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"The Bubble Bath Murder" by Hy Conrad

See-n-Solve #94 - December 2014

Orig. appeared May 2000

Mystery

Background
Learn about Amy and Harry Silver

Previous
"Too Many Detectives"
Can you solve the mystery?


Crime Scene See-n-Solve

Captain Locklear apologized again for bringing Amy to a murder scene. It had seemed the right thing to do because (a) he and Amy had been on a date, their first official date, when the call came in on Locklear's cell phone, and (b) the circumstances, as he explained, might benefit from a woman's perspective.

They were standing in the bathroom of a cute, decidedly feminine bungalow. The bathtub was surrounded by candles and filled with the faded foam of a bubble bath. It was also filled with Janet Olaf, a young advertising executive who'd been strangled to death.

The responding officer read them his report. "It looks like Miss Olaf was taking a bath before getting dressed for a date. Her date says she didn't answer the door when he knocked. That was around 7:35 p.m. He says he went home, thinking he'd been stood up. Then at 8:00, another male friend showed up. This guy arrived at about the same time as the victim's roommate. They entered the bungalow together and discovered her like this."

"A date - plus a male friend?" Amy asked.

The young officer blushed. "Miss Olaf was juggling three boyfriends, so says her roommate. The third guy is a co-worker. He and Janet went shopping together after work. She bought candles and bubble bath and told him she was just going to relax at home tonight. He dropped her at her door around 6:30."

Amy bit her lip. "So, the murder occurred between 6:30 and 8:00."

"I'd say between 6:40 and 7:15," interjected the captain.

Amy could see his point. It would have taken Janet a few minutes to undress and fill the tub. On the other end, she would want to be dried off at least fifteen minutes before her date was scheduled to show at 7:30.

"We're assuming she was attacked in the tub," Amy said.

"Right. Which means the killer got into the house by himself -- or herself. Janet could have given a boyfriend a key, but all three deny it. Would she give them keys?"

Amy thought of her own preferences. "Probably not."

"The fact that she stayed in the tub is unusual. It means she either fell asleep and didn't hear the killer enter, or she felt perfectly comfortable staying in there while entertaining a guest."

"Did the three men know about each other?" The officer checked his notes. "According to the roommate, no. Which could be our motive."

"And the roommate?"

"Carol Conover. She and Janet weren't on the best of terms. It seems the date for tonight was a guy who had just dumped Carol."

"Do you have their statements?" Amy asked. Locklear gave her a penetrating glance. "Statements and photos. Plus what you see here. Any ideas?"

Crime Scene See-n-Solve

Illustrations by Josh Neufeld