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Death of a Sandman

23 pages18 minutes


Why did somebody kill that man?

The mysterious death of a popular figure at a Caribbean resort has inspector Johnny Cliff wondering why someone might want him dead. He didn't seem to have any enemies, but there's no question it was murder. And he still has to solve the case of Henderson’s dog disappearing. It’s busy times on the island.

~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~

Johnny Cliff looked out over the white beach, taking in the crystal clear water. It was a shame, really. The view had been ruined. Now the dead man lay on the sand where the waves broke, his body jerking with each incoming wave. The corpse did not belong on this idyllic beach. 

Johnny let out a long breath, forcing the muscles in his neck and shoulders to relax. Then he turned his attention to the doctor standing barefoot on the beach. She bent over to examine the body, going over it pretty thoroughly. He was grateful. She didn’t like doing police work. She thought her job was to keep folks alive, not figure out how they died; but she was the only doctor they had, and it reassured him to see her being so professional.

When the tiny woman stood up, Johnny went over to her. “He died from drowning, Mr. Cliff,” she said. “I want his body in my clinic and I need to run some other tests. I’ll send blood samples to Barbados for toxicology tests, but I’m guessing he died from drowning.”

Johnny stared down at the body; the skin was all wrinkled and bloated. He’d never seen a drowning victim before and it wasn’t pretty. “So he drowned…” he mused.

The doctor clucked at him. “Now I didn’t say that at all, Mr. Cliff and you won’t be putting your words in my mouth.”

“You said he drowned.”

“I said I think he died from drowning. If I am right, he might have drowned, or he might have been drowned. I'm thinking that a policeman should be the one what knows the difference.”

Johnny Cliff raised an eyebrow. Murder wasn’t common on the island. Violent crime reared its head once in a while, but it was mostly domestic disputes and it was hard to remember the last time they got anyone killed. More people died from accidents. He hoped this was one.

“It’s hard to tell for certain,” Doc Vantage said. “The statistics say that men are four times more likely to drown than women. This man been floating in the surf for a time, crashing into rocks in deep water before washing back on the sand. He’s bruised up pretty good.”

“But you are suspicious?”

She nodded. “I’ve seen some fishermen who drowned, accidental-like and washed up on shore. But they had a different look to them. Plus, I’m seeing some marks on his throat that don't quite fit in with him just getting caught in the undertow. They make me think someone might have held him underwater long enough to make the drowning happen.”

“They couldn’t be from someone dragging him up on the beach?”

The doctor snorted. “So you think a person sees a body floating in the shallows and they go grabbing him by the neck?” She shook her head.

Having no answer, Johnny turned away. The body would go to the clinic and he wasn’t going to find anything on the beach. The tourists were all over it already. And if the man had been tossed in the water around rocks, then any clues would be wherever that was, not on the hotel beach.

He walked back to his office letting his mind play with the few facts; see if he could figure a place to start looking.

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