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"Murder on the Third Hole" by Hy Conrad

See-n-Solve #92 - October 2014

Orig. appeared Apr. 2000


Learn about Amy and Harry Silver

Crime Scene See-n-Solve

The rain began around tee-off time. Amy was ready to cancel the lesson, but Harry was all set to go and Keith, the club pro, said it would clear up in a few minutes. By the time they reached the second hole, it had stopped.

Harry was at a position in his career where he was expected to play golf with his bosses. He'd talked his daughter into joining him for the lessons, but Amy wasn't loving it. Every instruction Keith gave seemed to make her swing more erratic. And the third hole seemed dangerously close to a row of homes just off the fairway.

Amy teed off, hitting it just as Keith said, then watched the ball slice right and disappear. "We may have hit a house," said Keith. Amy was willing to lose a ball and start over, but etiquette seemed to demand otherwise. Keith led the way toward the backs of the expensive houses. Amy's heart sank as she saw a hole in one of the sliding glass doors.

Don't fret," Keith laughed as he crossed into the yard. "People here are used to broken windows." He knocked. When there was no answer, he pressed his nose against the glass. "I see the ball," he said. "We'll retrieve it and leave a note."

Keith reached in through the hole, unlocked the slider and stepped into what looked like a home office. He was across the room, reaching down, when something behind a Japanese screen caught his eye. "A body," he gasped. Harry followed him inside. "Don't touch anything." But it was already too late.

Keith identified the dead man as Norman Blandings, youngish, semi-retired and, except for the blood and the crushed skull, rather handsome. Harry telephoned headquarters, while Amy and Keith checked the house. In another ground floor office, they found Sara Blandings, the victim's wife, listening to a woman on a couch. "Oh, Keith, hello. I'm in the middle of a session." Sara was the most popular psychiatrist in the area, Amy learned. Sara seemed shocked and distraught by the news of her husband's death.

"Who else was in the house today?" Amy asked.

"Just me and Betty," Sara said, pointing to her patient. "And Wes Olsen. He dropped by to see Norman, right before Betty's session."

"No one else could have wandered in?"

Sara shook her head. "The house is always locked up. Living on a golf course, you can't be too careful."

"Why don't you call Wes Olsen?" Amy asked. "I'd like to see everyone in your husband's study, if that's all right."

Crime Scene See-n-Solve

Illustrations by Josh Neufeld