Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Writing Wednesday- Rubato, Chapter 2

 “So which one of you is the student?” Stevie said lightly, noticing the nervous expressions on both faces.
   “I am.” said Jon. “Is Mrs. White dead?”

 Introducing Stephanie Dangerfield and Reggie Watts
fictional detectives from Seattle Metro Police Department.

Read chapter one here.....

                                                     Chapter 2

"I carry a deep sadness of the heart which must now and then break out in sound,”
Franz Liszt

Why couldn’t her student learn to read music?  His excellent ear will certainly fail him when he plays Chopin.

Stevie pushed back her irritation. She hated ferries and having a suspicious death on an island was annoying. She glanced at her phone and noted the time was almost 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon. At least the worst ferry traffic was avoided. 
     Google maps announced that her destination was on the right. Several cars were parked on the non-existent shoulder. A policeman stopped her from driving down the steep hill to the crime scene. 
    “Sorry, ma’m. We can’t let you come this way.”
Stevie flashed her badge at him and muttered that she was going forward. 
    “I apologize, ma’m, but the road is very narrow below and there are already too many cars. Please park along the side and I’ll accompany you down to the house.”
   As she walked toward the house she caught a glimpse of Reggie Watts, her partner walking through the house. How did he make it over here before she did?
    Stepping over the entrance her eyes took in the view of the waterfront home. She noticed the modern art on the walls and wondered how the furniture could meld into the colors of the artwork so perfectly.
    “The victim is upstairs.”
     She heard Reggie talking to the medical examiner about what time of death. 
     “I’ll just walk around the residence first.” Stevie said to the sergeant. “Who found the body?”
     “The victim was a piano teacher, ma’m. Her student and his mother found her dead when they arrived for lessons.”
      “Are they still here?”
       “Yes, they are waiting in the kitchen wondering when they can go home.”
     “Okay, I’ll talk to them.”
     Before going into the open, light filled kitchen, she walked through the living room. A grand piano was visible beyond in what she guessed was the music studio. A flash of memory caught her off guard. How many times had she come to a piano lesson? And how many teachers had pushed her towards a career as a pianist?
    She gently touched the keys and listened for the rich bass notes. If she could sit and play for a few minutes it would calm her nerves. By the side of the piano a fancy cupboard with many thin drawers caught her eye. She pulled on the middle drawer to see sheet music neatly tucked into place. Behind the cupboard rows of piano scores stood at attention on several shelves. Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, Scarlatti, and other composer’s work were shelved neatly in a row. She recognized them all. A black wooden metronome stood on the edge of the piano, next to the music stand. The lid was off indicating that someone had used it recently. She remembered the piano student in the kitchen.

    “So which one of you is the student?” Stevie said lightly, noticing the nervous expressions on both faces.
   “I am.” said Jon. “Is Mrs. White dead?”
    “Yes. This must be very difficult for both of you. Could I ask you a few questions?”
    Jon and his mother nodded their heads in unison. 
    “Do you have lessons every Wednesday? “
    “Yes, I come at 11:00.”
    “And I come with him every week.” Said Jon’s mother. “What has happened to Judith?”
    “We are not sure yet. Did you notice anything strange when you came to lessons today?”
     “Her car was here. We waited twenty minutes before we got alarmed.”
“Do you always come right in, unannounced?”
“That is what Judith tells us to do. Sometimes she is with a student but mostly she is in the house somewhere and she comes to greet us. She likes me to warm up without her.” Jon said defensively. 
“How long have you been taking lessons, Jon?”
“Six years. But only one year from Mrs. White.”
“Is Mr. White ever here when you come to lessons?”
“We haven’t seen him, ever. She says that he travels a lot. He is from Prague. Judith often shows us old music scores she brought from there.”
“Is there anyone else around when you come to lessons?”
“Just the student before. A Mr. Chavez, her adult student. He is older and lives on the island.” Said Jon’s mother.
“Was he here today when you came today?”
“No one was here.”
“Okay, my partner Reggie Watts will likely have a few more questions for you. But, you should be able to go home soon.”
“Are we in any danger, Dectective?”
“I shouldn’t think so. Thank-you for waiting and being so forthcoming.”

   Stevie left the kitchen and  walked up the deeply carpeted stairs. The bedroom was to the right. Judith White’s body was still on the bed. The medical examiner was putting away his bag. Reggie was writing in his notebook with a puzzled look on his face. 
  “Time of death estimate?”
  “Between midnight and 6:00am.”
   Stevie picked up Judith’s hands and admired her long fingers. There was no visible sign of trauma. No blood on the sheets. 
      She looked at Reggie and asked, “Drug overdose?”
   Reggie rubbed his head. “He’ll get us a tox screen soon. We are taking fingerprints and looking for drugs in her bathroom. There is nothing to see, yet.”
   “Any info on the whereabouts of her husband?”
“What husband?” Reggie asked. “How did you hear about a husband?”
  “The student downstairs said she talked about a Czech husband. They never actually met him.”   
  “Okay, Stevie, you follow up on that and get a list of piano students. She is sure to have a roster laying around in the office. Anyone find a computer?”   
   “I’ll check. Let me go talk to some neighbors.”
Stevie walked back down the stairs and into the music room. She opened the desk drawers to check for a student roster. Bills were neatly stacked inside the drawers. Stevie picked up a bank statement. Judith’s name was the only name on the account. The total amount deposited for August was $10,943. That seemed a large income for a piano teacher. She noticed a cell phone, haphazardly dropped under the desk. Wouldn’t you know that it was password protected? What would a pianist use for a password. Hmm…..forte? Crescendo? Legato? Rubato? The phone came to life under her hand.





  1. Gabriele, this is really good! I can't wait until Wed. Keep on writing. You definitely have a flair for it.

    1. Shari, that means a great deal to me. Thank-you.

  2. Wow, I'm impressed that you're taking on this challenge, and your story definitely has me wanting to know what will happen next!

  3. Finally got a chance to start your novel. Already hooked. Keep on writing!


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