Murder at the Reinhart: Part 1: C. C. Dragon
The first week in February Berls and I introduced you to the contestants in our Murder at the Reinhart Competition and on that Friday we gave you the start to a mini-murder mystery. If you missed these posts, you can go back and meet Round 1 contestants Lynn Cahoon and Lea Wait or read part 1 and part 2 of the story. Today, C.C. Dragon will let her super sleuth, Deanna Oscar, begin to solve the murder of Mr. Reinhart. Tomorrow, she’ll wrap it up and identify the murderer! You ready to see Deanna’s take on events? Here we go…
Part one by C. C. Dragon
Where we left off….It was during this brief recess to dress for dinner that a piercing scream pulled them all from their rooms. The halls filled with the visiting sleuths, actors, and staff – many clearly pulled fresh from showers – and a murmur finally reached them all. Mr. Reinhart was dead.
“The mystery is starting already?” Ivy propped a hand on her hip.
I shook my head. “The host isn’t usually the victim. That guy likes to show off too much to play dead.”
Ducking back into my insanely lavish room to get away from the crowd, I let my mind wander. The egomaniac host might be gleefully watching us via closed circuit cameras around the mansion.
Ivy closed the door. “Everyone is scrambling to solve the case. That guy might have wanted to make it all about himself. Watch us rats running in a maze to impress him.”
There was no hint of their host anywhere. Being psychic had its benefits. “He’s really dead. Damn. This was supposed to be a game.”
“So who did it?” Ivy asked.
I reached out for the guilty party. “No one feels bad. I can’t really blame them. The way he treated his staff at the arrival party. I bet he’s not treating the actors any better.”
“This guy values money and power. He’s a show off. I think I love him a little,” Ivy said.
“Sorry your fantasy man is dead. So what happened?” I had plenty of suspects but where was the body and what happened? “Let’s go.”
“You mingle with the staff and actors. They’ll probably talk to you more than me after that excessive introduction I got.”
“Money loves money.” She nodded.
“So you learn about as many alibis as you can. Play the I’m just working stiff card. They’ll talk to you. See how many people you can rule out.” I wanted to divide and conquer. Once the police got involved we’d be stuck in Colorado for way too long.
“Shouldn’t we find out how he died first?” Ivy suggested.
I had a pretty good picture in my mind but Ivy was right. No one else here was psychic so we’d stand out if we didn’t follow the crowd a bit. “Sure.”
We headed back to the hall and tracked along with the other guests and staff to the ultra-lavish bedroom of their dead host. In the bathroom that was about the size of my childhood bedroom, I saw the host in a massive hot tub. Dead.
“Looks like the radio fell in,” said the maid.
“It was an accident. Good. I’ll call the cops and let them check it all out.” Sarah tremblingly pulled out her cell phone.
“A rich guy like that and a cheap radio on the edge of a big hot tub? Please,” said another sleuth.
I spied a few remotes on the counter. “What are these?”
“Oh, those run the fan, the TV, and the Jacuzzi jets,” a maid replied.
“So he has a TV in here which probably has music channels but he was listening to that old thing?” I shook my head.
“It was murder. Someone tossed in that piece of junk.” Another sleuth nodded.
“Isn’t that a Hollywood myth?” Ivy asked.
One of the actor looked at the cord. “Not necessarily. The current is completed with the metal drain. He was electrocuted. Most hair dryers today are designed to cut the power if it hits the water but not other appliances. I do electrical part time.”
“Let’s get the cops in here. They can CSI it all for prints or DNA. The man was worth enough money,” said another actor.
Another sleuth stepped forward. “We can solve it. It’s what he’d want. Maybe the psychic already knows.”
I shook my head. “Sorry, I don’t feel guilt from anyone.”
“Touch the tub,” Ivy said.
“Tampering with evidence isn’t smart. Let me just get close.” I normally got a good read touching things but I didn’t want to leave anything behind. Holding a hand close to his head, I got the replay of his death. He never saw who it was but I felt a male presence in the room. In seconds, he plugged in the radio and threw it into the water.
“It’s a man.”
“That’s it?” Ivy frowned.
“Our victim didn’t see his killer’s face. It happened fast. Sorry. I need to get some water.” I nodded to Ivy.
“What’s up?” she asked when we were in the hallway alone.
“Get on your laptop and find out who inherits this? Will or next of kin. Whatever you can,” I said.
“What about the staff and actors?” she asked.
“No, it doesn’t make sense. The staff need their jobs. I can sense how worried they are now. They might make him sick, steal, or play a joke but killing him hurts them. I doubt the hired actors know him that well to have a big enough grudge. This act was deliberate. Maybe someone was bribed to do it by someone who’d really benefit. See what you find and call in lawyer favors if you have to. I don’t want to be here for a week doing nothing but proving we didn’t do it. I’m going to talk to a few people.” I had noticed one person was absent from the hallway antics and it could be nothing or it could be something.
“I’m on it!” Ivy dashed back to her room.
A crowd rushed past me.
“Come on, we’re checking the servants quarters. See if anyone is missing a radio.” Another sleuth said.
The staff looked concerned. It was a logical move. The host probably worked them hard so perhaps he had done something bad enough to deserve revenge. “Go on. I’m going to check a couple of odds and ends.”
I headed down to the ballroom that was mostly ready for a grand dinner. Tables were set and decorations hung. Only one person was working there. Sammie seemed calm and clueless as he set up the microphone and sounds system.
“Didn’t you hear?” I asked.
He didn’t turn. Didn’t move.
Then I noticed the wires hanging from his ear buds. I tapped him on the back and got a shock. I had my man. Now I just had to get it out of him.
He yanked the buds and the music blared.
“Sorry, I thought you’d have heard.”
“Heard what? I’ve been setting up. Dancing and big mystery kick off tonight.” Sammie nodded to the room.
“I see. But the host is dead,” I said.
“What?” Sammie laughed.
“I know. Crazy. But I doubt dinner and all of that will go on. How long have you been down here?” I asked.
“Wow. Damn. Um. Since the welcome. I had to move my gear in here after the arrival. He was very specific about where he wanted to do what and it takes a bit of time to set it up and test it. No screw ups.” Sammie tensed. “And he didn’t want to pay for an assistant.”
Come back tomorrow and finish up the story with Part two and see who Deanna thinks is the killer! Now hurry on over to Fantasy is More Fun to see how Colleen’s sleuth Shelby Nichols starts solving the mystery. Tomorrow you’ll get to vote on who did it better! I can tell already it’s going to be hard to choose!