A Little Bit Suspicious
Lu Jones looked up at her brother-in-law as he gaped down at her.
“You look like a fish,” she said.
Detective Josh Carpenter’s mouth snapped shut.
“How can you tell she was murdered?” Josh asked, narrowing his eyes at her.
“It’s kind of the whole point of my job to be able to do that,” Lu said.
“Lu.” It was a warning and Lu shrugged it off as easily as if it had come from one of her siblings. The curse of the two of them working together for almost as long as Josh had been with Nico.
“Well, it’s nothing so obvious as the rope done wrong,” Lu said, walking towards the body. Josh followed her. “But, there’s antemortem bruising under the rope inconsistent with hanging. And her face is the wrong color. It’s a little too red. That implies force.”
“So, she wasn’t hung?”
Lu shook her head. “Not by this rope and this tree. Though, if I had to guess, I’d say she was strangled. Dr. Pascal will make the final call on that.”
“What do you mean about the rope being done wrong?” Josh asked, peering as closely at the noose as he could bear to get.
Lu grinned. “The movie The Black Cat? Remember?”
Josh frowned. Lu and Nico were big horror film fans, a fitting favorite genre for their lines of work. They’d often get together to watch them and many of their conversations featured references to them. Lu was a little disappointed that more of this hadn’t rubbed off on Josh.
“Isn’t that the one where Bela Lugosi skins Boris Karloff alive?” Josh asked, squinting the way he did when he was trying to remember something.
Lu heard Vince mutter something under his breath and she was pretty sure it was in response to the mention of skinning, not the overall topic. Vince was green, but he’d been on enough death scenes with Lu and Josh to know how they operated.
“No, this one has Bela Lugosi, but he plays a gardener that gets shot as a scapegoat.”
“I don’t remember that one.”
“That’s a shame,” Lu said with a shrug and went back to business. “I’ll bag the vic’s hands and we’ll see if we can get anything off of her clothes, but she looks pretty clean. There are a couple of smaller bruises on her forearms that could be defensive marks and most people who are strangled put up a fight unless they can’t. I’m not seeing much evidence of a fight around here, though.”
Everyone standing in the little clearing at the end of the path looked at the ground.
“So, this is a dump scene, not a crime scene,” Josh concluded and Lu nodded. “Well, give me whatever you can get as quickly as you can. If this is a homicide, then we’re on the clock.”
Josh walked over to Detective Carthos, the other two uniforms, and the forensic team to hatch a game plan while Lu went on with her work. She picked up her clipboard from the gurney and started making notes about the case. Murderville was living up to its reputation this time. A homicide at the local suicide spot. Dr. Pascal was going to love this twist.