Category Archives: Crime

Murder you say?

Hercule Poirot
Hercule Poirot
I LOVE murder mysteries. Sit me down with an Agatha Christie novel and I’m happy (despite the fact that I absolutely destroyed my mother’s copy of Murder on the Orient Express when I was a kid). Ditto for Terry Pratchett’s Sam Vimes, although his aren’t always murder mysteries. But I’m digressing.

Considering that murder mysteries constantly show up on pretty much any top grossing booklists, I’m pretty safe in assuming a lot of other people feel the same way. What is it that draws us time and again to pick up a good old whodunnit?

As I’ve said before death by its very nature seems to attract our curiosity in a muriad of ways and I would suggest that mysteries are simply an extension of that. Coupled with our natural curiosity toward any puzzles and our constant quest for justice you’ve got a winner in all mysteries and especially so in murder mysteries where the stakes start high. By necessity, every murder mystery begins with the loss of a human life and seeing as we are all quite closely related (in the grand scheme of things) the death of anyone, even fictional, necessarily raises the stakes.

Then there is the detective. Whether he or she (for convenience’s sake she from now on) has a knack for simply noticing things or has a superior intellect, they are always, always people of a compelling nature. These are the people you want see asking questions and taking names. They may be likeable like Christie’s Mrs. Marple or obnoxious heroin-addicts like the famous Sherlock Holmes. But they are always someone you can’t tear your eyes away from once they get into their flow.

Last but not least is the Big Reveal where the murderer is exposed often in a breathtaking finale where the last puzzle pieces fall into place. Hopefully at this point you have (to quote David Brin) readers “hating themselves for being just 5 I.Q. points too stupid to figure it out.”

For me, when it’s good it’s VERY good. And when it’s bad, it’s still usually pretty okay.

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Every clown has a silver lining

The beads of sweat rolled down Mike’s cheek. He really hated that. He could feel his shirt start clinging to his back and the beads tickle his chest while they rolled down it. He wanted to kick the bundle he was lugging for being so heavy but didn’t because he was more afraid of breaking the beautiful display inside than he was anxious to punish it. So instead he kept on dragging his bundle down the footpath to the lake.

Mike was starting to suspect the footpath would last forever when he finally saw the first glimmers of the lake thrown by the midnight sun. Once the day would break fully, he knew his art would shine for all the world to see.

He arrived to the lake’s shore and he took a moment to take in its full glory. The pier with gentle waves lapping against it in a rhythmic lullaby, the narrow stretch of light brown sand separating the water from the seating area. This was the perfect place for his masterpiece to be displayed.

He started working, setting up his piece right next to the seating area. When he was done he took a step back to admire his handiwork. The rising sun shone off the silver skin of the clown. The corpse had been a lot of work to set up in a standing position, looking as if he were waiting tables. The silver paints and overlays in different hues really brought out the clown’s make-up even without resorting to the garish color changes he had used while living.

Mike smiled as he walked away. Maybe not every clown had a silver lining, but at least now one more did.

Justice

You told me: ”It’ll be our little secret”
and for all these years I did keep it.
But here today it’ll be my turn,
I’ll have my day and watch you burn.
All those times you came in the night
and saw my eyes filled with fright
You took away my young innocence
this is the day I pass my sentence.
The fumes of poison burn your eyes
tonight I’ll finally sleep for all your lies.
And as the flames keep climbing higher and higher,
I’ll keep on adding fuel to the fire.

The clean-up

There was an empty feeling inside her. She’d been sure that by now she’d feel a warm, satisfied glow inside her, but no. Nothing. She stood still for the longest time just trying to feel something – anything – and someone walking in on her might’ve thought her a statue. Finally she decided she should get to work.

She took the clothes off her back, put them in the washing machine and set them to be washed on the extra dirty cycle. Then she took a quick shower and got a t-shirt to put on. Clad enough for what she was going to do, she got some water and washed the walls clean in the room she’d been standing. She was amazed at the amount of gunk accumulated over the years and disgusted at the yellowy nicotine dirt that came off the walls as a result of her husband’s years-long smoking habit which thankfully had been mostly confined to this room only.

She took a roller and started spreading paint. As the clean white surface got bigger and bigger she started feeling wave after wave of relief fill her. A friend of her husband’s came to call but she told him she was painting which got rid of him faster than a shot of whiskey in a room full of alcoholics. Lousy, no-good friends of his too. If she’d been cooking, he’d have hung out at least over dessert. Soon she’d be rid of them for good.

When she was done with the primer she dragged the thing on the rug to the backyard, to the furthest, most isolated corner she knew and she buried it, rug and all. The corpse wouldn’t start producing lye too soon she’d have more than enough time to get some paving stones to put on top of it.

She went back to the room where she’d just killed her husband and admired the blank white walls. Thankfully, the rug had soaked all the blood inside it and left the floor as it had been before she’d thrust the knife in the man’s heart. The sun was going down; it was starting to get dark outside and her muscles were aching from all the manual labor she’d been doing all day. Smiling despite of this she picked up a roller and started painting some color on the walls. Tomorrow she’d go report her husband as missing and begin her life anew.

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know

Thomas woke up to the clickety-click of high heels somewhere in the vicinity. He could guess who they belonged to. He could feel himself being dragged by the scruff of his clothes. He tried to open his eyes, but only one would comply. The other was caked shut by dried and drying blood still oozing from a cut above it. What he could see from the other one chilled him to the bone even though he was expecting it. A beautiful woman was walking behind him leisurely with a vague smile on her lush, painted lips.

“Ah, you’ve decided to join us Mr. Dalton. I’m so glad to see it.” She said in conversational tones as if this were any other day at the office.
“Please… please don’t” Thomas tried pleading.

The woman laughed and it was like silver bells ringing. “Aww look Betty, he’s pleading with me. Isn’t that cute?”

The woman dragging Thomas grunted and rolled her eyes. She appeared to have reached a destination and threw him into a chair. She was an amazon of a woman. Thomas shortly reflected that women like her must be the reason for Viking legends of Valkyries. She stood to the side as the other woman moved forward to stand in front of him.

“Mr Dalton, do you know why we’re having this meeting?” Thomas shook his head dejectedly.

“No? Are you sure?” she said sweetly, like a mother comforting her child. Thomas hesitated, but shook his head again.

The woman leaned forward, grabbing his shoulder with surprising strength and authority for a woman her size and continued talking to him sweetly, lowering her tone as she got closer.

“I think you know why we’re here but are just stalling for time. No? Well, let me tell you, darling. We’re here because you tried to be clever, didn’t you Mr Dalton? I’m pretty sure you did.”

“Listen, I’ll make you a deal.” she said, now speaking into his ear in barely a whisper “You tell me everything you know, now, and I promise I won’t hurt you.” She leaned her forehead against his and turned his face to face the other woman in the room in unison with hers. “Otherwise I’m going to have to turn the matter over to Betty. Now we don’t want that do we?”

Thomas shook his head. After a moment of silence he started talking. He told the woman everything; names, dates, locations.

“So what happens now?” Thomas asked hopefully when he’d finished.
“Now, Mr Dalton” she said in a cold tone as she brushed his cheek and neck with her sleeve. “Now you say goodbye.”

Thomas felt something warm run down his neck and saw the glint of a blade red with blood – his blood – in her palm. He tried to ask for help but found himself unable to speak as the woman stood over him, watching him bleed to death.

“Well now, that was fun, wasn’t it Betty?” the woman in the heels said after every sign of life had left Thomas.