Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Murder of Darlene Flynn

I can't tell you how long it took me to figure out what I was going to do in Mari's Murder Most Foul book for this month!  It might have been because I had just worked in it a month ago (for Lori).  As always, the inspiration eventually hit me.  This time it came in the form of a story I heard on the news.  It was about the recent murder of a Southern California woman named Darlene Flynn.  Darlene was an avid shoe collector.  In fact, she held the Guinness Book of World records for owning an astonishing 16,400 pairs of shoes!  This is her story...

Darlene Flynn, 58, was known among the collecting community as "The Shoe Lady" or "The Queen of Sole."

Ms. Flynn started her collection following  a divorce in 2001.

The pages fold upwards to read:
A near-obsessive shoe collector, Ms. Flynn sold decorative shoes and nearly every part of her home, including a purpose built garage, was covered in shoes or shoe-related paraphernalia.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she first set the record for the largest shoe-related collection in 2006 with 7,765 items in her possession.

The pages below read:
By 2013, she had broken her own record with a collection of 16,400 pairs of shoes estimated to be worth about $500,000.

Among the more famous items are a replica of Cinderella's glass slipper, Dorothy's red shoes from the Wizard of Oz, an array of Betty Boop shoes and a vast collection of miniatures.

Next, the pages fold outwards to read from left to right:
Ms. Flynn and her boyfriend appeared on a cable television program entitled "My Collection Obsession."

On the show, her boyfriend discussed sharing his life with an "ultra-collector."  He was even filmed preparing her a shoe-shaped breakfast in bed.

She even named her dogs "Shoesy" and "Bootsy" in keeping with the theme.

Her goal was to "dance with Ellen DeGeneres in my light-up shoes!"

The middle pages then fold downward to read:

On July 22, 2013, Ms. Flynn was found dead in her backyard pool in Menifee, California under suspicious circumstances.  Initial police reports indicate she was killed as the result of blunt force trauma.

Her ex-boyfriend, Justin Charles Smith, 29, was arrested on charges of murder after he was seen fleeing the property.

The center section is finally revealed.  When the pages are fully opened, the spread looks like this:  

In the center, I placed the chalk outline of a dead body--wearing heels.  The body is surrounded by crime scene tape.  It reads:  "The Queen of Sole is Dead" and "I'll be surrounded by shoes when I die."


  1. Wow. What a story and I love how you brought it to life. I'm going to steal your idea for my writer's group. Who'd think about a Guiness record keeper being murdered. Sad but fascinating.

  2. Totally cool. What an interesting story and a magnificent obsession. I love the way you put this together!