The Mysterious Affair At Virtupets: Part Three
At this point in the story, Syod reveals the identity of the murderer. Some of you may have become attached to certain characters in this story, and if that is the case, you may want to stop reading as the murderer might be someone who you have come to like. Otherwise, you may continue reading.
Sincerely, A Concerned Author
We were all silent, waiting for Syod to speak again. We all had the same three questions in mind. “Who is the murderer?” was one, “will Syod even continue? She did start speaking last week and then stopped until now!” was another, and the final one was “what is Mr. Merrotlin’s first name, anyway?”
“I started with four main suspects. I will list through them now and explain how I eliminated each one in a slow and nerve-wrecking manner, so the murderer has plenty of time to figure out what’s going on,” she continued from the monologue she started last week. “The four suspects I started with were as follows. Rebeca Brownstone was one, and also the least likely of the four. I put her down simply because her daughter knows Leila Merrotlin, so Miss Brownstone is more likely to know the Merrotlins than most of the other suspects. I could think of no motive. The second and easiest to prove innocent was Roderic Bryll. He was, as I’m sure some of you have thought, the only one who could have known that there were wires behind the seat, and thus, the only one who could have electrocuted Mr. Merrotlin. I have just proved, however, that Mr. Merrotlin was not electrocuted. What, then, was the cause of death?”
We were all silent for a moment. Then the doctor, Thomas Smith, spoke.
“He must have been poisoned.”
“Exactly!” Syod was grinning now. “And that piece of information directed my suspicion away from Mr. Bryll. The real murderer must have placed the wires there to frame the pilot! Of course, it was a poor disguise. After all, what would wires be doing behind a chair?”
Georgina Crawle caught on. “So you deduced who another potential murderer could be! Namely, the doctor!”
“Thank you, Miss Crawle. Yes. A common way to figure out who the murderer is is through the murder weapon.”
Mr. Smith looked taken aback. “Hold on just a second,” he said. “I said that he was probably poisoned. If I were the criminal, would I say something that could incriminate me?”
“Believe it or not, it happens all the time,” Syod muttered. Then she raised her voice. “Nevertheless, I am inclined to believe that the murderer wanted us to pick up on the wires, thus framing Thomas Smith. It was, shall we call it, a layered scheme.”
The Gelert relaxed.
“Anyway, I believe I was down to my last two suspects. I originally suspected Miss Celia Merrotlin, but I realized that that particular theory would be too obvious. And besides. Celia Merrotlin does not strike me as someone who would murder her own husband.”
The Elephante nodded curtly.
“So I have come to the last suspect, and the suspect who I am sure is the murderer.” Syod paused, to increase suspense. “I am referring to Roger E. Corman!”
“Preposterous!” (it was Mr. Corman who made this remark).
“Not very, Mr. Corman,” replied Syod, somewhat contemptuously. “You see, I have done some research into your family history.”
“What’s family history got to do with it?” scoffed the arrogant banker.
“Family history has everything to do with it. The background is the most important part of a murderer’s profile. Anyway, I looked into your family history, and saw that you come from a very noble bloodline. You have, shall we say, blue blood.”
“Hmph.” Roger E. Corman was not impressed.
“I noticed that you are a banker, one of your brothers is a lawyer -- the Merrotlin’s lawyer no less, another brother of yours is a professor and your youngest brother is an ice cream vendor.
“True enough,” muttered the Bruce.
“All of these occupations, banker, lawyer, and so on, are highly respected in the community, with the exception of young Robin, the ice cream seller. And where did this young Bruce frequently go? To Merrotlin’s rink. And he was very good friends with the late manager.”
“That proves nothing!” Mr. Corman was loosing his composure.
“On the contrary,” returned the Shoyru inspector, smoothly, “I think it proves a great deal.”
“Like what?” scoffed the suspected murderer.
“For instance, you probably assumed that, because your brother Robin spent so much time at Merrotlin’s rink, Mr. Merrotlin was a bad influence, so you eliminated him in order to make your brother get a respectable job.”
“That is ridiculously far fetched.”
I must admit, to me too, it sounded like Syod was loosing her skill as a detective.
“The theory is not as ridiculous as you all probably think,” said Syod. “You see, I have already said that the murder weapon was a double bluff, thus eliminating two suspects (Thomas Smith and Roderic Byll). Roderic Bryll also never left the pilot’s chair, I can vouch for Viased because I checked her baggage before she left and after I arrived. She was also the one who alerted me that there was a murder in the first place, and only a fool would do that. Rebeca Brownstone and Celia Merrotlin I have already spoken for (and I hardly think that any of us can suspect young Leila Merrotlin). This was a one man job, and if one of the Crawles did it, I feel sure that the other must have done it too which is simply not possible.”
“That leaves me and Mr. Corman,” said Sasha Bethya, catching on.
“Very true. And I am inclined to think that if you committed the murder, you would have been much smarter about it, given the number of books you must have read as a librarian.”
“Thank you,” said Sasha, nodding politely.
The sound of a single person applauding came from the entrance to the shuttle. There were three pets standing there. All Bruces. Mr. Corman’s two respectable brothers came into the shuttle, dragging the third after them. Robin E. Corman was tied to a chair.
“Bravo inspector Syod,” said Rupert E. Corman (the professor). “You figured us out.”
“You were all in it?” asked Syod. “I must admit I did not expect that.”
“It was very well thought out. Of course it was. I thought of it. I thought out the plan and Roger put it in to play. Roderic here, saw the Merrotlin’s about two weeks ago. They very willingly told him of their holiday at Virtupets. After that, it was simple enough to get Roger on the same shuttle for the tour of Neopia. After the holiday, Roderic would set the Merrotlin’s affairs in order and kill the rest of them. He is a lawyer and could argue his innocence very well. It was an ingenious scheme, and it would have worked, if not for your Flotsam friend here.”
Rupert E. Corman glared at me.
“You do realize that you are facing up to ten years in Defenders of Neopia custody. Right?” Surprisingly, it was me who said that sentence. Not Syod.
The lawyer, Roderic, stepped up. “Yes. Or, we would be spending ten years in Defenders of Neopia custody, were there not a dozen lasers aimed at everyone in this shuttle. Two dozen for our dear brother here. One move from any of you, and Robin is added to the casualty list.”
“You rigged the security system,” muttered the pilot. “Clever.”
Roderic (the lawyer) grinned. “Yes. Very. Roger did it during the confusion when Mr. Merrotlin dropped dead. He also blocked communications.”
Roger E. Corman sneered. “You won’t get out of this one, Viased. Or should I say, Samantha Lyson?
I suddenly understood. “My first undercover mission. You were the bank robber. Robbert Castelnette!”
“Getting there at last. Are you, Viased?”
“Do you realize that there are two dozen DON shuttles converging on this shuttle bay at this very moment?”
“You are stalling, Viased. There are no shuttles.”
“No,” I said, pulling out my old Virtupets Communicator -- or VirtuComs as we called them at headquarters. “But there soon will be.” I overrode the security rigs and activated an alarm. Class A, direct to the DON emergency offices.
The VirtuCom was a wonderfully simple device. One was issued to every Defender of Neopia. They had basic communications so we could send brief messages to headquarters, and it had emergency backup, so we could contact anyone directly. The VirtuComs also worked on a closed frequency, so the signal couldn’t be blocked.
Needless to say, we got the Corman brothers in the end. Robin was freed without incident, and the Merrotlins are back on Terror Mountain. Celia and Leila have forgiven me for my tactlessness, and I and Syod are welcome at the newly renovated Merrotlin Rink any time. Syod is talking about taking a vacation which worries me somewhat. Syod never takes vacations...