Editor's Column

"Expect more courthouse mysteriesIsland County Sheriff Mike Hawley did a fine job of writing his first murder mystery. The novel, called Double Bluff, is a real page turner, bringing into play crooked heterosexual cops, crazed lesbian cops and a Colombian drug dealing banker. We can hardly wait for his next book, which insiders say will be titled either Smuggler's Cove, Mutiny Bay, or Ken's Korner Shopping Plaza.Word out of Coupeville is that Island County's other elected department heads are jealous of Hawley's success, and several are working on their own murder mysteries which they hope to get published. Purloined samples somehow ended up on South Whidbey, and we present them here as a public service.It was just another day for this highly regarded community leader, dressed in blue jeans, a knit shirt and the necktie he had purchased during his run for office. But that all changed when he twisted the knob and the old courthouse door creaked open, revealing the tell-tale wingtips of the chief civil deputy, a lesbian who aspired to higher office. But it was obvious her career had peaked -- the rest of her body was buried under a ton of legal briefs, delivered early that morning by someone with more than procedure on his mind. The weight of the papers had crushed her chest, but before she died she scratched out the name of the suspect on the cheap courthouse carpet: The four letters spelled out W-E-A-N. And then he knew. The Whidbey Environmental Action Network had filed its latest Growth Management Act appeal, and the weight of it was too much for the civil deputy to bear. Who's next? he thought, knowing full well that in Island County, there was nowhere to hide from WEAN .From, The Acronym Murders, by Island County Commissioner Mike Shelton.Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! The shots reverberated throughout the neighborhood. She dropped the clothes she was hanging on the line and ran, scantily clad, to her neighbor's house. She had loved old Gus like a father, but she feared the worst when she opened the door to his house, once featured in the Republican Women's Home Tour. The Republican Women wouldn't like this a bit, she thought aloud, as she examined Gus' body, slumped over the property tax statement he had been complaining about so vociferously in recent days. The bullets made four, neat holes in Gus' back, but there was no sign of the killer. She looked up, and in the distance saw a white car speeding away. Was that an Island County logo on the door? She couldn't be sure, but she had her suspicions. Somebody, she thought, couldn't take it any more. From, Dead Market Value, by Island County Assessor Tom Baenen.Returning from lunch, she was happy as she always was after spending an hour sharing a tuna sandwich with her pride of neutered males at the Island County Animal Shelter. That happiness, however, was quickly wiped away by the scene in her office: Four dead co-workers, all horribly slashed, claw marks as prevalent as the tax statements that littered the floor. The office cat, she noticed, was gone. Had it been a mistake to break county policy and take in this cute refugee from the Carson and Barnes Circus that sped through Oak Harbor only a month ago? It was a gentle Bengal tiger, or so she had thought . . .From, The Cat Stops Here, by Island County Treasurer Maxine Sauter.There's more, but space precludes printing additional mystery excerpts from aspiring courthouse authors. We'll just have to wait until the books are published. "

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