Some Live, Some Die

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The Second Party: Their Motives

Realising that he still had suspects to interrogate, Adrian quickly left the dressing rooms and hurried to join his father and the suspects in the powder room. Upon his arrival, his father updated him about what the suspects had told him so far. He even had them lay out their personal belongings, to see if they had been carrying anything that was sharp.

“It appears that everyone attended the soirée,” Commissioner Powell told Adrian. “As for the suspects; Mr. Kingsley was carrying his wallet, pocket watch and cigarette case, and Miss Weyworth had her lipstick, wallet and hand mirror in her purse. Mr. Merrick has similar items to Mr. Kingsley, while Lady Doncaster had her lipstick, wallet, face powder, some breath mints and a hand mirror in her purse.”

“What of the weapon that was used to partially sever the ropes for the harness?” asked Adrian.

“The suspects, excluding Lady Doncaster all had a pocketknife on them,” replied Commissioner Powell. “I checked for any remnants of rope, but all of the blades are clean as slates.”

A waiting staff then entered the powder room to inform Commissioner Powell that the police had finally arrived. Hearing this, Commissioner Powell whispered to his son that he will leave the rest up to him before leaving to meet with the police.

“I have some clues that will uncover their motives of wanting Miss Doncaster dead,” said Adrian.

He then took out the jack-in-the-box present, the missionary campaign pamphlet, and the torn up script. Adrian placed the clues in front of the guests, and judging by their facial expressions, he could immediately tell that it was related to Jezebel Doncaster.

“Let me start with you, Lady Doncaster,” said Adrian as he turned his attention to the victim’s aunt. “Am I correct to say that it was you who recommended Miss Doncaster to participate in the missionary campaign to help the orphans in India? Was that why you were arguing with her backstage? You were seen by the backstage staff after all.”

“Quite the opposite actually,” said Lady Doncaster. “Jezebel wanted to join the missionary campaign, but not with charitable intentions.”

“What do you mean?” asked Adrian.

“She had a bad habit of gallivanting around!” snapped Lady Doncaster, “Jezebel clearly had no intentions of wanting to do good for the orphans in India. She only wanted to falsify her image in order to increase her fame as an actress!”

“It would also mean that she’d sully the Doncaster name with her attention-seeking behaviour,” added Adrian. “I hope you didn’t do away with your niece in order to protect the family name.”

“Jezebel may have ruffled a lot of feathers, but she is still my niece,” said Lady Doncaster. “I would never kill a member of my own family.”

“This leads me to my next object of interest,” said Adrian as he picked up the torn script he had taped back together.

Turning his attention to Irma, he asked, “Miss Weyworth, care to explain how your script got ripped up?”

“It was Miss Doncaster who ripped my script up,” Irma answered quietly and promptly.

“And why would she do that?” asked Adrian.

“I auditioned for the role of Callisto,” explained Irma. “But they chose Miss Doncaster over me. This was because of her status. I was assigned as her understudy instead. I continued studying the script secretly, but Miss Doncaster eventually caught me rehearsing in her dressing room. She snatched my script and ripped it up. Instead of throwing it away, I gathered the pieces and ended up stuffing them in the dressing room drawer. I was going to mend it secretly.”

Adrian noticed that Irma was slightly trembling as she spoke about Miss Doncaster. His hazel eyes narrowed when he saw Thomas placing a hand on Irma’s shoulder to comfort her.

“Miss Weyworth,” Adrian then spoke up. “Is it right for me to guess that Miss Doncaster was harbouring a bit of resentment towards you?”

“What do you mean?” asked Irma quietly.

“If I recall, Miss Doncaster used to be in a relationship with Mr. Kingsley,” he explained. “And the reason their relationship ceased was because Mr. Kingsley preferred you over her? I found a photo of you with Mr. Kingsley while I was searching the dressing rooms.”

“That’s preposterous!” exclaimed Irma, “There’s no wa-”

“Irma,” interrupted Thomas in a calm, but stern voice. “It’s alright. We don’t have to hide it anymore. If you keep denying it, the police will find out either way.”

“So is it true?” asked Adrian.

“Yes,” replied Thomas promptly. “I am now in a relationship with Irma. It is true that I used to be with Miss Doncaster, but I ended things with her because I found her too materialistic. This was also because she was always mistreating everyone in the entertainment industry.”

“Is that why you went to Miss Weyworth instead?” questioned Adrian.

“Irma and I shared a lot of interests compared to Miss Doncaster,” said Thomas. “It’s also because Irma is genuinely sweet and kind, and she does not poke her nose in mine and other people’s business, unlike Miss Doncaster.”

“But why keep your relationship with Miss Weyworth a secret?” Adrian asked out of curiosity, “You were very public about your relationship with Miss Doncaster when the pair of you were still together.”

“It was Miss Doncaster who announced our relationship publicly,” muttered Thomas. “I wanted to keep our relationship under wraps for the sake of my image, but she wanted to use me to gain popularity. After I broke up with her, she later found out that I had started dating Irma. Miss Doncaster constantly harassed and bullied Irma by endlessly accusing her of stealing me from her.”

“Well, love-sickness can blind one to commit a crime,” said Adrian. “I hope you didn’t end her life just to protect your sweetheart.”

“How dare you suggest something so vile like that!” exclaimed Thomas. “Irma and I are not the only ones who have a grudge against Miss Doncaster. The one who you should be speaking to is her manager, Mr. Neville Merrick!”

“This is absurd!” shouted Neville, “I respected Miss Doncaster and would do anything to help her rise to stardom!”

“Fancy words from someone who complains about her behind her back,” retorted Thomas. “You just allowed her to trample all over you, giving in to every single one of her whims!”

“I-” began Neville, but Adrian held up his hand to stop him from saying anything more.

“While you two were bickering, I took the initiative to check through your belongings thoroughly,” said Adrian.

As he said this, he pulled out a receipt and held it in front of Neville’s face. Upon reading the piece of paper, beads of sweat began to form on his forehead.

“I found it in your wallet,” explained Adrian. “A receipt from Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop in Hoxton. You purchased this jack-in-the-box toy and gifted it to Miss Doncaster. I found it in her dressing room among the presents while I was looking around. Care to explain?”

“Alright, alright!” said Neville reluctantly, “It’s just as Mr. Kingsley said. I hated Miss Doncaster! She was always mistreating everyone who worked with her. That wench kept using her status and reputation to bully not just Miss Weyworth and the supporting cast, but me as well! Rather than being her manager, I was like a servant to her. Signing her autographs and carrying all the gifts from her admirers. That’s why I purchased that toy to give her a fright. I hoped that it would shake her so much that she would humiliate herself in the play.”

“Then I hope you weren’t dissatisfied with your silly little prank that you decided to resort to extreme measures to give Miss Doncaster a piece of your mind,” said Adrian.

Pacing up and down the powder room, Adrian began to piece the information together. Lady Doncaster disapproved of her niece participating in a missionary campaign to falsify her image. Mr. Kingsley hated the victim whom he used to date, because she mistreated everyone who worked with her including his sweetheart, Miss Weyworth. And it’s no surprise that Mr. Merrick also despised Miss Doncaster for the same reason as Mr. Kingsley. Thought Adrian to himself. Who killed Jezebel Doncaster, and how did they do it without being seen by any of the backstage staff? His eyes then caught sight of the suspect’s shoes and a smirk appeared on his face. So that’s how it is! He exclaimed in his head.

Just then, Commissioner Powell returned, and quite out of breath. He informed Adrian that he had explained everything to the police. Jezebel’s body had just been taken away to be autopsied, but the guests were becoming rather impatient.

“Don’t worry father,” Adrian whispered to Commissioner Powell. “The murderer has given us the performance of a lifetime. I’m sure the audience will be relieved once I unmask them.”

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