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Gerald W Darnell

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   Recent articles by
Gerald W Darnell

Carson Reno Mystery Series
the Fingerprint Murders
Carson Reno Mystery Series will releaseTWO books for this Holiday Season
the Illegals
A Train They Call The City of New Orleans
Horse Tales
Hello, my name is Carson Reno
Price of Beauty in Strawberry Land
Murder in Humboldt
Please Don't Wake Me Until It's Time To Go
           >> View all

Justifiable Homicide
By Gerald W Darnell   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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Carson’s client is suspected of two murders, and desperately needs his help. After a night of drinking she wakes up in a hotel room with a dead man, but claims no memory of the previous night’s events. However, a gun found in the hotel room was used for another murder – used to kill a lawyer at the local Drive Inn Theater. Then…things get worse!
The murder gun belongs to his client’s husband and has her fingerprints all over it. The dead lawyer was blackmailing her and witnesses saw her at both murder scenes.
Interesting and dangerous characters surface, and somehow events from World War Two are playing a part in the mystery. To prove his client innocent, Carson must unravel a complex blackmail scheme and explain a few murders.
Follow Carson as he chases clues trying to solve this old fashion murder mystery. A mystery that has everyone looking the wrong way. This is an unusual case for Carson – a case of Justifiable Homicide.

Saturday nights at the Skyway Drive Inn Theater are for the young, the young at heart, the lovers and those who think they’re in love. Also, once a month on a Saturday night, it’s where blackmail victims go to make their monthly payoff.

A gray Ford parked on a row near the back with both rear windows down, regardless of the weather, is where payoffs were delivered. A silhouetted driver could be seen sitting behind the steering wheel, watching the movie, enjoying popcorn from the concession and beer brought along to comfort the evening. The still night and the movie sounds only interrupted by envelopes being dropped through the open windows into the rear seat – each envelope containing $1000 in small bills. No notes attached and no names on the envelopes, but delivery was always the same and always on the first Saturday of every month.
This particular Saturday night was just like all the others; however, on this evening one of the deliveries would be quite different.

The night was beautiful – clear skies, no moon and a temperature that made being outdoors perfect. A warm, but pleasant breeze added just the right touch; Lawrence Helgerson was enjoying the fresh air as it circulated through the open windows of his car. Sounds of someone approaching the rear of his Ford weren’t unusual, and he continued to watch the movie – a Western with a lot of shooting and noise.

Both shots were timed to coincide with what patrons were hearing from the movie. The sounds from two bullets, sent into the back of Lawrence Helgerson’s head, were never heard by anyone – especially Lawrence Helgerson!

The crime went undiscovered until the Skyway Drive Inn Theater cleared of all cars, and lights were turned on for nightly cleanup. An attendant went to check on the gray Ford, suspecting some partying teenagers had left it, which happened sometimes. Instead, he found Lawrence Helgerson’s brains spread over the dashboard and windshield, and his body lying in the front seat.
He also found $1000 in the back seat – one envelope, containing one thousand dollars in small bills!
Something woke her, an unfamiliar noise. It sounded like the slamming of a door, and it sounded very close. But, that couldn’t be right, her bedroom had sliding doors, and this wasn’t a noise she’d ever heard in her home. Struggling to open her eyes at the alarm of the noise, she quickly closed them again – they hurt! The light, the bright light, sent daggers into her head, and she took a deep breath with the relief that returned with darkness. Where was this light coming from? It was sunlight, bright sunlight; almost like she was sitting on a beach without sunglasses.

Lying still, and searching her mind, she tried to recall the most recent events in her life – it wasn’t working. Her head hurt, her body hurt, she was dying of thirst, her mouth tasted like an old dirty sock and she needed to pee. All of these, along with the glaring light were making thinking impossible.

Rolling over, she slowly brought her head up and managed to open sore, bloodshot eyes. She was staring at a rumpled pillow covered by a flowered pillowcase, and flanked by a matching bedspread. This wasn’t something she remembered and not something she’d ever seen before - at least she didn’t think so.

Somehow managing to get eyes fully open, she turned back over and surveyed her surroundings; nothing looked familiar. She was on a bed, a large bed, and evidently in a motel/hotel room - based upon the furniture her eyes could focus on. Sitting on the edge of the bed and putting her feet on the floor, she glanced around the room searching for a door – there were two. One was in the corner of the room and partially open, it must be a bathroom. Using the bed and furniture for support, she stumbled into the small bathroom and leaned against the sink. That’s when she realized she was fully dressed, except for shoes – which was odd. Sitting on the commode, things slowly began to come back to her cloudy mind.
She had been at the Country Club drinking with her husband, Roger. They argued and she left, taking the car and leaving him to find his own way home. Mad at Roger, and not ready to end the evening, she stopped at the VFW to have another drink and visit with friends. The place was crowded, and she recalled sitting at the bar – visiting with John, C.P., Travis and some other people. But then what? What happened then? She didn’t recall driving home and she didn’t remember seeing Roger again. She couldn’t remember anything past sitting at the VFW and visiting with friends. And, where was she now? This definitely wasn’t home!

Finished, she cupped her hands and used the sink faucet to get a drink – it was refreshing, but didn’t do much for the terrible taste in her mouth. She wasn’t sure why she was so thirsty, but it could be the whiskey. She’d definitely had her share last night, that part she did remember! Too much whiskey she told herself, shaking her head trying to remove the hangover cobwebs.
Her senses were slowly returning, and she rubbed sore eyes using the remaining dampness on her hands – trying not to smear make-up, assuming any remained. But, the odor of perfume caught her nose, and she casually glanced around the small bathroom for its source – there was none. A pleasant fragrance, but definitely not one she used or had smelled before. A woman, a woman other than her, had recently used this bathroom and left the lingering aroma of her perfume behind. Wonder who?

Standing in front of the mirror, she checked her clothes and body – everything seemed to be in order except for the large red mark under her right eye. It was just a bruise, the skin wasn’t broken and, like everything else that had occurred over the past few hours, she had no idea where it came from.
With that thought, she glanced at her watch, it was still on her wrist where it should be. Through blurry, but clearing eyes she read 10:45, and based upon the bright sunlight coming in the room, it must be AM. But then her mind asked again, where was she?
Stumbling out of the bathroom, she carefully walked to the other door, the one that appeared to be an exit, and opened it. Slowly stepping out, and not allowing the door to close behind her, she surveyed her surroundings – nothing looked familiar. She was standing in a carpeted hallway, flanked by numerous doors on all sides, each with gold numbers painted in the center. Turning to look at the door she was holding open - she saw the number 14. She was in Room 14, but why?

Still holding the door, and staring at the number, the door of the room next to Room 14 opened and a short man with gray/balding hair stepped into the small hall. He smiled as he walked past, then stopped.

“Are you okay?” he asked slowly, while offering an odd stare.

“Yes…yes, I’m alright,” she answered in a weak voice.

Breaking off the stare, he smiled and didn’t respond, before continuing his walk down the hall, where he quickly disappeared around a corner.

Confused, she walked back into Room 14, letting the door close behind her. She needed to find her shoes and purse, and then get the hell out of here – wherever ‘here’ was! Maybe things would be clearer when she got out of this room – out into the daylight that was already washing through open curtains and across the bed where she’d slept. Maybe she would remember how she ended up in Room 14, in some unknown hotel after a night of heavy drinking.

Bending over and searching the hardwood floor, she didn’t see her shoes or purse, but did see something she wished she hadn’t!

Lying between the bed and the wall was a man – a large man. He was face down, and his body partially underneath the bed she had just crawled out of -- he didn’t look healthy! In particular, he didn’t look healthy because there was a large knife sticking out of his back, and the floor around his body was covered with dried blood!
Shocked and stunned, she stared motionless at her discovery while rubbing sore eyes. Other than at her father’s funeral, she’d never seen a dead man, so she continued to look at him with curiosity, while a thousand thoughts raced through her cluttered and foggy mind.

It was obvious that this man had met his end in a violent and brutal way, but she couldn’t look away – her eyes fixed on the lifeless body under the bed with a large knife sticking out of his back. He didn’t look familiar, but the way the body was positioned, and with her fuzzy vision, she couldn’t be sure. Trying to gather her senses, she knew she had to get out of Room 14 and had to do it in a hurry. Scared, she franticly searched around the small room for her purse and shoes before looking at the dresser. What she saw stopped her search. Her beige shoes and matching purse were sitting on the dresser; beside them was a key attached to a plastic tag showing the number 14. It appeared that everything had been neatly and purposely placed there. Lying next to them was a revolver!

Reacting in what seemed like ‘slow motion’, she picked up the gun and examined it – it looked familiar, but she couldn’t recall why. Replacing the gun, she picked up her shoes, and noticed small stains that had not been there before – the stains looked like blood! Putting on the shoes and grabbing her purse, she ran from the room and into the hall – stopping when the door slammed hard behind her, making a noise that echoed through the empty hallway. Frozen with the fear that someone might have heard the noise, she looked in both directions – the hallway was empty. Hurriedly, she checked her purse for car keys and any disturbance to the contents. There was none, and keys were in her purse where they should be.

Following the path of the gentleman she had met in the hall earlier, she went around a sharp corner, down short steep stairs and immediately stepped into a large hotel lobby. In the center of the giant room was a rounded seating area; flanked by a reception desk with a young man standing behind it – he looked up and stared. Frightened, she paused and returned his stare while frantically searching for an exit. Hastily walking past a crowded coffee shop and in the direction she believed to be the front door, several patrons looked up – including the gentleman she had met in the hallway. Realizing her mistake, she slowed, smiled, and casually finished her walk through the lobby – exiting through a large glass door, which thankfully led outside and to a sidewalk.

Reaching daylight she stopped, rubbed her eyes again, and finally realized where she was. She had just walked through the lobby of the Humboldt Hotel, and was now on Main Street. She had, apparently, spent the night in Room 14, where she’d left a dead man lying on the floor with a knife sticking out of his back!

But, she still had the same question. Why was she here?

Web Site: Carson Reno Mystery Series

Reader Reviews for "Justifiable Homicide"

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Reviewed by Gerald Darnell 12/31/2014
Thanks Ron Hull for your advise about the editor. Off works much better.
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 12/31/2014
For some reason, I'm not much interested in murder mysteries. Although I've certainly seen enough of them in movies. I did read parts of your excerpt from the novel here, and find that your writing is very good, and that you set up interesting scenes with interesting situations. I didn't see any dialogue, but like the rest of the writing, I believe it will be quite good as well.

I've learned recently that if you are having trouble with the AD editor, you can use a special paste like I do in my browser, "Paste and Match Style," or you can turn off the editor and your paragraphs should come out normally.

Keep writing good stuff for your mystery readers…


Books by
Gerald W Darnell

Fingerprint Murders

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Murder in Humboldt

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Justifiable Homicide

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Don't Wake Me Until It's Time to Go

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Horse Tales

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the Crossing

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Boomer's Fall by Robin Leigh Miller

Sequel to Black Smoke, but may be read as a standalone title...  
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Goodbye Baby Blue by Frank Ryan

A child is kidnapped, followed by several murders. A mystery thriller in the Sandy Woodings series. ..  
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