A Stand-Alone Novel

ACCIDENTAL EYEWITNESS is Alice Zogg's second stand-alone mystery novel.
 

Kurt Nobel, known as “The Real Estate King,” invites a mixture of odd guests to his mansion on the Isle of Ease for a week of snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, and general fun in the sun. The occasion is to celebrate the millionaire’s recent marriage to his new young wife, singer Barbie.

But all is not pure pleasure and merriment on the tropical island. One person plans an intriguing way to commit murder, and may get away with it, if not for the fortuitous eyewitness, eight-year-old Evie Frederique.

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 Accidental Eyewitness is available in paperback, hardcover, and e-book format at
www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com 

Purchase Information

Publisher: Aventine Press (September, 2017)
Hardcover ISBN number:  978-1-59330-933-6
Paperback ISBN number:  978-1-59330-932-9
eBook Edition ISBN number: 978-1-45662-893-2

List Price – Hardcover US$27.50
List Price – Paperback US$14.95
eBook Price  – US$4.99
 

Excerpt from Chapter 14

Evie had finished showering and, clearly bored, stepped out onto the balcony off her room. She looked down to the pool area. Mr. and Mrs. Triest had left, but the lady in the gold metallic bikini was still there. Evie watched as she got out of the lounge chair, walked over to the pool’s edge, and lowered herself into the water at the deep end. Mommy had said her name was Mrs. Weller and that she and Mr. Weller occupied the guestroom next to theirs.

On the night before, when people were standing around at the garden party, she had heard someone say that Mrs. Weller used to be Uncle Kurt’s girlfriend. That must have been a long time ago, because Evie didn’t remember ever seeing the fancy lady. Later, during dinner and when Barbie sang, Evie kept glancing over to where Mrs. Weller sat, fascinated. Everything was interesting about her: the elegant blue dress that had made her light-blue eyes sparkle, and the way she’d worn her dark hair piled up high, and most of all, the teasing expression on her face, which was there even while she talked in her deep voice.

The balcony door to the Wellers’ room stood wide open. Evie was curious and peeked inside. Evie and her mom’s rooms were feminine, especially Evie’s, which was done in pastel colors, predominantly pink. The Wellers’ guestroom looked modern, devoid of color.

After a quick glance to the pool, making sure the lady was still swimming, Evie sneaked inside the Wellers’ domain. A black-and-white comforter covered the king-size bed. Its headboard and footboard were crafted from ebony, and so were the dresser and nightstands. On one wall hung abstract charcoal drawings, and the wall opposite the large dresser was taken up with a floor-to-ceiling mirrored closet.

Evie hardly registered the décor, she was so engrossed with the makeup case which stood on the dresser. The 12-color eyeshadow palette and brush inside the transparent case seemed to beckon, “Come, try me!” With a bad conscience, yet driven by temptation, she opened the case and then applied a light-blue color to her eyelids. The girl got carried away and tried out several different shades. After applying each, she stepped in front of the mirrored wardrobe closet, admiring her handiwork.

Brush in hand, she gave the purple eyeshadow a final touch in front of the mirror, when she heard footsteps in the hallway, getting closer and closer, then coming to a halt by the door. Oh no; I’m in trouble! Evie thought. Mrs. Weller is going to catch me. There was no time to run to the balcony, so she quickly hid inside the closet. She heard the door to the room being opened as she pulled the sliding mirrored door behind her, but did not manage to close it completely, leaving a four-inch gap.

Evie heard nightstand drawers being pulled open and shut again, as if Mrs. Weller was searching for something. To her surprise, she saw through the crack that the person in the room was not Mrs. Weller. The person found the object, which looked like a whistle, in the top drawer of the dresser. It was a rescue inhaler that people with severe asthma used, but Evie did not know that.

The intruder inserted a 1-millimeter drill bit into a pin chuck and then drilled a tiny hole into the inhaler’s canister. There was a hissing sound as the pressurized air and the medication escaped all at once. With the dirty job done, the culprit wiped the fingerprints off the inhaler and placed it back into the drawer. The entire deed took less than a minute.

Evie had no idea she was witnessing a murderer in action. All she could do was hope the person would hurry up and leave so that she could get out of her hiding place undetected. She also had a sudden urge to sneeze, and she gave all her attention to squeezing her nostrils shut in order to stifle the sound. When the coast was clear, Evie left the closet and returned the brush to the makeup case and then ran out the balcony door. Seconds later, she stood in front of her own bathroom mirror, washing the eye makeup off, just as she heard her mom return from the dive.

The would-be killer walked out to the hallway full of self-gratification. Yes, it had all worked as planned. There was no telling when and where Alexa would have her next asthma attack, but sooner or later it would happen and her precious inhaler would fail her and she would die. The counter on the rescue inhaler would still show almost full. Most likely, it would be assumed that the device had simply malfunctioned. If anyone noticed the tiny hole in the canister, and the authorities determined foul play, they could never prove who had done it.

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