Some Live, Some Die

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The Fourth Party: Their Motives

“How long is this going to take detective?” demanded Benedict, “I need to make the necessary arrangements for my sister’s funeral.”

“Be patient Benedict!” exclaimed Felicity, “The more agitated you are, the more likely the detective will think you did it!”

“I’m surprised you could defend old Aunt Ethel despite being so agitated with her,” remarked the younger Ketterwell. “That old hag would stop at nothing just to make things go her way.”

“You-!” began Felicity.

“That is quite enough banter,” interrupted Adrian as he approached the suspects. “First things first, I would like to thank you all for your patience. The sooner I get to the bottom of this, the sooner you all will be able to rest tonight.”

The three suspects sighed and reluctantly got themselves comfortable in their seats. It was not long until a police officer entered the circus ring with some documents. Most likely found among the suspects’ possessions in the cloakroom. Quickly going through the documents, Adrian huffed in approval, absorbing the information swiftly. The police officer also whispered something into the detective ears, and was thanked for this vital information.

“As Miss Heathfield mentioned earlier this evening, the countess disappeared during the Charleston dance,” reminded Adrian to the suspects. “According to the guests, they all saw you three leaving the ballroom not too long after Countess Crawley left. Where did you all go during this time frame?”

“I had an urgent phone call from the bank,” Benedict replied promptly. “One of the waiting staff should be able to vouch for me. The call lasted for about five minutes. I went straight back to the ballroom afterwards.”

“Does it have something to do with this?” asked Adrian.

He skimmed through the documents in his hands and handed the signed papers from various bank loans to Benedict.

“These are confidential!” exclaimed Benedict as he snatched back his papers, “You weren’t suppose to go through them!”

“Not when a murder has occurred!” snapped Adrian, “Judging by these bank loans, your automobile business has suffered a financial loss and on the verge of bankruptcy. Is it correct of me to assume that you went to the countess for a loan that was refused?”

“How could that greedy woman not lend a helping hand to her brother?” grumbled Benedict, “Ethel never loved her husband. Even though it was a marriage arranged by our parents, she willingly accepted his hand for his wealth! Ethel naturally inherited her husband’s money after his sudden death. Though I believe that she deliberately killed the late Count Crawley since he had no siblings, and the fact that they never had any children.”

“A proper motive would be the fact that you will inherit your sister’s fortune should she die under any circumstances,” said Adrian. “A police officer had a word with your family lawyer, and it was clearly stated in the countess’ will that you have no access to any of her finances as long as she is still alive.”

“She left the money to me?” Benedict exclaimed in surprise.

“You don’t seem to be surprised by this revelation,” commented the detective. “It’s as if you anticipated that you were going to be entitled to your sister’s inheritance.”

“That is absurd!” shouted Benedict, “This the first time I heard about this! How wrong of me to misjudge my sister! And shouldn’t you be asking the other two? They despised my sister more than you could ever imagine!”

“How could you accuse your own son?!” exclaimed Simon Ketterwell as he anxiously tugged at his shirt collar, “It is true that Aunt Ethel was no saint, but I would never kill her with my bare hands!”

“Think again, the younger Ketterwell,” said the detective. “While I appreciate your honesty, I’m quite sure you were more worried about the fact that your aunt might discover that you’ve been stealing her fortune?”

“Whatever are you talking about?” asked Simon.

Adrian handed the remaining papers back to Simon who snatched it from his hands. They were documents giving him the authority to withdraw money from the countess’ bank account.

“What is wrong with borrowing money from dear old Aunt Ethel?” asked Simon nervously.

“Do you even realise the crime that you have been committing?!” demanded Adrian. “These documents have been meticulously forged! Were you anxious that your dear old aunt would discover your embezzling habits? Is that why you killed her?”

“Simon?!” Benedict once again shouted, “Is this true?! Does that mean we have lost some of that inheritance?!”

“I couldn’t just take money from your company father!” Simon yelled back, “I lost most of the fortune to horse-racing! And I needed to pay back the people I owed money to. That’s why I borrowed some money from Aunt Ethel without her knowing.”

“Suppose you didn’t kill your aunt,” suggested the detective. “Where did you go when you left the ballroom?”

“I went to the restroom to freshen up,” replied Simon. “I usually take about ten minutes. Father returned to the ballroom the same time as I did. He seemed out of breath as though he had just did some labour work, not to mention looking a bit dishevelled.”

The detective then glanced at the older Mr. Ketterwell. Simon was right about his appearance. His forehead was shiny as though he had just been sweating and the collar of his shirt was turned upwards, exposing the black tie he wore. Adrian’s observation was interrupted when Simon pointed his finger at Felicity Heathfield.

“Also detective,” he added. “You should not be fooled by Miss Heathfield’s character. She may seem like a mousy and pitiful dog to the countess, but she’s the one who despised her the most!”

“That’s not true!” cried Felicity, “I respected Countess Crawley, even though she would go overboard with her authority as the current president of our book club.”

“That’s funny,” scoffed Benedict. “I could have sworn that I saw you arguing with my sister in the ballroom. If you ask the other guests detective, they will most definitely back up my story.”

“Well Miss Heathfield,” said Adrian. “If you want to make things more simpler, I would advise you to come out with the truth.”

“Very well then,” said Felicity. “I did not always agree with the countess’ ways of running the book club. She would do anything in her power to make things go her way. That was what we were arguing about, I went against an ideal of her’s and it made her enraged. The countess then threatened to strip me of my position as her vice-president if I ever dared to defy her again.”

“Then I very much hope that you didn’t decide to take her life just to protect your position in the book club,” said the detective. “Now what happened after your argument with the countess?”

“She turned and walked off with her champagne glass in her hand,” she replied. “Her brother came in the opposite direction and collided into her. The champagne from the countess’ glass spilled all over her dress, but the older Mr. Ketterwell was kind enough to give her his glass. And as I had told you earlier, I left the ballroom to look for the countess when the Charleston dance was coming to an end as she requested. You have to believe me detective! Countess Crawley was definitely not in the powder room when I went arrived. Or otherwise I would not have requested for your assistance!”

“I see,” said Adrian. “Thank you for your cooperation.”

“Great,” exclaimed Simon. “Now can we go?”

“Not just yet,” Adrian told the younger Mr. Ketterwell sternly. “I am close to figuring out the case. So I would appreciate it if you would wait a bit longer.”

The suspects groaned as Adrian exited the circus ring to gather his thoughts together. The person with the strongest motive is Benedict Ketterwell, the countess’ brother. She would not help him in his need of crisis, but he would inherit her fortune should she die under any circumstances. His son, the countess’ nephew, Simon Ketterwell had been embezzling his aunt’s fortune behind her back to pay off some debts. It would not be a surprise that he would kill her in order to prevent her from finding out. And lastly we have Miss Felicity Heathfield who is the vice-president of the book club the countess was the president of. She despised the countess but could do nothing to stand up for herself. And the only way to liberate herself without losing her position would be to kill the countess.

His thinking was soon interrupted when a police officer came running up to him with the autopsy report. Flipping through the file, his suspicions were proven to be correct. The stomach contents of the countess proved that she had indeed been drugged with the champagne she drank.

As for the champagne glass, the powder at the very bottom was crushed sleeping pills. The forensics had also retrieved a set of fingerprints that were not the countess’. When Adrian saw who the fingerprints belonged to, a smirk appeared on his face. I’ve got your wrangled now. He thought to himself. The murderer was right in plain sight all this time!

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