Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Powder Burn Flash # 86 - Gay Kinman


"Hello, Ms. Sinclair. I'm Lt. Charles Blossom. I never worked with your husband, but you have my sincere condolences."

That's it! she thought, I'll name my character, Blossom...Lt. Lotus Blossom.

"I'm following up on some questions about his murder."

Ah--at this point she could bring in the goodgal/badguy, and then--

"Your husband was not living here?."

She noted his expression, a slight tightening of the muscles around the eyebrows. She could use that.

"We haven't lived together for seven months." And three days. Oh, poo, that's not what her heroine would say. She'd say...hmm what would she say? Maybe nothing. That's not right either. Couldn't have a story where the heroine said nothing. He made a note in his small notepad.

"I understand you're a mystery writer."

Casually said, like you have to keep busy with a hobby while your husband's at work. At work a lot. Supposedly.


"You've made a fair amount of money?" As though he considered anyone daft to pay for her words.

"I'm not starving." Good line for her heroine. It showed a little spunk.

"And your husband wanted half in the divorce proceedings?"

"My latest book became a best seller while we were married so under California community property law, he claimed half of that income. Now my other books are picking up considerably in sales."

He wanted half of that, too. Even the ones written B.V. Before Vince.

"What's puzzling me is that he was killed exactly the way the victim was killed in your latest book, the antique sword--everything."

She backed away. Bad cop. "This is not a casual visit to offer your condolences. This is an interrogation."

"Forgive me, Mrs. Sinclaire, I've not been known for my good manners. All I want to do is clear up a few things."

Good cop?

She didn't think so. "I know the spouse is the first person to be suspected. And me, probably more than anyone. I mean I wrote the book on it." She spurted a laugh. Was she babbling? Maybe she was putting a noose around her neck. No, in California it was a lethal injection.

"Killing your husband in the same manner and circumstances does seem like someone was trying to be sure you were the prime suspect." His eyes stared into hers. Beautiful sea green.

A love interest for her heroine? She glanced at his hand. No wedding ring. She knew most cops didn't wear them. Vince's excuse had been that his ring might get caught on something and rip off his finger. Ha!

"Do you have any idea who might want to frame you?"

She shook her head. She knew she had to come up with someone for the book she was writing now.

"The other thing that puzzles me is the fact that your husband had been here--dead--for possibly ten hours before his partner found him. How do you explain that?"

"I didn't know he was here. I've kept the door of the den closed ever since he left." Ever since I kicked him out. "I never go in there."

That's where Vince spent all of his time--whenever he decided to come home. Watching TV, drinking a case of beer and acting like the obnoxious pig he turned out to be.

"He still had a key?"

She nodded. Locking him out was the first thing her attorney told her to do when she filed for divorce. She hadn't gotten around to it. Sometimes procrastination paid off.

"Who else has a key?"

"My cleaning lady, my housesitter--I can't think of anyone else."

"Is there someone who might have had access to your keys?"

"I have one hidden in the car." Every thief in the world would know where to look.

More notes.

"Tell me your schedule on the day of the murder."

"I left about eleven, dropped of my car for service--"

"Did you leave your house keys?"

"Oh. Yes."

"And then what?"

"I met a friend for lunch, but you already have her name and number."

"Then what did you do?"

"I picked up my car, came home at about three and worked on my novel--I'm quite close to the deadline. I wrote until about one in the morning and then went to bed."

Until awakened by Vince's partner who was looking for him as he hadn't shown up work. And found him. In the den. The front door wide open.

Actually she had been in the hall earlier. She heard the key in the front door and there he was, walking in like he owned the place, like he still lived there, with her family's heirloom civil war sword in its scabbard clutched in his hand. The one he had taken with him, knowing what it meant to her. Drunk, smelling like the floor of the worst beer joint in the world. He'd gone into the den and turned on the TV. Just like old times.

"I'm moving back in," he had said.

"Oh, has your latest girlfriend thrown you out? Did you think you could return anytime? Kudos to the chickie who had enough sense to dump you." But her sarcasm had been lost on him.

"Whose prints are on the sword?" Time for her to ask a few questions. Who wanted a passive heroine.

"Wiped clean."

"How many times was he stabbed?"

"Just the once."

Every mystery writers knows than once indicated the murderer was involved emotionally with the victim, so stabbed many times to vent hostility and anger. Once only indicated that the murderer wanted him dead, nothing personal. Could have been a burglar, especially since the front door was wide open.

"Another thing I found curious was you stated you were working in your office while your husband was being murdered and you didn't hear anything--no cries for help, no voices. According to the Coroner, the death occurred between 6 and 10 pm."

Actually it was 7:08.

BIO: Dr. Gay Toltl Kinman has eight award nominations for her writing, including three Agatha Award nominations; several short stories in American and English magazines and anthologies; eight children's books; a Y.A. gothic novel; two adult mysteries; several short plays produced; over one hundred and fifty articles in professional journals and newspapers; co-edited two non-fiction books; and writes three book review columns, and articles for two newspapers. Kinman has library and law degrees.


sandra seamans said...

Oh, I loved this and as a writer can relate to bouncing back and forth between the real world and the one I'm creating in my head. The ending was perfect because you kept me wondering right up until the end if she'd done it or not.

r2 said...

Nice one. Great back and forth between reality and the writer's mind.

Jan Christensen said...

Great story, Gay. It's one I'll remember, for sure.