Publish Novellas 29 September 2021
EPISODE 3 – DISCOVERY
The detective gathers many clues pointing to a man who has been missing for 20 years until new evidence comes to light.
Walking back into the interrogation room, Detective Stevens asks Alex, “Do both tenants pay you in cash?”
“No, just the one who lives in the back.”
“Write down the apartment address for me and I will have an officer take you to your truck… Thank you.”
Detective Stevens visits the duplex apartment on Sunday and Monday without response. On Tuesday, he interviews the neighbor in the front apartment who offers little, if any, information about the recluse living in the back.
On Wednesday morning, Detective Stevens receives a phone call from Graciela.
“Come quickly, Mr. Stevens! Mr. Archibald is here, at the house.”
Detective Stevens arrives at the crime scene home of 64-year-old Arthur Archibald. All the clues have been restaged, sans the number tags. This time the body of Mr. Archibald lays within the area of the prior outline.
Wearing a smoking jacket, he apparently is the one who smoked the vintage cigar before drinking 20-year-old Scotch laced with arsenic. What might seem like supposition is supported by his notarized last will and testament in the pocket of the victim’s smoking jacket:
“I have lived through some good times. But when the last of my family died, so did my motivation to pursue further aspirations. Homes and automobiles are just things that require constant maintenance. So after the sale of my last house as a Realtor, I cashed out my bank account, bought a case of Scotch whisky, and moved into the rear apartment of my duplex.
“With failing health, I have contemplated for many months how I might end this chapter of my life. With last week’s rehearsal, now is time for the final curtain call. My Scotch has come of age, and is so sweet to the palate. How good it was with the Cuban cigar. But don’t dwell on me.
“I leave my duplex to Alex Thomas, its loyal caretaker. He may choose to reside there, rent it out at fair market value, or sell the property. To Graciela Rodriguez, I leave the home she dutifully cleaned. It’s in a neighborhood in which she might only visit as a domestic worker 20 years ago. Now she can be a peer with her neighbors.
“Thank you each for all you’ve done. In the apartment, I still have $127,050 tucked away. Please give me a modest, but dignified funeral and equally divide the remainder between the two of you. There are ten more bottles of Scotch for the officers who have been baffled by this case.”
The coroner takes the body away. Officer Jones bags the glass and other evidence, again. The lab confirms the presence of arsenic in the glass, not in the bottle. According to the medical examiner, suicide by poisoning is the cause of death.
An invitation to the funeral is sent to Mr. Archibald’s niece who does not respond. With his generosity and lack of friends, the captain agrees to offer the eulogy and provide a 21-gun graveside salute. At the services are Hellen Rafferty, the owner of the last property Mr. Archibald sold, Alex with his family, Graciela with her family, and 50 police officers, who enjoy 20-year-old Scotch whiskey afterwards.
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