I sense a gameboard mood, so I quickly wrote one up. With all these large gameboards around, I figured I’d try for something quick and easy for the moment. If you’re lucky, it’ll only take a couple posts. Call it a ‘nugget’ if you will… (although I guess those aren’t really good examples of nice and easy games huh) At any rate, doubt it will prove too troublesome due to the comparably basic setup.
The objective is the same as always - figure out how the crime was committed.
-You only need the ‘how’.
-Try not to ‘shotgun’ too much. Limit yourself to one or two blues per post.
-I won’t allow “Trick X” or “Devil’s Proof” or any such thing, if you cannot give a somewhat plausible example for what you’re suggesting, I won’t be obligated to reply. No need to be super exact - heck your example can even be pretty shaky - but it has to sound like it could make sense on some level, at least. If you can’t even conceive a way how it could work, it might as well be magic, simple as that.
-you’re free to ask questions if something confuses you. I won’t repeat stuff in red for free though.
He was dead. Blood was dripping from the tip of the spear that had impaled him from behind.
In front of the victim the letter ‘V’ was written in blood. Looked like it, at least.
The gruesome scene was being underlined by… a cheerful piano tune coming from a nearby radio.
“Another one… poor fellow.” Sergeant Hertway commented. “Really wonder how he always gets them.”
‘He’, in that case, was referring to a serial killer.
I didn’t know his real name, obviously. Heck, didn’t even know if ‘he’ was really a man.
Due to his tendencies to impale his victims, he’d ended up being called ‘Vlad’ by the general populace.
That’s all there was to it.
“What do the witnesses say?” I asked, looking around the room.
“The maid - Vanessa, I think? - was the one who first found it.
Well, found a locked door.”
I walked up to the door. The thing that stood out was the golden chain near the lock.
Or what was left of it, at least. One part of it was hanging down from the door, the other from the doorframe.
…And it was right then that I had a feeling of foreboding. I could not put it into words, call it instinct - something told me working out the truth behind that chain would turn out to be a much bigger headache than anything else that had gone down here.
“Yeah, that door, obviously.” the sergeant added when he saw where I was looking.
“She noticed the music coming from inside and found it unusual for him to still be listening to it at that time. Knocked but got no reply. Then she got worried and took a look through the windows.
Aaaand that’s when she saw this mess. Must’ve been pretty great.”
I turned to look at the windows. There were three on the right and two on the far wall.
The house being on a bit of a hill, it gave a pretty decent view of the city.
Or would have, all that was visible now was the pitch-black darkness of an uninviting night.
All of them were closed and locked.
“Forget that thought” my faithful assistant advised. “No way anyone got in or out through those.”
I wasn’t one to rule things out just because people told me to. Still, for now, I filed that thought away.
In the center of the far wall, between the two windows, was a large wooden door. As I would soon be informed, this place was merely a designated waiting area with that door leading to the actual study of the victim.
There really wasn’t much in the room. In the corner left of the door was a couch and a circular table.
Two nice-looking paintings of landscapes on the wall. At the end of the couch stood a small cabinet with a radio on top of it. The source of the grossly unfitting music. I turned it off.
The only other thing in the room was the body. I decided he deserved a bit more attention.
The victim was a middle-aged man, short-haired and clean-shaven. A bent pair of glasses lay next to him.
He was wearing a light-grayish suit and similarly colored tweed pants. Well, lots of it was stained red now.
The body was arched backwards, partly propped up by the spear piercing through his chest from behind, which stopped the whole thing from falling over. It looked like it was just a wooden pole with an iron tip, as usual. A crude but effective weapon. The arms were turned away from the body, mostly lying on the ground. The killer might have arranged them that way, I thought. Their symmetry seemed too perfect.
I carefully examined the sleeves. Expensive gold watch on left wrist.
“Anything on the victim?” I asked.
“He’s dead” joked Sergeant Hertway. To him that one never got old, it seemed.
“Some smart fellow called Pahmeyer. Pardon, Doctor Henry Pahmeyer.
Renowned chemist or something. Published some papers. Was trying to look into cancer, I think.”
“Any connection to the other victims?”
Hertway shrugged. “Not as far as I know. These kills are completely random, if you ask me. Probably just picks whoever strikes his fancy from the newspaper.”
Well, can’t say I expected much on that front, but we couldn’t afford to stop looking.
“I take it this is Dr. Pahmeyer’s property?”
“Would be even more of a mess if it wasn’t huh? Yeah, this is his house. Well, was.”
A brief pause. Then he continued his report.
“He died not too long ago, two hours at most. Maid screamed when she saw him impaled like this.
There was another person in the house, some old butler. I think his name was… uh… Traven…?” he flipped through his notebook, “Right, Travers. That was it. William Travers.”
“Were those the only people in the house?”
“As far as I know. Only ones that turned up when we got here at least.
Anyway, butler hears the scream. Meets up with Vanessa outside. Poor guy must have been close to a heart attack at that time. Then he broke down the door while the maid’s watching. Didn’t think that old guy had it in him. After that he’s forced to go and fetch some gardening tool to cut the chain. No idea why he bothered - there was obviously no more helping his master. Well, in they go and realize that themselves. The butler said he didn’t touch anything, says all the windows in here were locked. The other door was supposedly closed, too.”
“And the maid?”
“Well, she’s willing to confirm it. Although she did discreetly mention, that, uh… she had to help the old man to the bathroom real quick.”
“They left the room?”
"Sort of, uh, but not really. There’s a bathroom down the next hallway. " He pointed at the door on the wall opposite the entrance with his pen.
I decided it was worth taking a look at next. I was led through the door and the small hallway behind it. Again the clasp of the darkness outside prevented us from appreciating the view on the city, or the courtyard. (I kept watch to see if the windows on both sides were locked properly, of course. They were.)
Aside from the windows, two doors marked the end of the hallway. One at the literal end, and one off to the left side. The sergeant pointed at the door straight ahead.
Perhaps counterintuitively, that one turned out to be the aforementioned bathroom.
It was a remarkably small chamber, containing merely a toilet and a tiny sink.
There was another window, although definitely too small for anyone to fit through. And closed and locked, like the others.
There was a bit of a smell of…
“Well, it ain’t a pretty scene. Looked like that brought his last meal right back out of his stomach. Flushed it down, too. But aside from that, they didn’t touch anything-- err, wait. Forgot one thing. Maid’s picked this up from the floor next to the body. Handed it to me earlier.”
He threw something at me. I snatched it with my left. A key. There was a small drop of blood on it, too.
Ignoring his way too casual handling of a piece of evidence, I asked the obvious question.
“Key to the room?”
“The only one.”
Of course it was. Why would anything ever be simple?
“Any thing those witnesses could tell you?”
“Well…” he had bring out his notepad for that one. “There was a bit of a suspicious incident earlier in the day, according to the butler. He received a guest around six hours or so ago. The victim required volunteers for some of his studies, it seemed like that fellow was there to discuss that. He was admitted into the study but left again after roughly 30 minutes.”
“Six hours places that one well before the murder. That seems like it could just have been a coincidence.”
Hertway rubbed his chin. “Yeah, you might be right. Guess the fellow came across as kind of shady. Wore a long overcoat and one of those masks that cover your face up to your nose and refused to take off either. One of those you wear when you’re sick, at least that was their excuse.”
A mysterious visitor… that did make it more suspicious, but if our friend had been alone with the victim then, why not kill him then and there?
I turned my attention towards the door on the left side of the hallway.
This was the one possible way of escape that remained, assuming it hadn’t been locked as well.
“I know what you’re thinking. This door wasn’t locked, don’t even know where the key for it is. But…” the sergeant hesitated.
I figured I should just see for myself and went inside.
The study was about the same size as the waiting area. A desk has been positioned in the center with a comfortable chair behind it, facing the door,
and two less-comfortable-looking ones in front.
The far wall was essentiallly one giant bookshelf. It was filled to the brim with books on various subjects, with a focus on chemistry and biology.
“Unlikely that one’s got a secret passage behind it.” my assistant felt compelled to comment. “Still, might be some interesting reads, eh?”
I pulled out a random book titled ‘Poisons: Their Effect And Detection’. But that wasn’t important. The wall behind the bookshelf looked normal enough. Well, even if there was a secret passage, how likely was the killer to know about it? There also wasn’t any space to hide behind it.
I looked to the left. A painting and a periodic table on the wall.
To the right, there were two windows. They were larger than the other ones, and there was no doubt a person might fit through them.
…Unsurprisingly, they were locked from inside… just like the rest.
“Another dead end…”
The investigation concluded. It was a minute or so later that I realized something.
However, it didn’t really help. Just how had our killer committed this crime? How had they gotten out of the room while keeping it both locked and with the chain set?
And that should be enough.
Finally, two guarantees to create a foundation:
Now come, it’s been far too long since the last time I did this. Pierce me with that blue truth of yours.