Elements of Mystery takes chemistry to a new level in the ongoing series of mystery novels by author Terri Talley Venters.

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Carrie signed the last tax return of her hardest tax season ever.  Relief washed through her exhausted body, too tired to even get up from her office chair after working eighty hours a week for the last month.

Knock, knock

“Are you finished yet?” Tim asked, standing in Carrie’s office doorway.

Her egotistical boss proved the biggest asshole in the world.  She only stayed here because he’d promised to make her a partner in the small accounting firm after this tax season ended.  She’d worked her tail off for the last ten years. She did most of the work while Tim golfed, entertained clients at expensive restaurants, and rendezvoused with his mistress. This proved better than when Tim made an appearance to yell, scream, and piss the employees off.

“Just finished, excuse me for a second,” she said.

Carrie stood up and walked the five feet to her secretary’s desk. She handed the return over to Carol and said, “Here’s the last one, can you please have the courier deliver the return to the Miltons’ home address. They’ll the sign the 1040 and file it this afternoon,” she said.

“Consider it done,” Carol said.

“Then go home and take tomorrow off.  You deserve it. And thanks again for all of your hard work,” Carrie said.
Carrie turned back to her boss and said, “Now we’re done.”

“Fantastic. Now you can send out all the bills. Do you have a few minutes?” Tim said, gesturing towards his office.

“Absolutely,” she said and followed him into the plush corner office next door.

So this is it. He’s about to make me a partner! Finally, I deserve it.

“Carrie, you’ve done an outstanding job this tax season. You run this place and I’d be completely lost without you. It’s like you don’t even need me,” Tim said.

No shit.

“You proved yourself invaluable with the capital-loss transaction. Brilliant work. You saved the client $50,000,000 in capital gains tax,” Tim said.

“How lucky was he. First he discovers his vacation home in Chile was perched on top of a Rhenium mine.  He sold the home and the underlying mineral rights for $250,000,000.  Then we help him evade the enormous tax hit,” Carrie said.

“I never knew rhenium proved so lucrative. They use it to make jet engines,” Tim said.

“Did he pay our $5,000,000 fee yet?” Carrie asked.

“Like I said, you are invaluable to this firm. You work hard, your brilliant, you handle to staff well, and maintain a harmonized team,” Tim said.

Why is he avoiding my question? Why is he being so nice to me?

“But,” Tim said.

Uh Oh.

“I need you to fire two people tomorrow,” Tim said.

“What? The staff worked so hard this tax season. I can’t fire anyone,” Carrie said.

“Then one of them will be you. And by the way, I’m not promoting you to partner this year,” Tim said.

Carrie froze, shocked by his words. She wanted to rip him a new one right now. How dare he not promote her to partner?. The greedy bastard didn’t want to share the profits.  The thought of quitting entered her head, but she refrained, for now. She maintained her professionalism and her dignity. She didn’t want to create a scene at the office.

She would exit gracefully, gather her personal items, and put her letter of resignation on Tim’s desk after he left.

“I’m sorry I can’t make you a partner yet, but next year I will. Oh, and due to the depressed economy, no bonuses or raises this year, period,” Tim said. He stood up, grabbed his sports coat, and left.

You fucking asshole!

Carrie stood up as the shock settled in.  Dazed, she walked to her office and sat in front of her laptop.  She started typing:

“Effective immediately, I hereby resign.”


A new email popped up on her screen. Carrie gasped at the headline.

IRS announces Whistle Blower award

Carrie read the latest IRS bulletin with piqued curiosity.  She couldn’t believe the IRS would award whistleblowers 15-30% of collected taxes of at least $10,000,000. The sense of karma flowed through her veins.  This was a sign.
She deleted her resignation letter and walked to the file room.  She retrieved the enormous boxes related to the tax evasion transaction and walked to the copy room. She unfastened the staples, loaded the first stack of paper onto the feeder, and pressed the green copy button.  She walked to the break room and retrieved a Red Bull from the refrigerator, prepared for another long night.

Two years later

“We’re in trouble,” Tim said.

“Why? What happened?” Carrie asked, hiding her smugness.

“We’re being sued,” Tim said, punching Carrie’s desk with his fist. He paced back and forth in her office like a caged cheetah.

“I’m not a partner, I don’t think I can be sued,” Carrie said.

Tim shot her a dirty look, obviously pissed about the accuracy of her statement.  “Do you remember our client from

Chile with the Rhenium mine?” Tim asked.

“I’ll never forget that transaction for as long as I live,” Carrie said, waiting to pull the rug out from under her asshole, soon to be ex-boss.

“The IRS audited him and disallowed the hocus pocus loss transaction.  He owes them $50,000,000 in capital gains tax plus penalties and interest. He’s suing my firm for the $5,000,000 fee I charged him when we created his phony $50,000,000 capital loss to offset his gain,” Tim said.

“Do you still have the $5,000,000 fee you collected?” Carrie asked.

“No! I used it as a down payment to buy the strip mall. Now the value dropped in half and I owe more than the damn thing is worth. I’m ruined,” Tim said, slumping his head in defeat.

“I almost resigned after the transaction because you didn’t make me a partner like you’d promised. Funny thing is, not making partner worked to my advantage in the end,” Carrie said.  She smiled, no longer able to hide her happiness at her newfound wealth and her dick-for-a-boss’s well deserved demise.

“Why are you smiling? I’m going to have to sell my practice and you’ll be out of a job.  Unless you want to buy the accounting firm from me?” Tim asked.

“Thanks for the offer, but I’m retiring,” Carrie said.  She showed Tim the check she’d just received from the United States Treasury in the amount of $10,800,000.

“What’s this?” Tim asked, with a priceless look of incredulity.

“I’m the whistle blower,” Carrie said.

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