Alas, poor Bobby
So if brother Bob floated up dead in the lake at the bucolic Bender’s Fishing Camp, who would be the prime murder suspect? I can imagine creating a case for any one of several dozen defendants as the actual killer.
Anyone who works at the camp would have motive. Patty, the cook, did it because Bob shunned her famous pot roast and opted to eat sausage (pronounced in Windy City accent as “SAAWWzedge”) instead. Terry, the sensitive artist, snuffed him for making fun of his unusual speech patterns. Old man Bender offed him for turning in too many fish. Manager Joe rubbed him out because the leftovers from his barbeque attracted bear. Young, aspiring singer Cassandra poisoned his beer because his constant off-key singing compromised her sensitive ear.
There is also plenty of cause to believe one of the guests slipped him the blade. Mary Ann did the deed to protect her husband. Mr. Boyle secretly hired the Canadians to assassinate him as a matter of honor. Perhaps the most likely killer(s) is one, or all, of the Tres Amigos. As established, they had an extra reason to do in the loud-mouthed mechanic from Chicago: they were tired of all the crazy pranks. Perhaps the death was accidental; a prank gone wrong?
Or maybe everyone did it en masse, each taking a turn with the filet knife.
And then again– in true crime novel tradition– the real murderer could be the one least expected, his loving brother, yours truly, me. The first homicide was fratricide after all. And to be honest I do want to wring his neck occasionally. I can’t stand, for example, how he goes on and on about how he’s the greatest fisherman since Saint Peter while I reel in fish after fish unnoticed. Sorry, Mom, but I couldn’t take one more fish story.
Or maybe the murderer wasn’t even human but insect. Perhaps a sucking swarm of mosquitoes enveloped him for his cholesterol-soaked blood, causing him to fall in the water while he walked down the pier and drown. Sound unlikely? You should have seen the flocks of the “state bird” that shrouded the camp. Even the Northern Minnesotan locals said they’d never seen anything like it. The first hatch happened on an early spring day while there was still ice on the lake and the pestilence kept growing as summer arrived. There were times when the cloud was so dense that it dimmed the light.
To thicken the plot I should also point out that everyone also had reasons to keep little brother alive. While he’s loud, obnoxious, egotistical and crude, he’s also Bobby on the spot when anyone in the camp needed help. When an unexpected storm rolled in suddenly, it was Bobby that helped rodeo the boats and get them on shore for Mr. Bender. When the senior Mr. Boyle needed help getting out of his craft, it was Bobby who sprinted to his side. When the Tres Amigos wanted worms for Blue Gill fishing, it was Bobby who offered up his personal stash. When Patty needed a night out of the kitchen, it was Bobby who produced 20 pounds of brats for the grill. When I needed help with a tangled line, it was Bobby by my side. And when the mosquitoes were getting low on blood, Bobby was their go-to guy for a sip of hemoglobin.
So while everyone had reason to hate him, we also had reason to love him.
The final dramatic scene would take place in the big house with everyone present. The rustic but wily Sheriff Fishfinder would make the accusation and the guilty would break down. “Yes, I killed him and I’m glad I did,” the murderer shouted crazily and offered wrists to be cuffed, “At least I had one day of peace and quiet.” As the culprit is dragged off, the rest of the crew applauds and promises to testify as character witness on his or her behalf at the trial.