McCall Meets Malone

Trying something a little different. The next few weeks I think I will occasionally post short excerpts from Turnabout is Fatal Play, the first of the McCall-Malone Mystery series. This is when Clint McCall discovers that Devon Malone seems to be following the same person he is:

I first met Devon Malone when she was Detective Sergeant Malone with the Portland PD missing persons squad. We’d worked a case together that ended up way outside the parameters of normal police procedure and she’d been given a short suspension as a result. Whereupon, for reasons she never explained to me, she resigned from the force.

One reason she couldn’t explain it was that she had stopped speaking to me. I guessed that she blamed me for dragging her outside those parameters and ruining her law enforcement career, but it was just a guess.

All that was eight months ago. I knew she’d since set herself up as a private investigator because I’d seen her ad in the newest phone book. I really would have loved to hear the story behind that, since she’d not expressed a high degree of respect for my profession when we worked together.

Perhaps I’d get to hear it now. At least she was speaking to me again.

“Well?” she growled. I didn’t know you could actually do that: talk and growl at the same time.

I managed to get my mouth closed, which then allowed me to form words. “Who’s your client?”

“Beverly Snyder. You go around following people without even knowing their names?”

“You’re working for Mrs. Snyder?” I knew I sounded a little dense but I couldn’t seem to help it.

“I’ll ask again. Why the fuck are you following her?”

Meanwhile my synapses finally started to fire again. “Why do you assume I’m following her instead of her husband?”

“Because I’m following her husband and I doubt she’d hire you to do the same thing.”

“She didn’t. Her husband hired me.”

“To follow Beverly?”


“You’re kidding. When?”

“Monday. When did Beverly hire you?”

“The Friday before that.”


That seemed to be everything I could think of to say on the subject. I was both mystified by the client situation and—suddenly—mortified by the current situation. Devon Malone sat there looking up at me while I was paralyzed by the need to say too much. She, on the other hand, apparently felt no need to say a word. She just sat there with a carefully neutral expression on her face. It was a very nice face, framed by the shiny brunette hair that was almost but not quite curly.

Beginning to get a little desperate, I forced some words past my lips. “So…how are you?”

She laughed, though there was little humor in the sound of it. “Actually I’m pretty busy right now,” she said. “On a surveillance job.”

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