Mystery Theme 5

Chapter Five - The Confession

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Inspector Grey

Inspector Grey looked around the assembled group in the Lounge. After several hours of questioning and searching the house from top to bottom; he believed that he had gathered enough information to make an arrest.

The nine guests, the maid and the butler, all waited with baited breath. Any moment now, the Inspector would answer the questions they had all been wondering: who had killed Dr. Black, what weapon did they use and where was the deed done?

Walking around the group slowly, the Inspector began: "From the start, it was perfectly clear to me that the murderer of Dr. Black was the person who had been stealing items from Tudor Close for quite some time. There seemed to be other mischievous goings-on, like embezzlement, money lending and several untoward relationships - but Mr. Slate-Grey's information that Dr. Black was intending to set a trap for the 'magpie' that had been robbing him, led to the conclusion that he had caught his 'magpie' in the act - but the trap had backfired, leading to his death.

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"Now that we have the motive, let us look at the evidence. Six items that my men found around the house could have easily been put to use as an instrument of murder: a candlestick from the Dining Room, an ornamental dagger from the Lounge, a piece of lead piping from the Conservatory, Dr. Black's revolver from the Study, a rope tie-back from the Ballroom or a spanner from the Kitchen. Having pieced together all of the accounts from the evenings activities, five of these six items were last seen where they were in-fact found. The sixth piece was unexplained: why was the dagger in the Kitchen?

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"Next - the room. Dr. Black told Mr. Slate-Grey that he had left some valuable items on display in order to tempt his thief. While investigating, I found that many of these items had been disturbed or even damaged at some point. Again, through my interviews, I have explained all of these inconsistencies - apart from one. Miss Scarlett tells me that when she was in the Conservatory earlier in the evening, the marble statuette of the horse's head was facing into the room - so why did we find it facing the wall?

"Finally we come to the culprit. Immediately I ruled out five of you for various reasons such as being locked out of the house at the time of the murder, not being in the country when the thefts began - or just simple lack of motive. This left me with six suspects with strong motives for theft: Scarlett, Mustard, White, Green, Peacock and Plum. All six of you seem to be very clumsy with your valuables and possessions as I found many of your items scattered about the house - ranging from a hairclip to a sapphire bracelet! Accounting for their locations was a very complex task - but one item in particular, shone out like a beacon - as everyone went to bed, Mrs. White was clearly seen drinking from her hipflask. So what was it doing in the Lounge the next morning?

With several small gasps, all eyes turned on Mrs. White, who was shaking in her seat. "Yes, Mrs. White" Inspector Grey continued, "All the evidence leads me to believe that you killed Dr. Black, with the Dagger in the Conservatory!"

Silence descended on the group as they all held their breath, waiting for Mrs. White to respond. After a few moments, she raised her head and everyone could see bright red rings around her eyes.

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Mrs. White

"Yes, it's true." White said quietly, "I did it. I killed Dr. Black - but… but… he forced me into it."

"Tell us what happened." Inspector Grey said calmly.

After a brief pause, Mrs. White let out a sigh and explained: "Do you realise what it's like? Seeing all of your friends with so much money and spending it like water? All the beautiful dresses and the expensive jewellery - all of my jewellery is paste - fake. So I began taking the odd small thing from Tudor Close - only a piece of silver here or a china ornament there. But as the weeks went on and I saw how easy it was, the items I took got more and more expensive."

"Then, last night, I saw all of Black's richest pieces that were usually locked away, just lying around the place. Easy to take. As we were going up to bed, Vivienne told me of the statuette in the Conservatory. It sounded exquisite - and a perfect size to fit in my suitcase. So during the night, under cover of the thunderstorm I crept back downstairs and headed for the Conservatory.

"As I walked down the hallway, I had an eerie feeling that I was being followed. I told my self off for being foolish and continued on my journey. If only I had trusted my instincts, I could have gone back to bed and nothing would have happened. But greed had me in its clutches.

"I was lifting the horse's head from its stand when David entered the room, brandishing a dagger. He threatened me. He said it would all end then and there. I was petrified. He lunged at me with the dagger - then… then… I'm not quite sure how it happened. Despite his strength and agility, he fumbled… I had the dagger in my hands… I struck back…

"As quickly as I could, I tried to cover my tracks. I replaced the horse's head, but in the darkness and in my hurry, I must have put it on back-to-front. I dragged David's body to the bathroom, so that no-one would know where it had happened. I cleaned up a few spots of blood between the rooms and went to the Kitchen to wash the dagger.

"That's when the shock hit me. It flowed over me like a wave. I began to shake. I took my hipflask out of my pocket, but found it empty. I new there was brandy in the Lounge, so I went straight in there to get some. After a several large gulps, I pulled myself together and went to bed. I just can't believe I left my hipflask in the Lounge. How foolish! I had been so careful to cover my tracks."