A SLICE OF MURDER: Part 1
March 9, 2015, Article by Mr Book in A Slice Of Murder, Books
Madison, Illinois. A place so hot you could fry an egg on it; a place so dirty you put the bins out twice a week; average rain fall: 48 inches. The same as the pants on the fat cats at city hall, thought Detective Inspector Harrison Wye as he stirred his coffee.
‘You on a diet, Wye?’ Rex Worlde, Wye’s partner, could never resist a chance to rib his colleague.
‘How’d you figure that?’
‘Never seen Harrison Wye drinking coffee without it drowning in cream, is all.’
‘New leaf I guess,’ Wye grunted, wondering what Worlde would have said if he’d caught him adding a slug of whisky to the coffee from his carefully concealed hip-flask five minutes earlier. He also wondered how longer he could keep getting a pass from the guy who did his medicals, who just so happened to be his younger brother, Hayon.
‘You ordered yet?’ Worlde said. Wye shook his head and reached for the menu. They were in their favourite pizza joint, The Master and Margherita, run by local entrepreneur Elgar Shroom. As if on cue, Shroom burst through the double doors, nearly decapitating a waiter carrying a meat feast the size of an elephant’s ear.
‘What can I get you boys?’
‘A tall blonde into making bad decisions?’ Worlde said. The three of them laughed. It was the same joke every time.
They ordered and Shroom bustled away, leaving behind the smell of sweat and cheap cologne. The two cops sat in silence for a moment.
‘Right, you gotta tell me what’s biting your ass, Wye.’
‘You’ve said two words all day, and that was “stuffed crust”.
Wye smiled and reached for his wallet. He slid something out and passed it to Worlde.
‘Buy one get one free on Quiches?’
‘What? Oh.’ Wye retrieved the receipt and found the photo he’d meant to show to Worlde – a young man, smiling.
‘It’s ten years to the day since Logan Oswald died. Ten years since the Devil’s Library.’
‘Ten years? Jesus, Wye, you should’ve said something.’
‘What’s there to say?’
Wye had been at the top of his game, a string of high profile convictions under his belt. It was even rumored he was in line to take over from Commissioner Jackson Muldoon. The internecine politics were troubling to a young Wye, having been friends with Muldoon since they were kids, but ambition burned hotly in him like indigestion after a fat blob of brie. But any thoughts of usurping his friend were destroyed with just one case: The Devil’s Library.
Local hotelier Logan Oswald, another guy Wye had known since they were kids, had been found dead in the city library, bludgeoned to death with a copy of Infinite Jest. Dangling around his neck was a trinket left by the killer – a small golden devil. The press immediately picked up on the trinket, and it was the crime reporter for the Madison Tribune – Garrison Hope – who’d coined The Devil’s Library. Despite the deep sadness Wye felt for the death of his friend, he immediately launched into the investigation. Four years, one marriage, and a hundred bottles of Jack later, the case remained unsolved. Wye’s reputation lay in tatters. (Why Oh Wye? – Hope didn’t pull any punches with his editorial on the case.) Commissioner Muldoon had given Wye time off to get his head straight – a disastrous decision which gave Wye the chance to hit the bottle, hard. His rock bottom came on New Year’s Day, when he was caught in flagrante with a prostitute called Trixie in the local taxidermy shop. Wye couldn’t remember exactly what headline Hope had gone with in the Tribune, but it had certainly involved the word ‘beaver’.
It’d been a long eight years of rebuilding his reputation, and the drinking was still problematic, but Harrison Wye was back in business. He just needed that one big case to show everyone what he was capable of.
His reverie was interrupted by Worlde’s phone. The cop demolished a dough ball and licked his fingers clean before answering.
‘Worlde. What? Are you sure? But that’s goddamn impossible! Jesus. OK, OK. Keep the site clean, get forensics down there right away. And don’t let the Tribune get a sniff of this…’
‘Wrong number?’ Wye joked, but Worlde’s face was ashen.
‘There’s been a murder.’
‘I figured that.’
‘Not any old murder, buddy. I’m so sorry. He’s back.’
A full greasy slice of pollo fungi dropped right into Wye’s lap as he grasped the devastating meaning behind PC Worlde’s words.
‘Please God, you don’t mean…’
‘He’s struck again, ten years to the day. Goddamit Wye, The Devil’s Library has been re-opened.’
NOW YOU CAN DECIDE HOW THE CASE PROGRESSES…
Vote below to shape the future of Worlde & Wye. Will they…
a) Head straight to the library to examine the body? Time is of the essence, after all.
b) Go via the station to collect the old case files? Perhaps there was something they missed first time round which could be useful.
c) Leave the case well alone. Why re-open old wounds? Let the other team handle it. Plus, this 14″ mighty meaty won’t eat itself.
VOTING NOW CLOSED, SORRY
And stay tuned for part two of A Slice of Murder, the thrilling new Worlde & Wye mystery, where your decision will be revealed…