George Washington Carver High School is a complex, sprawling, urban institution with a long history of excellence, and the accomplishments of its students in various fields: academics, athletics, leadership, and extracurricular activities, give the school an outstanding reputation. Nearly three thousand students are enrolled in a building built to accommodate eighteen hundred, with well over one hundred administrators and teachers and staff, but despite the overcrowding, the school is peaceful most days.
But one October morning two shots are heard on the third floor of George Washington Carver High School in San Francisco. The teacher, Val Olson from room 322, telephones Vice Principal Michael Dempsey with this terrible news. Dempsey ascends rapidly to room 324, which is locked, and his principal, Big Jim Dougherty follows within minutes. The principal sends for Mugsy Jones the Head Custodian, and then he and Michael decide that they must lock the school down until the police respond. Dempsey directs the Head Counselor to cut off the bell schedule, announce the emergency over the school’s loud speakers, and notify the downtown district office.
Michael Dempsey decides he will do what he can to determine how this murder happened and if possible find out who killed this senior history teacher, Marvin Marbles. Was it a student who did it, a fellow teacher, the deceased estranged wife, someone from outside the school? What could the motive have been, love or guilt or fear or money? As Dempsey digs further into the possible suspects and interacts with the two detectives who take this case, he uncovers an increasingly complex set of personalities and events.
This is my second novel and my fourth Smashwords book. It provides a spare but insightful look into a very unusual incident in a huge urban high school. The characters, which includes Michael (Hercule Poirot) Dempsey, are vivid and frankly portrayed, and you will learn much about the day-to-day workings of one of today’s best high schools. Murder at the High School is succinct but brilliantly told.