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"That's a Lie!" by Hy Conrad

See-n-Solve #90 - August 2014

Orig. appeared Feb 2005

Mystery

Background
Learn about Amy and Harry Silver


Crime Scene See-n-Solve

I've been looking into your father's recent cases," David Locklear hemmed. Amy and the captain were on their way to a country restaurant for a late lunch, but it felt more like an inquisition than a date. "You seem to show up at a lot of his crime scenes."

"So?" Amy was defensive. "You invited me to a crime scene once." "True," he admitted. "Frankly, I'm concerned about how much Lieutenant Silver relies on your opinion. I mean, it's kind of dicey having a civilian like you...hold on." The captain's dashboard was ringing.

Locklear listened for a long stretch then hung up. "I'm afraid we've got another crime scene." He looked embarrassed. "Do you mind a detour?"

Crime Scene See-n-SolveAmy laughed. "Go ahead."

During the drive, he briefed her. The victim was Clarence Falk, author of self-help books. "Mr. Falk has a writer's cottage on his property. Falk went into the cottage around 10 A.M. Shortly before noon, his business manager discovered his body in the cottage's office, stabbed in the chest.

"Now here's the conundrum," he continued. "Four people were on the property at the time. Each one accuses one of the others."

They arrived at the cottage, one hundred yards or so from the main house. The building consisted of an office and a lounge with a connecting door. Both rooms had doors to the outside.

The witnesses were gathered in the cottage lounge. Falk's 19-year-old daughter, Misty, was the first to volunteer her story.

"It was Vern." She pointed to the middle-aged gardener. "I saw him knocking on Daddy's outside door around 11:15. Daddy let him in, and they started arguing. The two of them fought all the time."

"That's a lie," Vern shouted back. "It was Mrs. Falk. I was outside this window around 11:30, watering flowers." He pointed to the window boxes. "I heard a loud slap followed by other noises. Mrs. Falk ran out of the office and through this room, with a fresh bruise around her eye. She went straight out the other door. Didn't even turn to see me. An abusive husband; there's your motive."

"That's a lie," whimpered Mrs. Falk. "Kevin's the one with a motive." She pointed to the business manager. "Around 10:30 a.m., I picked up this phone. Clarence was on the office extension talking to Kevin. Clarence was boiling mad about something. Kevin said he would arrive at 11:30 to straighten things out."

"That's a lie," Kevin growled. "But I know who had a weapon." The pointing came full circle, with Kevin aiming a finger at Misty. "I got here around 11:45. I was about to knock on Clarence's door when I glanced in through this window. Misty was in here with a kitchen knife. I saw her wipe the blade off, then use it to pry open that manuscript box. She removed some papers, then left. A few seconds later, I went into the office and found his body."

Locklear took Amy aside. "For a self-help writer, he certainly fought with a lot of people. Any of them could have lost control and stabbed him."

Crime Scene See-n-Solve

Illustrations by Josh Neufeld