Some Live, Some Die

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The Second Party: Solution

What’s going on?

Why have we been told to return to our seats when a murder just happened before our eyes?

Did they solve the case already?

I hope so, cause I can’t bear to stay here any longer.

Adrian cleared his throat as he stepped onto the stage. Sat behind him on the stage were the suspects; Lady Helena Doncaster, actor Thomas Kingsley, understudy Irma Weyworth, and the late Miss Doncaster’s manager, Neville Merrick.

In the audience, Leslie and Mr. Beckford sat in the seats where they had sat during the performance earlier this evening. Leslie was a bit nervous when she heard that Lady Doncaster had become one of the suspects. She did not even want to believe that the woman who had been like a mother figure to her would kill her own niece.

“Looks like Detective Powell has solved the mystery,” Mr. Beckford whispered into Leslie’s ear. “I think this will be better than tonight’s play.”

Leslie did not say anything as she prepared to listen to Adrian reveal his deductions. All she was hoping was, Lady Doncaster did not kill her own niece.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Adrian spoke up. “Thank you ever so much for your patience amidst this tragedy we all witnessed today. Jezebel Doncaster’s death was no accident. She was murdered.”

Gasps and cries rang throughout the palace. Adrian smirked as he glanced at the suspects behind him from the corner of his eyes. He knew that the murderer had been laughing behind their mask the entire investigation, and he could not wait to unveil them to everyone.

“How did the murderer commit the crime undetected?” asked Neville. “Surely one of the backstage staff would have noticed.”

“They sabotaged the ropes to Miss Doncaster’s harness,” answered Adrian. “While everyone was attending the soirée before the performance, the murderer snuck backstage while the backstage staff went to investigate an argument between Lady Doncaster and her niece. They partially severed the ropes to the harness and then coiled it back onto the pin-rail. That’s why the backstage staff did not notice anything different when they returned.”

“But what was used to slice the ropes?” asked a member of the audience.

“Ah!” exclaimed Adrian, “I was about to get to that part. Commissioner Powell took the liberty to examine each of the suspects belongings. Everyone, but Lady Doncaster had a pocket knife in their possession. However, all of their blades were clean as a slate, because one of these suspects was clever enough to wipe off any remnants of rope that would get caught on the blade.”

“Why did the murderer partially slice through the ropes?” inquired Thomas.

“They wanted to make Miss Doncaster’s death look like an accident,” replied Adrian. “When Miss Doncaster was hoisted up, her weight broke the partially severed rope which caused her to fall to her death.”

“Then who is the murderer?” asked Lady Doncaster.

“The murderer is someone, other than the backstage staff who would have a good idea of how the stage equipment was used and where they would go,” said Adrian. “Isn’t that right… Miss Irma Weyworth?

Gasps and cries rang throughout the palace for the second time as the audience’s eyes, including the eyes of Lady Helena Doncaster, Thomas Kingsley and Neville Merrick turned to stare at Irma Weyworth.

“You think I killed her?!” exclaimed Irma, “That is ridiculous!”

“As an understudy, you are always backstage,” explained Adrian as he glared at Irma. “You must’ve constantly observed the backstage staff at work. That is how you gained the knowledge of how to use the stage equipment.”

“That doesn’t prove that I’m the killer!” shouted Irma in denial.

“Then what happened to your compact powder?” asked Adrian, “Did you lose it while you were severing the ropes to Miss Doncaster’s harness?”

Irma froze when she heard this. “I- uh-” she spluttered.

“When I was going through everyone’s belongings, you did not have a compact powder,” he told her. “It is unheard of that a woman would leave her house without her face powder.”

“The detective is absolutely right!” the female guests in the audience whispered to one another, “We all need our face powders wherever we go. I would definitely be in a pickle if I didn’t have it on me.”

“Our make up doesn’t last long, so that’s why we need to keep replenishing our faces with face powder in order to cover up any blemishes or redness,” more female guests whispered.

“That still doesn’t prove that I did it!” Irma adamantly denied.

“Lady Doncaster had a compact powder in her purse, but her face powder is called Ashes of Roses,” said Adrian. “While I was looking in the dressing rooms, Miss Doncaster and the other supporting actresses used the Marinello brand. One of the compact powders matches the shade Miss Doncaster uses was almost empty. This proves that that compact powder was yours.”

“Splendid story Detective Powell,” said Irma as beads of sweat starting forming on her forehead. “I love how you run wild with your accusations!”

“Then can you show me the heel of your shoes?” asked Adrian.

Irma once again found herself frozen by Adrian’s request. Adrian then beckoned a nearby police officer who immediately approached Irma and quietly ordered her to lift up her feet to show the back of her heel. When the view of her heel came into sight, Adrian smirked.

“Just as I thought,” he exclaimed triumphantly. “You were too busy severing the rope that you failed to notice that you had dropped your face powder. Probably when you took out your pocket knife from your purse. As you returned to the soirée, you unwittingly stepped into the powder and left a trail with your heels. You only realised you had lost your compact powder during the performance. Luckily for you, no one found it since they were too busy backstage to notice anything. While everyone was distracted by Miss Doncaster’s death, you retrieved the compact powder and hid it amongst the cosmetics in the shared dressing room. If we compare the powder prints with the heel of your shoe, I believe that we will get a-”

“You don’t have to,” said Irma quietly. “It’s curtains down for me already.”

“Why did you do it Irma?” exclaimed Thomas. “Miss Doncaster was certainly no saint, but you didn’t have to go that far!”

“And let myself be continuously trampled by her?” shouted Irma.

“I do believe that she did more than just harass you because of Mr. Kingsley,” said Adrian.

“You couldn’t be more right!” said Irma tearfully, “Since I’m Miss Doncaster’s understudy, I have to look similar to her. And because of that, she kept calling me an imitation. Right after dress rehearsal this morning, she sneered at me and said; An imitation will never become the real thing. You were born to stand beneath me.”

“So you snuck out of the party to sabotage the harness,” said Adrian.

“That wench had to go!” Irma screamed, “I wanted to save myself from her before she could break me any further.”

“I’m sorry to tell you this,” snapped Adrian angrily. “But you had already shattered the moment you decided to murder her.”

“Miss Irma Weyworth,” said a police officer as he approached the understudy with a pair of handcuffs. “You’re under arrest for the murder of Miss Jezebel Doncaster.”

As though she had become a broken doll, Irma quietly allowed the handcuffs to be placed on her wrists and was led away by the police. Adrian and Commissioner Powell accompanied her to the police station to give them a full account of tonight’s events. After the police had left, the guests began to get ready to leave the Crystal Palace.

“Well,” said Mr. Beckford as he escorted Leslie out of the palace with the guests. “I think Detective Powell’s deduction show was much for entertaining than the stage performance. Do you agree Leslie?”

“Mm…” replied Leslie, “I’m glad that Lady Doncaster was innocent in the end. I knew she would never murder one of her own.”

Leslie was more bothered by how another murder had occurred at Mr. Hurston’s second party. There were four more parties, and what could he possibly have in store for the remainder of the year?

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