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"A Picture-Perfect Homicide" by Hy Conrad

See-n-Solve #101 - July 2015

Orig. appeared Apr. 2000


Learn about Amy and Harry Silver

Crime Scene See-n-Solve

Harry and Amy walked out of the theater, disappointed in yet another police action movie. "So unrealistic," Amy complained as they turned toward the exit doors at the multiplex.

"Well, that mystery we saw in the coming attractions, that looked good."

"An Old English Murder", Amy recalled. "It did look good, except the trailer was so long it gave away the whole plot."

Harry scratched his head. "Not the whole plot. They didn't give away the ending."

"Maybe they didn't mean to, but I certainly knew." They had stopped by a display for the upcoming film. Amy pointed to one of the photographs. "Look at that scene. It tells you right there who the killer is."

Her father frowned. "How do you figure?"

"All right," Amy said, folding her arms. "The story begins with the poor old widow having guests in for tea. That pipe-smoking professor sees a figurine on her mantle. 'Good Lord,' Amy bellowed in a funny imitation of the professor. "'An Egyptian funerary statue. Matilda, it's priceless.'"

Harry remembered. "Old Matilda is amazed by her good luck, and the three guests watch as she wraps the little statue in a handkerchief and buries it in the coal scuttle for safekeeping."

"The professor, the society girl and the old doctor," Amy added, pointing to their pictures. "The fourth suspect, Matilda's playboy nephew, arrives later, completely drunk. He doesn't even come inside but falls asleep in his car.

"Later that night, the shadowy killer, wearing gloves, sneaks into the old lady's cottage. The widow hears a noise and sits up in bed. She gets up and wanders into the drawing room. 'Hello? Who's there?' And bam - she suddenly gets stabbed in the back.

"The next morning, they're all in the village square, within shouting distance of the cottage, when the nephew knocks on the door. Aunt Matilda doesn't answer, so he pushes it open. He sees the body, shouts 'murder' and the others come running in."

Harry tapped the poster. "And this is the moment - all of them discovering the murdered woman together."

"Exactly," Amy said. "The movie probably goes on for another hour, but the answer's all here in the photo."

Crime Scene See-n-Solve

Illustrations by Josh Neufeld