Bobbing for Clues, a Cozy Mystery
November 29, 2012
By the time Carol made her way to Alice’s desk the next morning, her face was a solid fire engine red.
"Did you hear," she blurted to Alice.
"Carol, is your blood pressure off the charts again? I think you’d better sit down." Alice tried to guide Carol to a chair. She had dirt to dish, but Alice wasn’t sure she would keel over first.
"They made an arrest."
"Who," Alice asked.
"Carl and Stevie," Carol replied.
"No, Carol…who did they arrest?"
"Oh, they arrested Ryan Smith."
Alice knew a mistake had been made. Sure, Ryan was a little outspoken, but he was also a model library patron. In all the years he came to her branch, she never had to argue with him about a fine, never saw so much as a dog-eared page.
"I guess he won’t give an alibi, and they found propaganda in his Subaru about some botched neighborhood plumbing near the Walker overpass. He blamed Jack for the pollution there. He had signs for a protest that called for Jack’s head," Carol continued. "Jack was found not far from the Walker overpass."
Alice knew Ryan’s job put him at odds with Jack as a developer and a councilman, but he was not a murderer.
Alice returned to her desk and gazed out the window. She saw Steven in the adjoining parking lot on his cell looking very concerned.
She went out to meet him and heard him finishing the call. He was rubbing his eyes and looking troubled.
"Are you sure?" Steven barked into the phone.
He looked up and met Alice’s eyes. "Looks like we grabbed the wrong guy."
That was fast, Alice thought. She didn’t even have to say anything.
As it turns out, Ryan had an alibi. Steven verified that Ryan wasn’t in a position to tie up Jack Hamilton and chuck him in the river. He was deep into a shift at another job. He wasn’t just the Walker Sewage Enforcement Officer. He had a side-gig as a FedEx driver. It’s not exactly a green job. Alice could understand why he wouldn’t want to sully his reputation as the resident tree-hugger. This was the same guy who biked everywhere in winter, who never had a plastic bottle of water, and refused the new library bags…always using the oldest relic Alice had ever seen for his recycling guides.
"I guess this means we’re back to square one," Steven said.
"It’s okay Steven," Alice consoled him. “I know you can figure this out.”
Especially, she thought, if you get a little help.