On an island off the coast of Maine, a man is found dead. There's no identification on the body. Only the dogged work of a pair of local newspapermen and a graduate student in forensics turns up any clues. But that's just the beginning of the mystery. Because the more they learn about the man... read more
Opening in medias res as the news staff of The Weekly Islander pays for lunch at a restaurant, editor Dave Bowie and founder Vince Teague test young intern Stephanie McCann's powers of deduction regarding their tipping procedure. The friendly assessment becomes more intense as the elderly... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Opening in medias res as the news staff of The Weekly Islander pays for lunch at a restaurant, editor Dave Bowie and founder Vince Teague test young intern Stephanie McCann's powers of deduction regarding their tipping procedure. The friendly assessment becomes more intense as the elderly island natives and Stephanie return to the office, and she asks if the veteran reporters have "ever come across a real unexplained mystery". Dave and Vince take turns recounting a strange incident and investigation, with intermittent breaks for our narrators to crack open a fresh soda.
On April 24, 1980, two teenagers stumbled across a body, early in the morning. Slumped against a trash can, and carrying no identification, the body bore no clear indicators of foul play. Cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation, as a large chunk of meat was extracted from the victim's throat. Every potential clue leads to small revelations, but bigger mysteries. Though the investigation is lightly bungled, everything seems inexplicable, from how the fish-dinner stomach contents could line up with his ferry boat crossing, to the single Russian coin in his pocket.
More than a year later, thanks to a sharp-eyed rookie spotting an out-of-state cigarette tax stamp, the John Doe becomes known as The Colorado Kid. Eventually the man's identity is traced, and he is identified as James Cogan of Nederland, Colorado. Everyone involved with the case is at a loss as to how or why the man could have gotten to a beach on a Maine island in the five hours since he had last been seen alive in Colorado.
In the Weekly Islander offices, the three friends, old and new, ferret out all the answers they can from the facts of the 25-year-old investigation, then speculate on what might have happened, and meditate on the nature of true mysteries. Vince and Dave tell Stephanie that while they were "the last people alive who know the whole thing", having heard the tale of The Colorado Kid, "Now there's you, Steffi." The warm proclamation seems to signal the young woman's final approval by the old guard of the Islander.
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