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from Hanging Girl by Sharron Grodzinsky

Chapter 1
Matt Monohan is called in to find a girl hanging.

There is something about Sunday mornings in Coronado.

The sleepy southern California town is renowned for its small town charm, laid back beach attitude and lack of major crime. Most people are out walking or are riding bikes on Sunday mornings. Their agenda for the day consists mostly of where to eat breakfast and what time to go to the beach. That’s what made it seem so surreal when Sergeant Matt Monahan was called in for a possible homicide. The last murder in Coronado had been six years ago in 2012 and before that in 2007.

The call came in about seven in the morning from a by passer who thought he saw a person hanging in the foyer of one of the multi-million dollar homes on GLorietta Boulevard. The house faced the one golf course on the island. When Sergeant Monahan arrived, there were three police officers securing the scene. The homeowner was not at home and the officers had broken in through the huge wood and glass front door. She was hanging from the cut glass chandelier in the foyer. A tall ladder was toppled over, laying on the floor.

Police tape blocked off the front yard and the house. A small crowd had begun to form on the street, and an ambulance was parked at the curb. Monahan took all this in from his dirty, battered jeep. Battered not because it was so old, but because he took it off road in nearby beaches and dunes whenever he had time. After surveying the outside of the home, he rolled his lithe frame out of the jeep and ambled up the sidewalk to the house. His partner, Wendy, had not arrived yet, so he sent her a text to ask her ETA.

“Okay, what do we have so far?” Monahan’s question was directed at the police officers.

“Not much, the guy over there in the khaki shorts was walking his dog and looking at the houses. He thought saw someone hanging in the house, so he called 911. When we got here we saw her hanging, so we broke in and saw she was dead, so we called it in,” said the shorter of the two officers.

“Did the EMT’s touch her? asked Matt.

“Nah, they just took a look and went back in their vehicle,” replied the officer.

“Where’s the Medical Examiner?”

“She’s on the way too. Should be here any minute.”

               “Hey there stranger,” called Wendy as she arrived at the scene. “What’s the story?”

               “So far, not a lot. A guy walking by called in a 911. No one has touched her or done anything yet. Were still waiting for the M.E. We’ll have to call San Diego Police Department too. They always have to get their detectives in the middle of it,” said Matt.

               “I just wish we could handle it. I know we don’t have the authority or the manpower, but jeeze they bug the shit out of me,” said Wendy.

               “Yeah, well, that’s the way it is, so dial the number, Wendy.”

               The light beige house had celadon green trim and forest green shutters. It was built in the old California Spanish style: two story with a large front porch, big windows overlooking the golf course, ...

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