You can't just be here without a warrant."

"Why would we need a warrant, Ms. Leonora? Has a crime been committed?" Marge asked.

"Darn if I know," Leonora shrugged, going back to her pruning.

"Do you know anything about a dead rose plant at Flora Simpson's place?" Harvey asked.

"What would I know about it?" Leonora hissed.

"You seem cranky, Ms. Leonora," Marge commented.

Leonora threw down her pruners. "This is back breaking work. I'm going to fetch some herbicide and take care of these briars once and for all. That is if you two will get out of here and leave me alone."

With that she took off toward her shed.

"My bets on her," said Harvey.

"I wouldn't be too quick to judge," replied Marge. "She may be cranky, but Leonora's not our rose killer."

Who did Marge suspect and why?

Please click here to reveal the answer.

Copyright 2013 S. Furlong-Bolliger. 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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