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Graves in the Garden: A Savannah Hartman Mystery

By Lisa All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Mystery

Introductions, Anyone?

I didn’t want to believe that Shawn Greenley was a murderer. The fact was that anyone could have done it. Anyone could have killed her. Anyone could have killed Alena Johnson.

The sheriff’s department has arrested Shawn for her murder, but if they knew about her estranged husband, Gabriel, they’d probably change their minds. Don’t get me wrong. They will find out about him. I mean, after all, I did. I just hope I can find him before they do. Shawn’s sister, Jessica (one of my best friends) is desperate to clear her brother.

This is where I come in. My name is Savannah Hartman. I’m not a police officer. I’m not a bounty hunter. I’m a private detective, although I’m not really a very good one. I think the terminology nowadays is private investigator? Hell, I don’t know.

Personally I think private detective just sounds better. It has a certain ring to it. It has a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will. The term detective kind of reminds me of those old cheesy movies where you would expect lame lines from all the characters. There’s always some sex starved man trying to do the investigating, making you wonder if he’s really working the case or just working on the damsel in distress.

I’d like to say I’m good at my job, but if I did, that would prove just how full of shit I really am. The term “detective” makes me sound so much more professional than the real story. The truth is that I’m just really lucky. Right place/right time kind of moments are the story of my life.

One of my employees is a man named Keith Whitman, even though I prefer to call him “Jackass” most of the time. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not really a complete asshole. He just likes to play one on the TV in his head. In the real world, he’s a pretty nice guy, for a jackass.

Keith is a computer guru. He can hack into anything, anytime, anywhere. He writes software programs, designs websites, and even changes the light bulbs when needed. I swear that man could program a dishwasher to walk a dog if he put his mind to it. Keith’s girlfriend, Claudia Holbrook, is my office manager.

When I got to the office on that fateful Tuesday morning, Keith was sitting at the computer, typing away as usual. His fingers hit the keys so fast and rough that for a moment I thought they would break free from the keyboard and fly across the room, lodging into the wall or with my luck, my forehead.

“You’re early”, said Keith, “Coffee’s ready”. I nodded and headed for the coffee pot on the other side of the room. Keith always made coffee that would knock off the testicles of any bull in any china shop. Most of the time I’d go down the street to Babe’s Coffee Shop, but today, Keith’s coffee would suffice.

“Coffee’s just the way I like it: strong, but with a little cream and sugar”, I said.

“Donut?” asked Keith. His arm was lightly outstretched with the donut box in his hand.

“Don’t mind if I do”, I said, reaching for a bear claw. That was the last pleasant moment of the day, at least, that I can remember. The rest of the day pretty much just went to hell from there.

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