Other Stories in this issue

String Theory

by Micki Browning

About the Author: M.E. BROWNING served twenty-two years in law enforcement and retired as a captain before turning to a life of crime fiction. Writing as Micki Browning, she penned the Agatha-nominated and award-winning Mer Cavallo mysteries, and her short stories and nonfiction have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and textbooks. As M.E. Browning, she recently began a new series of Jo Wyatt mysteries with Shadow Ridge. Visit to learn more.


I’ve done bad things in my life. Not serial killer bad, but my entry into heaven is by no means guaranteed. My father died last night. Murdered. I hadn’t spoken to the man for twelve years. But thirteen years ago, I did threaten to kill him.

For the record, I had nothing to do with it.

This morning, a trio of officers arrived on my doorstep. One lamented my loss; one asked if I would mind speaking to a detective at the station; and the last one remained silent, his thoughtful gaze darting across the detritus of my apartment, dallying on the knives in my butcher block, perusing the titles in my bookshelf, lingering on my harp as if bemused.

The second officer cleared his throat and offered me a ride.

I glanced at the clock, lamented the time. “I was just on my way to my mother’s.”

He held open the door. “It’s important.”

Now, the hum of the air conditioner annoys me as I strain to hear beyond it. I’ve been in the interview room for nearly an hour. Initially, I paced the confines. Four steps of grimy linoleum separate the door from the dingy rear wall. Six steps mark the width. A plain table divides the room with two chairs in opposition.

The door is unlocked. I know because I tested it, nearly hitting an officer escorting a prisoner as he marched down the crowded hallway. I had considered leaving, but my mother would think this is more important than my visit to her. She respects the law.

Story Comments

Nov 10 - Terry James

Nice work!

Nov 10 - Dee Overduin

I really enjoyed this story. Very clever and entertaining.

Nov 10 - Judy Penz Sheluk

I really enjoyed this story. The pacing was spot-on and the ending was terrific! Well done, Micki!

Nov 10 - Nupur Tustin

Superbly plotted mystery, and I loved the musical references.

Nov 11 - MIcki Browning

Thank you all for the kind words. They are more encouraging than you may realize.

Nov 11 - Fred Krampe

"cloaked in black and providing nuance in quiet measure" is a perfect phrase.

Mar 16 - Peter Frahm

I really enjoy stories that teach me new things. Well done!

Sep 1 - Mike Tuggle

An inspired powerhouse of a story. Life-like characters and strong dialogue make it a real pleasure.

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