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“As your current standing chief of police, I feel it appropriate that I should now reveal the identity of the murderer,” interrupted the Chief, taking a slug from his beer.

Officer Bryce of course deferred to his boss through a subtle nod of the head. Faces turned to consider one another. Through raised eyebrows, sneers, winks, and neck flexes, we came to a consensus as to who should be the first to raise his voice in opposition to the leadership of the Chief and Officer Bryce.

“Alright,” acknowledged Mr. Jackman. “I think we’re all ready to hear from the chief of police and his officer.”

I bowed my head in a single curt nod along with the others sitting round my dining room table.

“The guilty party is, of course, Mrs. Benjamin.” Several people guffawed. “But what of motive? What would drive a seemingly normal housewife to murder her husband and why use a shotgun to carry out the evil deed? Those are the questions that must be answered.”

“You’ve got that straight, buddy,” Cousin Althea interjected. Althea really shouldn’t drink. Alcohol made her even less charming than usual.

“The motive was revenge, pure and simple,” the Chief explained. “Revenge for Dr. Benjamin having slept with Miss Booth, his dental hygienist, during a recent trip to a dental convention in San Francisco.”

There was a very brief silence during which the jury deliberated. It didn’t take long to enter a verdict against the Chief.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Chief, but you’re wrong,” Gordon said timidly.

“How so?”

“Mrs. Benjamin couldn’t have committed the crime. She was at her aunt’s home on the coast at the time of the murder.”

Eyebrows arched and chins were stroked.

“Not according to Mr. Flint,” Officer Bryce challenged smugly.

“A red herring,” Mrs. Graves explained. “Obviously, you talked with Horace Flint at the docks but failed to read in the Daily Gazette that Flint is currently up on charges for lying to a grand jury. He’s a notorious liar.”

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