Taryn Maguire was good at hitting the shot called a stinger, good enough to get on the PGA Tour.
Taryn was called “Stinger.” He was a top golfer and known as a humanitarian.
He was brutally murdered after returning to his hometown, Willowtree, Arizona, for a charity event.
Bruce DelReno, a retired postman and golf enthusiast, found the body and becomes emotionally involved in the murder investigation.
With his friends, including Ben Samuel, his Apache sidekick, he uncovers secrets long held by people in Willowtree.
When Stinger’s own secret is discovered it becomes a bigger story than his death.
Fans of “Willowtree,” the first Bruce DelReno Mystery, will find more of Bruce’s unique relationships with friends, the police, witnesses, and suspects.
And, of course, more of his dry humor, and love of his wife, dog, food, and golf.
Targeted Age Group:: YA/Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The second of my Bruce DelReno Series, this book continues the adventures of a senor sleuth and his friends. Aside from the mystery and its resolution, this story deals with a major concern of our society, heightened in recent sports news. That underlying theme is a simple commentary on our society. To name it here would be a spoiler.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
A few characters were loosely based on people I know. Some came from left field and I got to know them.
The sight of the bloody, battered muscular body was horrible for anyone, but a nightmare for any golfer. I was a golfer, in fact the golf coach at Willowtree High School. I came upon this horror in the locker room after arriving early to check equipment and go over notes before an early Saturday morning practice. We were diligently preparing for our first match of the season, and my first as the coach. If you didn’t win the first match, you wouldn’t win them all, which was our goal. Thank the stars I was there before any of my team arrived. I knew who this red-headed person was, and to all of the kids his celebrity was well known.
I was quite shaken, this being without a doubt the worst thing I had ever encountered. I had unfortunately seen other murder victims, but this discovery was more horrible than I could imagine. I don’t know how long I stood there in shock, not wanting to look at the body, but knowing I had to determine if he was still alive. He was not, my fingers found no pulse in his cold neck.
I locked the locker room, both doors, and went quickly into the coach’s office, closing that door behind me. After punching nine-one-one and giving the dispatcher the basic details, I called the Willowtree police chief, Pete Holton, on his cell. I gave him the same summary and added that I knew who the victim is.
“It’s Stinger Maguire.”
Golf team members would soon be arriving for practice. I wanted to let them know before they left their homes that practice was canceled. We, the high school athletic department, had begun a texting system to get information quickly to all members of a team. The coach would usually make a phone call to a certain member, usually the captain, explaining the situation. He would then get the chain texting going. I found it hard to believe that every single player on my team had some device like an i-Phone actually turned on and ready to receive messages twenty-four hours a day. I was getting pretty good at carrying my own cell phone, keeping it charged and turned on, but I had only texted one time, to see how it worked. The system came in handy if a last minute event, like rain or illness made it necessary to change the practice time or place. It was necessary to cancel this practice.
I called Cody Wilks, the WHS golf team captain and its longest hitter, and asked him to get the chain texting or calling started. I didn’t give him any details, just that something important came up and the next practice would be Tuesday at three o’clock.
After talking to Cody I walked toward the main entrance and could hear vehicles arriving, car doors shutting, and the voices of the first of many visitors I would meet in the locker room that day. I could see the town’s rescue van and a police cruiser through the glass door. The EMTs were gathering equipment. The police officer stepped into the building when I opened the door.
“It’s you, DelReno? Right place, right time? Again?”
“Yeah, it’s me, Dan, though I don’t see anything right about it.”
Dan King was a patrolman/detective in our tiny Willowtree police department. I had been involved in a case last year and worked with Dan, though some would say I did most of the work. My golden retriever, Keely, had stumbled upon a body in a dry wash near the golf course. Let me just say officer King could have been more determined in solving that case. I appreciate that he did nab the killer in front of my home.
“I was on patrol nearby. Always check on the schools in the early morning on weekends. Chief said he’d be right here. He said the vic is Stinger. That right?”
“I’m sure it is him. Can’t mistake that bushy red hair. All those freckles.”
The three EMTs arrived at the door that I was again holding open. The short female whose name tag read “B. Trono” and seemed to be in charge asked, “Where is he?”
I led the group through the large lobby area, past the administrative offices, turned left, then continued through the classroom wing and a catwalk into the gymnasium building. On the way I suggested to Dan King that he should alert Holton and the others to drive around back. B.Trono ordered one of her guys to go back and drive the van to the rear of the gym.
As we entered the locker room I noticed details that I had missed earlier when my entire focus was on Stinger’s battered body. I only surveyed the scene and mentally noted what I would tell Holton when he took my statement. The EMTs verified that he was indeed expired, but had to wait for the medical examiner before they could do much else.
King asked me if I had touched anything. I hadn’t, except trying to read a pulse in Stinger’s neck. He said, “Good. Don’t.” Then he left to wait for and meet Holton and the ME when they arrived.
“Found another one, eh Bruce?” Pete Holton said as he walked in, only pausing a few seconds to look at the body. He was followed the ME, Doc Petruzzi, King, and a couple others including a camera guy who got right to work. Bright flashes of light bounced off the pale yellow block walls.
Pete jerked his head toward the coach’s office and said, “Let’s talk.” He went in and sat behind the desk, leaving me the only other chair, an old wooden straight-back matching the one Stinger was sitting and lying in. “How are you, DelReno?”
“C’mon, Pete, I’m not good. I’m very upset right now. Can we just do this?”
MIKE BOVE was a teacher and soccer coach in Vermont. He has participated in college and community theater and served as a High School drama director. Mike has lived on Cape Cod and now resides in Arizona. He is retired from the USPS, and writes when not reading mysteries or playing golf.
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