At the start of the month Stormi & I introduced you to the contestants in our Murder at the Reinhart Competition and we also introduced you to our mini-murder mystery. Now you’ve already seen Two full rounds and we’ve crowned 2 victors! Congratulations again to both Lynn & Colleen! And a huge thank you to all the authors that have played along so far: Lea Wait, Lynn Cahoon, Colleen Helme, and CC Dragon! The giveaways are still open, so don’t forget to enter them if you haven’t yet.
Now it’s time for round three, Laura Bradford vs. Katie Hayoz! If you missed their introductions, you can go back and meet Laura here or Katie here. Or if you need a refresher on this original story, go back and read part 1 and part 2 of the story. Today, Katie Hayoz will let her super sleuth, Sylvie, begin to solve the murder of Mr. Reinhart. Tomorrow, she’ll wrap it up and identify the murderer! You ready to see Sylvie’s take on events? Here we go…
Part 1 by Katie Hayoz
“Holy crap!” I said as I stepped into the bedroom, nearly slamming the door. “Mr. Reinhart is dead!”
Cassie stopped putting on her makeup and looked up at me in surprise. Her green eyes were wide and round, like her eyelids had been glued open.
“Wait,” she said. “You mean the old guy who brought us here? What happened, a heart attack?”
I shook my head, my hair slipping out from behind my ears. “Murdered. Shot in the chest with his own gun.”
Cassie lifted one eyebrow. “Wow. Wonder who… Seems like everyone hated him.”
“Understatement of the year.” I began to pace the room, the hem of the long skirt I’d put on to prepare for dinner catching on my combat boots. I wondered briefly if Mr. Reinhart’s death meant I could change back into jeans instead of playing dress up.
“There’s a snowstorm outside. The police can’t get here and no one can leave.” I stopped pacing and made a face. “So the body is still in the building. The staff moved Mr. Reinhart to the walk-in freezer.”
“Ugh. Guess I won’t eat the ice cream, then.”
“All the other sleuths have started investigating the murder. We need to get on it.”
Cassie let out a short laugh. “No,” she said. You need to get off it. Neither of us are sleuths, Sylvie, and you know it. We’re only here because of some screw-up. I don’t know who that invitation was meant for, but it wasn’t meant for you.”
When I’d shown Cassie the embossed invitation that had come in the mail, she’d stared at it a long time wondering why some famous rich dude would invite a sixteen-year-old loser to his murder mystery event. But she didn’t wonder long. I mean, this was the trip of a lifetime. When else do two high-school kids get to spend a week with a bunch of well-known detectives, in some millionaire’s mansion, all expenses paid? At the very least, it got us out of Wisconsin for a few days.
But there was more. I mumbled it under my breath, half-way hoping Cassie would ignore me.
“What?” she said.
“Fine!” I threw up my hands. “I just might have submitted my name to Mr. Reinhart when I heard he was searching for the best of the best. I just might have said my…uh…ability to astral project gave me an edge over everyone else. I just might have made it sound like I was a stellar sleuth.”
Cassie got up and stood directly in front of me. I felt small and insignificant to her taller, fuller frame. “What the hell, Sylvie? You know you can barely control it! How could you do that?”
“It got us here, didn’t it?” I tried to keep my voice low. “And I can control it.”
“You cannot be serious. Are you forgetting what happened with—”
I held out my hand to stop her from continuing. “Trust me. I’ve learned a lot since then.”
She stared me down, arms crossed in front of her chest. It didn’t look like she was going to budge, so I pulled out the big guns. I held up my index finger, the one with the scar that matched Cassie’s scar on her finger. “Come on. Blood sisters forever?”
Letting out a long sigh, she tilted her head back and blinked up at the ceiling, her auburn hair hanging down her back like a waterfall. When she looked back at me, her eyes were narrowed and her voice was like steel. She wrapped her finger around mine. “Blood sisters,” she said. “But I’m not happy with you.”
What else was new?
Just then someone knocked. One of the staff members bowed his head to me as I opened the door. “Dinner is served,” he said.
“Awesome!” I was looking forward to a dinner that was edible. I love my mom, but there’s a reason I’m so skinny. She always tries to keep it good and healthy, but mostly she just keeps it awful and indigestible.
“Tonight is grilled swordfish in a peppercorn marinade,” the man in the hall continued.
I felt my excitement deflate like a week-old balloon. According to Mom, swordfish is an excellent source of protein, niacin and B12. For a good two weeks, she’d tried every recipe known to man in order to get me and my brother to eat it. When we refused to continue to be her guinea pigs, she finally ordered some from the local green restaurant, so we could see that it was good if done right. It was, but the smell and taste of that fish still haunts my subconscious.
Cassie and I headed down the massive staircase to the dining room, where all the guests were discussing Mr. Reinhart’s murder. They seemed to already have some leads.
The food was good. Great, even. But the swordfish was flaky and fishy – not at all like the meaty stuff it’s supposed to be. “This isn’t swordfish,” I whispered to Cassie.
“So why say it is when it isn’t?”
Cassie shrugged, then discreetly pointed at one of the maids. “See her watch?” A gold watch with different colored stones on the face was peeking out from underneath the maid’s long-sleeved cotton blouse. “I noticed it when we arrived because it’s so cool,” Cassie continued. “But it was Mr. Reinhart who’d been wearing it then.”
Over the course of the dinner, we noticed many other strange things – the set designer smiling and laughing while kicking in part of his set, Reinhart’s personal assistant getting drunk and giddy, one of the actors wearing Reinhart’s suitcoat and affecting the man’s accent to the pleasure of the staff. Even some of the sleuths seemed happy about the death.
“It could be anyone,” I said to Cassie when we were back in our room.
“Yeah, but in order to find out anyone’s secrets, we’d have to be able to slip through walls and listen in while invisible.”
I grinned. “Time for me to go astral.”
Putting her head in her hands, Cassie groaned. “Be careful. I’ll stay here to guard over… your body. I can’t believe I’m even saying this.”
The bed was soft enough for me to sink into the mattress. I lay with my eyes closed, imagining my body as a tube of toothpaste and my soul the paste inside. Slowly, in my mind’s eye, I saw my soul being squeezed out of me, bit by bit, from my feet to my head. My limbs tingled like little ants were crawling all over them and a blade of pain shot to my head. Eventually, I heard a POP and all of a sudden I was hovering above a thin girl with brown hair and a determined look on her face. Me.
I was out of my body. It was time to do some detective work.
Woo-wee that’s quite the cliff hanger, huh? Be sure to come back tomorrow to see how Sylvie solves Mr. Reinhart’s murder! Now hurry on over to Books, Movies, Reviews. Oh My! To see how Laura Bradford’s sleuth starts solving the mystery. Tomorrow you’ll get to vote on who did it better!
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for Untethered that Katie has so generously offered. This is open Internationally. Good luck!
Go Sylvie!! Who’s version of Mr. Reinhart’s death are you buying most?