DeBarlo Mini Mystery Episode #1
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     Police Detective Len Stevens glared at me when I strode up to his desk with a box of doughnuts. He hated that I knew he kept bakeries around town in business but I always thought that one of these days he'd come around and appreciate the gift of giving.
      "All for you!" I grinned and dropped the box on the desk in front of him.
      Scowling, he pried open the lid. "DeBarlo." He scowled some more. "You didn't even bring any Boston Cremes."
      "I can take it back."
      I reached for the box but he slapped at my hand. "Like hell you will. I could use one of the jelly-filled at a time like this."
      "A time like what?"
      Len sighed. "I have an apparent suicide that just isn't sitting well with me. The guy was found on his bed with a bullet through his head, his prints were on the gun, and he left a recorded note. We even got the results back from forensics that showed the powder residue on his hand from firing the weapon. The message even sounds convincing. Listen."
      He pulled out a small tape player and depressed the play button. A man's nervous voice rang out, "This is Mark Scanlon. No one may understand why I'm doing this but I have had enough of this life's stress. I've lost my wife, my job, and my finances are a mess. Goodbye." The shot of a gun rang out followed by the click of the recorder turning off.
      I cocked my head. "Is that the actual tape?"
      Len shook his head. "Nah, it's a copy. The tape was in a recorder on the bed where we found him."
      "And that is the deceased's voice?"
      "Yeah. The ex-wife and his mother confirmed it."
      I spread my hands. "Len, I don't think he killed himself."

Why does Chase not think Scanlon killed himself?



      Len scowled at me. "And why don't you think he killed himself, Mr. Private Eye?"
      "Consider the recorder turning off."
      "I've considered it."
      "How did he manage it?"
      The police detective stared at me for a long moment then pulled a powdered doughnut out of the box. After two bites and a few wipes at the powder lodged in his mustache he replied, "He couldn't have turned off the recorder if he was dead. Somebody else turned it off."
      "Exactly. And if somebody else turned it off then that means --"
      "Then that means somebody forced Mark Scanlon to leave a suicide message and proceeded to murder him."

Copyright 2004, Mike Ricksecker