Final Exam: A Charlie McGill PI Mystery

“Listen! Do you hear it?” begins the horrific saga of a university study group in an isolated rural farmhouse located in a sprawling county outside the city of Richmond, Virginia. A fleshy hand insinuates itself between the screen door and the doorjamb. Gunshots shatter the countryside's still solitude. Four bodies slump to the floor. Who amongst the group survive? Who falls victim to the shooter's bullets? Why? What reason determines who survives and who doesn't? To the local police force, the reason is simple. This incident was a one-time shooting spree done by a one-time shooter that was eliminated by the police. Case closed.

Charlie McGill, a local private investigator and former flower child, however, staunchly disagrees with the police's conclusion. Is his motive one of altruism or one of selfishness? After all, his wife, Pixie, was a study group member and barely managed to escape with her life. Or as the case unravels, does she too become another victim?

In an effort to find out the truth, he initiates his own investigation independent of the police. This investigation pitches him and Pixie deep into the underbelly of Richmond's notorious East End to find out the answer. Is it to no avail? Or does he discover that the shooter's identity is someone closer to home? Someone located in the seemingly idyllic countryside? But before he discovers their identity and the corresponding motive, does another shooter beat him to the punch and eliminate another student? Only time will tell.

by Betty L. Ford

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