Solve is the interactive crime podcast that presents you with a murder mystery inspired by a true crime, all done in an exciting narrative format with great casts and superior sound design. Then you get a chance to try out your investigative skills and crack the case before the episode ends. This episode, Pretty Dead, tells us about the case of Leanne L’Notti, owner of a Miami hair salon. We hear her on the phone with someone when she starts pleading with an unknown assailant. She drops the phone and runs away, but we hear gunshots, and a heavy thud. Then a gun is reloaded and fired again. Who killed Leanne? And why?
Her boyfriend, Mario, is devastated by the murder; he reveals that Leanne had a stalker, who he claims is “one sick puppy.” We hear some of the harassment Leanne was experiencing, from strange, perverted phone calls to flyers all over the streets of Leanne’s head on an adult film star’s body. Her salon’s receptionist, Aaron, jokes that he thought the flyers would be “good for business,” but that Leanne “almost had a conniption.” He says the harassment was happening the whole time he was working for Leanne. Leanne tells Mario all the harassment started only a couple weeks after a competitor, Sophia, opened up a salon on the same street as Leanne’s, and she’s sure it’s her; the same day she hires Aaron, her tires are slashed, and she storms into Sophia’s salon screaming and accusing her. For her part, Sophia says she tried to befriend Leanne, but that she was too jealous: “She started telling everyone I was obsessed with her when, in reality, it was the other way around.”
Leanne meets an old friend of Mario’s named Carl, and over drinks she tells him that she’s been dealing with a stalker. He says he’s “in the business of problem-solving,” so if she ever needs someone to handle her harasser, he’s available. Mario laughs it off, but Leanne sees he’s serious and asks for more information. She’s in a good mood the next morning, when Aaron calls her and says that Mario is cheating on her with Sophia. When Leanne confronts him, she reveals that he works for the Mob, and we see a very different Mario to the devastated boyfriend from earlier: he tells Leanne that if she says “one word” to Sophia about his connections, “it’ll be the end of you.” She calls Sophia telling her to admit she’s her stalker, and Sophia calls her “coo-coo bananas.” Then, Leanne calls Carl, saying “operation blowout...is a go.”
However, she discovers one of the pornographic flyers in Aaron’s bag, and decides she was wrong about Sophia; Aaron must have been her stalker the whole time. Aaron claims he was taking down the flyers, not putting them up, and says that he’s always been “a real friend” to Leanne, but she fires him anyway. She tells Carl to call off the hit on Sophia, but still gets arrested for conspiracy to murder. Sophia says she was “terrified” when Leanne got out on bail, but that it’s terrible she was murdered; “She got mixed up with some bad, bad people.”
Who was angry enough with Leanne to shoot her? Mario, her cheating ex? Sophia, wanting to eliminate her business competition? Aaron, who may have been behind the stalking and harassment? Or Carl, the assassin with ties to the mob, angry that she dissolved their agreement? See if you can figure it out before the end of this episode of Solve.
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