Dead in a Dumpster

Leah Norwood Mysteries, Book #1

Cozy Mystery

Date Published: September 23, 2014

When Leah Norwood finds the body of Isabel Meeks in the dumpster behind her store, she can’t believe the police consider her a suspect. Sure, she didn’t like Isabel, but then again, neither did anyone else. Isabel had a condescending attitude and a bad reputation. As manager of the antique store, Patina, she had made a lot of enemies.

There is Patina’s assistant manager, the handsome and charming Trent. Isabel was blackmailing him. There is Patina’s owner, the aloof and influential Anthony Thorpe. Isabel was smuggling drugs through his store. And there is the entire drug dealing Cantono family. Isabel had lost a box containing heroin from one of their shipments. That is just to name a few and didn’t even include the stranger who was seen arguing with Isabel just hours before her death.

The police have too many suspects and too many soft alibis. Leah needs to prove to the sexy new chief of police that she had nothing to do with Isabel’s death.

Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the police arrest her for murder?

Excerpt

We walked to the end of the hall and then turned left. This hallway was shorter and only contained three doors. Captain Reddish opened the first one. I followed him in and then stopped abruptly. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. A conference room, maybe, or another office. What I got was an interrogation room. It looked a lot like something you would see on a television police show. It was a small square room with a table in the middle and two chairs on either side. There was no mirrored window, but I did see a camera mounted in one corner.

My heart started pounding, and my mouth went dry. What the hell was going on? I wondered. Was I going to be interrogated? And if so, why? Suspects were interrogated not witnesses. I had told the police everything I knew last night. I thought today was just a formality. I tried to swallow but choked a little and coughed instead. I looked at Reddish. He took a step toward the table and tossed the folder in front of one of the chairs. He motioned toward the chair opposite and said, “Have a seat.”

Hesitantly, I took a step forward but stopped when he said, “I’m going to get some coffee. Would you like anything?”

I shook my head, and he walked out the door leaving me alone. I decided if he was offering me coffee, it couldn’t be that bad. Breathing deeply, I sat down. Maybe they didn’t have any conference rooms or empty offices. My nerves settled down as I stared at the folder a minute wondering if I had time to read it before Reddish got back. It had Isabel’s name on it. I glanced briefly at the camera on the wall and decided not to risk it.

A movement by the door caught my attention. I glanced over as Alexander Griggs stepped into the room. He looked at me and gave me a half smile. The indentation on the right side of his mouth deepened just a little. His intense green eyes pinned me to the seat. My heart started pounding again. Only this time, it wasn’t out of fear. I tried not to fidget as he walked over to the chair next to Reddish’s and pulled it out. What was it about this man that affected me so? He placed the chair parallel to the table and sat down. “How are you, Ms. Norwood?”

“Fine,” I replied and was pleased to note that my voice was steady and clear.

Reddish returned with two cups of coffee. He didn’t seem surprised that Griggs was present so I assumed he was expected. Reddish closed the door, handed one of the cups to Griggs, and sat in the chair opposite me before opening the folder. He took out a piece of paper and then looked up at me.”

“We have a few more questions for you, Ms. Norwood.”

“Okay,” I said cautiously.

“You stated that the last time you saw Ms. Meeks alive was when you went to confront her about the delivery truck. Is that correct?”

I paused a minute. I hadn’t used the words confront her, although that is what had happened. Swallowing hard, I tried not to sound defensive. “I last saw Isabel alive when I went to ask her to have the delivery truck moved.”

“Ask her?” Reddish said looking at me.

“Well, maybe, I didn’t actually ask.”

“I see. So what did you do?”

I didn’t like his tone, but I answered anyway. “I told her that the delivery truck was parked in my space, and she needed to have it moved.”

“According to Mr. Thorpe, you threatened to call the police.”

I looked at Reddish and then at Griggs. Both men looked back at me with no expression on their faces. It was like looking at two stone figures. I wasn’t really sure what was going on, but I was beginning to get a little nervous. Was I really a suspect? I took another deep breath before answering.

“Yes, I threatened to call the police. Isabel was refusing to have the truck moved so I told her that I would report the driver as trespassing.”

“But you didn’t,” Reddish said, his tone dry.

“No, I didn’t need to. Mr. Thorpe had Trent get the driver to move the truck.”

Reddish consulted his notes. “So even though the truck was moved, you were still angry.”

“Yes, I was angry,” I said carefully. I was beginning to think I might need to stop talking. They hadn’t read me my rights, but I didn’t know how much of what I said could be used against me at this point. Did I need to ask for a lawyer?

“Is that why you threatened her?” Reddish asked.

“What?” I squeaked. “I didn’t threaten her.”

“According to a witness, you were angry and threatened the victim. Specifically, you said ‘I think it’s time for someone to teach Isabel a lesson, and I’m just the one to do it’.”

Candace. Of course, Candace told the police what I said. She probably told the whole town. I sat back in my chair, stomach churning, mouth dry, fear racing through me. I looked at Reddish again. He just sat there waiting.

“Okay, so maybe I threatened her,” I whispered, “but I didn’t mean that I was going to kill her. I was angry. We all say things when we’re angry.”

“If you didn’t plan to kill her, then what were you threatening to do?”

“I don’t know,” I said looking back and forth between Reddish and Griggs. This couldn’t be happening. What was I going to do? I wasn’t a criminal. I didn’t even drive over the speed limit very often. “I was thinking something along the lines of letting all the air out of her tires.”

Griggs snorted, but when I looked at him, his face was remote. He didn’t say anything, just took a sip of his coffee. Reddish watched me, eyes narrowed, a shade of distrust on his face. He nodded decisively and went for the kill.

“Ms. Norwood, do you own a gun?”

Shit. It was definitely time for a lawyer.

About the Author

B. L. Blair writes mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.

She is the author of the Leah Norwood Mysteries and the Lost and Found Pets Mystery Novellas. She loves reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.

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