Story #5 – Delaney Reece

A Woman's Affair

By. Delaney Reece


On the morning of April 23, Mr. Edward Patena was seated at his kitchen table his morning coffee at the ready. He had returned home late the night before from Boston, a visit which advertised a break from retirement but had failed to deliver. Reaching for the Monday newspaper the thin gray paper unrolled to reveal a large photo of his own sleepy neighborhood. The photo must’ve been taken just down from his own apartment, and showed police cars and officers lining the street. The title read “Sunday Morning Suicide'. In utter confusion, Mr. Patena continued to read.

Early Sunday morning on the 22nd of April, one Mr. Marshall G. Lillason was found dead in his flower bed by his gardener. The death is believed to have happened sometime after 11:30pm the night before and has been deemed a suicide by police on the account of the means of death, and the recent development of money trouble. Information on services and obituary to follow.

Patena squinted confused at the words on the page, he had known Mr. Lillason and his family quite well. Before he could think much further on the subject there was a knock at his door. Almost wanting to take a paper with him out of fear that the strange news would disappear Patena rose and opened the large oak door to reveal Miss Ella Lillison, the dead man's only child.

“Hello Mr. Patena, may I come in please,' she asked politely in her perfect Chinese. Patena acted as Ella’s Chinese instructor and worked with her tutor to provide as close to a formal education as possible for the girl. Mr. Patena glanced behind Ella, and up the street looking for her tutor her mother who attended her.

“I would like to speak with you privately sir,' the girl continued having noticed his eyes, her Chinese unwavering, and her word use particularly formal. Mr. Patena opened the door for her and looked her over with caring caution. If had he not known the news of her father he would have never suspected it by her actions. Ella entered and made her way swiftly to the library. Following her, Patena took his coffee and made a seat in his usual place for their lessons.

“I have heard of your father my dear. I am quite sorry,' he started in English

“That is why I am here sir, I would like your help if you can' She continued seeming oblivious to the attempt at language change.

“Perhaps in English today Ella' but she stopped him in an uncharacteristic manner for her.

“No, today more than ever Chinese will do best'. Mr. Patena looked over her face but there was nothing projected there, he motioned for her to continue.

“You have obviously heard of my father’s death so I will not explain more, the papers tell what the police believe quite plainly. I am here to ask you about your work sir.   I have never pried into your profession or how a New York police officer learned Chinese and I don’t ask now. Instead, I assume based on my time learning from you that there is no smarter man on this side the globe and that based on all I know, there is no better man to ask for help.' Ella was a bright girl and Mr. Patena knew this better than most. She finished her speech which she had undoubtedly practiced. Patena had begun to guess where it would end.

“Sir, my father did not kill himself and yet no matter how I say this or, how I protest I am unheard. My mother sits sobbing to Anastasia for hours on end, she will not stop to sleep let alone hear reason and Anastasia is much the same. The two have become such close friends and this has solidified it.' Ella’s tone had become hostile at the mention of her mother’s behavior and of that of her tutor Anastasia.

“The police wave me off on the count of me being a young girl, my uncle has been drunk since he arrived last month, and sir I suspect most strongly that it was George who was involved.' Ella’s tone became hushed as she mentioned George. Mr. George Martin was the business partner in her father’s publishing house. Patena had sat quietly listening to her speak, nodding as she expressed grievances and taking his own notes.

“And why is it you believe this?' Patena asked her.

“The night of his death, George and my father had been discussing the publishing house. The conversation was quite hostile. I had never heard either of them at such a volume. George left the house after that, the way he slammed the door shook this whole side of the street.' Ella was firm on this subject, making it quite clear that she believed this confirmed guilt.

“What time was this?'

“Half past ten at the latest, I was cleaning up from coffee with Anastasia and mother when he left. I don’t think they heard the yelling, I only did from the kitchen, not the lounge.' Mr. Patena took note of this as well before looking back to the child.

“Sir if this was about money, father would have killed himself eight times over. This was not the first struggle, nor was it the worst by any stretch. It simply doesn't fit, I knew him best of that whole house, he would not have left us for such a simple issue.' Ella became more upset as she spoke for the first time her voice wavering.

“You are very observant Miss Ella, and I do not doubt your assertion. I will accompany you back to your home if you wish. I only ask why you are so confident in my abilities.' Ella smiled wiping her face with her navy blue sleeve and relaxing.

“My English is just as good as my Chinese sir,' Ella nodded to the plack on the wall. It had been awarded to Mr. Patena by the city of New York for his help in solving the Miller case. Ivy Miller had been killed in a car crash, and Patena had proven that the crash had been staged by her fiancé. This was of course not common knowledge, the name of the investigator who had solved this case had been withheld at the time. It would have only been through her own research after having spent time in the library that Ella discovered this and knowing this Mr. Patena smiled to himself collecting his notebook.

“Very well,' he said standing and collecting himself.

“I should like to speak with your mother and Ms. Anastasia, perhaps offer some support, and find some answers.' Wrapping his green scarf around himself Mr. Patena and Ella returned four houses down to the Lillason’s home.

Ella opened her front door and stepped inside the quiet house letting Mr. Patena in behind her.

“Mother stayed in the lounge with Anastasia last night, I believe they are there now,' Ella said as she removed her black hat and gloves setting them on the table beside the door. Patena set his hat and scarf in the same place, and Ella started to lead the way into to the lounge.

“I will show myself if you’ll allow, perhaps you could join us in a moment with chamomile tea and something light to eat.' Ella understood and went in the way of the kitchen. Mr. Patena had been over for supper many a time and found his way to the lounge with ease, the door to which was closed. He knocked twice and tried the handle, which opened allowing his to step inside.

Directly across the room, on a large pale blue sofa couch sat Mrs. Jan Lillason. She wore a plain long black dress, and just as her daughter had described was a disheveled mess of a woman. Her hair was unkempt and hung in her puffy face, one could tell easily that this state had persisted for quite some time.

“My dear Jan I am so sorry to see you in this state,' Patena said soothingly to the woman as he entered. Mrs. Lillason straightened up at the sight of Patena, not expecting to see him on the other side of the door.

“Oh! Dear friend I’m not in a state for company,' she bumbled her voice hoarse, not making eye contact and not in her usual welcoming manner. It was Anastasia rather who eyed Patena,

“I can show you out sir, it is a rather trying day, you see.' Anastasia’s accent was minimal, and yet it was still identifiable as being Russian in nature. She had acted as Ella’s tutor for nearly 10 years and had become more a family member than heired staff. Anastasia too had acted as a language teacher to Ella, and after she became fluent in Russian by 10 she had asked to learn Chinese from Mr. Patena.

“I only wish to offer my company and condolences ma’am, if I am a burden I will be out of your way.' Mrs. Lillason was not one to turn away guests and that was something she stood by even now.

“No, please you were close with Marshall and all of us as well, it is only fitting.' She had seemed to pull herself together substantially more now for Mr. Patena had sat down.

“It is so sudden, I dare say I hardly believe it,' Patena said looking across from Anastasia to Mrs. Lillason and shaking his head as he did so.

“A complete shock to us for sure,' even with all the stress and rotten news Mrs. Lillason spoke and seemed to make herself more agitated again, shaking as she breathed. Anastasia reached out to touch her hand comfortingly.

“Take a breath Jan,' she whispered, and Mrs. Lillason jerked her hand away ever so slightly. There was another knock at the door, and Ella entered carefully balancing tea and muffins on a tray. She did not say anything as she set the tray on the coffee table and began to fix cups for everyone.

“If only someone had been awake that evening, perhaps there could have been something that was done,“ Patena said, Ella glanced at him through her eyelashes knowingly as she passed him his cup. There was no response to the statement, the other two women were fixated closely on the teapot. There was a long and uncomfortable silence as Ella finished the tea, and took her own seat.

“I do not wish to overstep any bounds, but is Mr. Martin still here by chance? I assume he has much work to do and I would like to offer my assistance.' Mrs. Lillason took a long sip of tea nodding slightly as she did so,

“Yes, yes he is up in his room or the office now doing just that,' she said upon swallowing. It became obvious then that not only had Mrs. Lillason no time for reason but also no time for food, drink or sleep as well.

“Ma’am I see now that you need rest, I will go where I am useful perhaps the tea will help you both rest easier,' he said rising with his cup.

“It is so nice to have seen your kind face, you have put me to ease more than the tea Mr. Patena,' she said. He smiled at Mrs. Lillason.

“Miss Ella, could you help me up the stairs, it is on the third floor I believe and those are a little steep for me now' he chuckled and patted his knee in a joking manner.   Ella nodded and left the room behind him.

She took his arm as they reached the staircase, knowing full well that Mr. Patena did not struggle with stairs of any kind. In Chinese, he gave his instructions.

“Make sure those cups are not washed and remember which belongs to your mother, which to Anastasia, and to yourself.' She nodded along as they ascended the stairs.

“Who else was in the house that night?'

“Aside from who I have mentioned, only my auntie Delia and uncle Arnold.'

“Where might they be now?'

“Delia has taken ill recently, the doctors are not sure with what but I would assume she’s in the garden room; and Arnold will still be asleep, in his room farthest to the left of Anastasia’s' Patena nodded to the girl and as they reached the second story hall which contained the doors to each person's room.

“Ella, when did you retire to bed that night?' he asked as she turned to leave, he was looking at Ella’s room which was closest to the stairs.

“After I finished cleaning up, a little before 11 I should think and I was asleep soon after that.'

“You heard nothing unusual?' she shook her head.

“After George left, things got pretty quiet, I only heard others getting ready for bed.' Patena took this into account before nodding for Ella to return downstairs.

Patena continued from the second story landing to the third story, where Mr. Lillason’s own private room -which was often lent to George- and where his study was located. The room immediately at the top of the stairs was a bit of a mess, papers had been tossed about and the general upkeep had been neglected for some time, indicating some level of distraction on either Mr. Lilliason or George’s part. George was not in this room but he could be seen through the open door at the end of the room, rummaging about the office on the other side, Patena proceeded towards him.

“George?' he asked trying not to startle the man who jumped regardless of the effort.

“Oh yes, hello Mr. Patena how can I help you,' he said stammering, his face was flushed and puffy.

“No, sir I am here to see how I may help you,' Patena said in a calm and comforting voice stepping towards George. As he did so George sunk down into the nearest armchair his head in his hands.

“I might have to toss myself out next,' George moaned as he tipped his head back Patena could see there was a glint of tears in his eyes. He kept his head tilted to the ceiling as he spoke.

“Without Marshall the whole of the problem is mine, and sir it is not a problem to be solved by one man alone.' Patena sat across from him and offered his open ears, which George took immediately.

“There are three loans coming up this next month, and four more the month after that. They all fall to me now, and with Marshall, we would have defaulted on more than one.' George was beside himself and Patena saw a chance

“Ella said you fought was it about these loans?'

“Yes, I tell myself it's not what did him in, but if I hadn't left.' Patena nodded as if he understood.

“You returned late I would guess, that is no fault of your own.' George shook his head slightly

“It is at least my fault he lay in the garden all night. I had assumed he was with Jan, her light was on when I got in, that poor woman.' Patena smiled slightly as if he had found what he needed.

“George, I do not believe your friend left you this trouble willingly.' George looked at Patena with an utterly perplexed expression.

“I think there are some interesting facts that need to be examined, for example how Mr. Lillason went unmissed the whole night.' George was looking at Patena shocked who was standing and starting to look around the room in greater detail.

“Are insinuating that I have something to do with it?' George said standing as well his voice on the edge of fury.

“On the contrary, I insinuate the opposite. You, my friend, have a strong motive to keep him very much alive.' George relaxed slightly watching Patena poke around the room further,

“Was it this window then?' Patena asked, taking a look at the garden below where evidence of impact could be seen.

“I assume so,' George stammered seeming to be a bit in shock with the new information provided and coming to Patena’s side.

“Look here, as though something was pushed over the frame. A deliberate action but not one of a man looking to die.'   George’s eyes widened as Patena moved back from the window looking around again.

“To have shoved a man from the window without a fight our killer would have needed him unconscious. These glasses, are they yours?' Patena asked going to the cups some of which still held whiskey about the desk.

“This one is, the others I don't know.' Patena took his nose to the glasses not identified, he took a handkerchief from his pocket and removed one placing it where it could be noticed easily.

“Do not touch this,' Patena said and went about the rest of the room with an equal amount of care as George stared at the cup as if waiting for it to walk away.

“If you did not believe before, I should hope you do now,' said Patena as he turned the brass umbrella stand by the door with his handkerchief to reveal a bloodied dent.

George slumped down into his same armchair again,

“Murdered? Good god and the police ruled suicide so easily. Do the others know? How did you know? Good god.' Patena took notes as George expressed his grievances.

“I know because Miss Ella suspected that you had done it, I am grateful she was wrong in that respect but unfortunately she was all too right in others.' He took a bag from the cluttered coat rack and placed the mysterious cup inside.

“As for the police, solving a suicide is much easier than a murder, much less paperwork. Do you have a cupboard, which only you can lock?' he asked picking up the brass stand gingerly by a loop with his handkerchief. George fumbled for some keys and unlocked a large armoire filled with ridiculous fur coats. Patena placed the umbrella stand between the coats and closed the door taking the key from George’s hand and locking it himself.

“I ask that you stay calm, and refrain from drawing added attention to this situation until after I have done so. We will lock this room for now, until we need its contents again.' Patena said seriously to George who in his own fit of excitement had become very serious.

“What else do I do? Should I go to the police?'

“Oh no, not yet we still have all day to catch your friends killer,' said Patena as they exited the study.

Patena took his time making his way to the second floor and knocked forcefully at the door which had been described as Arnold Lillison’s. There was a groan from behind the door and a shuffling sound as the inhabitants came to answer. Arnold opened the door a crack squinting as he peaked out of the dark room.

“What do you want' he grumbled rudely through the door. Patena responded back in his same kind manner trying his best to get a good look at the man.

“I wanted to speak with you, offer my condolences for your loss.' Arnold let out a snort at this,

“Sure, thank you for your thoughts, have a good day' and he went to close the door in Patena’s face.

“Might I join you for a drink perhaps?' Patena asked pushing back at the door, which swung open at this idea.

“If that's what you have in mind, fine.' The room was only lit by a lamp at the side of the bed, and Arnold did not make an attempt to change this. Patena took a seat and watched Arnold as he went to the desk and poured a glass.

“Is whiskey your drink of choice then?' Patena asked taking the other cup from Arnold and looking him over.

“It's a real man's drink' Patena rolled his eyes but Arnold did not notice as he sat to sip his own drink. Patena tossed back the watered down whiskey and stood.

“I’m afraid I hear Miss Ella calling,' Arnold did not protest and seemed to believe the blatant lie as he waved Patena on.

Once downstairs Patena made his way to the kitchen doing his best to avoid walking past the lounge where he could still hear Jan and Anastasia. Ella was in the kitchen bent over the counter making a note when he walked in.

“What have you found?' he asked in Chinese again and she jumped up to answer.

“I was making the labels for the teacups,' she said stepping aside to show where they still sat on the tray.

“I have some news for you as well,' Patena took out the cup he had brought down from upstairs.

“First, who in this house favors vodka?' he asked her, and Ella answered immediately.

“Oh, Anna no one else can stand it she's the only reason it’s in the house.' Patena nodded and continued.

“Good, unfortunately for your hypothesis George is no killer; but someone in this house is.' Ella’s expression was confused yet determined.

“There are some big questions that remain unanswered, chiefly why someone would kill your father.' Ella nodded her eyes on the vodka glass.

“We will handle that soon enough as well,' Patena finished.

The two of them stepped to the edge of the lounge where they could see Anastasia inside. Patena pulled Ella back out of earshot.

“Stay here with her, I will be down shortly' and he patted her arm before heading up the stairs. Ella went straight into the lounge smiling at Anastasia. Mrs. Lillason’s room was on the second floor at the end of the hall, directly under her husband's office. Patena knocked at the door and waited for a response.

“Come in,' it was Mrs. Lillason’s quiet voice and Patena entered the room gently. She was visibly surprised by his presence, but he pretended to take no notice.

“Ma’am I have some issues I need to address with you.' She sat up from her seat slightly wrapping her robe more tightly.

“You see, I think you heard something the other night.' The color drained from her face.

“George says you were up late that night, and I think there might be more to the story than has been shared' Mr. Patena finished.

“I don't know what you're insinuating,' she said.

“First, that your husband did not kill himself, and second that you know something about it even if you did not realize it before.' She was dumbfounded by the statement, and in an effort to respond she stuttered unable to make words.

“Someone beat Marshall before pushing him from the window, something you in your room may have heard or even saw.' She shook her head, eyes welling up slightly.

“I didn’t think anything of it until the next morning and then it was too late. When they said suicide I thought that a better answer' she said starting to sob again.

“What time was this? Please, it is very important,' Patena asked both sympathetic and forcefully.

“A little past midnight at the most,' she stuttered out.

“And were you alone?' again shock took form on her face.

“Yes, I was just up reading, everything was too tense to sleep.' she said quickly, Patena pressed harder

“Tense because of these loans?' Mrs. Lillason nodded cautiously refusing to actually respond.

“Then Ella, and Anastasia, can you say for sure they were in their rooms?' Jan straightened up.

“They were, the both of them.'

“How do you know for sure?' Even though her face was blotchy Patena could still see her flush red hot at his question.

“I know.'

“Your daughter I agree, but Ms. Anastasia I am not sure. She drinks gin correct?' She was becoming more and more agitated by the questions.

“I don't see why that matters,' Patena cut her off.

“Because there was a glass of half-drunk fresh vodka in your husband's office; and I wonder what brought her to his private study with a drink.' Mrs. Lillason jumped from her seat now in a full rage.

“What you are suggesting is ridiculous! I want you out of my house, now!' Mr. Patena rose slowly and went to the door before looking back.

“I will take my leave when I am satisfied the whole truth, not for you but for Ella and Marshall.'

On his way down the stairs, Patena could hear singing, coming from the back sunroom. He took a detour from his path to the lounge, to find Delia Lillason humming to herself in a rocking chair.

“Excuse me, ma’am, may I join you?' Patena asked, and she turned with a bright dizzy expression to smile at him. Patena took this as his invitation and he sat, he had never met Ella’s aunt and noticed the odd illness at once.

“Such a nice day,' she said still smiling at the blue sky and the ferns which grew around the garden boxes. The two sat like this for a long while, taking in the sunshine while Patena felt his way around speaking to her.

“Have you had a good stay here with your in-laws?' he asked her smiling at her.

“Oh yes, Ella is a dear and Marshall is so kind,' she said slowly stroking the knit fabric on her sleeve.

“Have you been sleeping well? No disturbances?' she looked up at Patena now, a very sure expression but still far off.

“My dear Arnold disturbs me, I like to sleep in the office away from him' she was not unkind with her words, but factual.

“I am so grateful to be here, they say the sun will do me good. Our room in New York had no sun' Delia continued still smiling.

Patena left her soon after and looking around downstairs for Anastasia but was forced to return to the second story and approach her room. He knocked twice on the door and waited. Inside there was shuffling before the door opened. She welcomed him inside but she was visibly cautious and kept her distance from Patena, who sat across from her.

“Ma’am I am not here to cause you trouble.' She looked at him crossly, disapproving of the statement.

“I do not believe you are to blame.' She scoffed at him and cut him off.

“No? Then why do you accuse me?' she did not sit but stood across from Patena eyeing him viciously.

“Can you tell me where you were that night, around midnight?'

“I was asleep,'

“And you heard nothing before?' She narrowed her eyes at him.


“Was Mrs. Lillason still awake when you went to sleep?' Patena asked maintaining his calm tone

“I do not know,' Patena smiled at her knowingly.

“How could you not, was her light on when you turned yours out?'   Patena pointed to the communication door which connected Anastasia's room and Mrs. Lillason’s. Anastasia went white as he did this, realizing her fault.

“Should I tell you what I think happened?' he said with force.

“You tell me if I am right, sit' she did so eyes locked on Patena as he began to speak.

“At some point during the afternoon or evening, you had a heated conversation with Mr. Lillason; I assume about something sensitive in nature. Perhaps he threatened you, or made you an offer you must refuse, but Mrs. Lillason heard this. She did not blame you, you were an innocent victim, she blamed her husband and that night after an argument of her own she beats him over the head with the umbrella stand and tosses him from the window. Maybe she's already told you all of this, or maybe you have pieced the rest together of your own.' As he spoke Anastasia broke down in sobs of her own for the first time.

“No sir, she didn't she couldn't' her accent had become thick and difficult to understand now.

“How can you be so sure Anastasia,' Patena demanded.

“I was with her,' she whispered.

“I heard the bang, what you say was the umbrella stand' she broke down further.

“She made me swear to not mention it, but sir she didn’t and neither did I.' Patena stood now and headed to the door.

“I have one more question to clarify, answer me if you can. Marshall, was not the one who took a lover, yes?' Anastasia said nothing, and Patena turned to look back at her. He raised a brow at her as they made eye contact and Anastasia nodded once before covering her face and sobbing. Patena left with this new and more confusing entanglement.

Patena went back out to the garden room where Delia still sat peacefully.

“Hello,' she said warmly to him.

“You are bothered,' she said looking at Patena’s face and she waved for him to sit beside her. Patena took a seat and was lost in thought once again, Delia interrupted him.

“Everything will be okay, even when things seem hopeless. That's where we were in New York when I took ill.' She was dazed still but was obviously experiencing her memory clearly.

“If Marshall hadn’t come for me, oh goodness I don't know where I would be.' Patena looked at her in confusion.

“Where was Arnold?' Patena said concerned for the sweet woman.

“Oh with his drinking, who knows. He showed up again one day, I’m thankful for that.' She was playing with a needlepoint in her lap now.

“Mrs. Delia, would you happen to know where Arnold was two nights ago?' He asked slowly hoping his words would get through.

“Oh yes, he woke me up around 11. He nearly crushed me when he flopped on that bed, so I went into the office, the alcohol smell makes me sick' she said poking at a flower on her cushion.

“I see, thank you for your help Delia,' Patena said patting her hand and getting up.

“You are so welcome dear,' she smiled ever warmly up at him.

Patena went into the lounge to find Ella, sitting at the window with a book nervously tapping her leg. When he entered the room she jumped up to greet him.

“I have a request,' he said in Chinese to her, and she nodded.

“If you could make something to eat for dinner please, set the dining room, and call everyone to dinner. I have one last thing to check, and then I will make a call.' Ella sat back down in a state of shock.

“It will all be settled soon my dear, and you can have your peace.' Ella nodded again stiffly, tears coming to her eyes.

“Thank you,' she said. He knelt down by the girl hugging her tightly while she collected herself.

“My father would be glad to know you’ve done this for us.'

As a least effort to confirm the killers, Patena took the labeled tea cups upstairs so as to compare them with the brass weapon. George sat stiffly by the door and jolted up when he saw Patena.

“No one's been up here,' he announced going to unlock the door for Patena.

“Thank you, please join me for a moment.' Patena went in and set up the tea glasses, dusting over them and finding a good thumbprint on each.

“The armoire please George,' Patena said having put on a pair of black fabric gloves from the coat rack and removing the dented brass stand. At the top of the stand, he reviled what looked to be a perfect set of ten prints.

“Here, we will unmask our killer' he whispered to the prints and took note of their shape while George watched on in confusion.

“Interesting' Patena squinted,

“Not unreasonable but interesting' Patena said to George who obviously did not understand despite him wanting to. Ella's voice came from the staircase below,

“Dinner is ready!' Patena set the murder weapon on the tray.

“You go on George, I will be making a call before I join you.'

A little more than ten minutes later, Mr. Patena entered the dining room carrying the tray with the teacups and brass stand. He took them to the end of the table which would have been Marshall’s seat and set the tray down.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Ella has asked me to catch a killer.' The table was tense, and it was obviously more than one person wanted to run from this topic.

“I have four possible killers, but only three suspects. First, it would not be wise for Ella to have asked me to investigate had she been the one to kill her father. Secondly, the full responsibility of the loans fall to George should Marshall die, which gives him no motive whatsoever. Third, although possible Mrs. Delia Lillason does not have the strength or drive to do such a thing. That leaves our most likely suspects.' The room had turned to the people Patena had left out of his list of innocents and had grown hostile.

“Such as the team effort of Mrs. Jan Lillason and Anastasia, who act as each other's alibis and both have the same strong motive. Marshall discovered your affair, and in an effort to keep secrets you killed him and staged a suicide.' Anastasia was on her feet at once screaming

“Lies! To suggest such things!' Jan reached for her arm and guided her back to her seat.

“We did not kill him,' Jan said somberly.

“No? Well yes, but this connection such as it is might have let you take the blame.' Patena now turned his attention to Arnold Lillason, who did not look at Patena or anyone else.

“Marshall bailed you out of prison this year did he not?' Patena asked. Arnold said nothing, only continued to sip his drink.

“Something the rest of the family was unaware of, perhaps even more unaware of is your money troubles and violent drunk behavior.' Arnold continued to sip on his drink, now with all eyes in the room trained on him in shock.

“You asked your brother for money or help like you had so many times. Only this time, he said no.' Arnold turned to look at Patena for the first time, locking eyes on the umbrella stand.

“He had troubles of his own, and sent you off, and you left for a bit. Only to wake in the night still intoxicated and filled with new fury. You stormed upstairs to confront your brother, and finding him in his office grabbed the first thing that would suit you, and proceeded to bash him over the head.' Patena was raising his voice now and motioning to the umbrella stand where the fingerprints where visible. Arnold grew noticeably fired up in his seat.

“You struggled to open the window in your drunken state, and shoved his body out onto the lawn.' Arnold sprang from his seat now and lunged at Patena, only to fall to the ground with a cry as police stormed into the room right on que. Delia who had been working quietly on her cushion had stabbed him in the shoulder with scissors, tears streaming down her face. Ella fell into her aunties lap and the two held each other while Arnold was taken away screaming profanity. Patena nodded to the Lillasons and Anastasia and followed the police out leaving them to now properly morn.

Mr. Patena sent word to Ella a week later, asking her to join him for lessons in deduction, interview, and investigation.



10 thoughts on “Story #5 – Delaney Reece

  1. nmfleming

    There is a lot of dialogue. I wish there were more breaks between dialogue. I didn’t really feel like I was reading a story but instead a conversation between two people.

  2. Lilia Lundquist

    The level of detail and dialogue reminds me of Stieg Larrsson, this is a very interesting read. I think it might have been dragged out a tad bit with the dialogue, but just condensing some information would fix that. I also liked how realistic the characters are portrayed, I think you have a nice flow here.

  3. Meghan Geary

    I really enjoyed this read! It was a bit long and I agree with others who said the dialogue could be condensed- certain portions of it with the glasses and such felt slightly repetitive. Overall it was very engaging and interesting to read!

  4. Tometria Jackson

    Kudos for attempting a murder/mystery. It’s a difficult genre, and usually requires a lot of characters. I was instantly captivated by the first paragraph, and was interested in where this story would go. Fictional writing is not easy, and like all of us, there is room for improvement. There was a lot of dialogue, but I would have liked more of a description of the characters and setting. I loved the ending when the police burst in right on cue– isn’t that how a murder/mystery is supposed to end?

  5. Benjamin Hayward

    Mystery solved. I like the use of your 3rd person view and subject tenses. With mystery writing you control how much information is released, when it is released, and by who. I enjoyed this. Mysteries aren’t something I go hunting for to read. reminded me of the Hardy Boys read growing up.

  6. Courtney Kisner

    I really like this genre, and think you did a good job. The tone was very Law and Order-esque (I love Law and Order). I think it could have benefited from a little bit less dialogue though. Good read!

  7. Brenden Couch

    Very good storytelling through dialogue. i enjoyed also the simpleness of the wording, but at the same time it is perfect for describing the story, makes it easy to follow. Very good

  8. Angela Rodriguez

    I really like this story! I am a fan of murder mysteries and am surprised that you were able to make one so well into a short story! I do find that some of the text could be cut out to shorten the story a bit, but overall I really loved reading this!

  9. Jess Young

    Mystery and suspense are very difficult to master, but I love this! Like others, I agree the dialogue was a bit tedious, it felt more like a script than a story. Overall, though I enjoyed reading this. You have a knack for this genre!

  10. Shana Waring

    This was the only short story to be controlled by dialogue and I thought that was a refreshing aspect. Although there was a lack of detail I would have really enjoyed seeing in some portions, I think it added to the mystery in the story. The only change I would like to see is a summary of thought somewhere in the middle in place of a bit of dialogue. It would leave the reader feeling more spoken to and keep them engaged rather than simply looking in on a conversation.


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