Woman's World

Solve-it-your­self mys­tery

- —Amy Hue­ston Viral · Iceland · Nice · Belgium · Papua New Guinea · Bob Johnson · Trouble Maker

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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