Publish Novellas 20 June 2021
EPISODE 3 – INTERROGATE
Armed with compelling evidence, the detective is ready to begin questioning the key suspect, in this mystery conclusion.
Outside of the attorney’s office, in his car, Stevens asks for search warrants and backup squad cars to surround the home and office of Mr. Maurice Bingham, AKA “ScreamFillled.” He then calls the Medical Examiner and asks her to compare the cookies with the type sold on the ScreamFilled website.
Executing the search warrant at the ScreamFilled office, the police confiscate samples of the product, the gumball containers, and computer records for courier service, and bank records. They bring Mr. Bingham in for questioning.
The attorney provided the perfect roadmap. Dara Foster confirms that cookies with the victim match the ScreamFilled variety, not the package in the wastebasket. However, they can find no banking irregularities and Mr. Bingham does not match the description of the deliveryman.
Detective Stevens feels he has enough information for the interrogation. He walks into the room, placing one of the gumball spheres, a bag of ScreamFilled macaroon cookies and a face-down crime scene photo of the victim on the table.
“Good evening, Mr. Bingham. Sorry for the wait. Can I get you something to drink? Perhaps you would like a glass of milk to have with these cookies. They are your cookies, aren’t they?”
“Yes, I distribute them. Hard pass on the milk. Why am I here?” asks Bingham.
Trying to ease a confession out of him, the detective asks, “Why do you think, Mr. Bingham?”
“From what I can see, you have invited me to a tea party.”
Using a little more persuasion, “Perhaps you can tell me about the activities leading to your restraining order. Then we can see about getting you that cup of tea.”
“The one from that sleezeball. Sylvester Richardson?”
“Is there another?”
“No. I licensed the gumball technology from Sylvester and built up a good amount of customers. Some of the machines, I sell wholesale. Those companies gain customers. When they reach into the thousands, Sylvester says he owns my customer list and the lists of my wholesale customers.
“I tell him he’s nuts. So he has his lawyer send me letters threatening to shut me down unless I pay more licensing fees to use my customer list. So I published my story online. Soon others posted similar stories. That’s when the attorney said I was harassing and defaming her client. So I received a restraining order.”
“That must have upset you.”
“Of course it did!” Bingham replies.
“Enough to do this?” while turning over the crime scene photo.
“What is that? God, no!”
“This is the solution to your distress,” Mr. Bingham.
”You think I killed Sylvester? No way!”
“Well, you have motive and the expertise to pull off something like this, Mr. Bingham.”
“But I am named in a restraining order. The only place I have ever seen Sylvester is at his attorney’s office.”
“Conspiring has the same penalty as if you did it yourself. We are combing through your financial records. If you paid someone, we’ll find it.”
“It doesn’t make any sense. Why would I pay someone to leave evidence that incriminates me. Why would I kill someone and go to work the next day to be arrested? Can’t you see? Someone set me up.”
“Wait here. I’ll have someone bring you that tea.”
Stevens is suspicious of how everything was so neatly handed to him on a silver platter. It dawns on him that all those patents must be worth millions of dollars. He marches back to his team.
“Follow the money. Who gets the money from the patents when Richardson is dead?”
Thumbing through a stack of papers, one of the investigating officers says, “That would be… Alison McCarthy.”
Slapping his head, Stevens shouts, “The attorney! She sat across from me confessing how she committed the crime herself. With a baseball cap, loose shirt, and slacks, she could resemble a male delivery person from a distance. He would certainly let her in without a struggle.
“She likely asked him to look up something on the computer. When he turned his back to her, she applied the chloroform to his mouth and framed the person sitting in our interrogation room. We still have a search warrant for her office. Let’s bring her in!” urges Stevens.
“What do we do with Mr. Bingham?” asks one of the officers.
“Get him a cup of tea until we get back.”
Police cars surround the office of Alison McCarthy. With no response to knocks, they breach the door. All the file cabinets and desk drawers are empty, as they likely were earlier in the day.
“That’s why she preferred to feed us that well-rehearsed story in lieu of us searching the premises. All she had to do was take the computers after we left. The only thing remaining on her desk are remnants of a macaroon,” Stevens shouts.
Officers surround her dark home. It is vacant with a brokerage sign out front. McCarthy has obviously been planning this for awhile. She has another identity and has transferred funds to an offshore account.
“She committed the perfect crime, told me how she did it, served us a patsy, and escaped without a trace. To mock me, she left crumbs on her desk as if to say, ‘That’s the way the cookie crumbles.’”