Please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com for information on guest blogs and interviews. Please join us between Thanksgiving and New Year's when our authors present original holiday short stories. We hope they will add to the season's festivities! 11/28 Annette Dashofy, 12/3 E. B. Davis, 12/8 KM Rockwood, 12/13 Korina Moss, 12/18 Tammy Euliano, 12/23 Warren Bull, 12/28 Paula Gail Benson Have a wonderful holiday! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Did You Hear the One about the Mystery Writers at a Conference? by K.M. Rockwood

Marie, Joyce, and Helen shared a room in the main hotel for an international mystery conference. They were booked into a big room on the sixtieth floor.

On Friday evening, they piled into their rental car to try out a famous restaurant across town.

When they got back, they discovered that the electricity had gone out and that the hotel was operating on emergency generators, which was not enough to power the elevators.

After a brief discussion, they decided that they were young and healthy, so they would climb the stairs to their room rather than wait for the power to come back on.

To distract themselves from the tedious climb, each would tell a story for twenty flights of stairs.

Marie was a cozy writer. She wove a comfortable tale of the murder of a local politician. Floresatina, the protagonist, owned a flower shop next to the courthouse. She clashed with the detective in charge of the case. After foolishly putting herself in danger, she uncovered the murderer, who gloatingly confessed as he prepared to kill her. Marie wrapped up all the hanging threads of the story and the detective came to appreciate Floresatina’s abilities, although he strongly cautioned her about the dangers of repeating such stunts. At the closing, the two of them had entered into a budding romantic relationship and the path was laid for further adventures. The climbing writers were relaxed and appreciative, barely noticing the passing floors.

Joyce, who wrote psychological thrillers, told of a serial murderer who stalked and kidnapped women in a small town, setting the entire populace on edge. No one knew who would be next, but it was pretty evident that the slaughter would continue until the killer was stopped. Accusations and mistrusts abounded, creating a great deal of animosity. By the time the murderer, a mild-mannered minister, was uncovered, several women had been killed, numerous families had been torn apart and the townspeople eyed one another with suspicion. As the writers climbed, they were looking over their shoulders, ears alert for echoing footsteps, and approaching each floor’s fire door with trepidation.

Helen’s legal novels featured Clinton Travers, a complex character with a multi-faceted life. The plots were multi-leveled with layers of blackmail, jealousy and financial shenanigans. Several believable suspects for the murder were presented, including the one who ultimately hired Clinton to defend him/herself. The stories culminated in a courtroom scene where a clever legal twist employed by Clinton allowed justice to prevail, often with the guilty party blurting out a confession. In the grand tradition of Perry Mason, Helen’s stories often revolved around a tragic occurrence depicted in the opening paragraphs.

When they reached the fortieth floor and it was Helen’s turn, she paused on the landing and faced her fellow authors. “I’ll begin with a disastrous confession,” she said. “I left the key card to the room down in the car.”

16 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

I guess wrong. I expected them to discover on the sixtieth floor they had had a bit too much to drink and went back to the wrong hotel.

Kait said...

Hilarious, and oh so believable!

Molly MacRae said...

Nice illustration of mystery genres with a fun twist ending. Thanks for the first laugh of the day, K.M.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Hilarious! and believable.

E. B. Davis said...

Maria grabbed poisonous flowers from her handbag and thrust them into Helen's face. Joyce revealed a side of her personality she used to create serial killers when a knife appeared in her hand, which she pressed against Helen's neck. Helen's own legal loopholes wrapped around her neck,too. Helen should have stalled and found a maid with a master key before revealing her folly. Perhaps she could convince them to revise the scene and escape with only embarrassment.

J.C. Kenney said...

Loved it! Made me laugh out loud.

Susan said...

I am still laughing out loud!

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks, everybody. It was fun to write!

Great enhancements, E.B.

Kaye George said...

Love it! Poor Helen. I really feel for her, because I know I could BE her. Except for making it up 40 fights to begin with.

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Great story! Thanks, KM!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Enjoyed your story, Kathleen. Thanks for sharing it.

Mary Garrett said...

Nooooo! Ultimate test of friendship. Thanks for a fun story!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Hilarious! I could see it happening (except making it up the stairs)

Eve said...

Terrific. I enjoyed it.

marlinort said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
marlinort said...

So funny! I didn't see the twist at the end coming.