Can you solve this mini-mystery?


By BJ Bourg

Detective Grace Winston entered the front door, found Detective Brandon Sharper standing over the body of a middle-aged man. Brandon looked up when he heard Grace. “This guy died pretty instantly.”

Grace looked down at Roger Clarke. He was sitting in a recliner and there was a bullet hole to the right side of his head. A revolver was cradled in his lifeless hand—the right one. There was dried blood on the right side of his face and neck, as well as on the recliner fabric.

“Any other injuries?” Grace asked.

Brandon shook his head, shoved his thumb in the direction of the coffee table. “Other than those empty beer bottles, this place is clean. No sign of a struggle, no forced entry—nothing. Typical suicide setup.”

“The wife found him?”

“Yeah.” Brandon snapped some photos of the body. “She came over a little after five and walked in to find him like this.”

Grace studied the scene. Finally, she asked, “Have you tossed the rest of the house?”

“I was waiting for you to get here.”

They made a thorough search of the house and found a typed-written note near a computer in a small office. With gloved hands, Grace lifted the note and saw a smudge of blood on the corner of the page. She read the straightforward note aloud, “Lisa, I can’t take it any more. I’m ending it. Love, Roger.”

“I wonder what he couldn’t take,” Grace mused aloud.

“It seems Lisa was on her way out of the marriage.” Brandon showed her his notes. “I got that information from the neighbor.”

* * *

Grace left a patrol deputy to guard the scene and she and Brandon met with Lisa Clarke at the neighbor’s house.

“I walked in and found him like that,” said the tearful wife. “He said he would kill himself if I didn’t move back home, but I never thought he would actually do it.”

“So, you weren’t staying here?” Grace asked.

Lisa shook her head. “I’ve been sleeping at my mom’s for the past week.”

“What were you doing at the house?”

“I was getting more clothes.”

“Was the door locked?”

Lisa nodded.

“How’d you get in?”

“I still have my key.”

“Did you notice him right when you walked in?”

“Yeah, it was the first thing I saw.”

“What did you do next?”

“I ran to my neighbor’s and called nine-one-one.”

Grace chewed on her lower lip, studied Lisa’s face. “Who else has a key to the house?”

“No one. Why?”

“Did you fire a gun recently?”

“What do you mean?”

“Did you shoot a gun recently?”

“Um, no.”

Brandon’s brows furrowed when Grace asked him to retrieve a presumptive gunshot residue kit from his car, but he did as she asked. While Brandon swabbed Lisa’s hands, Grace explained, “This is standard procedure on all shootings. It tells us if the person fired a gun recently.”

“But I said I didn’t.”

Grace smiled. “I know.”

Brandon’s jaw dropped when the test read positive, but he said nothing.

Grace shot a thumb toward the door. “Go back to the scene and perform a test on Roger’s hands and let me know what you find.”

Brandon nodded and hurried off.

Lisa looked confused. “What’s that all about?”

Grace patted her shoulder in a reassuring manner. “It’s all procedure.”

Brandon returned fifteen minutes later and sighed. “He was negative.”

Lisa looked from Brandon to Grace. “What’s that mean?”

Grace grabbed Lisa’s arm and pulled a set of cuffs from the pouch on her belt. “It means you’re coming with us.”

* * *

Brandon walked up to where Grace sat typing the arrest report that detailed Lisa’s confession. “I can’t believe she killed him while he slept in his recliner.”

“She had to catch him sleeping. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have looked like a suicide.”

Brandon nodded. “How’d you know she did it?”

“Easy. She had gunshot residue on her hands and Roger didn’t.”

“No, before that . . . how’d you even know to suspect her?”

“The note.”

Brandon scowled. “The note? But how?”

Why did Detective Winston suspect the wife?

Please click here to reveal the answer.

Copyright 2014 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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