User Avatar Image

Solve It Yourself Mystery

posted by Noname215 on - last edited - Viewed by 345 users

Here, you can either post your own, or one you find on the internet, and try to let others solve it.
Here is one I happened to come by.


"Ken Moyer was a plagiarist, a thief," Sheri Lathrp said. She was speaking to Police Chief Tom Wayfare. "He stole story ideas, characters, plot twists...anything he could."

"Yeah," Henry Dana agreed. "Then he'd crank out a detailed plot outline, get it to Hawthorn Publishers before us, and we'd have to rework our books because no publisher will put out two similar books."

"So you all hated him?"

"We write suspense novels," Bert Ticotin explained. "The plot is everything. Of course we hated him."

"Then why were you all here together?"

"We had no choice," said Bert. "We're all under contract to Hawthorn. They arranged for all of us to spend a week here getting our new books outlined and organized."

"And you all claim to have been asleep last night when we figure Moyer was killed?"

All three authors nodded.

"Okay. You may all return to your rooms, but don't leave this property until I say so."

After the writers had left, Wayfare strolled back through the spring growth of the Maryland woods to the office of Jack Comstock, owner of Comstock's Retreat.

"What do you know about all this?" Wayfare asked.

"Not much. I found Moyer's body this morning by the fountain as I was going to the writers' condo units to wake them for breakfast. We rent out rooms to authors who want to work on their books with no interruptions. Our apartments have no telephones, no televisions, no radios...nothing that might distract the writers from their work."

"And their publishers pay for this?"

"Not always. In fact, usually the writers come here on their own. Hawthorn's sending us four of their people is very unusual."

"Do you believe Ken Moyer was a literary thief?"

"I've heard others who came here make comments about not discussing a work-in-progress with him. These three are not the only ones to accuse Moyer of plagiarism."

"And these writers -- where do they originally come from?"

"All over," Comstock said. "Bert Ticotin is from London, Henry Dana is from Chicago, and Sheri Lathrop is from Portland, Oregon. The retreat is well known. My family's been running it for three generations. As I said, the only unusual thing about this group is that they were sent here by their publisher and didn't come on their own."

Chief Wayfare was about to ask another question when he was interrupted by his lieutenant.

"We just checked Moyer's apartment," the lieutenant said. "It's been torn apart. Somebody was pretty desperate to find something in there."

"I wonder if it was a plot synopsis, something Moyer had stolen." Wayfare rubbed his chin.

"Oh, and another thing," the lieutenant added. "The medical examiner pried open Moyer's closed fist. This was in it."

He handed Wayfare a crumbled ball of paper. Wayfare carefully opened up the wadded paper to reveal a note written in spiked handwriting. It was dated 12/4.

"I found an item you might be interested in, a rough outline for someone's plot that didn't make it into the paper shredder. If you're interested, meet me at the fountain at 10 tonight." It was unsigned.

"Well, looks like we were right about the time of death," Wayfare said. "Someone lured Moyer out last night, then bashed his head in with a rock."

"But who?" the lieutenant asked.

"According to Mr. Comstock, his only clients this week are Lathrop, Dana, Ticotin and Moyer, so that narrows our suspects down to three, four if you count Comstock himself. And I think I have an idea I know which one it was."

Who does Wayfare suspect murdered Ken Moyer? What clue led him in this direction?

10 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Bert Ticotin - the note was dated 12/4, the American authors would have dated it 4/12...

  • @skeeter said: Bert Ticotin - the note was dated 12/4, the American authors would have dated it 4/12...



    Very good.

  • The first thing Wayfare realized was that the killer was not looking for a story in Moyer's room. He was looking for the note that was found clutched in Moyer's hand. That note contained a sample of the killer's handwriting, plus a clue that would lead the police directly to him.

    The date on the note was written 12/4, the British and European way of denoting April 12. Americans tend to write the month first and would have written 4/12. Since the season was spring, the writer couldn't have meant December.

    Bert Ticotin became the chief's prime suspect.

    A comparison of Ticotin's handwriting and the unusual spiked writing on the note would later prove that Ticotin wrote the note luring Moyer to his death.

  • There had never been a murder at Wallaby Lodge, so Chief Anders was inclined to use the form labeled "Accident Report."
    It was going to be fairly easy to write. A vacationing couple named Frisby had gone rowing on Lake Wallaby, and only one had come back. But then, the owner of the Lodge, Mrs. Burley, had taken the Chief aside and said the M word.

    "What makes you think that?" Anders said, raising his left eyebrow.

    "Well, I don't know for sure that he drowned her," Mrs. Burley said. "But there's something peculiar about that man."

    "Describe him."

    "I can do that in one word-- cheap! I mean cheap like you wouldn't believe! His wife told me that this was their first vacation in 20 years."

    Anders, unimpressed, lowered his eyebrow.

    "But there's more." Mrs. Burley said. "He wouldn't rent a car at the airport. They hitchhiked all the way to the Lodge! They took a single room, and his wife slept on the sofa. He even carried his own bags upstairs so he wouldn't have to tip the bellboy."

    The Chief still wasn't too impressed, but he decided to speak to Frisby.

    "Sure, I know the value of a dollar," he said. "But my wife was tighter than me. Her father left her a trust fund of almost half a million, and she wouldn't let me touch a dime."

    The eyebrow went up again.

    "Does the money go to you now?" he asked.

    "Sure," Frisby said blandly. "Why shouldn't it? Excuse me. I have to see Mrs. Burley."

    Later, the Chief learned that Frisby had asked the Lodge owner for a refund for his foreshortened stay.

    "You see what I mean?" Mrs. Burley said. "Isn't there some way you can prove that man drowned his wife?"

    "There weren't any witnesses," the Chief said thoughtfully. "But maybe there's another way."

    He thumbed through the phone book for the number of the airline. When his call was placed, he listened in satisfaction to the answer he received. Then he went upstairs and placed Frisby under arrest.

    Why did the Chief call the airline? What did he learn that made him arrest Frisby?

  • I was just thinking I should have spoiler-tagged my response, in case others wanted to think about it before seeing my idea, so I've just added them. That would probably be a good idea for all future guesses.

  • Warpspeed got it just to let you know.

  • It was a good, clean bust and Detective Phil Weaver was feeling satisfied. He took the briefcase full of cash and the bags of heroin and locked them in his trunk. When he turned back to face the other two plainclothes detectives, Weaver couldn't help noticing a wistful expression on their faces.

    "That's a lot of dough," Murphy said as he helped Rodrigo put the last of the suspects into cuffs.

    "More than I make in a year," Rodrigo growled.

    "I know." Weaver sounded a little wistful himself. "Half the time we come back with bupkis -- a joint bag and a few C-notes. But this ..." He sighed and shook his head. "Come on, you scum, into the vehicles."

    The detectives eased their five drug-selling suspects into three unmarked vehicles, then pulled out, forming a modest parade from the boarded-up shooting gallery of East Town to the precinct house three miles away.

    Ernie, the civilian lot attendant, opened the barbed wire gate and waved the cars inside. "Another one for the good guys," he said. As Ernie closed and locked the gate, Weaver, Murphy and Rodrigo escorted their charges in through the back entrance and toward the booking room.

    Smithy, the desk sergeant, fell in behind them, listened to their tale of success and volunteered to help process the arrests.

    "Sure," Rodrigo said. He hated paperwork more than anyone. "One of us should go out and get the evidence."

    "Oh, no," Murphy chuckled. "You don't get out of it that easy. You're the fastest typist we got."

    Half an hour later, Ernie, the lot attendant, came stumbling in the back way. He found no one in the hall and no one in the lounge. Ernie raced breathlessly into the precinct's reception area and found Smithy getting himself a cup of coffee.

    "Someone broke into the unmarked cars," he gasped.

    "What unmarked cars?" Smithy demanded.

    "The three that were just out. Rodrigo, Weaver and Murphy."

    Smithy raced through the building to the back lot and surveyed the scene. The three unmarked vehicles were parked among a dozen black-and-white cruisers. All three trunks had been pried open. And all three were empty.

    It was barely 6 a.m., but the news spread through the half-empty station like wildfire. Smithy had barely finished questioning Ernie when Murphy, Rodrigo and Weaver emerged from the rear entrance.

    "Tell me you picked up your evidence," Smithy pleaded. "Please tell me."

    The three detectives exchanged sick, frightened glances.

    "I reminded everyone," Rodrigo said. "But Murphy stopped us. Then some newspaper guy called, wanting details on the arrest. I didn't get his name. I stayed in the booking room talking to him until I heard about this. Weaver saw me take the call."

    Weaver nodded. "That's right. Murphy and I walked the perps down to the holding cells. Then I went to the can. I've had this plumbing problem in my system ever since the wife and I got back from Cancun. I was on my way back to the booking room when I looked out the hallway window and saw Smithy and Ernie out here hanging by the vehicles. I knew something was wrong."

    "Weaver should've fetched the evidence," Murphy said. "It was in his car. He had the keys. After we put them in the cells, one of the perps called me back and insisted on calling his lawyer. Then two of the others did the same thing. I was escorting those scum back and forth to the phone. You can ask 'em if you don't believe me."

    Smithy snorted at the idea, then turned to Ernie. "And why was the lot unguarded?"

    "It was my 5:30 break," Ernie whined. "You all know about my break. I go across to Ethel's Diner and I keep an ear out. If someone wants in or out, they honk and I'm there in a minute."

    "Did you see anyone?" Weaver asked.

    "No one," said Ernie. "I locked the gate before leaving and it was still locked when I got back. The only way into the lot was through the precinct house."

    "We know that," Rodrigo hissed and turned to face the other four. "Seems pretty clear it was one of us."

    The sergeant, the three detectives and the lot attendant gazed into the three empty trunks. "Whoever crowbarred these babies was taking a risk," said the old attendant. "I could've looked out the diner window, or someone could've walked out and seen it going down."

    "But no one did," Smithy said. "And now we've got thousands of dollars and drugs stolen. Not to mention missing evidence that was needed to keep those perps behind bars."

    "Not to mention another crime," Weaver said. "Right under our noses, too."

Add Comment