Okay I’m not sure I quite pulled this one off. I think I was just a tad over ambitious for 1000 words.
The Case of the Broken Mirror.
“And so here we all are in the very room where Mrs Fortescue was found,” announced Inspector Johns with a dramatic flourish. “Right here.”
A wide sweep of his arm indicating the dressing table.
Lydia gave a shudder, “Why must we gather here Inspector?”
Her twin Lyle, as blonde as she put his arm around him. “I agree with Lyds. It’s so unnecessary when we could all talk downstairs in the parlour.”
“I assure you Mr Fortescue, Miss Fortescue that it is very, very necessary.”
Mr Blake Myers one elbow on the mantelpiece snorted.
“It was here Mr Fortesce that you found the body of your stepmother Mrs Loretta Fortescue sat slumped at her dressing table four mornings ago.”
“Please don’t call her my stepmother, its too ridiculous when she was five years my junior.”
“It was a surprise because you’d thought she’s stormed out and not returned.”
“No I knew she’d not returned home,” corrected Lyle, “Because I personally bolted the front door and I unbolted it first thing in the morning.”
“The only conclusion therefore is that Mrs Fortescue did not leave this house at all but rather she went upstairs to her room and it was here that she was murdered!”
“Murdered!” butted in Blake Myers. “That’s a bit of a leap isn’t it old chap. From what Lydia’s told me there wasn’t a mark on her.”
Johns fixed Blake with a hard glare. “Twenty three year old women do not just drop dead Mr Myers. Which is why I had some blood taken from Mrs Fortescue’s body. I got the toxicology report back this morning. Mrs Fortescue had a high level of a particularly deadly poison in her bloodstream.”
Lydia’s hand went to her mouth.
“By your own admittance Mr Fortescue, your stepmother met her death in a locked house. Which would rather suggest that one of you was the one who murdered her.”
Blake Myers, leant against the wall examined his nails, “Not me, old chap. I wasn’t here. I was at home waiting for the luscious Loretta to visit me as she promised.”
Lyle clenched his fists. “Well I ought to _.”
“Ought to what Lyle? Punch me?” he smiled. “For what? For taking an interest in a young widow? Where’s the harm in that?”
“But it’s only two months since papa died,” said Lydia.
“Which is what you were arguing about in the parlour?”
“Yes, yes it was,” admitted Lyle. “I’m not saying Lyds and I expected her to play at full mourning, all those archaic traditions. We knew she’d likely marry again but so soon? Well it’s not the done thing, is it?”
Inspector Johns agreed it was not. “This row got heated and Mrs Fortescue determined she was going to meet Mr Myles whatever you two thought.”
Lyle hung his head down, “Yes.”
“So Mr Fortescue, Miss Fortescue you were where?”
“In the parlour,” supplied Lydia. “We tried to play cards but neither of us could concentrate. I went up to bed at nine o clock. I had such a headache.”
“And you Mr Fortescue?”
“I smoked a cigar and went up about half past ten.”
The Inspector’s gaze fell on Blake. He gave a laugh. “It hardly matters what time I went to bed, I wasn’t here.”
“And so here we have the mystery. Two people who went up to bed alone, two people who had the opportunity to poison Mrs Fortescue.”
“I say!” a heated Lyle burst out, his cheeks red with indignation.
“Lady, Gentlemen. Please indulge me for but a moment. Take a look at this dressing table and tell me what is missing.”
“Nothing,” said Blake with a yawn. “Typical number of jars and potions. I’ve never discovered what they are all for.”
“Inspector!” said Lydia suddenly pointing at the dressing table. “There’s no mirror.”
The Inspector smiled. “Quite, well spotted Miss Fortescue. There is no mirror, what sort of lady has a dressing table without a mirror? No kind of lady is my answer.”
The door creaked open, “Ahh Sergeant Cuff you have it I see.”
Sergeant Cuff shuffled in, a mirror clasped between his hands.
“Hold it up here Sergeant . Now ladies and gentlemen do you see right here in the corner.”
Lyle was the first to see it, “A crack.”
“Now what might that have caused that crack? And why was it so important to dispose of this broken mirror?” I had the sergeant swab around it and indeed the toxicologist found traces of the exact same poison that killed Mrs Fortescue.”
A collective gasp.
“But how, what I don’t understand?” blustered Lydia. “The mirror was poisoned?”
The Inspector turned to Blake. “I understand you have travelled in the amazon basin?”
Blake shrugged, “so what?”
“The tribesmen there have an intriguing method of killing. They use a hollowed out pipe and load it with a dart dipped in poison. Then they put it to their lips and blow.” He mimicked the action. “Poof. The benefits of such a method is that you can kill your quarry from a distance, unseen. You don’t even have to be in the same building do you Mr Myers?”
He turned his eye on Blake.
“Because that’s how you did it isn’t it? From that balcony there, through that open window. Your first shot missed, hitting the mirror instead and causing that crack but your second hit her alright, didn’t it Mr Myers?”
“Rubbish, what possible reason would I have to kill Loretta? She was a fun girl.”
“Oh she was more than that to you Mr Myers. You loved her. But she didn’t love you did she?”
“Shut up,” said Blake between clenched teeth. “Shut up.”
“You were just a bit of fun, a bit of cheer after the loss of her husband. She didn’t love you at all and you couldn’t bear that. And that is why you killed Loretta Fortescue!”