A Sophie Marceau Mystery for Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes – 27 May 2016

This is my fourth installment of another Sophie Marceau mystery, but this time it is with Ronovan Writes and the Friday Fiction prompt. Basically Ronovan gives us a prescribed guideline to utilize in building a story. I enjoy this kind of storytelling and this time Ronovan gives us the freedom of including three of five objects within this weekly challenge. The objects are: Cheese, Ladder, Wart, Bottle, and Flower. I invite you to check for previous chapters in the links that follow this week’s story.


Sophie Checked her watch. Only forty-eight minutes had passed from the moment Casey Ritter layed a linebacker-style air-removing full body tackle onto the suspect in her back seat and the time it took them to travel to the precinct, but what she saw in front of her boggled her mind. She was sure every member of the press for fifty miles had broken every traffic statute ever created to beat a path here for this moment.

On any given day no more than a dozen uniformed officers would be on foot at the precinct and at least twice that number had been surged here in an effort to handle this throng. Tom laid on the horn, willing the crowd to part so they could get closer to the building, but energetic and story thirsty reporters only pushed forward harder in response to his effort.

Sophie saw a couple of cameramen with their arms wrapped around the rungs of utility crew ladders against a nearby pole, trying to get a better angle to document this event. The whole region had been engulfed in the Crimson Nights story for much too long and Sophie chided herself for not realizing this was going to be a huge, huge deal.

“Seriously?” Tom said as a reporter shoved his microphone up against his driver door glass as if he was going to be able to record a response to his shouted question.

“They are wild,” Sophie said, looking at the man huddled in the back seat. His eyes were wild as he looked at the circus outside. He rubbed his thumb across the inside of his middle finger repeatedly, like someone with a habit they could not break. She could tell there was something there he was attending to, but was sure there was nothing they had missed when they patted him down. He continued to make the action, however, giving her ample concern.

She tried to alter her position in the seat to get a better view, hoping to eliminate her concern before Tom finally put the car in park. The man increased his action, making it harder for her to see exactly what he was doing. The man suddenly stopped as a flurry of activity near the entrance drew everyone’s attention that way. Sophie was the only one not distracted and she got what she wanted when she kept her attention focused and realized the suspect was rubbing a large wart on the inside of his finger. With her deep psychological training she noted this reaction and reminded herself to keep it fresh for later.

By the time Sophie joined the rest of the crowd to look at what caused the distraction Captain Redmond and Mayor Benjamin Crawley were positioned on the first landing of the steps leading from the parking area to the front door. Tom had managed to inch his way to the parking spots facing the area and the uniformed officers were struggling to make a pocket for them. When the two detectives emerged from the car they received a hero’s welcome from the crowd of officers and citizens. At the same time they received a barrage of questions from everyone with a microphone or recorder.

Tom pulled the suspect from the car and handed him off to Sophie as he struggled to make a path through the crowd toward the steps. They were just beginning to climb up to where the Captain and mayor stood when a glass bottle from their right crashed into the suspect’s head, causing blood to spurt onto Sophie’s pants. Suddenly half a dozen officers had firearms in hand, with their posture changing dramatically.

“This is getting too far out of hand,” Sophie shouted to Tom.

“They are not helping,” Tom announced, nodding at his captain and mayor, standing expectantly while eyeing all the media.


Chapter 1                                                                        Chapter 2

Chapter 3




Resistance Truly is Futile – SPF -29 May 2016

Sunday Photo Fiction is another weekly photo prompt fiction exercise I try to join frequently. There is a collection of writers from the right side (in relation to us) of the Atlantic that deliver a different perspective and flavor to story telling here. Allistair Forbes is the host and if you are not familiar with his work you are missing something special.


When we started the resistance we knew we had to develop our own method of communicating, some way our enemies could not decipher. The world wide web was out, mainly because it was no longer present, part of the loss when the electromagnetic storms ravaged everything with a chip or transistor.

Luckily there was paint, gallons and gallons of paint. We designed the code in a way that it did not match with any known written cipher code. Then we began to use it in places that we knew the enemies would see it and try to paint over it. We wanted the code to only be effective for hours, sometimes 24, but others as few as 12, or even six. But it was enough, we knew to look often.

Our abilities confounded our adversaries and we beat them at every turn. Before six months passed we had nearly defeated them and driven them back to their own borders. Until they managed to lay a trap for our bravest and most daring painter who tried to send too many messages in too short a time. He was right, if he had succeeded the war would have ended. But now we have to find another way. Our enemy used him against us, making him signal us back with our own words.

The PIES! Of all the messages they could have chosen, that was the one that sent chills through out our ranks. It was as effective as one hundred bombs!



The 1% Strikes Again! – FF – 27 May 2016

The Friday Fictioneers photo prompt is live, come join the fun!

Photo prompt copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Are you sure this will work?” Millie whined. For eight days every word from her lips was like this. Drew knew being stranded on a deserted island was not the idyllic honeymoon he promised, but who could predict a boat consuming fire?

“It is our best hope. In my nautics course at university I studied these exact currents. From here they flow back to the mainland.”

“But what if the glass bottle finds rocks?” Mille asked. “We’ll die here!”

“Darling there is only a 1% chance the current will direct this toward rocks,” Drew assured her.


Caught – Sophie Marceau Mystery for Ronovan Writes Friday Fiction – 20 May 2016

This is my third turn with Ronovan Writes and the Friday Fiction prompt. Basically Ronovan gives us a one word clue to utilize in building a story. Perhaps I am taking the easy way out, but I decided to give my established character, Detective Sophie Marceau a new series within this weekly challenge. I invite you to check for previous chapters in the links that follow this week’s story. This chapter follows the theme of: Caught


Tom turned his head quickly to look at Sophie who never offered a compliment easily, especially to someone she barely knew. But here they were surveying the scene of a crime where a stockbroker was murdered outside the gates of a horse track and the unlikely had just happened before his eyes.

Sophie caught his gaze and quickly communicated through her crystal-like emerald eyes for him to cool it. He shook his head as if to clear his thoughts and saw her expression ease in response. Sophie had her eyes fixed now on the newcomer and gave Penelope Crenshaw, the medical examiner a quick nod to give her some time with the young woman. Penelope slid her arm through Tom’s to lead him away as Sophie began to speak to Casey Ritter, the new addition to Penelope’s team.

“What do you see unique about this?” Sophie asked. She listened as the early-twenties something young woman began to analyze her recent find. She was impressively methodical as she established parameters to isolate the type of material, weave, color family and more possible identifying qualities. The girl seemed not to be baffled at all about what she saw, even withdrawing a magnifying glass from a nearby satchel to squint at a particular oddity.

This is familiar,” she said looking up and toward nothing particular as she allowed her mind to sift through the memories to isolate why she recognized something on the scrap.

Sophie waited patiently, enjoying the process through the young woman and her meticulous nature.

“There!” Casey said pointing in the distance. Sophie spun one hundred eighty degrees to look down a long pathway toward the stables where the live stock was contained. Casey took off half-jogging down the lane with Sophie trailing behind a few seconds. Both were somewhat winded when they stopped a quarter of a mile later to see an array of racing team logos on banners over their horse’s stalls.

Casey’s face was screwed in thought as she looked between a trio of logos, trying to decipher what her trained brain had signaled about the scrap of cloth. Sophie was glad it was just them standing here, because Tom’s process was to pester you with questions that actually inhibited your thought process instead of moving it forward. She could see a similarity in Casey to her own processes. She watched the girl’s eyes, seeing her mentally eliminate on e of the three options. She could identify the change because Casey now gravitated only between two logos, a multi-lined graphic of a racing horse and another with a rose wreath around a black horse image.

Casey dropped her head, staring at the evidence bag which held the scrap of paper she had secured before and then she studied the logos again. Once, twice, three times she did this. Then her eys narrowed on the scrap before she quickly fixed on the first logo. Sophie could feel the hair on her arms bristle as Casey’s smile grew.

The young woman snapped her head toward the stall for Grumman’s Racing and made a bee-line for a group of men huddled nearby. As she approached the five employees looked at her questioningly and then when she had covered another ten feet of ground one of them broke free and took off in a sprint.

“Tom!” Sophie shouted as she gave chase. She could see the guy running, but felt like she had little hope of keeping pace. Just before he cleared a corner of the barn area to make a dash for the parking lot a blur from the left tackled him to the ground. When Sophie drew even she stifled a laugh as she watched Casey twist one of the man’s arms behind his back. With her other arm she pulled his jacket up to show a section that was torn just below the team logo. She allowed Sophie to help her hand cuff the fellow, stand him up and then she pulled the evidence bag from her pocket and compared the sample to his jacket.

“It’s a match!” Sophie said.


Chapter 1 – A Guest Appearance

Chapter 2- A First Time


Facing the Rock Thrower – FF – 20 May 2016

Friday Fictioneers is my excuse to tell a story, one of my favorite things to do. Rochelle hosts this weekly storytellers abode and welcomes all who love the craft.

Photo courtesy of J. Hardy Carroll



“It’s an unusual type of litmus test,” the university researcher replied after listening to the explanation of the Department of Records director about the purpose of this room.

The parallel row of benches with individual seats faced each other as if in expectation of something or someone.

“We have the divorce seekers sit opposite each other for eight hours. If they cannot resolve anything by then I let them file their papers.”

“Do you ever have any violence?”

“Mainly just shouting, arguing, name-calling. But once a wife threw her bag at her husband.”

“Any damage?”

“It was full of rocks.”





A First Time – FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt #26

This is Chapter Two of another Sophie Marceau mystery story and this time I am bringing Sophie to a new venue, the weekly writing challenge from Ronovan Writes. For those of you just joining the fun I will include links to previous chapters after the end of this week’s offering. If you love to write fiction join in the fun!

Several white haired men and women milled around their vehicles just outside the yellow police tape used to cordon off the crime scene fronting the gate at Farley Downs. Most of the bystanders had no interest whatsoever in the collection of police vehicles cluttering the area. Their concern was the approaching eleven o’clock opening for a full day of horse racing.

Tom and Sophie drove up to an area on the right, following the lead of a uniformed officer directing them around the mob of gamblers. The day was starting bright and sunny, promising to be another steamy one. Sunglasses in place, the duo slid out of the car seat and approached the scene where several officers and others moved around with purpose.

Tom smiled when he saw Penelope Crenshaw stand and wave them over. She was the department medical examiner and the one they always wanted to talk to so they could get a good lay of the land. Sophie noticed a younger female working beside Penelope and wondered if this was the wunderkind they had heard rumors of for so long. The young woman was very animated and chatty, even though they were still too far away to make out her words.

“Sophie, Tom, welcome to Farley Downs!” Penelope said holding her arms out with the palms up as if she was presenting them with a prize.

“I’d rather be getting that as the owner of a horse in the winner’s circle,” Tom said smiling. Sophie knew there was an unspoken attraction between these two and shook her head at the high school like tension.

“What’s the word Penny?” Sophie asked.

“Well, we have . . .” Penelope started before the young woman broke in.

“We have a forty-three year old male, Banner Todd, married, employed with Kenner Investments as a stock broker. No record of any entrance to the racetrack ever, you know they track that kind of stuff, especially when you work with money. It looks like the victim was attacked without warning as there are no defensive wounds on his hands arms or body,” the girl said pointing to each area as she spoke.

“The wounds are from a knife, very sharp and very potent. Multiple stab wounds at least two dozen, any of which would have been fatal. From all indications it looks like the work of the Crimson Nights murderer. Although I realize it is very early to speculate such.”

Tom and Sophie stood speechless for a moment, simply staring at the young woman who beamed with pride at her first time giving a summary of a victim in her new job. She looked up from the body when she realized no one was speaking, first at Sophie, and then Tom before turning to Penelope, who smiled and nodded approvingly.

“Detective Sophie Marceau and Tom Richardson, let me introduced my young protégé, Casey Ritter. She just started today with us. Casey just finished a PhD. in Forensic Anthropology at L.S.U.”, Penelope told them.

“How old are you?” Tom asked, which drew a sharp elbow from Sophie.

“Twenty-four,” Casey said as she stared intently at something on the victim’s collar. She knelt and leaned down to get a closer look at what had caught her attention. She fished an evidence bag from her back pocket and snagged the item with a pair of tweezers before dropping it in the bag.

“What is it?” Penelope asked.

“A small piece of fiber, maybe from the killer’s clothing,” Casey replied, another broad smile following the words.

“Good job!” Sophie said.


As promised here is the link to the first chapter of Sophie’s latest mystery. If you come back each week you will find the other chapters in the section as well. I look forward to hearing what you think about the story. Be sure to comment, I always visit the blogs of people who comment. Also, if you would like to read more Sophie Marceau stories you can follow the Sophie link.

Chapter 1                             Sophie Stories









The Air Force is on Line 3 – SPF – 5-15-16

156-05-may-15th-2016Each week Allistair Forbes tosses us a bone in the form of a photo prompt and allots us roughly two hundred words to make a story. I enjoy this type of challenge immensely and celebrate my second week back in the fold.

There was countless hours studying mathematics, calculating physics answers, statics classes to make sure the structures were sound, all in all over a quarter million dollars worth of investment in the mind of the engineer assigned to build the suspended tram system.

From an engineering standpoint the system was perfectly sound. Everything worked exactly as designed, transporting the happy skiers up and down the mountain as they desired. That was until the flash ice storm of April 1, 2016. Even a Magna Cum Laude mechanical engineer could not design a system to deal with a five inch coating of ice on every surface. The complicating factor was that it came during the peak usage time of the day, stranding many visitors to the slopes.

Several calls to the engineer found only his voicemail, which meant that the problem rolled back to the director of operations, Sammy Cale. Sammy was a sixty-two year old career Marine sergeant in his eighth winter on McIntosh Peak. His no-nonsense style was evident as he tried to direct his team to deal with this crisis. The weather forecast offered no hope as the temperature wasn’t expected to rise above freezing for another twenty hours.

“What kind of Marine experience can you bring to this train wreck?” his second in command asked.

“Looks like an Air Force problem to me,” Sammy grinned as he chomped down on his cigar.




No Ring For You! – FF – 05-13-16

Friday Fictioneers gives you two things: A photo and a budget of 100 words. If you have the guts you can take the two keys and build a beautiful tale. Thanks to Rochelle for the steady guiding hand.

copyright CEAYR


Callen was a rookie and rookies didn’t normally hit baseballs out into the bay. But Cindy McBride told him when he did he could propose. One game remained before a lengthy road trip. It was now or never. Callen watched intently, swung mightily and watched the sphere zoom toward a promise of wedded bliss.

“Who spooked that pelican?” he screamed as the ball caromed into the stands.

The crowd cheered his towering homerun, but he stood with mouth agape.  In the stands he could see Reginald Van Atter, Cindy McBride’s former lover smiling with glee.

“Three more weeks!” Callen growled.


Letters to Euturpe, 5-5-16 -The One That Got Away

Carlie held her breath, willing Braden to stop. To cut those mean and hateful words out of his mouth that seemed to spew uncontrolled in her direction. They were supposed to be the exception, the couple that weathered all storms, the perfect match. At least that is what Facebook told her every time she used one of those online match maker quizzes. She believed them, not necessarily due to their scientific nature, but because they agreed with what she felt in her heart.

Braden was the handsomest boy in school. He treated her like she thought a girl was supposed ot be treated, with respect and dignity, not like an attachment or possession. She squeezed her eyes shut wanting all this to be just a troubling dream, like the ones she faced on many nights in her fractured home. The endless shouting from one end of her home to the other as her parent’s marriage slowly and steadily crumbled infected her usually happy heart such that peaceful, sleep filled nights were now a strange phenomenon.

She could sense his words had stopped, so she cracked her eyelids a bit. But there was no one there. She looked in all directions, but Braden seemed to have been enveloped into the ether. Was their fight real or had she imagined it? She had to know, so she ran toward the cafeteria at the high school, frantically looking for him. She ignored a set of three friends that greeted her as she ran past, a wild look in her eyes. She had to find Braden, had to know if he had said those words.

Her answer came like a linebacker flattening a quarterback. When she entered the main hall to the upstairs foyer she found Braden in a lip lock with Caden Smart, a new transfer student from California. This surfer girl, with her long tan legs and sun-bleached hair had taken her Braden away.



Letters to Euturpe is a weekly blog invitational hosted by tuckedintoacorner. In this weekly event, you’ll be prompted to write poetry or a piece of flash fiction inspired by a song lyric (or in some cases the full song).