Evil on the Beach
It is November 12, 1928
Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the War to end all Wars. The European economy is today, though, in another war - one of survival. It is in shambles, and many factions struggle for power with promises of better times to come. Last night, however, at a secluded spot in Florida known as Sandy Ring Island, a celebration had occurred. For comrades in arms, wounded in the service of their nations during that Great War, toasted their reunion.
All three had been sent to the same French military hospital to recuperate. There, they had become staunch friends. When the peace treaty was signed, they vowed to be together again a decade after the end of the conflict. At a rustic lodge on the Gulf of Mexico called Sea Breeze they had kept their word.
But, this morning, a pall was thrown over last night's festivities, for a body was discovered face down on the beach behind Sea Breeze. It was the Russian writer, Gregor Manov, another guest at the inn. His skull had been crushed with a large piece of driftwood. Judging from the footprints left in the sand, the deed had been perpetrated from behind while Manov was returning to the lodge from a late night walk.
Manov had supported the Bolsheviks during their revolution against the Czarist regime. His works had gained world notoriety as he championed the cause of the common man both in his nation and around the world. He was in the United States by permission of the Soviet authorities to conduct a speaking tour about the advantages of communism.
His reasons for stopping at Sea Breeze were unclear. His schedule had been tight, but he broke from its routine three days ago, finding his way to this secluded spot.
The reunited friends were an American captain, an English colonel, and a former French officer, now a Brussels businessman. They were joined by two other guests - a flamboyant French woman, and a mysterious man who claimed Polish ancestry.
The owner of Sea Breeze was a middle-aged woman of Ukrainian origin. The maid spoke little of her background, but appeared by manner and breeding to be an American. These seven were declared to be the prime suspects. Only through careful questioning and precise logic would motive and murderer emerge.
Reginald Price Carlisle
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