Dead Men Tell Tales by Maggie Toussaint
In this third installment of the Lindsey & Ike romantic mystery novella series, things don’t add up after a suspicious hunting accident. The more Sheriff Ike Harper and newspaper editor Lindsey McKay dig, the more questions they find. Will a dead man tell tales?
After Ike left for the call-out, I thought how my role had shifted. Before, I’d chased cops to a scene to get the story for the paper. Now I lived with a cop and had more information than I could print. Best of all, I chose to stay home with Trent when these afterhours calls occurred.
From the incident details I overheard, one man accidentally shot the other in the swamp when he heard a noise. I didn’t know the name of the shooter yet, but Dispatch mentioned he seemed broken up about the tragedy.
The victim, John Starling, tended bar at Fiddler’s at the north end of the county. I’d met him once when he came into the office to buy a newspaper, not long after he moved here this spring.
Time flew as Trent and I played cards, bathed, and got ready for bed. Ike returned in time to tuck his son in for the night. “Was it bad?” I asked when we were cozied up on the sunporch sofa.
He drew me into his arms. “Seemed straightforward. Both men were hog hunting in the swamp. Neither was aware of the other. Sonny Mowrey shot the bartender, thinking he was a hog. Mowrey was so upset he could barely hold it together to give his statement.”
“I’ve shot a gun before, at targets mind you, but I’ve never shot a person, and I hope it never came to that. I’d be a wreck too.”
“Seemed cut and dried to me. Accident all the way.”
An accident. Many people today thought “accident” meant no one was responsible. Surely that wasn’t the case for a human life. “Will Mowrey face charges for killing someone?”
“He’s being fingerprinted right now, something he isn’t happy about.”
“Why? He said he shot the guy.”
“Learned this lesson a long time ago. Tie up loose ends or they’ll bite you in the butt. Whatever happened out there, I’ll get to the bottom of it.”
“I want to see the police report tomorrow.”
He nuzzled my neck. “I expected no less, Madame of the News.”
I swatted him playfully, enjoying his attention. “You make me sound like something dirty.”
“You make me think wild thoughts.” His hands drifted lower. “How about we take ourselves up to our bedroom and let the world take care of itself?”
“Sounds good, but I have one more question.”
Ike groaned. “What is it?”
“Where was the bullet hole?”
“Straight through the heart. Two kill shots.”
Swamp hogs came in all sizes and were ferocious. You did not want to be charged by one, so you made sure you aimed at the right spot. “A person is taller than a hog.”
“Shouldn’t Mr. Mowrey have aimed lower if he was hog hunting?”