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Detective Smith (Warning: Long Story!)

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Mystery based on an old series I did on BD.

Detective Smith and the Lawyer

You yawn a huge yawn. You’re absolutely tired after a long night of work. The day never ends for Detective Smith, does it? After about two hours of sleep, you’re at Mr. Bennett, your lawyer’s office, since you’ve got some funny business going on financially. He was a great lawyer and his British accent made everybody calmer. This was not to mention his brilliancy at organization; unless someone knew his formula they'd think he was crazy. The waiting room is almost full, which surprises you considering the time.

***

A few hours later, you wake up. You look around and quickly stretch, checking the time. Surprisingly, it’s only 8:30 and only a few people have actually left the waiting room in the hour and a half that you’d been out. You settle back down comfortably, but before you can even drift off you hear an ear-piercing scream. Suddenly a young girl, your lawyer’s new assistant, Lucy, bursts into the room.

“Mr. Bennett! Mr Bennett's done himself in!” she manages to cry before falling to the floor in a dead faint. Everyone in the room is shocked, but you jump up.

“Everyone stay calm,” you say seriously, “I’m a police officer, and I’m going in to check it out.”

Saying that, you walk through the door leading to the lawyer’s office. You walk down the hallway, open the door, and a horrific sight appears in front of you.

You pull out your cell phone and dial 911.

“Yes, my name is Detective Smith. We’ve got a homicide on our hands.”

***

Captain Jones meets you at the crime scene.

“Smith, old friend! You called in homicide, but everything says suicide to me. Here, look at cause of death; broken neck from hanging. Suicide note written on a memo. Clearly he hung himself. What made you call in Homicide?”

“The note, Captain,” you say, smiling patiently, “the note’s wrong.”

Jones looks surprised. “What makes you say that, Smith? Note’s crystal clear. Here, look.” He pointed at the memo sheet. The note reads:

“I cannot take the pain any more. You all think I am good and aboveboard, but it’s time to show my true colors."

Once again, you smile patiently.

"Absolutely right, captain. Do you know Mr. Bennett's nationality?"

"Well, yes, of course! He was an Englishman through and through."

"Exactly, captain. Tell me; how do you spell behavoir?"

"B-E-H-A-V-I-O-R." The captain replies, exasperated.

"Good, captain. Now, the English spell it B-E-H-A-V-I-O-U-R. Now how do you spell colors?"

"C-O-..." Jones pauses, a look of comprehension dawning on his face. "Of course. Bennett would have spelled it with a U. But the note didn't."

Suddenly he stands up straight and turn around.

"Alright, everybody listen up," he yells, "this is a murder scene. Lock up the place, put up tape and call in Forensics."

You tap him on the shoulder. "Captain," you say cautiously, "maybe we should check out anybody who may have been in the office at any time this morning."

"Good idea, Smith. I'll gather up everybody."

"And, sir, when you're done I'd like to use the office to conduct some interviews with the people."

"As you wish, Smith. Oh, if you want to talk with the girl, Lucy, I can bring her in. She woke up a while ago. Says she was worried about the old guy and unlocked the door at around 8:45. She looks up, recognition hits, she runs out the door. Seems cut and dry to me."

***

A few hours later you're sitting in the lawyer's seat, studying the room. Lucy the assisstant is sitting nearby.

Jones walks in and takes a seat. Got 'em for you, Smith. They're all outside in the watiiting room. Their--er, what's she doing here?" He asked, clearly about Lucy.

"She's here to corroborate anybody's story. Of anyone here, she'll know if a story doesn't ring true."

"Well, sir," she said timidly, "Mr. Bennett never really let me into his office, and I've only been here a week, so I don't know how much a help I can be."

You don't have a chance to reply as a large, stalwart-looking woman busts through the door. "Murder? And you suspect me!?"

Jones sighs. "Detective Smith, meet Miss Margaret Lamar."

Miss Lamar sat down forcefully, and you tell her courteously:

"Ma'am, it's all routine. You were Mr. Bennett's first client of the day?"

"Correct. But the old fool didn't even open the door for me! I waited and waited and he never came out!"

You look towards Lucy.

"Same with me, sir. I assumed he had been, well, sleeping off a few drinks."

You nod. Bennett certainly wasn't what you would call a teetotaller.

"Well," continued Miss Lamar, "I tried a back door that Mr. Bennett usually kept locked, but to my surprise it was unlocked. I began to open the door when I realized how rude of me it might be to walk in on him. I promptly left, leaving a complaint with the girl here on my way out."

You thank her and Jones escorts her out.

The Captain comes back a few minutes later in with a young, handsome man of twenty-odd.

"Detective Smith, meet Mr. Shane Samuelson," Jones says gruffly, "A teacher at the local high school."

Samuelson smiles affably. "Thank you, Captain. Detective, I hear there's been a murder, is that right?"

"Quite right." you reply, pleased by the man's friendliness, "Mr. Samuelson, you were Mr. Bennet's 7:45 appointment?"

"Correct, sir."

"Mr. Samuelson, according to the file, you and Mr. Bennett had, shall we say, a disagreement recently?"

"Yes, sir. Mr. Bennett had handles some taxes of mine rather badly. Sir, you don't honestly think that--"

You cut him off. "Mr. Samuelson, I suspect everyone, possible motive or not. Now, then, tell me what happened this morning."

"Well, Detective, I arrived early, knowing Mr. Bennett's crowds. I waited for my name to be called, but it didn't. Being suspicious that he was avoiding me, I, well, when Miss Lucy wasn't looking I ducked bahind the desk and went into the workroom. The room has an air vent that looks into Mr. Bennett's office. I noticed it when he tried to print my credit report. So, I stood on a copy machine," (Jones leaves the room, presumably to check it out), "anyway, I look in and see nothing but the front of the room."

"The front of the room," you say in surprise, "so, therefore you could not see his desk, or, consequentially, the body, if it was there."

"I suppose so, sir. I wouldn't know."

At this point Jones comes in and gives a quick nod, mouthing the word "footprint".

You stand up. "Thank you, Mr. Samuelson, that will be all for now."

When the boy leaves, Lucy speaks up. "Sir, it's true. I did leave the front desk once or twice, but it would be very hard for a man to get by the desk unnoticed."

You sit down, looking grim.

To Lucy, you ask: "Can I get Samuelson's file? I want to know all about the little 'disagreement'."

Lucy jumps up and opens a filing cabinet. A few seconds later she pulls out the file and hands it to you.

Looking over the file, you learn just how ugly the fight may have gotten. About $2000 had been lost due to some bad tax filing, plus the lawyer may have speculated with some of the boy's money.

Closing it, you turn to Jones. "Get the next one."

A minute later Jones comes in with a frightened-looking couple. "These are the O'Briens. Appointment number three, 8:15."

After seating them and calming them down, you begin.

"Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien, you were here for a lawsuit settlement.

"Quite right, sir. Dangerous problems with some shaving razors," the man says quietly.

"Mr. O'Brien," you say, deciding you'll get more out of him, " can you briefly tell us your actions this morning?"

Shakily, he begins. "Sir, what can I say. We came here to be advised. We sat in the waiting room, we waited. Mr. Bennett never actually opened his door, which frankly we found surprising."

"And...?" You ask, hoping to spark something.

"And what?" Mr. O'Brien exclaims. "We waited and waited and the girl ran out screaming. That's all I know."

"Sir, can anyone prove that you sat and waited?"

"N-no sir. At least, I don't think so. Everyone was rather groggy this morning."

You nod.

"Thanks, Mr. O'Brien. Lucy, please escort them out, if you don't mind."

The three of them went out. Private Benson strides back in.

"Got all that, Benson?" asked Jones.

"Clear as day, sir." the Private replies.

"Great," you say, yawning, "I'll just go home now and take a well-earned rest. Call me if you need me. Please don't need me."

"Wait!" Jones cries, "Who is it?"

You yawn once more for effect.

"I can't be 100%, but I definitely know our main suspect."

"Who?!" says Benson frantically.

You smile cryptically. "Isn't it obvious?"

I guess the question is; who?

Edited by Aaryan
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Posted · Report post

First thought is Lucy. No particular reason.

On a different note, Samuelson mentioned an air vent. I don't know if this is true for all air vents but the ones that I have seen tend to slant upward which would make it rather difficult to see much in the room besides the ceiling. . . Also, he said he could only see the front of the room. I'm assuming this means the vent is in the back of the room. Even if he couldn't see the desk, it would be hard to miss a hanging body.

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the guy whowent to the vent. he could speak into the vent and have his voice come out the other side pretending to be Mr. Bennett. he murdered Mr.Bennett beforehand.

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Isn't that long. ;)

*****

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@Thalia: Not say anything about whethou're right, but when I imagined the vent I imagined it is a simple connected to two rooms. I imagine the front of the room as the part near main door, and the air vent only seeing that part. The desk & body are near the back (away from door), at least in my vision. Also, Smith points out that it was not possible to see the body if it was hanging.

@FB: I think we mentioned that he wasn't talking and it was suspected that he was sleeping off a hangover.

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Also, Smith points out that it was not possible to see the body if it was hanging.

I thought that was an attempt to get him to slip up. Oh well.

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In truth, there are two different possible interpretations of the solution, but they both make use of the same basic principle.

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Just checking but is it possible to see the "backdoor" from the air vent?

Can the lock on the backdoor be latched before leaving?

Can the lock on the frontdoor be latched before leaving?

Could have been possible that Mr Samuelson was in the photocopy before Lucy arrived. This would explain why he was not noticed sneaking past the desk.

Mr Samuelson did not notice the O'Briens entering the room through the front and the front door was supposedly locked until 8:45

They probably were also not aware that the back door was unlocked.

It is odd that Mr Samuelson also didn't mention Lucy entering or leaving the room during the screaming episode

The back door was probably left unlocked by someone who was leaving,

Miss Lamar may have mentioned the door just to pre-empt any further queries about it assuming the door could not be latched. However if the door was latchable and accidentally left unlocked this would probably clear her

The inspration to use the back door (if not visible from the vent) would have probably come from somone who knew that the backdoor was not visible from the vent.

The footprint left on the copier could have been left earlier, and this also would explain why Samuelson was not seen sneaking into the copy room, as he had done so a week earlier and not on this day.

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I going to say it was Miss Lamar because the other two (O'Briens and Samuelson) are both British names and no doubt spoke with a British accent so they would of spelled colours in the right way.

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It's not what the witnesses saw, it's what they didn't see.

Shakily, he begins. "Sir, what can I say. We came here to be advised. We sat in the waiting room, we waited. Mr. Bennett never actually opened his door, which frankly we found surprising."

"And...?" You ask, hoping to spark something.

"And what?" Mr. O'Brien exclaims. "We waited and waited and the girl ran out screaming. That's all I know."

"Sir, can anyone prove that you sat and waited?"

"N-no sir. At least, I don't think so. Everyone was rather groggy this morning."

What? A full waiting room and nobody can prove it? The problem isn't who saw O'Brien. The problem is why didn't O'Brien see anybody else who could confirm the alibi, including the detective himself?

I'm going to guess that they weren't actually in the waiting room the whole time, if at all. They showed up early, killed the victim before their appointment, then dropped in for the actual appointment later to try to deflect suspicion and saw the receptionist run out screaming.

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Re:Phaze: No, yes, no. I haven't really thought about that.

Re: MkeD: Clever idea, but not really following the rout way to solve thisbproblem

Re: WoD: I guess that can stand. I mean, perhaps there were people who notice them,but honestly, if you're given a list of faces? How many are you going to remember were in a full waiting doom with you at 7 in the morning? Your theory could stand, I suppose, but there is one key point that everybody is missing.

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How come private Benson is only mentioned at the end ? Who is he ? I'm not sure if regular police in any country use the rank private (or captain for that matter), is this military police ?

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Samuelson had appointment at 7:45. He stated "Well, Detective, I arrived early, knowing Mr. Bennett's crowds. I waited for my name to be called, but it didn't. Being suspicious that he was avoiding me, I, well, when Miss Lucy wasn't looking I ducked behind the desk and went into the workroom. The room has an air vent that looks into Mr. Bennett's office. I noticed it when he tried to print my credit report. So, I stood on a copy machine," "anyway, I look in and see nothing but the front of the room."

So at that time lawyer was not hanged. After he left, only Lucy was there to murder, and came out crying at 8:45.

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"Broken neck from hanging" is this a fact ? Meaning the murderer did what, force the lawyer to hang himself ? Could it just be a broken neck before hanging ?:D You don't just enter a man's office and hang them like you would say shoot them, do you now ?:D

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Question:

How did Detective Smith know it was a homicide before reading the note?

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And if that was just a narrative omission for dramatic effect...

How could the couple have known whether or not the victim ever opened his door? It's at the end of a hallway.

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And - and I apologize for triple posting due to the inability to edit - but doesn't it seem a little damning that...

Miss Lamar assumed it was murder when Lucy had screamed the man had killed himself?

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And - and I apologize for triple posting due to the inability to edit - but doesn't it seem a little damning that...

Miss Lamar assumed it was murder when Lucy had screamed the man had killed himself?

Yeah I noticed that too...but then the next suspect also said the same thing so I thought they announced it sometime...*shrugs*

...where was Lucy when Samuelson snuck past? She "left [her] desk a few times"...was one of them to commit murder?

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How come private Benson is only mentioned at the end ? Who is he ? I'm not sure if regular police in any country use the rank private (or captain for that matter), is this military police ?

Oh, Benson is a character I introduced earlier, and I just wanted a third person in the room during the final scene.

Samuelson had appointment at 7:45. He stated "Well, Detective, I arrived early, knowing Mr. Bennett's crowds. I waited for my name to be called, but it didn't. Being suspicious that he was avoiding me, I, well, when Miss Lucy wasn't looking I ducked behind the desk and went into the workroom. The room has an air vent that looks into Mr. Bennett's office. I noticed it when he tried to print my credit report. So, I stood on a copy machine," "anyway, I look in and see nothing but the front of the room."

So at that time lawyer was not hanged. After he left, only Lucy was there to murder, and came out crying at 8:45.

I think Smith pointed out that it may have been possible to have missed a body if it was there at the time.

"Broken neck from hanging" is this a fact ? Meaning the murderer did what, force the lawyer to hang himself ? Could it just be a broken neck before hanging ? :D You don't just enter a man's office and hang them like you would say shoot them, do you now ? :D

That's how a hanging works. i'm not sure about the details.

Question:

How did Detective Smith know it was a homicide before reading the note?

He read the note, which was probably in full view as a "suicide" would like it to be.

And if that was just a narrative omission for dramatic effect...

How could the couple have known whether or not the victim ever opened his door? It's at the end of a hallway.

Narrative omission.

And - and I apologize for triple posting due to the inability to edit - but doesn't it seem a little damning that...

Miss Lamar assumed it was murder when Lucy had screamed the man had killed himself?

Yeah, well when the police show up at your door demanding you come, they're going to tell you it's a homicide investigation.

...where was Lucy when Samuelson snuck past? She "left [her] desk a few times"...was one of them to commit murder?

She's an assistant, she may have been doing some secretarial work, maybe to get a paper clip, maybe to pass on secret bomb codes to undercover spies planning to start a nuclear war. shrug.gif

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I don't know if this is a clue, but...

Miss Lamar said "Correct. But the old fool didn't even open the door for me!"

and

Mr. O'Brien said "Mr. Bennett never actually opened his door, which frankly we found surprising."

but

Mr. Samuelson said "I waited for my name to be called, but it didn't. Being suspicious that he was avoiding me..."

The other two mentioned that the door never opened but Samuelson didn't. I am on the right track or lost?

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queries

did/do we have enough information to solve this without any further queries?

The reason I ask is that it was not very specific about if the body was hung

It would require someone of reasonable strength to hang someone in such a way that they break their neck suddenly rather than strangle them slowly. It would have to be someone who accidentally left the door open or heard the discussion between Lucy and Miss Lamar. Lucy claims that it would be very noticable if Samuelson tried to get past the desk, which means he would have been observed by the O'Brians for the periods she left her post.

Samuelson attempted to scope out the room a week earlier (before Lucy was employed) leaving a footprint behind on the copier (maybe even purposely to establish alibi), he then being young and fit somehow managed to break the lawyers neck. This could have happened before the first client or after he learned that the back-door was open in which case the lawyer was probably indeed in a drunken stupour. If beforehand, he inadvertantly left the back door unlocked, (The person who left the door open accidentally would not mention it, thus clearing Miss Lamar, unless she is very manipulative)

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There's a bigger issue here, tooo, about people being generally suspicious.

If you make a prior appointment with a lawyer, you might arrive a half-hour early. But how many hours early did the people in that waiting room arrive? Why?

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Only Samuelson mentioned being early

"Well, Detective, I arrived early, knowing Mr. Bennett's crowds."

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I don't know if this is a clue, but...

Miss Lamar said "Correct. But the old fool didn't even open the door for me!"

and

Mr. O'Brien said "Mr. Bennett never actually opened his door, which frankly we found surprising."

but

Mr. Samuelson said "I waited for my name to be called, but it didn't. Being suspicious that he was avoiding me..."

The other two mentioned that the door never opened but Samuelson didn't. I am on the right track or lost?

Wrong track.

queries

did/do we have enough information to solve this without any further queries?

The reason I ask is that it was not very specific about if the body was hung

It would require someone of reasonable strength to hang someone in such a way that they break their neck suddenly rather than strangle them slowly. It would have to be someone who accidentally left the door open or heard the discussion between Lucy and Miss Lamar. Lucy claims that it would be very noticable if Samuelson tried to get past the desk, which means he would have been observed by the O'Brians for the periods she left her post.

Samuelson attempted to scope out the room a week earlier (before Lucy was employed) leaving a footprint behind on the copier (maybe even purposely to establish alibi), he then being young and fit somehow managed to break the lawyers neck. This could have happened before the first client or after he learned that the back-door was open in which case the lawyer was probably indeed in a drunken stupour. If beforehand, he inadvertantly left the back door unlocked, (The person who left the door open accidentally would not mention it, thus clearing Miss Lamar, unless she is very manipulative)

This is quite certainly the cleverest solution I've seen so far. It's not exactly what I had in mind, but it definitely fits with one more clue.

There's a bigger issue here, tooo, about people being generally suspicious.

If you make a prior appointment with a lawyer, you might arrive a half-hour early. But how many hours early did the people in that waiting room arrive? Why?

I don't know, I guess he's a great lawyer. I didn't really think of that.

If anyone wants a little hint, it's here for the taking

Mr. Bennett was a very secretive man.

Edited by Aaryan
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The note only makes sense for the motives of Mr Samuelson, it makes no mention of others using him for their finances. Note makes no sense whatsoever for a law settlement for shaving razors.

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The note only makes sense for the motives of Mr Samuelson, it makes no mention of others using him for their finances. Note makes no sense whatsoever for a law settlement for shaving razors.

Note doesn't really mean anything.

I guess what I am looking for is a bit unclear. Let me tell you this...

Smith set a trap somewhere in the story.

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