Detective Andre Russell (a.k.a. Damianos) of the San Diego Police is puzzled. He and his partner are faced with four murders all linked by the manner in which they have been committed. Someone stabbed the victims’ chests with a prism. The connection between three of the deceased is strange – they’re all sterile. The fourth victim is a woman. She was pregnant when she died. Unraveling this mystery takes time and effort. The victims dying slowly from drugs and repeated stabbing only muddies the waters for the two detectives. “Who is incapable of giving and reflecting the light of life?” is the question Damianos and John Avers will have to answer before they can solve the mystery of the Prismatic Murders.
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#6-5 "Damianos Book 5 The Prismatic Murders"
DAMIANOS BOOK 5 THE PRISMATIC MURDERS
Plot Summary - Chapter by Chapter Breakdown
In a Nutshell: Detective Andre Russell (a.k.a. Damianos) of the San Diego Police is puzzled. He and his partner are faced with four murders all linked by the manner in which they have been committed. Someone stabbed their chests with a prism. The connection between three of the victims is strange – they’re all sterile. The fourth victim is a woman. She was pregnant when she died. Unraveling this mystery takes time and effort. The victims dying slowly from drugs and repeated stabbing only muddies the waters for the two detectives. In the end, the fourth victim’s husband admits to committing the four murders “because they were incapable to give and reflect the light of life”.
Part One - Rising Tension
CH 1/ Scene 1 – There is no use denying it; the house is a strange-looking residence. It looks as if someone didn’t want any wall to obstruct their view of the gardens surrounding it. While the occupants can see outside of their home, the onlooker cannot see inside of the house. The walls are mostly made of two way mirrors. When one approaches the place, one can see one’s reflection but nothing of what’s going on inside. The effect is eerie and unsettling.
CH 1/ Scene 2 – Damianos is the nickname Detective Andre Russell was given years ago when he happened to “tame” a leopard for the time it took to bring the animal back to the San Diego Zoo, CA. Today, he and his partner, John Avers are looking at their reflection as they stop their car in front of the “Glassic House”, such as the home of Robert Glassic is called. The woman who opens the door is dressed with a black gown. Her ivory skin is in striking contrast with the shimmering silk of the dress. She is expecting them. Mrs. Glassic dialed 911 when she discovered her husband, dead in their bedroom earlier that morning.
CH 1/ Scene 3 – Mrs. Glassic does not seem moved in any way by the fact that her hubby lies in a pool of blood in the middle of their bed with a large prism planted in the left side of his chest. The scene is weird to say the least. The prism is reflecting the light rays coming through the glass pane in the ceiling and transmitting colorful rainbows from the body. If it weren’t so dramatic a scene, it would be surprisingly beautiful.
CH 1/ Scene 4 – Mrs. Glassic explains that she was staying with her mother over the weekend and has just come home an hour ago to discover her husband “like this…!” She says that she has no idea where the prism comes from, nor has she seen anything like it before. Careful not to touch anything, John and Damianos return to the living room where Mrs. Glassic tells them that their marriage was quite solid, although she didn’t particularly like the house in which they lived. “Now that Robert is dead, I’ll be sure to sell this place and move somewhere I don’t feel like I’m living in a fish bowl.”
CH 1/ Scene 5 – When they leave, after Dr. James Darby has removed the body from the house and the crime scene has been sealed off, Damianos cannot erase Mrs. Glassic’s face from his mind. The woman is as cold as an ice cube, he remarks to himself. John agrees that the whole thing feels weird. It is as if Mr. Glassic was her wallet man and nothing more. They both will have to call her in for an interview at the precinct.
CH 1/ Scene 6 – As soon as the prism has been processed by the forensic lab, and Alan Davros, the Crime Lab Chief Examiner, has a report ready for Damianos, the detective has questions for Alan. How is it possible to plant such an object through the rib cage of an individual? The perp must be tall, forceful or has used some form of catapult to fire the prism into the victim’s chest. On the phone with Damianos, Alan tells him that it was not anything complex; the prism broke a rib, which pierced one of the lungs, causing internal bleeding and subsequent death. Damianos is nonetheless puzzled.
CH 2/ Scene 1 – Even though Glassic and his eccentric tastes were well known in San Diego, the new victim of the prismatic murderer is less known. He too is found by his wife, dead in bed with a prism sticking out of his chest. However, this time, the prism has been ‘pounded’ into the victim for the base of the prism has been chipped. Two similar crimes in two days begin to irritate Damianos. He hasn’t time to process one case, when another comes about. The second crime is only two days’ old when another prism is found in the chest of a woman this time, a Mrs. Charlotte Carter. The husband was away at a conference. Again, the partner may not be considered as a suspect.
CH 2/ Scene 2 – When the fourth prismatic murder is reported, Damianos is forced to call for the assistance of a psychiatrist. With each murder the violence is growing in intensity. With the latest murder, the victim was pierced with the prism repeatedly before it was finally planted right above the heart. Each victim is different. There is no common denominator between them. The prisms the perp used are practically all the same. Dr. James Darby, the ME has determined that all of the victims were not bond or gagged during their torture. Their wrists, ankles and cheeks bear no marks of being restrained before death.
CH 2/ Scene 3 – The psychiatrist suggests that the murderer is fixated on the rays of light reflected from the prisms, but has yet to define what the attraction was when he chose his victims so indiscriminately. With Mr. Glassic, one could have concluded that the perp was perhaps angry with the man for “capturing” the light with his glass house. But when it comes to the other victims, especially the woman, there is nothing in their lives that was remotely associated with light reflection or even rainbows. The second victim was a carpenter; the third – Mrs. Charlotte Carter – was a hairdresser and the fourth was a contractor.
CH 2/ Scene 4 – John notes that the only thing that all the crimes have in common is the absence of the partner when the murders were committed. The prisms themselves shed no more clues. They’ve all been bought in different artists retailers around San Diego. What’s more, when Alan Davros sends his preliminary report to Damianos, it does not highlight any fact that could be helpful to the investigation. The perp must have worn gloves and protective garments to commit his crimes, because there’s no trace DNA from anyone other than the people who lived in the houses.
CH 2/ Scene 5 – Why were the partners away at the same time? What were they doing on the day of their better halves murder? John Avers checks all the alibis and discovers that they were all attending the same exhibition conference in Vegas. Except for Mrs. Glassic who spent the weekend with her mother, the two wives and Mr. Carter had flown out on the Friday morning, spent the weekend at the same hotel and then attended four different sessions of the conference and returned home on four different but consecutive days. “Perhaps, these people are acquainted with one another,” John concludes when he and Damianos discuss the case.
CH 3/ Scene 1 – However, and once again, who would, or be hired to commit such a weird crime? The detectives have no answer at this point. The psychiatrist suggests that perhaps they should look at the victims’ professions. “Did they “steal” the light in anything they did?” is the question he asks the detective. For example, the doctor further explains, if someone erects a building in front of your window, blocking your view and capturing the light, you might be tempted to move or do something more drastic about it, such as set fire to the obstructive building.
CH 3/ Scene 2 – That’s a point Damianos needs to analyze. Together with John, they pour over the professional backgrounds of each of the victims. They discover that, yes, Mr. Glassic, for example was a property developer. He had, in fact, organized the development of a piece of property that would block the view of the beach for residents in the same neighborhood. As for the carpenter, he was engaged to block the light from entering the houses were he installed doors. The contractor, here again was contributing to cutting the view of some people or other. As for the hairdresser; Damianos has no idea how this girl is implicated “in stealing the light” from anyone – if the psychiatrist is correct.
CH 3/ Scene 3 – “These crimes are quite “out there” on their own, but if you think “serial killer”, then we’ve got a problem,” Damianos concludes. Thinking about it further, John suggests that perhaps the crimes are not related at all, they’re just a series of murders to cover up the real crime. Granted, the objective may have been to kill the ones who are “taking the light” out of something, and the prism is a way of re-inserting light into their hearts. Damianos is listening. But the young hairdresser is the exception that doesn’t confirm the rule in this case – or “we haven’t found the rule yet.”
CH 3/ Scene 4 – All of the reports are in. Damianos is reading them again. Suddenly a detail attracts his attention. The hairdresser’s husband is also in the construction trade; he is the last to have returned from the Vegas show, exhibition and conference. He stayed back…, or did he return to the conference? Damianos is on the phone with the airlines. Within minutes he gets his answer. Mr. Bill Carter had a return flight booked – flying out to Vegas on Friday and returning on Saturday afternoon. And then; he had a second ticket for a return flight to Vegas on the Thursday; the day after his wife Charlotte was murdered.
CH 3/ Scene 5 – Since his alibi crumbled so easily, Damianos wonders if Bill Carter is really the perp they’re looking for. He looks very much like a puppet ready to take the fall – the perfect patsy. John Avers, on the other hand, believes they should apprehend him and interrogate him. Even if the guy is not their murderer, he’s most probably an accessory or an accomplice to the crimes.
Part Two - Main Action
CH 4/ Scene 1 – Another thing that bothers Damianos is Mrs. Glassic’s attitude. Because the glass house is still cordoned off during the investigation, she is staying in a posh hotel in downtown San Diego. That’s where John Avers and Damianos meet with her. They are keen to obtain more information about her husband. When asked again about their marriage; Mrs. Glassic says that it was as solid as marriage can be. They rarely talked, but communicated often. Curious, Damianos asks her what she means by that. Mrs. Glassic shrugs her shoulders and tells the detectives that she likes to text or leave messages on the cell phones of people she cares about. “No need for long speeches; one can be silent and have loud discussions with one’s partner.”
CH 4/ Scene 2 – “She is definitely strange,” John states when he and Damianos leave the hotel. Damianos agrees. Mrs. Glassic probably hated her husband enough to give him the silent treatment, but did she hate him enough to kill him? Again, Damianos comes back to the fact that it would take an enormous amount of strength to injure a man to death with the tip of a prism. That’s what Damianos can’t swallow. There must be something else – something else must have killed these victims. The prisms are just “for show” – to throw the investigation off the real scent.
CH 4/ Scene 3 – Before returning to the precinct, John and Damianos make a detour and pay Alan Davros a visit at his lab. Damianos explains his problem. Alan reiterates that each prism was forcefully inserted in the chest of the victims, which in turn provoked internal bleeding and death. Damianos says that he understands the premise but he wants Alan to run a complete tox-screen on each of the victims. When Alan asks why, John is the one who answers: “because if they were drugged beforehand, they would not have offered any resistance when it came to be stabbed with a prism.”
CH 4/ Scene 4 – Alan nods his understanding and agrees to run a full tox-screen. Since each of the victims showed no sign of resistance or didn’t seem to have fought with their assailant, Alan has to admit the fact looked strange to him too. A couple of days later, Alan’s report lands on Damianos’s desk. He and John were right; the victims had been drugged beforehand. They died from the wounds inflicted by the prisms, yes, but they never saw the end coming.
CH 4/ Scene 5 – The next question is to find out who committed the crimes. All of the victims’ partners have one thing in common – apart from being at the Vegas show & exhibition – they hated the victims. The hairdresser, however, is the question mark. Granted the husband works in construction, but thousands of husbands do and hundreds have attended the Vegas show, and none have “stolen the light” from anyone. Conversely, the young woman who spent her adult years making other women proud of their hairdos cannot be blamed for “stealing” anyone’s light.
CH 5/ Scene 1 – Being nowhere near a resolution of the case, Damianos decides to take a few hours off and drives to his Aunt Rose’s place. He wants to hear a woman’s opinion on the case. Aunt Rose is a level-headed woman. Since her husband died, she spends time with her nephew and his girlfriend, Annie, quite often. Having no children of her own, she loves Damianos like a son. When he arrives in front of her house, she is trimming the hedges of her front yard. She looks pleased to see him. She drops the garden shears, takes her gloves off and gives her nephew a big hug.
CH 5/ Scene 2 – Once Damianos has explained what brings him to her door, Aunt Rose asks him if he looked at the background of these four couples. Have they been married long? Do they have any children? And if they don’t – why not? Rose further explains that children bring light and joy to a marriage. Perhaps these couples have not been blessed with children. Or, perhaps the person who died is the one who could not have a child, and the partner blames him (or her) for her sterility. Ultimately, the three men could have forced their mates to have an abortion – “women are extremely resentful of that sort of thing” – and they are now killing the ones responsible for their “aborting the light”. In the case of the hairdresser, Aunt Rose explains further that she may have had an abortion against the wishes of her husband.
CH 5/ Scene 3 – Damianos knew beforehand that the visit with his aunt would bear fruit. In fact he reaped more than he ever expected. He comes back to the precinct the next day and phones Dr. James Darby, the ME. He asks him to check if Charlotte (the hairdresser) had an abortion recently. Darby says that he hasn’t had time to complete Charlotte’s autopsy yet, but he will look for it when he gets to her.
CH 5/ Scene 4 – In the meantime, Damianos and John pour over the medical records of the victims. All three men were sterile, such as Aunt Rose had predicted. Damianos believes Mrs. Glassic’s attitude toward her husband is the perfect example of a woman who has been denied motherhood. She is resentful, cold, unpleasant, and abhors men.
CH 5/ Scene 5 – When Dr. Darby’s final autopsy report on Charlotte lands on Damianos’s desk, he can hardly wait to read it. He knows that she’s been killed with a prism, but the interesting fact is that she was eight weeks’ pregnant. She did not have an abortion prior to being pregnant. Damianos is at his wits’ end. What now? John suggests that perhaps the husband knew the baby was not his and killed her because she cheated on him. Damianos admits it is a possibility, but then why killing all of the other guys. What’s the link?
Part Three - Resolution
CH 6/ Scene 1 – The captain is getting antsy. He wants this case to be resolved a-sap. He calls Damianos and John in for a powwow. As they discuss all of the facets of the case, one thing is again clear: the three male victims and Charlotte’s husband must have met previously. Three of them were sterile; maybe they met at a clinic somewhere? Is Charlotte’s husband, Bill, also sterile? They would need a reason for a warrant to obtain his medical records. Bill could not have killed the three victims out of jealousy for cheating with his wife. Besides, if she had an affair outside of the marriage, it would not have been with any sterile fellow.
CH 6/ Scene 2 – There must be a simpler explanation to all this. The captain suggests arresting Charlotte’s husband on suspicion of murder and questioning him – “maybe the guy will crack under pressure”. Damianos is not too eager to do that, but what else could they try? They’re running against brick walls at every turn.
CH 6/ Scene 3 – During questioning, Bill Carter admits taking the trip to Vegas twice. He was hoping that coming home before the weekend would repair the damage an earlier disagreement with Charlotte had provoked. Yet, when there was no end to the continuous fighting, Bill went back to Vegas, hoping to have some fun before the end of the exhibition. He further admits knowing the other men. They all met at the medical center in town at one point. Bill admits to being sterile. When asked if he knew that Charlotte was pregnant, he nods. “Yes, she was pregnant alright. That’s the one thing she did right. Getting us a kid. But prostituting herself to get a kid didn’t sit right with me.”
CH 6/ Scene 4 – After a few more admissions and denials, Bill gradually goes into a fit of rage and dementia. In the midst of his mental break down, Bill admits meeting each of the victims separately and giving them a few of his own meds (barbiturates), and then have these eunuchs at his mercy. He rants about men stealing the light, being incapable of giving light, “Not life, you understand; light – we’re all incapable of igniting the light in our partners. And when Charlotte got pregnant with someone else’s seed, someone else’s light, I had enough. They were all incapable to give and reflect the light of life!”
CH 6/ Scene 5 – It took another hour to calm him down and then to have him write a statement to the effect that he, Bill Carter, had killed his wife, Charlotte, and three sterile men that he knew would never light up anyone’s life.
DAMIANOS BOOK 5 THE PRISMATIC MURDERS
Detailed Character Descriptions
Andre Russell (nicknamed: “Damianos”)
Height and Weight
5 ft. 11 ins. / 140 lbs.
Lean and trim; muscle bound.
Grew up as an adopted child in France. Moved to California with his parents when his father (an Interpol man) was transferred to San Diego.
Excellent; exercises regularly.
To get married to Annie (his long time girlfriend) and visit France on their honeymoon.
Keep the bad guys off the streets of “his” city.
About his parents, his partner, John Avers and his girlfriend, Annie.
To be killed or seriously injured on the job.
Tendency to tell a “little white lie” once too often.
Likes to ride a bike when not driving a car.
How Others View the Character
The guy is always in control. He makes sound decisions and is usually honest about the risks involved in any operation he leads.
Andre Russell loves “his” city. Although he wasn’t born in San Diego, it’s the only “home” he knows. He spent most of his teenage years with people he now works with. John Avers, his partner, and Alan Davros, a CSI investigator, are two of the people he knows since high school. The other person in Andre’s life is Annie Lagrange, his girlfriend. She and Andre are destined to be married at some point – when is the question. Annie is okay to wait until Andre feels more secure in his career, and perhaps the risks are fewer. Andre does not want to leave Annie a widow of a police officer.
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