SHUTTERED — a Murder Mystery

Chris Lowry
35 min readMar 1, 2024


The note read:

“Dan, please see me at the Flower-Hat. Signed: Lois.”

When Lois La Monte starts to sing at the Flower-Hat, a classy Sunset Strip bistro, the velvet curtains form an inverted V, the lights dim, and an orange spot illuminates her in front of a microphone.

Describing her as “picked up” is insufficient. She is a bundle of wrapped-up curves, well-rounded and soft, embraced by a black gown with more twists than a mountain road. Lois sings in a low and lazy manner, with just enough sadness to make him want to climb up on the stage with her.

He scorches through a few numbers, letting them smolder around the edges. Then, the curtains close, the lights come on, and he is left hanging — no encores, no repeats, no extra helpings. That’s it. Men hang limp, and women bite into their lips.

This invitation to paradise wanted to see him, indicating she might be in some trouble. That was alright with him, as he was the go-to guy for jams, buttered or smeared. A couple of years ago, when he was with the Bunco Squad, he did a favor for Lois when a couple of boulevard hoodlums tried to force a fast contract on her. Since then, he received gaudy Christmas cards just to keep things friendly. Now, as Detective-Sergeant Dan Winters of Central Homicide, he was sitting at a table, applauding her like the rest of the audience.

As the lights came on, he noticed a cigarette girl had left her cigarette container and a small candid camera on his table, sitting down during the performance. She smiled at him — a special kind of smile that made his heart skip a beat. Her reddish-brown hair had curly dips, framing a just-right oval face. Her marine-blue eyes were deep, like depthless water. A small, pert nose shadowed knife-thin nostrils above purposeful lips. Her saffron ballet-type costume showcased her tall, well-formed figure, and her long, slim legs revealed a lot of black nylon. He reached for a buck, put it in the cigarette container, plucked out a nickel cigar, and smiled back. She was about to say something when she suddenly stiffened to a curt, “Thank you, sir,” and walked off.

He had another guest. Small, active, bushy-haired Lee Gates, a nightclub columnist, pulled up with horn-rimmed glasses…



Chris Lowry

Author at Runner writing books both fiction and non fiction, crypto investor, real estate and urban renewal.