Whether you like it or not, I present for your enjoyment another Whodunnit--not weather related.
The Body In The Study
When Colonel Herbert was found dead in his study one morning with a knife through his neck, suspicion fell on the members of his household. There were no signs of forced entry anywhere in the building, and no public impropriety on the Colonels's part to make enemies. As police scrutiny intensified, the Colonel's sister Vivienne consulted her friend, Mary Miller, who had an almost obsessive interest in mystery stories and made a hobby of deduction.
"The thing is, my dear," Vivienne said, "the police are quite right to be looking at the household. William was a pillar of the community, but in private he was positively beastly. We were all terrified of him, and he would fly into the most violent rage over the tiniest thing. He saw off every suitor I ever had, even one or two I was quite fond of. If the culprit isn't found, I fear that I might end up spending my twilight years in prison."
It was therefore agreed that Miss Miller should talk to the entire household, one at a time, about the fatal evening.
"We'll have to start with you, Vivienne," Mary said.
"Me?" Vivienne looked shocked.
"Of course," she sighed.
"Wonderful. Please do have a seat. Tea? No" Very well. So, what transpired?"
"Well, you know most of it. My brother was in his study on Monday night, taking care of some paperwork. I left him to it, and went to bed at around ten o'clock. Sophie, the maid, went into the study to tidy a little after seven the following morning. That's when she discovered the body. She shrieked persistently enough to wake the whole place up. The police said that he must have died before midnight."
Next came the maid, Sophie. "It was horrible, ma'am. The Colonel was still in his study when I went up before eleven. I could see the light under his door. Miss Herbert was already asleep. I could hear her, on account of my room being below hers. Next morning I got up at me usual time, five-thirty, did the fires, cleaned the kitchen floor, and started on me rounds. I opened the study door and there he was, dead as a fish. I slammed the door shut and screamed me head off. Couldn't bring meself to go into the room. Mr. Hunt was the first to get to me."
Hunt was the family butler. "I returned from seeing Cook home at nine forty-five that evening. Miss Herbert went to bed shortly afterwards, and the maid wasn't much later. I went to my bed after she'd retired. I looked in on the Colonel before doing so, to ensure he had no further needs for the evening. I was breakfasting the following morning when I heard the screams. I discovered the maid in considerable distress outside the study. Cook arrived a moment behind me, so while she consoled the girl, I opened the door to investigate. I understood her distress as soon as I got the light on. Colone. Herbert was quite dead, having vented a lot of blood. The carpet was completely ruined, I'm sad to say."
The cook, Mrs. Palletier, seemed unbothered by events. "I don't like speaking ill of the dead, but womankind is safer without that man walking this earth, let me tell you. I heard Sophie's screams and made my way to the Colonel's study. Hunt flicked the lights on, and I heard him gasp a little. The old man was dead as a doorjamb. Personally, I reckon the gardener did him in."
The gardener, Lou Dotson, was curt about the whole affair. "I was home on Monday, with my wife. When I came in Tuesday, the old buzzard was already dead. I need to get back to the roses."
With everyone interviewed, Mary called Vivienne back in. She hugged her friend and said, "Good news. I know who killed him."
Louise and Duane
Once again I will acknowledge that I copied this little mystery from Whodunnits by Tim Dedopolus.
My hint: I think that the testimony was somewhat misleading. Maybe the witnesses were being deliberately obtuse.