Friday, October 19, 2007

New Entry: Mystery!

Murder on Redwood Lane
By Carolyn Kenney

“Goodbye Jack!” said Colleen contemptuously. In one swift motion, she raised the gun and pulled the trigger with no thought of sympathy or regret.

The shot echoed and reverberated off the walls in the stillness of the ornate home. The stricken look on Jack’s face would stay forever etched in Colleen’s memory. It was done, complete. She would never have to share a bed with him again. Their marriage, if one could call it that, was finally over. Jack Carter, who was worth millions, had returned from a night on the town celebrating his 60th birthday with Colleen, their family and friends. He now lay at the feet of his beautiful young wife, forever in silent repose, with one bullet hole piercing the center of his forehead. The shot had been perfect because Colleen practiced for weeks with her lover, Sam Thompson, Jack’s lawyer of twenty-three years.

Sam walked up behind Colleen and said ecstatically, “Good job. I can see you paid attention to my instructions.”

Colleen turned around and placing her smooth, elegant hand on his chest said, “Well, how could I miss? I have an excellent teacher. Now, let’s go downstairs while I call 911. Remember,” she said to Sam as though speaking to a child, “I’ll tell the police that Jack and I returned from the party. We came upstairs and surprised the burglar who was taking my jewelry. You did pry open the bedroom safe, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I put on the gloves first,” said Sam with exasperation in his voice. “Then I threw some of your jewelry on the floor by the window to make it look like the burglar was in a hurry to leave. The ladder is leaning against the outside of the house. My gloves are already in the briefcase.”

“Wonderful,” said Colleen. “Here are my gloves and the gun. Are you sure that you can dispose of this gun?”

Sam looked at her with piercing eyes and said, “I have friends who can dispose of the gun quite easily; it will never be traced. I think we have everything covered.”

“I certainly hope so,” said Colleen with a light tap on his right check. “You know I’m not the type to spend time in jail. Now get out of here before anyone sees you; I’ll call you later. I have to call the police while the body is still warm.”

Sam picked up the briefcase, gave Colleen a long and passionate kiss and walked out the door. Colleen heard the door of his jaguar shut and roar down the driveway. Calmly she picked up the receiver and dialed 911. When the operator answered, her voice immediately became hysterical as she described the “burglar” and killing of her husband. Minutes later, she clicked off the telephone and walking into the living room, sat down on the soft leather recliner.

Ten minutes later, two police cruisers with lights flashing and sirens blaring pulled onto Redwood Lane. The street was lined with mansions of well-to-do doctors, lawyers and accountants. Lieutenant Columbo whistled softly and said to the officer driving, “Do you think you’ll ever live in one of these places? My wife would love it here.”

At that moment, the cruiser screeched to a halt in front of the Carter home. Lieutenant Columbo and five uniformed officers quickly exited the vehicles and ran up the marble steps to the mahogany door. Lieutenant Columbo rang the doorbell and they walked inside with guns drawn. Columbo was a man in his late 50’s with brown hair, bushy eyebrows, cigar hanging from his mouth and wearing a raincoat that looked as if it had never been ironed. Pulling identification from his pocket he announced, “Mrs. Carter? I’m Lieutenant Columbo, Homicide.”

“Oh, Lieutenant Columbo, thank you for coming so quickly.”

“You have a beautiful home ma‘am. My wife would love to live in a house like this. How many rooms are there?” Eyes wide, he turned and walked into the dining room.

“Lieutenant Columbo,” said Colleen hurrying to keep up with him, “my husband was just killed! All you want to know is how many rooms we have in our home?”

“Mrs. Carter,” replied the Lieutenant turning in her direction, “forgive me that is a bad habit of mine.” Walking over to the nearest officer he said, “Be sure to dust everything.”

“Yes, Lieutenant.” the patrolman replied hurrying off.

“Now Mrs. Carter,” he said gently. “Tell me what happened.”

With a trembling voice, Colleen said, “My husband and I just returned from his 60th birthday party with friends. The house was dark, but nothing was out of the ordinary when we came in. The door was locked, as usual and only the living room light was on.” Beginning to cry she said, “We walked upstairs and that’s when we saw him - the burglar! He had a dark shirt, black pants and a ski mask on his face that covered his hair. I was behind Jack when I heard the gunshot. The burglar ran into the bedroom and out the window. I guess that’s how he got in.” Suddenly Colleen fainted on the floor at the lieutenant’s feet.

Turning to an officer he said, “Joe, tell your men to check outside for any witnesses. But, first help me to put her on the couch.”

As the two men lifted Colleen to the couch, she began to mumble something. “Sam, Sam,” she murmured. “I love you, Sam.”

Lieutenant Columbo looked at the officer standing beside him and said emphatically, “Find out who Sam is - now.”

“Yes, Lieutenant.” He was off as the Lieutenant, cigar still hanging from his mouth, walked upstairs to examine the crime scene.

Fifteen minutes later, Joe walked up the winding stairs to the second floor calling, “Lieutenant, Lieutenant Columbo.”

“What is it Joe?” he asked poking his head around the corner of the master bedroom.

“Lieutenant, we have an eye-witness,” he answered excitedly. “And, we know the identity of Sam.”

“Good, let’s go!”

Once downstairs, Joe led the way into the back of the house where a woman in her 70’s sat at the large kitchen table. A white terrier huddled by her side.

“Lieutenant,” said Joe, “this is Mrs. Doris Kelley. “Mrs. Kelley was walking her dog when she heard the gunshot. Minutes later, she saw a jaguar tearing out of the Carter driveway. Fortunately, she got the license number and it belongs to Samuel Thompson, who has been Jack Carter’s lawyer for many years. I put out an APB on Mr. Thompson.”

“Good work, Joe,” said the Lieutenant. “Mrs. Kelley, I’m Lieutenant Columbo. Is everything the officer told me true?”

“Yes, Lieutenant,” answered the older woman. “Every night at this time I walk Misty. Although the Carters have a long driveway, there was no question I heard a gunshot. I was stunned and started walking home as quickly as I could when I heard Mr. Thompson’s jaguar coming down the driveway. He barely stopped before turning and driving right by me. His license plate is “LAW 1.” I’ve seen it leave the Carters home many times in the past. Did he kill Mr. Carter?”

“We don’t know who killed Mr. Carter right now,” answered Lieutenant Columbo. “But, we will find out. Thank you ma’am for your help. Please don’t leave town because we’ll need your testimony. The officer will see you have a ride home.”

Walking towards the living room, he said to Joe, “When you find Thompson, bring him here instead of the station.”

“Yes, Lieutenant,” said Joe as the Lieutenant walked into the living room.

Entering the room, he found Colleen Carter pouring herself a drink from the bar. She looked up and said, “Lieutenant would you like a drink? I need something to calm my nerves.”

“No thank you, ma’am.” said Columbo. “But, I would like to ask you some questions.”

“What is it, Lieutenant?”

“Did you know Sam Thompson was seen leaving your property moments after the shot was fired that killed your husband?”
“W-W-What?” asked Colleen. “Sam was seen leaving here? I didn’t see him anywhere on the property. It must be a mistake.” She took a sip of her drink, her hand shaking slightly.

“Ma’am, I’m afraid it’s true. Sam Thompson was seen driving away in his jaguar. Do you want to tell me anything?” Columbo stood inches away from Colleen with a look on his face that let her know he meant business.

At that moment, Sam Thompson walked through the door with a police officer behind him. Columbo smiled to himself and said to them both, “Do either of you have anything to say before we take you both downtown for booking?”

Without hesitating, Sam exclaimed, “It was her idea. She wanted the money. She couldn’t stand Jack so she killed him and I have the gun to prove it.”

Columbo turned to the officer standing behind Sam and said, “Book them both, first degree murder.”
Submitted by
Carolyn Kenney

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