Tired of the politics as well as the bureaucracy of his job,
Lieutenant Brad Schrader is contemplating early retirement and
pursuit of another career, that of a mystery writer. His endeavors
prove useless when he’s called upon to investigate the murder of
Melody Anselmo, a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. While
searching for the killer, Brad becomes personally involved with
the twin sister of the victim.
The story is based on Lieutenant Brad Schrader’s notes while
working the case with his partner, Sergeant Detective Phil
Barrecca. During the investigation, the pair discover something
neither ever expected, something best left unsaid. They agree to
let matters rest and not expose the killer even though they know
the consequences of their actions could be disastrous.
To this date, the murder of Melody Anselmo is still on the books
as a cold case in New York City.
It was the worst case of bad timing that I had ever seen. Everything seemed to be
happening at once. The girl, carrying two mugs of coffee, entered, while at the
other end of the room, with hat in hand, Phil came strolling in from the foyer.
"Lieutenant, I…" Barrecca's words died in his throat. His mouth dropped open as
he stared at the girl. He made a feeble attempt to recover his shock, but failed.
I slowly rose to my feet, taking the whole situation in hand. "Melissa," I said, "this is
Sergeant Barrecca. We work together."
"Sergeant," she nodded.
"Phil, this is Melissa Anselmo, Melody's sister."
"Miss Anselmo," he said, and managed to smile.
The moment was awkward and as the girl leaned over to set the mugs down, I
gave Phil a high-sign not to say anything.
"Will one of you kindly tell me what is going on around here?" she asked while
straightening up. "I'm sure you didn't come here to feed Mr. Tibbetts, Sergeant. Or
"Who's Mr. Tibbetts?" Barrecca said in complete bewilderment.
"Thank you, Sergeant," she said. "Thank you for your honesty." With unbridled
contempt, she looked at me. "I believe he called you Lieutenant. Exactly what
division are you in, Lieutenant?"
Her shock was genuine. I could tell by her lower lip; it trembled. Fear flashed into
her eyes. "It's about Melody, isn't it?" Her voice cracked with emotion. "Something
dreadful has happened to her."
There was no easy way of putting it. "She's dead, Melissa."
"Dead!" Unbelieving, she shook her head from side to side. "It was minor
surgery…one doesn't die…"
"The surgery had nothing to do with her death," I said.
"How? How then!" She lashed out at me.
"Melody was murdered."
"Murdered," she gasped. "I…I don't believe you. Why? Why would anyone…?"
She started to back away from me as if I were an escapee from a loony bin.
"You're wrong," she cried, eyes frantically searching the room. She spotted the
fancy white phone on the end table and headed directly toward it.
"You're wrong. You'll see," she said, tears spilling down her cheeks. "There's been
a mistake. I'm going to call the hospital right now. How could you make such a
Time and time again, I had witnessed the same reaction. The truth was tearing at
her guts while her mind
was clinging to the hope that a mistake had been made.
I roughly pulled her hand away from the phone. "Stop it, Melissa," I said, "there's
My words struck her like a blow.
"Oh, God," she groaned. Her knees buckled beneath her and I caught her about
the waist, backing her into the couch.
"Phil, see if there's some brandy in that cabinet over there."
Phil managed to get some brandy into her and then we waited. With a terrible
feeling of helplessness, we waited. We waited until she was all cried out.
"Is there someone you would like us to call?" I said.
She shook her head in answer.
Finally, through red, swollen eyes, she looked over at Phil and me sitting in the
occasional chairs opposite her. "Who…" she sobbed, "who would do…such a
"We don't know," I said.
"You never knew my sister, did you? All—all this time you knew she was de—dead,
and yet…and yet you led me to believe—" she stopped, fresh tears clouding her
I swallowed hard. "No, I never met her. I'm sorry, but I had good reason for not
telling you sooner."
She glared at me. "What reason could you possibly have?"
I didn't answer. If she despised me, I couldn't blame her. For that matter, I wasn't
too pleased with myself. "What you might think of me isn't important," I said. "The
important thing is to catch the person responsible for Melody's death. You can be
of great help to us by answering questions that concern your sister."
"I can't," she whispered, voice filled with despair. "I haven't seen her in over two
years." With the handkerchief that I had given her earlier, she brushed at the
wetness of her face. "There's something I have to know," she said, making a
strong effort to pull herself together. "How did my sister…"
I drew in a sharp breath. "Suffocation. A bed pillow was used."
Even from where I was sitting, I could see the sudden quiver of chills that ran
through her body. In an attempt to control the trembling, she folded her arms
across her chest. "I knew it," she said, "even before you told me, I knew it."
Phil and I exchanged a puzzled glance.
"How?" I carefully asked. "How did you know?"
She vaguely looked over at Phil and me. "I don't think you would understand," she
|Outline of Murder
"When Lieutenant Brad Schrader investigates
the murder of Melody Anselmo, a Radio City
Music Hall Rockette, the twists and turns in the
investigation as well as his personal life kept
me reading until the very last sentence."
"This is one book that will compel you to finish
it! You just won't be able to put it down!!! I have
not read a story as exciting as this, in years!"
-Raymond D. Hedin
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