Biology teacher Andy Farmer desperately wished his friend Chuck Cleveland was lisping over the phone on that fateful morning, but when he arrived at Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings High to find the building wrapped in crime scene tape, he feared the worst. With Chuck missing and the principal dead - stabbed with a scalpel meant for rendering biology lab frogs brain dead - Andy now agonizes over possible accessory charges as he plays coy with Detective Robert French, all the while encouraging Chuck to own up for what he has done...when he is able to talk to his elusive friend.
Andy feels a sense of urgency, too, when French's investigation reveals Andy himself is a more likely suspect than Chuck in Principal Horace Shelton's murder! Though Andy's alibi is tight and he is innocent, a tense history with Shelton leads the police to think otherwise. It is enough Andy has to deal with his bum hip, fading hearing, and threats to force him into retirement from his superiors; he doesn't want to worry about it in prison. Besides, who would feed and walk the dog that Andy's son brought home from Tallahassee?
This is Pithed, the first installment of the Andy Farmer Mystery series, set in Jacksonville, Florida. Pithed is based upon an idea by Kathryn's father, a science and math teacher of 30-plus years, with characters and settings inspired by Kathryn's own high school years.
Everybody knows high school was murder, Andy Farmer would agree, and his story - a tale of revenge, public school bureaucracy, and a dog named Steely Dan - will make the listener anything but "pithed".