The Dead Heiress

Prompt: An heiress is found dead in a shopping mall. Beside the body is a bikini and a puddle of vinegar. Can you explain what happened?

Detective Sarah Michaels looked over the crime scene and heaved a sigh. This one was going to be a nightmare. Celebrity deaths always were, and this one was weird enough to have the tabloids frothing at the mouth.

Millicent Davis-Miller, heiress to the Miller Baking Soda fortune, all sixty-five years plus, plump five foot nothing of her, was lying, dead, in the changing room of a sports store on the ground floor of the largest shopping mall in the city. Her son was on his way, no doubt with his own son in tow. Graeme was the second in line to inherit and a newly-minted lawyer who’d never had to resort to ramen to get through the last week of the month at university.

Sarah stood to one side as the police photographer moved back and forward, capturing all the angles and elements of the scene.

The bikini wasn’t entirely out of place, it was a sports store after all, although, glancing back at the swimwear section, it did seem to be entirely composed of sensible one-pieces, suitable for laps in the local gym, or sports club pool.

And then there was the sizing. There was no way that collection of fabric scraps would have come close to covering the abundance that was Mrs Davis-Miller’s figure. What she lacked in height, she’d more than made up for in curves.

Then there was the puddle. The techs informed her it was vinegar. She hoped they were right and didn’t ask how they’d worked it out.

There was a commotion at the front of the store, Sarah turned. And there they were: Gregory and Graeme, father and son, tall, slim and polished to the point where all character had departed. She nodded to the attending officers. They may as well be allowed through – who knew, they might even have some information.

The pair of them strode toward her. As they approached, she took a step back and held the changing room curtain aside.

They both stopped, paled, and Gregory pinched his lips together, hard. Unusually emotional for him, nice to know he did care after all.

Graeme swallowed, then turned to scan the shop, jerking a little as he caught sight of the shop’s employees, huddled behind the payment counter, whispering to each other and watching with wide eyes.

Sarah muttered to him. “What is it?”

Graeme focused on her. “I’m sorry?”

“You’ve just seen something unexpected. What is it?”

Gregory snorted. “You mean other than his grandmothers body?”

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