"The Case of the Murderous Mermaid" – Did beautiful mermaid Miranda murder her employer?
"The Case of the Villainous Vaudevillian" – Who killed Raymond Rice, dastardly star of The Perils of Polly Pure?
"The Case of the Silver Suspect" – A mysterious man, covered in silver, is found murdered.
A trio of whimsical stories of murder most foul featuring the detective team of Ferguson and Stone.
Martin McDaniel stood behind the bar, a wide grin on his middle-aged face as he surveyed the scene. An energetic DJ spun one dance tune after another, multicolored spotlights crisscrossed the dance floor, fake rock walls glowed under black lights and fishnets hung from the ceiling. The expense of adding the mermaid tank six months before had more than paid off. It was going on midnight and The Grotto was packed with customers. Martin’s smile grew wider when Miranda waved at him. Acquiring the nubile, honey blond Miranda as a girlfriend was an unexpected and enjoyable side benefit for Martin.
His smile faded as he spotted Vivian pushing her way across the dance floor, heading his way. Her hatchet-thin face was tight with anger as she looked at Martin and he sighed. If only she would agree to a divorce he and Miranda wouldn’t have to sneak around. But Vivian had already told Martin in no uncertain terms that divorce was out of the question, and that was before he had taken up with Miranda. God only knew how she would react if she ever found out.
Vivian arrived at the bar, elbowing her way in between two customers and planting herself squarely in front of Martin.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t find out? Did you really think you could get away with it? God, you’re pathetic.” Her voice was sharp and shrill and it pierced through the loud music. Kevin saw people turn and look in their direction, while the two displaced customers moved farther away. Vivian had that effect on people.
“Vivian, can’t we talk about this some other time?” Martin spread his arms. “The place is packed. Don’t cause a scene.”
Vivian looked over to the glass tank where Miranda swam. “Such a pretty girl. Too bad.” She turned back to Martin, her hatred palpable in her dark eyes. “The customers are going to miss her when she’s gone.”
“Vivian! You can’t fire Miranda. She needs this job.”
“Well, maybe she should have thought of that before she began sleeping with the boss’ husband.” Vivian turned toward the tank again and saw that Miranda was watching. Vivian wiggled her fingers at Miranda in faux friendship then drew her finger across her throat while her mouth formed a shark-like smile. She turned back to Martin. “I’ll have the bookkeeper cut her final check when he comes in on Monday.”
“Vivian, please. Have a heart.”
A contemptuous snort was Vivian’s answer to Martin’s pleading. She pivoted on sharp spiked heels and stalked away. Martin watched her leave and wondered how he ever could have loved and married her. He tried to remember their early days together, tried to remember some happiness, but he couldn’t. All that came to mind was the vicious shrew Vivian had become. As if by their own accord his hands rose from his side. When he became aware of it he was startled to see his hands making the motions of throttling someone, of strangling Vivian. Martin put his hands in his pockets and looked to see if anyone noticed. Obscured by the glass and water of the tank Martin failed to see the contemplative expression on the watching Miranda’s face.