Friday, June 15, 2018

Murder, She Investigated

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words were: record, company, drug addict, reveal, country, mayor. 

They were submitted by:

So my Murder, She Wrote obsession had a little influence on this one, but hopefully no one out there actually has the gall to hate Jessica Fletcher. Old me goals.


Warren Atkinson, the mayor of Franklin, TN, was found unresponsive yesterday in the storage room of a local Nashville record label known for discovering new and upcoming country artists. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Nashville General. The police have yet to release a cause of death, but an anonymous informant revealed foul play is suspected.

Mayor Atkinson was a beloved member of his community according to local officials. The entire town is shocked by his passing and the questions surrounding his death. No one including his assistant or anyone in his family has any clue as to why he would have been in Nashville much less at NuTone Records.

We will update this story as it develops.

That's quite odd, Dani thought. She knew Warren. In fact, the two of them had spent some time together together Thursday evening, and he hadn't mentioned a thing about going into Nashville even while they lay tangled and sweaty in her sheets trying to figure out if they might have time for each other over that weekend.

Both of them were recently divorced and had met at a fundraising banquet for his campaign a few months ago. She was at that banquet to be seen only. She honestly didn't give two shits who was mayor of Franklin. But she had recently moved to Tennessee from Georgia and taken the steps to transfer her private investigator license and wanted as much visibility as possible to drum up some business. She'd been rather successful in her home town, but after her husband screwed her sister behind her back, living there and running into them by chance just didn't seem worth it-- moderately successful business or not. So here she was at 44 years old starting over.

The night they met hadn't promised anything more than hours of torture in a dress she hated, shoes that hurt, and a smile that was as fake as every orgasm she had with her ex. But then Warren stopped by her table and charmed the pants off her. Literally. They talked at the banquet until his campaign manager dug her claws into his arm and drug him away. Good thing Dani had already slid him a business card. He'd called her as soon as he'd gotten away while she was still in the tub soaking away the aches of being in stilettos all night and hadn't hesitated for even half a second when she asked if he'd like to join her. She met him at the door in a short silk robe that left very little to the imagination. They never made it to the bathtub. She smiled at the memory. He'd been amazing in bed in a way she never would have anticipated given his good ol' boy image in town.

Obviously that had all been a facade. Nobody that squeaky clean ended up dead in a seedy record company office without any of the people closest to him having a clue why he'd been there in the first place.

She felt a little sadness over his passing and would surely miss him, but they'd only been able to see each other a handful of times over the last several months due to his campaigning and otherwise busy schedule. They hadn't gotten particularly close so much as had a great deal of fun together in the privacy of her home in the late night hours. She would miss that, sure. But they hadn't even gone to dinner together in all these months. It wasn't that kind of relationship. She doubted if anyone investigating would even show up to ask her any questions. As far as she knew, no one had any idea the two of them spent time together.

But this did present a unique opportunity...

Perhaps if she could solve the thing before the police, she could make a name for herself and put struggling to make ends meet behind her. She put the paper aside and started making a list of who to talk to in both Franklin and Nashville. Maybe one of them would reveal some connection between the two and Warren that no one else was yet aware of.

She started out in the best spot for all the town gossip--the beauty shop downtown, of course. The owner, Gladys, had been a fixture in the town for decades apparently. From Dani's viewpoint, people only went to stay in the loop on town happenings since Gladys hadn't updated her style since sometime in the 70s. Feathered hair, the shag, the wedge, perms.... The woman been honing her craft for quite some time, but it left at least half the women in Franklin looking like time travelers from the disco era. So, it was with some sacrifice that Dani stepped in and asked Gladys to give her the works.

3 hours, a perm, and some red dye later she could have been a Barbara Streisand impersonator or maybe the red head on Dazed and Confused. All she needed were some bell bottoms and a neckerchief.

But she DID have some answers to go with her hideous hairdo. Answers she had to track down and verify for herself of course, it gave her a place to start which was better than nothing.

The ladies had all seemed to think drugs might play a part. No, they weren't calling Warren a drug addict, but he gave little signs of using. Too many car accidents, changes in moods, showing up late to meetings, falling asleep during them... None of this was obvious to someone like Dani who had never known what Warren was like before the divorce hit him hard. And maybe it was just hindsight from women who had only put things together later. It was easy to see the way the pieces fit when you already knew how the puzzle ended. Things you wrote off before as being the result of too little sleep or depression took on new meaning when the man in question was found beaten to death, according to the grapevine, in a back office in a place where he had no known business.

Now she had a place to start though--sifting through Warren's contacts and relationships through this new lens. She could figure the odd man out, the people who didn't fit so neatly into his otherwise clean, political, small town life. Either they'd lead her to an answer, or she'd be back to the drawing board, but she was not giving up. Warren's life deserved real closure instead of the whispered trash talk she head today, and she damn sure deserved the chance to make her business work in this town.


Here are the links to the rest of the submissions! Enjoy!

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

Southern Belle Charm

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

My Brand of Crazy


  1. That was awesome!!! I was hanging on every word!

  2. I am a mystery lover so where these words took you was perfect for my reading pleasure. And now I'm off to start re-watching all the old Murder She Wrote shows.

  3. Great story. I just recently watched the show "Nashville", the central character's (who happened to be be a country star and later a record label head)'s ex husband was the mayor. So of course I put those faces to your story ;-)

    I have no doubt your PI is going to solve this case!