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Chapter 1

“The case is solved,” Officer Lawrence Bryce announced, lifting a small crystal bell from the center of the table and ringing it vigorously.

All eyes rose from their scratch pads and turned in his direction.

“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.

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