Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Outline of Murder- Now available!

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Tired of the politics as well as the bureaucracy of his job, Lieutenant Brad Schrader is contemplating early retirement and pursuit of another career, that of a mystery writer. His endeavors prove useless when he’s called upon to investigate the murder of Melody Anselmo, a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. While searching for the killer, Brad becomes personally involved with the twin sister of the victim.

The story is based on Lieutenant Brad Schrader’s notes while working the case with his partner, Sergeant Detective Phil Barrecca. During the investigation, the pair discover something neither ever expected, something best left unsaid. They agree to let matters rest and not expose the killer even though they know the consequences of their actions could be disastrous.

To this date, the murder of Melody Anselmo is still on the books as a cold case in New York City.


It was the worst case of bad timing that I had ever seen. Everything seemed to be happening at once. The girl, carrying two mugs of coffee, entered, while at the other end of the room, with hat in hand, Phil came strolling in from the foyer.

"Lieutenant, I…" Barrecca's words died in his throat. His mouth dropped open as he stared at the girl. He made a feeble attempt to recover his shock, but failed.

I slowly rose to my feet, taking the whole situation in hand. "Melissa," I said, "this is Sergeant Barrecca. We work together."

"Sergeant," she nodded.

"Phil, this is Melissa Anselmo, Melody's sister."

"Miss Anselmo," he said, and managed to smile.

The moment was awkward and as the girl leaned over to set the mugs down, I gave Phil a high-sign not to say anything.

"Will one of you kindly tell me what is going on around here?" she asked while straightening up. "I'm sure you didn't come here to feed Mr. Tibbetts, Sergeant. Or did you?"

"Who's Mr. Tibbetts?" Barrecca said in complete bewilderment.

"Thank you, Sergeant," she said. "Thank you for your honesty." With unbridled contempt, she looked at me. "I believe he called you Lieutenant. Exactly what division are you in, Lieutenant?"


Her shock was genuine. I could tell by her lower lip; it trembled. Fear flashed into her eyes. "It's about Melody, isn't it?" Her voice cracked with emotion. "Something dreadful has happened to her."

There was no easy way of putting it. "She's dead, Melissa."

"Dead!" Unbelieving, she shook her head from side to side. "It was minor surgery…one doesn't die…"

"The surgery had nothing to do with her death," I said.

"How? How then!" She lashed out at me.

"Melody was murdered."

"Murdered," she gasped. "I…I don't believe you. Why? Why would anyone…?" She started to back away from me as if I were an escapee from a loony bin. "You're wrong," she cried, eyes frantically searching the room. She spotted the fancy white phone on the end table and headed directly toward it.

I followed.

"You're wrong. You'll see," she said, tears spilling down her cheeks. "There's been a mistake. I'm going to call the hospital right now. How could you make such a horrendous mistake?"

Time and time again, I had witnessed the same reaction. The truth was tearing at her guts while her mind was clinging to the hope that a mistake had been made.

I roughly pulled her hand away from the phone. "Stop it, Melissa," I said, "there's no mistake."

My words struck her like a blow.

"Oh, God," she groaned. Her knees buckled beneath her and I caught her about the waist, backing her into the couch.

"Phil, see if there's some brandy in that cabinet over there."

"Sure thing."

Phil managed to get some brandy into her and then we waited. With a terrible feeling of helplessness, we waited. We waited until she was all cried out.

"Is there someone you would like us to call?" I said.

She shook her head in answer.

Finally, through red, swollen eyes, she looked over at Phil and me sitting in the occasional chairs opposite her. "Who…" she sobbed, "who would do…such a thing?"

"We don't know," I said.

"You never knew my sister, did you? All—all this time you knew she was de—dead, and yet…and yet you led me to believe—" she stopped, fresh tears clouding her eyes.

I swallowed hard. "No, I never met her. I'm sorry, but I had good reason for not telling you sooner."

She glared at me. "What reason could you possibly have?"

I didn't answer. If she despised me, I couldn't blame her. For that matter, I wasn't too pleased with myself. "What you might think of me isn't important," I said. "The important thing is to catch the person responsible for Melody's death. You can be of great help to us by answering questions that concern your sister."

"I can't," she whispered, voice filled with despair. "I haven't seen her in over two years." With the handkerchief that I had given her earlier, she brushed at the wetness of her face. "There's something I have to know," she said, making a strong effort to pull herself together. "How did my sister…"

I drew in a sharp breath. "Suffocation. A bed pillow was used."

Even from where I was sitting, I could see the sudden quiver of chills that ran through her body. In an attempt to control the trembling, she folded her arms across her chest. "I knew it," she said, "even before you told me, I knew it."

Phil and I exchanged a puzzled glance.

"How?" I carefully asked. "How did you know?"

She vaguely looked over at Phil and me. "I don't think you would understand," she said.

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