from the mystery Dumpster Dying by Lesley A. Diehl
Detective Toby Sands was with the Big Lake Police Department for over twenty years. His record of closing cases was disappointing until the captain paired him with Detective Stanton Lewis. Following his last and most famous murder case with Stanton, Sands “retired”, a forced retirement for medical reasons according to the police department. I was fortunate to be able to track him down at a cabin on the Kissimmee River.
Detective Sands, tell us about this case.
Call me Toby (He spits brown liquid from his mouth toward a rusty coffee can on the floor and misses.) See, I’m just a good ole boy from rural Florida. I don’t do fancy cop stuff, none of that high tech BMW stuff.
Do you mean DNA?
Whatever. Like I said, I’m old fashioned in my approach. I can sit in my car under a palm tree for hours waiting out my perp. This case was no different. My partner, Detective Lewis was running around after leads all over the county, but I just sat tight and the killer kind of fell into my clutches.
What made this case so special?
Well, what was special about the case was that the wealthiest rancher in the county was killed and his body put into a dumpster at the country club just outside town. Now that means you got to step lightly around these folks. They’re real important, got lots of money. Don’t cross ‘em none. Like his widow. Widow Davy was a gal to reckon with. I tried not to rile her none. She had some temper. I could tell you stories… Well, anyway, I kept a low profile in my cruiser cuz I knew better than to upset the Widow Davy. See, Toby’s been around here a good long while, and I know how to get what I want out of a suspect.
What made the case hard to solve?
Like I told you, it wasn’t so hard. Just took a lot of sitting and waiting and listening to folks talk, like my favorite bartender at the Burnt Biscuit. Let me tell ya, he knows more about what’s happening around here than I do. And, of course, I know plenty. I’m appealing those bribery charges. I took that money only temporarily to find out what was going on with some crooked lawyers. I was intending to give it all back, but I got jumped by some federal cops and… Well, that’s another story.
Did anyone outside of the police department help you solve this case?
Hell, no. Even my partner was useless. Course he was sweet on that little gal who found the body. Now there’s the real problem. Women. Women always get in the way of solving a crime. I don’t have no women in my life. My dog, ole Pokey, is a boy. Don’t trust bitch dogs none.
Has this case affected your personal life in any way?
Hell, yes, it has. I’m sitting here out on bail waiting for my second trial. No one in the department, not my partner, not the captain appreciated all I done to solve that case. I lost my house, mortgaged it to pay my lawyer—he turned out to be a crook—to get me off, and here I sit in this crummy dump waiting for the next trial. Yeah, you could say it affected my life. (Toby spits in the can once more and once moremisses.)
It’s rumored around the police department and town that you’re a crooked cop. How do you respond to that?
I already told you. I was just trying to find out what was going on, and someone offered me money, so I took it. Otherwise how could I win their trust? In my years in law enforcement, I always played friendly when someone offered me money. Let me tell you, I found out plenty about folks around here. I got a reputation for being willing to play ball with those who were generous to me. I was the guy in the department you could trust. If the price was right.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today, Toby. Good luck with your trial and appeal.
Lesley A. Diehl retired from her life as a professor of psychology and moved to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—a place where spurs still jingle in the post office. Dumpster Dying was released by Oak Tree Press, January 2011. Her books can be obtained through
Amazon.com, B&N.com, and independent book sellers. For more information visit her website at www.lesleydiehl.com or her blog http://anotherdraught.blogspot.com.