It had been driven through her head, in one eye and out the other.
A small, close-knit beach town in New Jersey; an unseasonably cold, rainy August night; foreboding winds; flickering streetlamps; the victim the town’s beloved (though also feared) mayor; etc.
After a methodical analysis of the crime scene, a thorough interrogation of the suspects, and a masterly work of deductive reasoning, the good detective Jaz Sinterton will solve the case.
(It was found sprawled out on a dock in the harbor at 2am. The rain was only just beginning to wash away the blood.)
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When the good detective Jaz Sinterton arrived at the scene of the crime minutes later (he was a light sleeper), he observed three key pieces of evidence that will help him solve the case.
The murder weapon was an authentic brass pirate hook, curiously similar to the one Sinterton had seen last week at the local history museum.
A small piece of light blue foil was wedged in between two planks of the dock. Despite the dark, the detective could discern a capital “T” in a white font on the foil.
Plastered by the rain to the victim’s left shoe was a receipt. Lifting it with his tweezers, Sinterton observed that, although the ink had run, obscuring the recipient’s name, it was an ATM receipt for the cash withdrawal of $5,000 from the local bank.
With these three key pieces of evidence in the form of a murder weapon, a piece of trash and an ATM receipt, the good detective Jaz Sinterton was well on his way to solving the case, now needing only to interrogate the suspects and apply a masterly work of deductive reasoning. He will surely bring the culprit to justice.
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Having gathered crucial clues at the crime scene, the good detective Jaz Sinterton will now interrogate the three suspects to learn more about the nature of the crime.
The first suspect is the librarian, who found the body, who reported it immediately, who has a mysterious rectangular lump in the pocket of her raincoat, and who claims to have been on her usual evening stroll to the waterfront (in the rain? at 2am?) when she stumbled upon the dead mayor.
The next suspect interviewed by the detective is the fisherman, who was sporting striped blue pajama pants under his oilskin, who claims to have been sound asleep in the cabin of his boat, which is docked right next to the body, until he was awakened by the police sirens, and who said, defensively, “I’m a goldfish fisherman. The hooks I use are much smaller. They would hardly make it through one eye.”
The third suspect, reached at home at 3:40am, is the victim’s husband who works as the local history museum’s director, who was also wearing striped blue pajama pants, whose umbrella dripped from the coat hook beside the door throughout the interview, who claimed to have been home all night, who was unaware of his wife’s departure (he’s been sleeping on the couch (a rare rough patch in their marriage)), and who cried convincingly and heart-wrenchingly upon the news of his wife’s demise (though not heart-wrenchingly enough to wrench the heart of the stoic detective).
Jaz Sinterton’s interrogation of the three suspects revealed more clues, suspicious stories, and weak alibis. It will take a masterly work of deductive reasoning to synthesize the previously collected physical evidence with the character and testimony of the suspects into an air-tight explanation of the murder.
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Before he cracks the case, the good detective Jaz Sinterton will need to think, and while he thinks, the good reader will learn three humanizing details about the otherwise surly and grizzly detective, details which may or may not be germane to the case.
Sinterton thinks best over a large cup of pistachio ice cream with hot fudge drizzle, which is why his old friend Ray Worth has opened up the local ice cream parlor early this morning, just for the detective.
While devouring his ice cream alone in the booth by the window (Ray knows by now when to give him some space), the detective is shocked by the sight of his ex-wife walking into the bank across the street. She’s back in town! She’s pregnant! (Could it be his?)
Distracted by this sighting (and the flurry of emotions it brought) and momentarily stumped by the case at hand, Jaz walks to the library to clear his head with a good book. He’s an avid reader and a vocal supporter of public libraries (and has recently been devastated to hear that the town council might defund theirs).
In giving the good detective Jaz Sinterton some time to exercise his powers of masterly deduction, we have learned intriguing details about his personal life, and, perhaps, a clue or two about the case.
Detective Sinterton will use the physical evidence he collected at the scene of the crime, his observations while interrogating the three suspects, and his pistachio ice cream-fueled deductive reasoning to solve the brutal murder of the close-knit town’s beloved (though also feared) mayor.
Specifically, the detective will piece together the story told by the authentic brass pirate hook which had been driven through the mayor’s eyes, the piece of foil stuck in the dock, the soggy ATM receipt, the dripping umbrella, the matching striped pajama pants, the mysterious bulge in the librarian’s pocket, the goldfish fisherman, the night owl librarian, the museum director/husband sleeping on the couch, the husband’s heart-wrenching tears, the detective’s pregnant ex-wife, the public library’s precarious fate, and Ray Worth’s unfathomably delicious ice cream.
Connection to larger themes:
When Sinterton reveals the true nature of this deadly crime, it will surely shock this previously peaceful community to its very core.
Write to me at unterkoefler [at] duck [dot] com if you think you’ve solved the murder before the good detective Jaz Sinterton. His solution will be posted in three weeks' time.