Murder Behind The Lines

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Means, Motive, Opportunity

“Good evening” The Detective announced as entered the room. He raised his whiskey flask to Father Miles, Major Jones and John Howie before drinking and speaking. “Well I applaud the murderer on his determination to be so exotic. Poisoning Colonel Jefferson with batrachotoxin, which is a poison found on poison frogs in the Amazon rainforest by the way, leaving him to die 27 hours later in this beautiful, traditional Singaporean house. Behind a locked door.”

“So the means was simple?” Father Miles spoke up almost immediately.

“Relatively. What killed him was obvious from the start but are you aware that you were the one who administrated the poison Father Miles?” The Detective said addressing to Father Miles who stared at him in complete surprise but said nothing. “I thought not. You see the Colonel took his sleeping pill that night when he drank the last bit of whiskey. Which was coincidently when he had his back to you and the Major over there. He knew he hadn’t taken it when he saw the packet so without hesitation he let a pill fall into his drink, hence the smell of whiskey in the pill pocket when the whiskey splashed all over it. The pill you gave him father, earlier on in the evening was the poison that was simply put into one of the already opened pill packets. So as you see Father you were the one to administer the poison that was masquerading itself as a sleeping pill. So overall it is relative depending on how much you look at it.”

“So that means both myself and Major Jones had the opportunity,” Father Miles commented back to him.

“Yes you did, and so did Government Land Agent John over here. You two could have easily brought the pill into the house itself, yes. But John had every morning at 8am to simply slip it into one of the Colonel’s pockets and thus find its way into the house.”

“So it could be any one of us?” Major Jones struck in.

“Yes, or two of you. Or all three.”

“Bloody hell this has got us nowhere Detective. We are back where we started.” John cried out.

“Really? There’s no point in me doing this then, is there? I’ve done the means and opportunity, there is nothing else to talk about.” The Detective replied sarcastically,

“For goodness sake boys, motive,” Major Jones spoke with force.

“Exactly. All of you had the means and opportunity but only one of you had a motive strong enough. I mean all your motives are effectively the same, any one of you could have done it, given enough time. You see this murder was never about Colonel Jefferson or his family. It was always about the house, or I should say the Tigeress. It wasn’t until I spoke to the owner that I knew how much this house meant to all of you. The Cleric, who found the one true place on earth he could be with his maker, The land agent who travels all over the world with his family but who’s heart truly belonged to that hotel room where he first met Norma, who was to become his wife. And the Major who would come to the cheese and wine nights held by the Hotel owners to wind down every once in a while. So you see it is all connected to the house and to uphold its importance in your lives. Which brings me to how a man can even murder another man. The answer is love. The lack of it, the loss of it, being drowned by too much of it.” The Detective took a swig of his whiskey,

“You all loved the house through love for another. Love for your God, for your creator. Love for your wife, for your family,” John turns to look up at him, “Or perhaps” The Detective swings round to look at Major Jones, “A prosecuted love, a forbidden love, an excruciating love.”

“If you are talking of my love for cheese and wine, I cannot deny this accusation,” The Major raised his hands towards the Detective and bowed his head.

“No you cannot deny this accusation.” The Detective continued sternly, “Because it’s true.” Major Jones raised his head to look back at him and the Detective continued, “A note. Was left on my desk, yesterday I believe” The Detective pulled out the note. “It reads: I am sorry about the wine glass Detective Hunt. Here is a new, classier one. I find a change of taste isn’t always as bad as you think.” He let the letter fall from his hands onto the floor, “It was obvious from when I first picked it up that it was from you Major Jones, after all he was the only one who broke a wine glass. But why put a change of taste? You have said clearly that you think little of my drinking, and you would be a fool if you didn’t think so little of it. But there is a reason why it was red wine, why you have no need of alcohol.” The Detective turns away from the Major,

“Edward Jackson. Son of Kit Jackson, a man I believe you are all familiar with. Edward died at his family home in 1963 from Japanese encephalitis. A letter, sent from Edward Jackson to his father dated 22nd April 1958. It told of Edward’s sexual desires towards men.” He looked down for a moment, “It talked of a certain man named Robert, who went to the Hotel’s cheese and wine nights. Two gay men brought together by red wine and bound in it forever.” The Detective turned back to Major Jones, “You were bound by love, cheese and red wine, and that’s why you refuse most alcohol isn’t it Robert?”

The Major was silent for a moment, It helps ease the pain,” The Major looked up, Is that why you drink so much Detective? To calm your pain?

Yes.” The Detective said without hesitation. His face then became concerned then faded into sadness,My wife died 3 years ago, from Japanese encephalitis.” The Detective refused the urge to take a strong swig of whiskey and instead he took out Kit’s photograph and handed it to Major Jones, When Edward died you watched as his loving aroma faded from the Tigeress and sent it spinning into a whirlpool of darkness. You watched as the Hotel that you loved and respected crumbled before you, its reputation falling with the rumours of it being haunted. So when Colonel Jefferson came along and his complains threatened to end what little remained of your beloved Tigress, you had no other option.

But to murder.Major Jones spoke gently. The Major stood and nodded at the Detective, the Detective replied with a gentle nod back to the Major. Two police officers then came behind Robert Jones, they cuffed him and walked him to the police car. The Detective watched as the police car left, followed by Father Miles and John Howie in their separate cars.

Once the engines had faded the Detective he dropped his whiskey onto veranda floor and he walked silently back into the large room. Within moments the Detective felt his eyes grow weak, vision started to fade and he collapsed onto the floor.

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