COVER ART BY SEAMUS VAUGHAN
When I wanted a cover for this book, I thought who better than my artistic step-son Shea. His response was “I think I can whip something up, just give me a little time. Voila what you see above is the amazing cover you just happen to whip up. I believe he captured the true nature of the story I was trying to tell and gave it a groovy 60s feel.
ABOUT THE BOOK!
Laura and Gerry are at it again. Death finds them close to home when a tenant is found in the dumpster behind their apartment building. Laura is thrust into the “who killed Denny?” mystery while she does battle with a tenant and dodges a school janitor the life of a college student is never boring but she wishes it would be!
Dead Men Don’t Swing is a biting, funny, deliciously bawdy and fast-paced murder mystery in which “death by sexual misadventure and a wayward poisonous snake” (among other things) make for pure entertainment gold.”
A SNEAK PEAK AT DEAD MEN DON’T SWING
Gerry and I were lying back enjoying some post-coital bliss when we saw something strange fall into the dumpster with a loud thump.
Talk about your mood killers. I was thinking interrupted playtime involved a crying baby or a phone call from either set of parents. I shuddered to think what had transpired to get us out of bed in the middle of a week day afternoon. Like it or not we were about to find out.
Gerry and I made good time getting redressed and promised each other we would continue with our rendezvous later that evening when the dust settled.
We got out to the area were the dumpsters were. I stepped onto a milk crate and shone my flash light into the dark smelly receptacle. I felt like hurling but persevered. Right away I saw what the source of the commotion was as I looked at the prone form of one of our tenants.
We had moved from our four story low rise apartment in Scarborough to an upscale high rise of twelve floors in Don Mills. We were the building managers which was equivalent to apartment superintendents. Slightly higher pay scale as it was supposed to be ritzier than what our detective friend Jeff Gibbons called the “Domicile of death. This was with good reason as I had run across two dead bodies within six months of each other.
Gerry and I had just started dating when my status as a “corpse magnet” evolved and included the body of my ex-husband Lou down in Florida as road kill; it gave a whole new meaning to the phrase fancy running into you here!
So presently I am confronted by another corpse of someone I know. Needless to say my first order of business was to call 9-1-1 and deal with the deceased Mr. Howard. While waiting Gerry got up onto an adjacent milk crate to see what I had found. Right away he noticed something I had over looked.
“Why is there a bloody patch on his boxers where his junk should be?” Gerry was looking a tad green around the gills and I suggested he get down before he lost his lunch on the body “Please tell me you’re not gonna go in there looking for the guys package.”
“No Gerry I have no desire to go dumpster diving for that. I am leaving that to the professionals.”
I am presently enrolled at Seneca College in the CSI trainee course. As sick as it seems this would make a great evidence collection assignment, but it’s not my place as a student to meddle even if meddling happens to be my middle name.
Soon we heard the sirens approaching which included a CSI van, two cruisers and a very familiar looking unmarked Dodge Charger. Just as I suspected it was Det. Jeff Gibbons.
He approached us at the dumpster and shook our hands .
“Hey Gibbons are you not out of your area?” I was curious that he was in my part of town.
“Oh Yeah, I was going to mention that but I got busy. This is my new backyard. Scarborough just wasn’t the same without you and Gerry.”
“So how are Janice and the baby?”
“Fine but keeping me awake all night.”
Gibbons got down to business as the Crime scene team got to work as the uniformed cops did crowd control. Several curious onlookers were sent packing as the police did their jobs. I explained how I had come to find the victim in the dumpster in his current condition.
“You were in the dumpster?”
“Yes I was on garbage duty for the building but also doing some homework for an evidence collection assignment. I didn’t touch him but I did notice the blood on the sharp edge of the dumpster.”
I handed the flashlight to the detective and pointed out the high heeled appendage in the victim’s forehead.
“Whoa! Serious heels there.” Gibbons looked at the high heel between Denny’s eyes. Does this poor sap have a name?”
“Yes Dennis Allister Howard, Suite 1031.” I recited from memory.
Gibbons looked at me. “How did you do that?”
“Hello, manager here; I am paid to know who is where.”
Gerry spoke up. “She’s got the tenants list memorized, and whatLaura doesn’t know Stella Stadylmeyer does.”
Gibbons then instructed the CSI to bag and tag the victim as usual and to try and keep the high heeled shoe from falling out of Denny’s forehead. The lead of the team looked at Gibbons as if to say don’t tell me my job asshole.
The crime scene tech went to work on processing the body. As a student of this trade I just sat back and watched in amazement. This kind of work fascinates me.
“So Laura what’s your theory on this?” Gibbons always appreciated my take on things.
“Clearly he really must have pissed somebody off. Question is who, and why. Did he have any known enemies in the building?”
“Well I didn’t know him personally; you have to talk to Stella about that, she’s the one in-the -know.”
Gerry interrupted here. “What Laura is trying to say is that Stella is the resident busy body and habitual bitcher. I think my wife is jealous.”
I shot Jerry a dirty look. Personally I don’t like the woman and resented Gerry’s inference that I wanted to be anything like her. The woman was a heartless gossip and possessed no personal boundaries. It wouldn’t faze her in the least to get in our faces about things only she gave a damn about. The members of the tenants association were champing at the bit to vote her out at the next election. I heard these things when pretending to clean the washers in the laundry room.
He just smirked.
“Come on guys, play nice for a minute. What unit is Stella in?”
“1214 I believe.”
“So what’s the Social Club about?”
“Sarah Watkins is the president. Jerry and I don’t get involved.”
“Okay that’s great I have a lot of questions for these people.” Gibbons closed his notebook.
The crime scene techs were in the dumpster removing Denny’s body. In doing so, the shoe dislodged from his forehead. At the end of the shoe was a retractable blade.”
“Detective Gibbons, you need to see this!” The shoe had indeed fallen out of Denny’s forehead as much as the person doing the examining tried to keep things intact.
We all shuffled over to where the tech had Dennis laying on the gurney half out of the body bag. He was holding the killer shoe in his other hand. Sure enough there was a corkscrew type blade sticking out of the end. The tech pushed a button in the heel and the blade retracted.
“Holy shit!” I exclaimed, “That’s got to be the oddest thing I have ever seen.”
He gave that to the tech and told him to bag it and get it to the lab for prints. The techs had also found the remains of Dennys privates and bagged them as well even though no one thought they were part of the crime scene but still the poor guy had lost some vital equipment and it needed tending to.
“No kidding if we can get viable prints, it’s going to be a way to narrow down the killer.”
I was looking up and noticed another interesting sight. The balcony just above the dumpster was gaping open. I couldn’t name the tenant off hand but was willing to bet a tall skinny latte that our killer might live in the building. I pointed to Gibbons and Gerry and got them to look up.
“This is just too easy,” said the detective.
“I’ll check the tenants list.” I thought to myself damn not again, another murder on my watch.