The crime scene is in Grove City, Ohio, Franklin County.
With all the ingredients of the setting in the American province that is dear to crime writers.
It’s the 21st March 1998, the first day of spring, and four men are having lunch in a restaurant.
A waiter serves one of them some cranberry juice, perhaps (but we will never know for sure) chosen for dessert. This man, immediately after the first sip, suddenly gets up as if he’s gone crazy, he holds his hands around his neck, he loses his breath, runs out into the parking lot, collapses to the ground and pronounces his last words “they poisoned me”.
Steve Robinette, the lead detective on the case, collected the testimonies of everyone in the parking lot, including the final disturbing words of a man immediately identified as Stanley Meyer, a citizen of Grove City. His brother Stephen was one of the four at the table, and he heard the words spoken at the end of his life. Robinette is not one for interminable investigations. He performed a toxicology analysis, which gave no significant results, and he also spoke to the coroner, who attributed his death to a brain aneurysm, compatible with previous episodes of hypertension. In just three months, he closed the case file, sealed it with a coloured elastic band and wrote on the cover “death by natural causes”. Formally, the case was now resolved.
In 2015 Robinette retired from the police force, and devoted himself to politics, becoming president of the city council, and in 2019 he also ran for mayor.
But we can all rest assured that in all these years he never forgot the case of Stanley Meyer, the inventor of the water-powered car who, in 1998, got up from a table at a restaurant to run into a car park, some say just to leave us a message: “they poisoned me, and it’s because of what I’m doing to revolutionize the car world”. The coroner’s report contained the following statement: “no poison known to American science has been found”. But maybe the search for Meyer’s enemies should have gone beyond American soil. We have to go back to 1975, when Meyer, who spent his life patenting technical solutions of every kind, from the banking sector to, ironically, heart monitoring, decided to explore the automotive world. In that year, the effects of the Middle East oil embargo, which had also led to a crisis in the United States, were still considerable, with a significant drop in car sales.