See-n-Solve #018 – Four Guilty Suspects

by Hy Conrad

Mystery

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The good news is we have a confession.” Harry Silver led his daughter into the dead psychiatrist’s townhouse. It was a bright, cloudless afternoon and he wasn’t in the mood to face another corpse. “The bad news is we have four confessions. I tell you, I’m going to need a psychiatrist myself by the time this one’s over.”

The victim was Dr. Vivian Ace, a therapist who specialized in rare disorders. “She was an expert in treating I.G.S.–Imaginary Guilt Syndrome.”

Amy had heard of it. “Those are the kooks who bother the police, confessing to crimes they didn’t commit.”

“Right.” Detective Silver stepped into a homey office where his forensics team was examining the scene. “Dr. Ace held group therapy for her I.G.S. patients. The four patients came for their weekly session today and discovered the body together. All four confessed. Normally, I’d kick these sick losers out on their ears.”

“But one of them may be telling the truth.”

Harry made a face. “They’re the best suspects we have at the moment.”

Amy stared down at the modestly dressed, middle-aged woman with the letter opener imbedded in the center of her back. A uniformed officer was dusting the handle.

“The suspects all arrived within a minute of each other,” Harry said, consulting his notes. “Dr. Ace didn’t answer the doorbell, but the front door was unlocked. The suspects came inside and knocked on her office door, which was open. This is how they saw her.”

“Did any of them come inside the room?”

Harry flipped a page. “No. They stood in the doorway, just gaping and looking around. Then they ran to the hall phone and dialed 911. They were all shouting out their confessions at the same time. You should hear the tape.”

“So, you think one of them arrived early, killed the doctor and left?”

The uniform had finished his job. “No prints on the weapon,” he announced. “It does seem odd,” Harry mumbled. “Killing someone, then wiping off your prints and leaving the scene. I thought these guys wanted to get punished.”

“Very odd,” Amy agreed. “Do you know who was the first to confess? Who was the last?”

“We’ll check the tape, but it was pretty much a dead heat. Is this important?”

“Maybe. Maybe one of our sickos wasn’t so sick after all. But he would still have to confess, wouldn’t he? Just like the others.”

Something made Amy glance over to the door. Four strangely eager faces crowded around the open doorway, recreating the way they must have looked on first seeing the body.

 

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