Woman's World

Solve-it-yourself mystery

- —Amy Hueston

Detectives Susan Conrad and Bob Johnson walked past a Celebrate Summer poster and into the break room in the town library. A small man’s body lay slumped over a table, a pencil embedded in his narrow neck.

“Whoever did this sure knew the spot to hit,” Conrad observed grimly.

“Or it could have just been dumb luck,” Johnson replied.

“Want to finish filling us in?” Conrad said to Kat Duncan, the head librarian.

“Tony is… was our accountant. I found him like this when I came back here for some lemonade mix.” She shook her head at the guy with the pencil in his neck. “I knew Tony the Troublemak­er would come to a bad end one day.” “Nice nickname.” “Unfortunat­e, I know. But he brought it on himself.” Kat wrung her hands.

“As a matter of fact, he just had a fight here today with one of our regular patrons. Dorothy apparently had overdue fees,

and they got into it. I hired him because he’s good with numbers, but his bedside manner… oh, honey!”

“What did you do after you found him?” Conrad asked.

“I called 911 and told our patrons to wait in the conference room, then locked the front door so nobody new could wander in.”

“Did you tell anybody what happened?” Johnson said.

“Not a word. Just said that Tony had died.” She smiled with pride. “I’ve seen those shows where people do stupid things…i wanted to be a good eyewitness for you.”

Kat led the detectives to the conference room where three people waited at a table.

Doug Shepherd sat reading a magazine called Amazing Anatomy. “Is this going to take long? I have somewhere to be.”

“We’ll try to make it quick,” Conrad assured. “Did you know Tony?” Doug smirked, draping an arm across the back of his chair. “As a matter of fact, I did. He called my girlfriend last night,” Doug spat. “The creep thought he had a shot with her.”

“Where were you when Kat wrangled you all up to wait for help?” “I was looking at DVDS.” “Did you see anything suspicious?”

Doug nodded at the brunette doing a crossword puzzle to his right. “You mean aside from Tony’s fight with Dorothy?”

Dorothy’s pen stopped midair. “It was no big deal, Doug.”

Conrad smiled at Dorothy. “I’d never have the confidence to do those things in ink.”

Dorothy shrugged. “I don’t either, normally, but given the circumstan­ces, I’m trying to steer clear of pencils.”

“Where were you when Kat gathered you all?”

“In the cookbooks section, I think,” she said, eyes gleaming.

“What was the fight about?”

“The overdue fine he gave me was $300 more than he said it would be,” Dorothy sighed. “I need to pay my rent this week too, but Tony said if I didn’t pay it right away, I’d have to tell it to the judge.”

“That sounds pretty scary,” Conrad said sympatheti­cally.

Dorothy met Conrad’s eyes, then waved the whole thing away. “I’m sure it would have all worked out.” She lifted her chin to the third patron at the table. “There’s a rumor Ellen was dating him.”

Ellen stared coldly at Dorothy before turning her attention to Conrad. “I wouldn’t date that weasel if you paid me!” she exclaimed.

“Sounds like somebody got their heart broken,” Doug said in a singsong voice.

“At least that means she had one,” Dorothy mumbled.

Conrad and Johnson stepped aside. Johnson said, “They all had means, motive and opportunit­y.”

Conrad took a moment. With a sure nod, she said, “But only one of our suspects is lying.”

Q: Who murdered Tony that day? A: Turn to pg 49

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