Mystery

I looked through the vendor booths at the hand bell workshop I am attending and noticed a book series about murder mysteries and whodunits that take place in bell choirs.  The size of the print (large) and the cover art didn’t suggest a lot of literary merit, but I guess there must be a market for such books. One of Dorothy Sayers best books is about a death involving church bell ringers.

This made me think about expanding the series to include other groups and professions.  What about Death at the Elks Lodge  or The Venomous Inkblot?   

Think of some mysteries that could be written about your job or group. Motives, victim, perpetrator, weapon, method? Be creative!

57 thoughts on “Mystery”

  1. We found Billy lying face down in the glue. It was quite a shock as we hadn’t had our morning coffee break. Caffeine seems to take the edge off seeing the unexpected.
    Billy was noted for coming to work early so that he could leave early. This was for the best as it was better for everyone that he work alone as much as possible. He hated us and we, well, reciprocated.
    He was an obnoxious Trump voter and delighted in rubbing November 2016 in our collective Democratic faces. He had no use for anyone with dark complexions except as targets for his frequent tirades against “welfare”. And if he could cause problems for the other construction trades he would.
    “Is he dead?”, enquired Justin.
    “I don’t know” answered I. “Roll him over, Mike”
    “What?! Why me?! You know how he hates seeing white glue on my black skin. I’m not touching him” pronounced Mike.
    Setting aside my anti-Trump feelings, I rolled him over trying to get as little glue as possible on myself. I wiped my hands off on his chest as I felt for a heartbeat but found none. His mouth, nose and eyes were masked in adhesive so mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was out of the question.
    A painter now entered the room and saw the spread of adhesive.
    “What the f…!” he cried. “You people weren’t supposed to be in here until tomorrow! Now how am I supposed to finish painting this room? When can I get in here? I’m not working tonight. Is Billy dead?”
    “Could be” I answered. “Better call 911.”
    “Wes, you know no one can get cell phone reception in this place” replied the painter which led to yet another discussion/complaint session about where it was best to find a signal.
    The police arrived soon enough. We had finished gluing the room but left a path to the corpse. When the medics had finally taken Billy away there was an outline of a body sorta like the chalk ones you see on TV cop shows. Later we had a bit of a problem filling in the area.
    The cops asked us about the circumstances of the death and everyone had solid alibis so foul play was ruled out. It could have been the fumes that caused Billy’s heart to race away to heart attack city. The coroner made an initial determination of time of death at just before 7 AM. I had to correct his analysis and clear up the mystery. We found him just after 7 AM and the glue was already set up. Open time for that adhesive is one hour so he must have died just before 6 AM. I know an hour difference one way or the other means little when a death is involved but it makes a big difference when it comes to glue drying.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. “We all had solid alibis”….for which time, 6AM or 7AM? This strikes me as somewhat suspicious. Could the killer have substituted a different adhesive, one with a shorter open time?

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I think we all know that Trump hired Michael Cohen, The Fixer, to do it at some odd hour. It will be the next issue up on the Mueller inquiries. It was undoubtably carried out by Trump’s Russian cohorts. The fact that it occurred on the day of Vlad the Bad’s American visit clarifies the entire episode.
          #45 simply needed a new diversion to send the press running down a new rabbit hole.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. Rise and Shine,

    Everything I do is a mystery when I start with a new client in therapy. Unfortunately, it must all remain a mystery due to confidentiality ethics.

    So I guess the novel would be full of blank pages!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have read all the Sayers mysteries, of which there are few. Do not remember it. Interesting lady. Bell ringers in England are different, different art. They ring the bells at the top of the steeples. James Herriott makes Tristan a bell ringer so he can go out drinking. One of the Agatha Raisin mysteries on the BBC is about bell ringers, British kind. Not sure if one of the books is.
    I used to flirt with the idea of mysteries set on the NS with a HS or college English teacher who teaches logic as a part of teaching classical rhetoric and he and his students solve mysteries. Some would depend upon literary references, or upon pop culture references, of which the teacher would be ignorant. I was always tempted to have the victims resemble too much some actual humans I knew–actual, but not real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The novel Wes refers to is Dorothy Sayer’s The Nine Tailors. I read it long, long ago and have never forgotten it. When we visited the British Isles in the early 1970s I was exposed to change ringing for the first time. I thought–and still think–it is one of the queerest forms of music ever invented. Must be one of those things you have to work at enjoying, like Maid Rites or necrophilia.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. A couple of the Peter Whimsey novels were done by the BBC more than 20 years ago. Excellent. Actor who played Whimsey was perfect, as was actress who played female lead, Something Vane was character name.

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  4. I’m not clever enough to write a murder mystery involving outdoor writers, although I once was on a trip where one outdoor writer shot another guy in the group. The weapon was a shotgun loaded with birdshot, and it did no damage to Jeff, the guy who got shot. He got sprinkled with shot that stung but did no harm.

    He was an interesting guy, the most annoying man I have met in a long lifetime. Jeff runs his mouth nonstop. He is a born again Christian who often compares himself to Jesus (and Jesus usually falls short in these comparisons). Jeff has a talent for making sweet people contemplate homicide.

    At the cocktail hour after all of this I ran into the shooter. I thought he might be suffering from humiliation, so I gently asked if what I’d heard was true, that he had shot Jeff. “Oh, yeah,” he said. “But my aim was bad and the sob survived.”

    A clever man could probably turn that event into a mystery.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. One of my uncles (mother’s brother) who was a notorious pain, was in WWII. His unit was marching in a German forest. He was mysteriously shot in the derrière and left by his peers to meet his maker. Somehow, he “crawled”(his story) out of the forest and survived it. My sister and I have thought that perhaps that was no accident.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. I too have doubted I have the skill to write a mystery. Laying down false clues and withholding info seems contrary to my writing. But in my second novel there is a mystery for about 40 pages. Not a murder but where a child has gone to hide. I found it quite fun for 40 pages.

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        1. I had sent a third of it to you as a word document. In the meantime I rewrote part of it. Maybe I will print it up in a three ring binder and mail it to you.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. The Union Club Mysteries by Issac Asimov, contains a story that I have been using in debates about kneeling for the Star Spangled Banner. The character, Griswold, was an intelligence agent during the Second World War who was tasked with ferreting out a German spy. He did this by requiring each suspect to sing the Star Spangled Banner. Each, in turn, was eliminated as they sang the first verse then stopped singing. The spy, unprompted, sang all four verses thus revealing himself as the culprit through over-preparedness. How long would it be before the traditional singing and standing for the National Anthem at sporting events would be retired if ALL the verses were played?

    Liked by 5 people

    1. One of the supposed test questions was “how can there be six hits in an inning and no runs are scored.” I have never met a person, fan or not, who could answer that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here’s an answer from Mario Mergola, NFL and MLB Writer, Top-Ranked NFL Expert in Picks.

        “The first three batters each hit a single. Two base runners are subsequently picked off. Two more batters each hit a single, neither scoring a run.

        That makes five, and here’s where the secret lies: a batted ball that hits a runner results in an out in which no one advances, but a hit is awarded to the batter.

        The sixth official hit in the inning is one that strikes a base runner. Inning over.

        Six hits, no errors, and no runs scored.”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m not sure how that would work, but I bet the Twins could do something like that.

        Earlier this season, the Twins, in one inning, struck out 4, gave up one hit and two runs.

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  6. I like mysteries that take me to another culture and make that culture/place part of the mystery/solution. The best at this is Hillerman, who I know many of you like. The Hamish McBeth mysteries set in Scotland are fun. Books read like candy. The TV series from the early 1990’s are fun, very different than books, but both are fun. Scenery is wonderful. Setting for fictional town of Lochduhb is beautiful. This series started the career of Shirley Henderson, an actress I like. Tiny with a weird voice. Does lots of good things. She is Moaning Myrtle, played at the age of 33. She is also in a good episode of Death in Paradise, another fun TV series for taking us to the Caribbean.

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  7. OT Beautiful day here. A mystery is where are the mosquitoes. After all this rain, maybe they got drowned, or more likely waiting to hatch. Minnesota will be in flood for a few days, but this town is so protected by seawalls no one will pay much attention. I was at Minneopa Park three days ago. The falls are amazing. Minneopa Creek is one of the shortest rivers in MN, especially for the volume it can carry. The falls are pretty but reek of all the ag runoff the river collects. Was going to do a post with the photoes, but.

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    1. Ag runoff is a truly serious problem, but it is a problem our political system cannot fix. The folks doing the polluting are farmers who don’t have big pockets but who damage rivers and aquifers with chemical runoff (the Minnesota River being the classic example). Another similar environmental problem we haven’t learned to fix is lake degradation caused by the way lake property owners manage both aquatic vegetation and their lawns. Both of these problems involve people doing stuff that doesn’t seem that unhealthy, and yet the cumulative impacts are lamentable. Fixing these problems would require getting tough with family farmers and owners of recreational property, and our political culture won’t prioritize moving against folks like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I was so tired at our 4th hour of massed bell choir rehearsal last night I was ready to murder the conductor. I would have had about 300 witnesses, though. I am better today. We are armed with mallets and thick wooden sticks as well as heavy bronze bells, so I had plenty of weapons within my reach.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. We watched a DVD last night based on a book by Tim O’Brien – In the Lake of the Woods. I’m intrigued enough that I’m now going to read the book, as Husband (who’s read it) pointed out things in the movie that were added, not necessarily improving the story. So far it’s fascinating.

    A mystery I’ve encountered today is my mom asking me where her husband is. I’ve read (and been coached by nurses) not to tell her that he died in 2006 – but instead, to go along with her to whatever year she might be experiencing. So far, she’s accepted the fact that he’s away for the summer at a seminar in Tucson for guidance counselors. (I should share this info with the nurses).

    Will try to come up with something creative, later. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Death by meeting planner. What was it that drove her over the edge? Was it the five buses coming and going with a two-page schedule so that people could buy sunglasses.? Was it the insistence on red geraniums and terracotta pots for the final night? Or maybe it was the 8 private dinners that the client has asked her to set up but changed every 3 days.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. I’m what some people call a clotheshorse. I’m obsessed with fashion. Anyone who has seen how I dress knows this.

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  11. OT: I’m actually pretty sure it was here that I first learned of the Forte Handbell Quartet, (http://fortehandbells.org/) but in case you haven’t heard them, or at least heard of them. check the link. It’s worth checking out, especially if you’re a handbell player.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. The call came in to the sherrif’s department at 7:30 am on Wednesday. “Accident at the Mental Health Clinic!”.

    We arrived and found her, Dr. B , face down on a set of Rorschach cards, seated at her desk, obviously dead. Her skull appeared to have been fractured at the back of the head. “Looks like blunt force trauma. There’s the weapons,” said my deputy, pointing to two enormous books on the floor, Edwin Boring’s “History of Experimental Psychology” and the “Mental Measurement Yearbook for 1988”.

    The coronor estimated the time of death to be around 7:00 to 9:00pm on Tuesday evening. She usually worked late on Tuesday nights, as her husband was always out of town on the reservation. He claimed to be at the casino helping a client address their social anxiety disorder at the time of death, and had witnesses placing him there at that time.

    Dr. B’s final client of the evening said he left the building at 6:00 after his appointment. He was trying to deal with a jealous wife who hated any female he had contact with. His wife was out when he returned home. He thought she returned about 10:00. She was upset when she returned but gave no explanation for her absence.

    (Ok, baboons, can you finish the story?)

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    1. There was also a custodian who had a habit of rearranging Dr. B’s entire office – papers on her desk, books on the shelf, client files – when it suited him. He’d had several run-ins with Dr. B about this, and was not a man who courted criticism easily.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What a disgruntled secretary who was easily offended and who resented it when Dr. B spelled out words when she dictated?

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  13. I really wish I had the imagination to contribute and elaborate on the fun scenarios presented here. Alas, my brain is pretty pedestrian in that regard, it just doesn’t naturally go to bizarre places. That’s both a blessing and a curse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She was killed by her inability to get her brain to elaborate on the ideas required to pass the test administered by her captors from nebula matrix in the Pharrell elk solar system adjacent to the Milky Way and they laughed and laughed at the poor human who couldn’t accept the premise of being placed in a time warp while the drip drip drip of her tourturers chosen fluid changed from water to hot soup to hotter motor oil, the watermelon juice and all bearings regarding time direction and instinct were now fully in the natural mode and she went to sleep never to reawaken . Poor darling

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