Hi. I'm Missy Jenkins, and I'd like to introduce you to my neighborhood, Twin Pines, and my family and friends. I'm a piano teacher, but I like to solve mysteries. Suzanne Flaig writes about me in her musical mystery series. MURDER IN MUSICAL MODE is a short story; some of my other adventures are novels. Here's the beginning of MURDER IN MUSICAL MODE, which will soon be available for sale in an anthology of Suzanne's short stories titled THRILLED TO DEATH.
Major Mode, Minor Mode,
Dorian Mode, Lydian Mode,
Musical Modes, Too Many Modes,
“I’m really excited about this new student,” Missy Jenkins said, between mouthfuls of chocolate cake. She sat at her best friend’s kitchen table, a fork in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.
Ronnie Milner nodded, her short blond curls bouncing up and down like little Slinky toys. The two women had known each other since grade school in 1955 and now, in their thirties and with families of their own, they still lived in the same neighborhood. Hardly a day went by when they didn’t chat, either in person or on the phone. Their husbands called it gossiping, but Missy knew better. She was concerned about the welfare of the people who lived in her small neighborhood of Twin Pines, especially the children.
“Anyhow,” Missy continued, not giving Ronnie a chance to slip a word into the conversation as usual, “you know I love teaching the little ones, they’re so sweet, but this is such an opportunity, after all, kids are usually there because their parents sign them up, but an adult, well, they really want to learn, don’t they, and she’s at an advanced level, besides, so I can actually speak to her about things like modes, and chromatics, and…”
Missy stopped to take a breath and Ronnie finally had the chance to interrupt the run-on sentence. “What’s this gal’s name, Missy? How’d you get her as a student?”
“Her name’s Gina Martin,” Missy said. “She walked into Keynote Music last Wednesday, looking for someone to help her prepare for a recital. She’s a college student who just moved here from New York City. Can you believe it? I happened to be there giving lessons, and Steve Bordner, the store owner, recommended me.”
That evening, Missy sat in front of the TV with her husband, Dick, watching the eleven o’clock news. The lead story was about a young college student who had been brutally murdered outside of her dorm room, on the Middletown campus of Penn State University. Her name was being withheld pending notification of her family. The police had no suspects at this time. Anyone with information regarding this crime were asked to call the Middletown police department.
Missy’s breath caught in her throat until she thought she would choke.
Dick patted her on the back. “Are you alright? Do you need some water?”
She took a gulp of air and said, “I just started teaching a college student from the Penn State campus. What if it’s her?”
Dick’s hand moved gently up and down Missy’s back. “There are hundreds of girls over there, hon. It’s tragic, but I doubt it’s the same girl.”
Missy huddled closed to Dick. “This town used to be so safe. I grew up here in Middletown, and there never used to be so much crime.”
“I think it’s always been here, honey, you just weren’t as aware,” Dick said.
Missy shook her head. “I can’t remember all these murders ten years ago when we first moved to Twin Pines.”
“Maybe not,” he said, “but it’s 1979, and times have changed.”