Crime Scene

Photo of a coffee mug, lying on its side with a stain around it, on a white damask table cloth.  Caption reads: A coffee mug lay on its side.

Crime Scene

Short story by Iris Carden

We’d been called by a neighbour, who’d heard the commotion.

The victim, a woman in her 30s, was lying unconscious on the floor.

Around her, the room was in chaos. A two-metre high mahogany bookshelf had been knocked over, books strewn everywhere. Only a leather lounge and a very solid coffee table protected the woman from being crushed beneath the bookcase.

On the other side of the open-plan living-dining area a cabinet had doors and drawers open, clearly ransacked. At the dining table, a coffee mug lay on its side, coffee spilled over the white table cloth.

I helped the ambulance officers lift the bookshelf so they could get the victim out. Finding her handbag, I looked for ID. Her driver’s licence said her name was Mary Anderson.

While Ms Anderson was taken out to the ambulance I looked through the rest of the house, and found nothing had been disturbed. All the action had taken place in one room. The offender must have found what they were looking for without needing to search further.

I called forensics unit to look for fingerprints. Hopefully whoever did this didn’t wear gloves and had fingerprints on record.

Then I went to the hospital, to find the victim starting to regain consciousness.

After the doctor checked and cleared her to be interviewed, I introduced myself and asked her if she remembered what had happened to her.

She said, “This is really embarrassing. I was having a cup of coffee when I saw a massive spider on the bookcase. I guess I panicked. I didn’t want to hurt it, but spiders creep me out, and the thought one would be hiding in my living room was just too much. I looked through the sideboard for something to catch the spider with, and then climbed up the bookcase. I know I should have got the step-stool, but I thought if I took my eyes off the spider, it would hide and I wouldn’t find it again. I would just know it was lurking there somewhere. I remember the bookcase starting to move, and then I woke up here.”


By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


  1. So, was it really the spider and climbing on the bookcase that caused the accident? Or am I looking too deep when I shouldn’t be. If the coffee table blocked the bookcase from crushing her, did that mean she was under the coffee table?


    1. The coffee table meant the bookshelf didn’t fall flat on the fall – there was a gap between the shelf and the floor. She didn’t have to be under the coffee table.


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