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Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2011 - 1:35 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

While in Myrtle Beach, I have renewed my love of Agatha Christie novels, so I thought this would be the best way to make an homage to the author and her excellent detective. If I make any errors, I apologize in advance and I will note them during the story.

You will be directing Captain Arthur Hastings in the same way that the puzzlers directed Watson during Beroean's "The Case of Circus Maximus" (in the Jan. '05 archives, and still, in my opinion, the standard for lateral mysteries). I have done my best to make this sound and feel as authentic as possible; if it doesn't, oh well, I'm not perfect.

Anyways, here we go:

17 July 1938

Once more I found myself in Britain, my homeland, having returned from over a year on my Argentine ranch. And once more I found myself at Whitehaven Mansions, home of my dear friend Hercule Poirot. His case of the previous Christmas, the murder of an eccentric multimillionaire, had been solved with his usual brilliance and flair. But now Poirot, quite apparently, was bored; unfortunately for him, the two-week-long drought that had struck the country and was still at its strongest had apparently struck the crime rate as well.

I had been reading the newspaper for anything new; I now folded it down. "Nothing today," I remarked.

Poirot took the news almost indifferently; I suspect the heat had something to do with it. "Nothing today!" he cried out, but with very little vigor. "And yesterday, nothing. And tomorrow, what? Nothing! Perhaps," he pondered, stroking his magnificent moustaches, "I shall turn to fiction."

I started suddenly. "Fiction?"

My friend nodded. "Yes, and perhaps I shall write a -- how do you say it -- critique. I shall..."

The phone rang. Georges, Poirot's valet, was ill, so I picked up the phone. It was Inspector Japp.

"Hastings, that you? Tell your old boy to get down here. We've got a murder that nobody can pick up anything on."

I was about to ask just where "here" was when Japp answered that. "Address is 14 Hoberton Crescent. Big house -- old man called Longshear. And hurry." There was a click on the other end of the line.

I turned to Poirot; the look on my face told him everything. He smiled and rose from his chair.

"Hastings, a cab. We must get to the scene of the murder!"


**************

The cab has stopped and we have just arrived at 14 Hoberton Crescent, a house the same size as, yet much grander than, the others on the street. There are two police cars in the drive, and Japp is standing at the front door, waiting for us.

"Shall we get to work?" I asked Poirot, before realizing just how stupid that question was. Poirot's look backed that up.

Anyway...where should I start?
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2011 - 6:26 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

of course you should get to work, man! Now then...

"Perhaps you might inquire of Japp as to the details of the murder, my friend. Who was murdered, when, and where might the body be found? Who are the suspects so far?"
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2011 - 9:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

of course you should get to work, man! Now then...

"Perhaps you might inquire of Japp as to the details of the murder, my friend. Who was murdered, when, and where might the body be found? Who are the suspects so far?" I have posed these questions to Japp.

"The murdered man is the owner of the house, a Mr. Josiah Longshear. His maid discovered him a half-hour ago in his study -- someone slashed his throat with a hunting knife. Not pretty.

"Longshear was killed just a few minutes before the body was discovered. He, his maid, and his secretary were the only ones in the house this morning. Whoever the killer is set up the scene to look like a suicide, but we soon figured out that it probably wasn't.

"The reason we called you in is that it seems impossible for anyone to have killed him. The body was found in a locked room, and as far as we know there are no secret passages, compartments, or the like. Constable Alder is waiting in the drawing room for you -- I will show you in. Shall we head that way?"

I glance over at Poirot, who has been listening intently, taking in the information.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2011 - 11:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, head that way, and let's see what the good Constable has to say. (OOC: That is, if he's not dead. That seems to happen just when it's least convenient, Balin.)
Peter365 (Peter365)
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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 1:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Perhaps it would be wise Hastings if we established some more of the background of the recently departed Longshear.

Could you ask Inspector Japp if Longshear had any family? Did they live in the house with him? Is Mr Longshear an old man? Is his employment whatever that might be relevant to this enquiry? Do we know anything of Longshear's finances? Leaving aside this grand house is he a wealthy man? Successful in business?

You might also ask Constable Alder if he was the first copper to arrive at the scene? Has he viewed the body? Was the murder weapon still at the scene?

Also ask Japp if it was the position of the body that led you to deduce that this was not a suicide?
Galfisk (Galfisk)
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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 2:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ask how the room was locked. One door, or several? One known key, or more? Whereabouts of the key(s)? Was the key in the lock? Would it be possible to pick the lock(s)? Anything out of the ordinary with the lock(s) and/or key(s)?
If the key was in the lock, would it have been possible to: lock or unlock it from the other side, with another key? Or do the same using a tool to turn the existing key in the lock from the other side?
Any windows? Closed? Openable? If so: from the outside? Or possible to close completely from the outside?
Was the nature of the would such that it would be unlikely to be self inflicted? Or was it the placement of the weapon that made it unlikely? Or were there other, better methods readily available if he really did want to kill himself?
Any other signs of injury on the body?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 3:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, head that way, and let's see what the good Constable has to say. All right, we've walked inside the house and are inside a large foyer. There is a grand staircase leading upwards, and there are two doors on both the left and right walls. A man is standing in front of the farthest door on the right, and Japp is directing us to him. "That's Constable Alder," he says, and Alder nods hello. (OOC: That is, if he's not dead. That seems to happen just when it's least convenient, Balin.) No, he's alive, and he leads the three of us into the study.

Entering the study, the first thing I see is a large desk with a typewriter on it. It's facing the center of the room, and is right in front of the door.

Against the wall opposite the door is a large cabinet. I have gone over to open the cabinet, but Japp stops me. "It's locked." Above the cabinet is a window facing the desolate yard outside.

Against the wall on the left is a bookcase with some uninteresting books willing it. There are many marble figurines on top of it, resting haphazardly all over it.

Finally, in the near-left corner (I'm describing the different corners assuming one is standing at the door, by the way) is a large armchair soaked in blood, in which sits the body of Josiah Longshear. His throat has been slashed, apparently by a large hunting knife held in his right hand.

To the right of the chair is a large gong. Hanging down from the gong is a mallet with a cloth head -- like a large drumstick.


Perhaps it would be wise Hastings if we established some more of the background of the recently departed Longshear.

Could you ask Inspector Japp if Longshear had any family? "Longshear's been a rather notorious figure, so I can tell you all about him. He was an only child, orphaned at 14. He joined the military shortly afterward and went on patrol. While in Africa he discovered a love of hunting and adventure; resigning his post, he spent years in the jungle, never marrying and never having children. He became fairly well-known and acquired a decent sum of money.

"When the war broke out he returned to England; arthritis began to set in and he could no longer hunt. He was 42 at the time, I believe, and he bought this house. Most of his money was lost at the end of the war, and he's lived as a near recluse since then -- the only people he has contact with are his nurse, maid, and secretary. He had a solicitor once, years ago, but I don't believe they have had contact in over ten years."
Did they live in the house with him? "His nurse lives in town and visits daily around noon. She should be coming soon. The maid and secretary live in the house. If you want to talk to them, the maid is in the kitchen -- we've already taken her statement. The secretary is in her quarters, but she is fast asleep. I can't explain how." Is Mr Longshear an old man? From his appearance, as well as from Japp's statement, I'd guess he's around 60. Is his employment whatever that might be relevant to this enquiry? I don't have a clue right now -- I should probably focus on the scene. Poirot, standing next to me, seems to read my thoughts and says, "Yes, but! be sure that you remember this for later. It may be useful." Do we know anything of Longshear's finances? Leaving aside this grand house is he a wealthy man? Japp is the one who responds: "We plan to contact his solicitor, a Mr. Burke Burke. Maybe you can talk to him as well." But from appearances, it looks like Longshear was quite wealthy. Successful in business? I don't know -- given that he lost a lot of money at war's end, I doubt he had success in that area.

You might also ask Constable Alder if he was the first copper to arrive at the scene? "Japp and I arrived together. We were the first ones on the scene." Has he viewed the body? "Yes, I have." Was the murder weapon still at the scene? "Yes, it is in Longshear's right hand."

Also ask Japp if it was the position of the body that led you to deduce that this was not a suicide? He's about to answer when Poirot interrupts him. "Ah-ah-ah! Permit Hastings to exercise his grey cells in this matter. I already see what you have seen, Japp. I just need a few answers, and I suspect the testimony you have received will confirm that. But I already know here! Here!" he cries.

I just sigh. He does this all the time.


Ask how the room was locked. One door, or several? Alder answers, "Both the door and the window are -- er, were -- locked." One known key, or more? "The door was locked with a key -- Longshear, the maid, the secretary, and the nurse all had a key. The maid unlocked the door when she found the body." Whereabouts of the key(s)? Was the key in the lock?
Would it be possible to pick the lock(s)? "I assume so. I can't pick locks myself, so I can't say for sure." Anything out of the ordinary with the lock(s) and/or key(s)? I examine the door. Nothing looks wrong with the locks, but I can't say anything about the keys.
If the key was in the lock, would it have been possible to: lock or unlock it from the other side, with another key? Or do the same using a tool to turn the existing key in the lock from the other side? Again, I can't say for sure without a key to test it with. But I'd assume No to the first question and Yes to the second.
Any windows? Just the one above the locked cabinet. Closed? Yes. Openable? Yes. If so: from the outside? Yes, but it is locked on the inside. If the window were unlocked, it could be opened, but it could not be locked from the outside. Or possible to close completely from the outside? Yes, if it were unlocked, but again, it could not be locked from the outside.
Was the nature of the wound such that it would be unlikely to be self inflicted? His throat was slashed, so...it looks like it could definitely be self-inflicted. I'm not sure just how Japp and Poirot already know it wasn't suicide -- it certainly looks like that to me! Or was it the placement of the weapon that made it unlikely? Well, the knife is in his hand, so again, it looks like suicide to me. Maybe you all can help me shed some light on this? Or were there other, better methods readily available if he really did want to kill himself? It looks like the knife came from a sheath on Longshear's belt, so that would have been the best method available.
Any other signs of injury on the body? Nope.
Peter365 (Peter365)
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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 3:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hastings why don't we ask the maid or the secretaty if Longshears was right handed?
Vesica (Vesica)
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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 4:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Poor bored Poirot!! SO excited to dig into this! I love Christie and Poirot is my absolute favorite of hers. Hmm…Very good questions so far. I think I would only add:

Before we move on from talking with the Constable,
What statements have already been taken? From whom?
How do we know time of death?
Has the house been searched for any other occupants?
Have any questions been asked outside the home, perhaps to neighbors as to anything anyone might have heard or seen?

I think that’s it for now. Have more questions once we move on chatting with the other two occupants of the house.
Vesica (Vesica)
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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 4:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Poor bored Poirot!! SO excited to dig into this! I love Christie and Poirot is my absolute favorite of hers. Hmm…Very good questions so far. I think I would only add:

Before we move on from talking with the Constable,
What statements have already been taken? From whom?
How do we know time of death?
Has the house been searched for any other occupants?
Have any questions been asked outside the home, perhaps to neighbors as to anything anyone might have heard or seen?

I think that’s it for now. Have more questions once we move on chatting with the other two occupants of the house.
Vesica (Vesica)
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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 4:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sorry for the double post!
Vesica (Vesica)
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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 4:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

And now that I've read your responses, more questions!

Examining the body more closely (without touching, of course)…
Does the slash go all the way across the throat?
Is it even across the whole cut?
Is any one side deeper than the other?
Can we tell based on the cut if it was made left to right or right to left?

You mentioned the chair was blood soaked…
What is the appearance of Longshear’s clothing?
What is he wearing?
Is there blood on his right sleeve?
Is there blood on the floor?
How high are the arms/wings on the chair?
Would it be possible for Longshear to have moved his arm enough to slash his own throat?

What about the knife – blood on the knife?
Has it been wiped clean?
Is there an obvious place on Longshear’s clothing or the chair where he could have wiped it?
What about the position of the knife in his hand?
Is the sharp side of the blade facing Longshear?

Any relevant details about Longshear’s hands?
Ink or other stains on his fingers?
Staining from the using of tobacco products?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 - 9:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hastings why don't we ask the maid or the secretaty if Longshears was right handed? Sure -- I'll make sure to ask both of them when I go interview them.

Poor bored Poirot!! SO excited to dig into this! I love Christie and Poirot is my absolute favorite of hers. Me too! -Balin Hmm…Very good questions so far. I think I would only add:

Before we move on from talking with the Constable,
What statements have already been taken? From whom? Japp said that he has taken the maid's statement. Since the secretary has been asleep and the nurse hasn't arrived, I'd guess that he's only talked with the maid.
How do we know time of death? I turn to Japp and ask this. He responds, "From the maid's testimony, for one. Plus our doctor's examined the body already, and by the body temperature, he approximated the time of death."
Has the house been searched for any other occupants? "No -- I'll send Alder to search the house while you talk to the maid." Alder nods and heads off to look around.
Have any questions been asked outside the home, perhaps to neighbors as to anything anyone might have heard or seen? "All the neighbors are away. It seems that the drought affected this street particularly, as they could not get much water, so they left. Don't know why Longshear didn't, though."

Examining the body more closely (without touching, of course)… I go up to the body to examine it. Poirot and Japp are looking over my shoulder.
Does the slash go all the way across the throat? It does.
Is it even across the whole cut? I think it is, and it looks very deep.
Is any one side deeper than the other? I can't tell. I ask Japp about this, and he responds...
Can we tell based on the cut if it was made left to right or right to left? ..."The doctor examined the wound. He says that the wound was clearly made from left to right, and it was a very deep cut. Not a very English crime, if you ask me." Poirot nods and moves over to the bookcase -- I notice that he's straightening the figurines on it. It's a habit of his.

You mentioned the chair was blood soaked… It is -- the blood has dried some, obviously, but the entire seat of the chair, as well as the victim's lap, is covered in it.
What is the appearance of Longshear’s clothing? His torso and lap are coated with blood. His sleeves are clean, the arms hanging down to the sides.
What is he wearing? A very fancy suit -- specially tailored, I'd guess.
Is there blood on his right sleeve? There is not.
Is there blood on the floor? There is some on the floor in front of the chair, as well as a bit on the right side in front of the gong, where it dripped off the knife. Hang on...while inspecting the blood drops over here, I see a small white chip of some stone on the floor, right in front of the gong.
How high are the arms/wings on the chair? Only a foot or so above the seat itself.
Would it be possible for Longshear to have moved his arm enough to slash his own throat? It definitely would have.

What about the knife – blood on the knife? Yes, and a lot of it.
Has it been wiped clean? No.
Is there an obvious place on Longshear’s clothing or the chair where he could have wiped it? Therefore, also no.
What about the position of the knife in his hand? Is the sharp side of the blade facing Longshear? Yes -- it is held in a way that would make a suicide by throat-slitting quite easy.

Any relevant details about Longshear’s hands? They're very badly crippled by arthritis.
Ink or other stains on his fingers? Not at all.
Staining from the using of tobacco products? And no.

I think that’s it for now. Have more questions once we move on chatting with the other two occupants of the house. Japp stays in the study while Poirot and I cross the hall to the kitchen. The maid, a middle-aged woman with white hair, is sitting in a chair. Cabinets and cupboards abound in this room. There is also a stove with some smashed crockery on the ground in front of it. Off to the side is a sink in which sits an empty coffeepot.

I ask the maid for her name, and she gives it: Hilairie Erickson. Then I ask if Longshear was right- or left-handed, and she responds, "Right, I believe. Yes, right-handed. Although he couldn't even hold his own coffee cup anymore, that's how bad his hands were."
Vesica (Vesica)
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Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 3:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So…if he didn’t have the manual dexterity to hold a coffee cup, it would be unlikely he could slit his own throat, yes?
Is this, perhaps, what the others saw that made them immediately suspect murder?

Could we pretend we didn’t leave the other room yet or, when we return, could we please take a closer look at the white chip on the floor near the gong??

Now…to Miss Erickson and some detail about the morning.
What time did she rise?
Was that the usual time?
What did she do this morning?
When did Longshear rise?
What did he do?

Any visitors to the home in the past few days?
Anything unusual noted?
Was Longshear in good or bad temper?
Was this normal?

How did she happen upon the body?
Why did she go to that room?
Did she try the door?
Did she have to unlock it to enter?
Galfisk (Galfisk)
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Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 - 4:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A-ha! Ask Ms. Erickson if she thinks he'd be incapable of slitting his throat also, with those hands.
Ask her about the smashed crockery: does she know how it got smashed? Or when? Did she do it? If so: by accident?
Does the stone chip in front of the gong match the pieces of crockery? Is it possible to see what the crockery was, before it got smashed? If not, ask her if she knows. Ask her if it has been moved since it got smashed.
If nobody has moved it, and nobody knows how it got smashed: does it look like it has fallen from a height (pieces spread about)? Or gotten crushed underneath something (pieces all in a pile)? Or does it not match either description?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 3:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So…if he didn’t have the manual dexterity to hold a coffee cup, it would be unlikely he could slit his own throat, yes? A-HA! I have shared this deduction with Poirot, and he smiles. "Oui, Hastings! You are clearly exercising your little grey cells," he says, stroking his moustaches.
Is this, perhaps, what the others saw that made them immediately suspect murder? It probably is.

Now…to Miss Erickson and some detail about the morning.
What time did she rise? "I woke up at half past five, as always."
Was that the usual time? "Yes, it is."
What did she do this morning? "I did what I always do. I prepared breakfast. When Mr. Longshear and Miss Kingsbury rose, I served them and made their beds. I then dusted the bedrooms -- I believe I finished that at nine o'clock or so. After that I started brewing the coffee.

"They came out of the study a quarter of an hour later, as always, and went outside for a moment. I was tired, so I went to my room to stretch my legs for a moment. They came back inside five minutes later and went back to the study. I finished brewing the coffee and started the laundry.

"At ten o'clock I heard the gong and served the two cups of coffee, then put the pot in the sink and went to continue the laundry. Later I realized I'd forgotten to wash the pot, but I had left the cupboard open and accidentally knocked some cups over which smashed. I left the pot and began to sweep the broken cups up when I heard the gong again. I went to the study but found it locked. When I opened the door..." Her voice cracks and she begins to sob. "...There he was! And Miss Kingsbury wasn't in there, so I used the phone on the desk to call the police. Then I went in here and gave myself a medicinal dose of brandy -- medicinal -- to calm my nerves. I waited here until the police arrived, then told them what I've just told you."

When did Longshear rise? "At a quarter till seven, as always."
What did he do? I've got an idea of what he did from the statement, but maybe I can ask her some specifics as well.

Any visitors to the home in the past few days? "No -- Mr. Longshear hated visitors. In fact, we haven't had anyone new in here since the end of last month. Someone built a cabinet for him."
Anything unusual noted? "Nothing really -- it was an ordinary day. Up until the murder, of course."
Was Longshear in good or bad temper? "He seemed good-tempered, but there were times when he, well, lashed out!" The maid pauses for a second. "Now that I think about it, there was always something...well, cruel...yes, cruel. Behind the surface, that is."
Was this normal? "He's been this way ever since I've been here, and that's been as long as he has. But it's gotten worse in the past year or two."

How did she happen upon the body?
Why did she go to that room?
Did she try the door?
Did she have to unlock it to enter? I think this has already been established by her statement.

Could we pretend we didn’t leave the other room yet or, when we return, could we please take a closer look at the white chip on the floor near the gong?? I will take a look at it once I've finished asking Miss Erickson questions.

I will answer the rest of the questions later. -Balin
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 11:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A-ha! Ask Ms. Erickson if she thinks he'd be incapable of slitting his throat also, with those hands. She ponders. "You know, I don't think so. He couldn't grip a coffee cup, so how could he grip a knife? No, I don't think so."
Ask her about the smashed crockery: does she know how it got smashed? Or when? Did she do it? If so: by accident? I think she's already told us this.
Is it possible to see what the crockery was, before it got smashed? Miss Erickson said that it was coffee cups. If not, ask her if she knows. Ask her if it has been moved since it got smashed. "No; I was sweeping it up when I heard the gong and..." She pauses to compose herself. "After I found him I came here and didn't touch anything. Other than the brandy, of course."

If nobody has moved the crockery, and nobody knows how it got smashed: does it look like it has fallen from a height (pieces spread about)? Or gotten crushed underneath something (pieces all in a pile)? Or does it not match either description? The maid has told us how it broke, and it does look like it fell out of a nearby cupboard and smashed.

I thank Miss Erickson for her time. "But I may come back to ask more questions later. Do you mind?"

"No, not at all," she replies. I nod and Poirot and I return to the study. As we arrive at the door, Constable Alder appears next to us, breathless after searching the house. "Nobody else here. But the secretary's awake -- she's in the next room over. I told her what's going on -- she seemed frightened," Alder says, before pausing and continuing. "But I calmed her down and told her to wait there."

Japp, who has been listening, nods. "I'll go take her statement," he states, before heading off across the foyer.

Poirot's been awfully -- unusually -- quiet. I wonder what he's thinking. Anyway, I'll go check out the marble chip now.


Does the stone chip in front of the gong match the pieces of crockery? It might -- it seems a little whiter, but I can't really tell. It's a very small chip.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011 - 9:08 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Poirot is speaking -- for the first time in a while, I might add -- and he's talking to me. "Hastings, remember: there is more to this room than just a small chip on the floor."
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 02, 2011 - 8:02 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Look around the room again. What else stands out?

sry balin kitteh, I no haz cheezburgur lately, nawt as sharp of kitteh, misseded this puzzel...=(
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - 1:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Look around the room again. What else stands out? Well, there's the desk, gong, bookcase, and locked cabinet. Author's note: See the post on July 25 at 3:22.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - 4:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

examine the marble figurines on the bookcase. Examine the mallet and the gong. Is the mallet used to ring the gong? Will we get anywhere by ringing the gong? If so, ring it. If not, ring it anyway (unless it's not allowed) just because I want to see what will happen. =)
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - 10:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

examine the marble figurines on the bookcase. I do that. They are all small figurines of various wild animals.
Examine the mallet and the gong. It's a big brass gong. The mallet has a rubber head wrapped in cloth, and is tied to the gong with a long string. Hanging down, it is just brushing the ground. Is the mallet used to ring the gong? It certainly looks that way to me. Will we get anywhere by ringing the gong? If so, ring it. If not, ring it anyway (unless it's not allowed) just because I want to see what will happen. =) I am about to do this when Poirot speaks up: "Hastings, perhaps it would be better for you to ask someone what this is for?"
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2011 - 10:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ask Alder, "What is this for?" If he can't tell you, ask Miss Erickson.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Thursday, August 04, 2011 - 12:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ask Alder, "What is this for?" He shrugs. "I don't know, but I'd guess it's for summoning someone."
If he can't tell you, ask Miss Erickson. I walk over and ask the maid, who responds: "The gong is for calling me. If Mr. Longshear ever needed something, he'd ring the gong with the mallet. That is, until his arthritis got so bad that he couldn't hold the mallet. Then he'd just kick it."
Kalira (Kalira)
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Posted on Thursday, August 04, 2011 - 2:18 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Look at the back side of the gong (and behind it, if it is not easily visible from in front of the gong). Is there anything of note back here?

Is there any paper in the typewriter? Look in/on the desk and typewriter for any carbon paper or typewriter ribbons that may reveal something written recently on the typewriter.

If the desk has drawers, try to open them and see if there's anything that could help us.

Check out that bookcase... anything of note? Do the figurines appear to have been placed haphazardly, or do they appear to have been knocked about in some manner?

Ask Alder/Miss Erickson where the keys for the cabinet are.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Thursday, August 04, 2011 - 2:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Look at the back side of the gong (and behind it, if it is not easily visible from in front of the gong). Is there anything of note back here? No, there's nothing here.

If the desk has drawers, try to open them and see if there's anything that could help us. I try, but they're locked. I'll need keys.

Is there any paper in the typewriter? Yes, there is. It appears to be some sort of monetary form, possibly for banking. The form stops abruptly, and is not finished; it seems that whoever was typing this was interrupted by something. Look in/on the desk and typewriter for any carbon paper or typewriter ribbons that may reveal something written recently on the typewriter. I can't check in the desk, since the drawers are locked. On the desk along with the typewriter is a stack of blotting paper along with an inkwell and fountain pen.

As I check these out, I glimpse something on the floor next to the desk. As I take a closer look, Poirot smiles and says, "See, Hastings? Your eyes, they are becoming more and more observant. Now let us see how your grey cells are becoming."

The thing on the floor appears to be some form of crockery that's been crushed to powder.


Check out that bookcase... anything of note? Do the figurines appear to have been placed haphazardly, or do they appear to have been knocked about in some manner?

Ask Alder/Miss Erickson where the keys for the cabinet are.
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Monday, August 08, 2011 - 1:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Examine the figurines. Are they all whole? Is any of them white? Can the white piece come from any of the figurines?
Ask Japp, if the deceased had made the will and who inherits his money. If Japp doesn't know, please ask the same question to other people (the solicitor?) later.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Monday, August 08, 2011 - 6:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Examine the figurines. Are they all whole? Indeed, they are. Is any of them white? All of them are white...I think I can see what you're thinking. Can the white piece come from any of the figurines? It could, except that none of them are chipped.
Ask Japp, if the deceased had made the will and who inherits his money. Japp frowns. "I don't know. I'd assume his solicitor would know; hopefully one of the staff knows who he is and how we can reach him." If Japp doesn't know, please ask the same question to other people (the solicitor?) later. I ask the maid, since that's the only other of the staff I've talked to so far. She says, "Can't say I've seen him; he rarely ever comes to the house. Miss Kingsbury might know."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Monday, August 08, 2011 - 9:18 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please compare the colour, material and texture of the white piece with crushed coffee cups in the kitchen and the figurines. What it resembles more?
Examine the crushed cups in the kitchen. Do all pieces seem to come from the same coffee set? Or do the smashed pieces differ? Could possibly one figurine be smashed among the cups? Ask the maid, how many sets of coffee cups were in use in that house, what colour they were and what material were they made from. Ask her also, who had access to the cupboard with the coffee cups on the day of the crime.
May ce cher inspecteur Japp order the analysis of coffee leftovers from the cup? Please check for any substance which may cause sleepness.
Ask also Japp if he can state, basing on the medical examination, if there were any traces of fight on the corpse? Can we state if the deceased was awake and conscious when his throat was cut?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Monday, August 08, 2011 - 9:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please compare the colour, material and texture of the white piece with crushed coffee cups in the kitchen and the figurines. What it resembles more? I have done this, and I'd guess the chip resembles the marble figurines more than the coffee cups.
Examine the crushed cups in the kitchen. Do all pieces seem to come from the same coffee set? It looks like they're all the same. Or do the smashed pieces differ? Could possibly one figurine be smashed among the cups? I doubt it, because the pieces of a smashed cup are flatter than a smashed figurine (which felt solid, not hollow, when I picked it up), and these are flatter. Besides, none of the broken pieces have the same whiteness as the marble chip. Ask the maid, how many sets of coffee cups were in use in that house, what colour they were and what material were they made from. "We had three sets of china cups in the house, but only used one of them. Ever since Mr. Longshear stopped having guests over, two of the sets have remained in the cupboard. Well, there's just one extra set now." Ask her also, who had access to the cupboard with the coffee cups on the day of the crime. "Well, everyone did. The cupboard isn't locked. Mr. Longshear couldn't have opened it due to his arthritis, but everyone else could have."
May ce cher inspecteur Japp order the analysis of coffee leftovers from the cup? What cup? Please check for any substance which may cause sleepness. That's a good thought, but I'm not sure what cup you're referring to. There's a bunch of broken cups in the kitchen, as well as what I'd guess is a crushed coffee cup by the desk.
Ask also Japp if he can state, basing on the medical examination, if there were any traces of fight on the corpse? "There are no signs of a struggle at all." Can we state if the deceased was awake and conscious when his throat was cut? "It appears that the deceased was asleep when killed. The cut throat is definitely the cause of death."

Japp pauses, then continues. "By the way, I remember now that I did tell you the solicitor's name. Burke Burke, that's right, I'd forgotten it. I don't know where he works, however."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Monday, August 08, 2011 - 11:02 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please check the coffee leftovers in the pot that is in the kitchen (that which the maid forgotten to wash up) and also in the smashed coffee cup by the desk, if possible. Give the leftovers for chemical analysis to look for drugs or other substances causing sleepness.

Are there any other wounds on the body, besides the throat cut? Look on the backside of the head for signs of being hit. Let's say with a marble figurine.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 1:05 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please check the coffee leftovers in the pot that is in the kitchen (that which the maid forgotten to wash up) Great idea! I give the pot to Japp, who promises to have it analyzed. Poirot, grinning and stroking his moustaches, says, "I see that your grey cells are improving! Let us see what more you can do here." and also in the smashed coffee cup by the desk, if possible. It is crushed to powder, so that'll be impossible. Give the leftovers for chemical analysis to look for drugs or other substances causing sleepness. Japp gives the pot to Constable Alder to take back; the latter leaves the house. "Shouldn't be long."

The inspector turns back to me. "I got the secretary's statement. She's in her bedroom if you want to talk to her, too."


Are there any other wounds on the body, besides the throat cut? I check the body again -- there is just the one wound. Look on the backside of the head for signs of being hit. Let's say with a marble figurine. There is no sign of a blow to the head. Plus the figurines are not that big -- not even the size of a cricket ball. You might be able to stun someone with it, but it would be hard to knock that person out, and harder to kill.
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 8:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ok, two last things to do in the room. First look for the dustbin - is there any? Are there any rubbish (especially papers and marble chips) in there? Then please ask Poirot - he rearranged the figurines - whether he thinks that the figurines were placed haphazardly or they formed an arranged collection, with some pieces missing, which caused them seem randomly placed.

Ask the secretary to tell us what happened on the day of murder. Ask also what were her duties. Ask, if Mr Longshear used to do any paperwork on his own (was he capable to do so?). Ask if she can tell what is the form found in the typewriter. Ask her about finances of Mr. Longshear - did he have any bigger expenses recently? Ask for the address of Mr. Burke Burke and for the will. Ask which carpenter and when made the cabinet for Mr. Longshear. How much did the work cost (normal price or too expensive for a normal cabinet)?
In any next place you visit, look for the marble figurines and white marble chips.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 11:53 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ok, two last things to do in the room. First look for the dustbin - is there any? There is a dustbin under the desk, yes. Are there any rubbish (especially papers and marble chips) in there? There are some torn-up papers in there. All of them appear to be discarded financial papers, thrown out after an early typo was made. Then please ask Poirot - he rearranged the figurines - whether he thinks that the figurines were placed haphazardly or they formed an arranged collection, with some pieces missing, which caused them seem randomly placed. "I cannot say, cher Hastings, but is it not better this way?"

Ask the secretary to tell us what happened on the day of murder. I ask her name first -- it's Christiana Kingsbury -- and then this question. She replies: "I woke up at seven o'clock and helped Mr. Longshear out of bed. We went to the dining room and had breakfast, then we went to the study and began work. I worked straight until about a quarter past nine, when he and I took a short break. After that, we went back to work.

"At ten o'clock Miss Erickson served the coffee, as always. We went back to work, but only a few minutes later, I felt very tired and was nodding off at the desk. I asked Mr. Longshear if I could go to sleep, and he muttered some inaudible response. So I went, and didn't wake up until just a little while ago when the constable came in. I was frightened, but the calmed me down and told me to wait hear. Then the inspector came to take my statement."


Ask also what were her duties. "I typed the papers that Mr. Longshear needed typing, and that was about it. I also helped him out of bed and into bed." Ask, if Mr Longshear used to do any paperwork on his own (was he capable to do so?). "I don't know -- I've only been here for just over a year. I know the last secretary was here for about the same amount of time, but before that, I'm not sure." Ask if she can tell what is the form found in the typewriter. I show her the form. She looks it over and responds, "It's a record of weekly payments made to Mr. Longshear from a former client of his." Ask her about finances of Mr. Longshear - did he have any bigger expenses recently? "Not really. He's had a couple of weekly payments come in, but expense-wise, nothing dramatically bigger." Ask for the address of Mr. Burke Burke and for the will. "Mr. Burke's offices are on Cowley Street -- Burke, Lawson, and Hazelton. You'll find the will there, I guess." Ask which carpenter and when made the cabinet for Mr. Longshear. "It was a Mr. Rawling, about a month and a half ago -- maybe a bit sooner, or before, I can't remember precisely. Mr. Longshear used it to store his especially important papers." How much did the work cost (normal price or too expensive for a normal cabinet)? "The price was a bit cheaper than normal."
In any next place you visit, look for the marble figurines and white marble chips. This room contains no marble figurines or chips -- I've given it a thorough glance while interviewing Miss Kingsbury.

Hang on...I've just heard a knock on the door.
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 3:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ask Miss Kingsbury, if her boss used to drink coffee. Did he do it by himself or he needed assistance? Where did Miss Kingsbury drink her coffee?

Please be so kind and open the door.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 - 9:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ask Miss Kingsbury, if her boss used to drink coffee. Did he do it by himself or he needed assistance? Where did Miss Kingsbury drink her coffee? "Yes, he drank coffee, but he couldn't hold the cup, so he had me hold it and tip it while he drank. We both had our coffee in the study." She looked upset when saying that first part. I discreetly mention this to Poirot, who simply nods and taps his head in response. And strokes his moustaches.

Please be so kind and open the door. I head out to the front door and open it. A woman, perhaps in her thirties, dressed in white, and carrying a small bag, is standing there. She is taken aback for a second. "Who are you, and what are you doing here?"
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 9:40 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Let the lady come in. Inform her about the death of Mr. Longshear, but try not to give away many details. Kindly ask her for name, relationship with the deceased and reason to come. Did Mr. Longshear expect her?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 11:48 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Let the lady come in. Inform her about the death of Mr. Longshear, but try not to give away many details. I do that, and after the initial shock, she marches straight to the study door and walks in before I can stop her. Poirot whispers to me, "That, cher Hastings, was one detail too many!" I nod wearily. Kindly ask her for name, relationship with the deceased and reason to come. I follow her into the study -- she's leaning over the body -- and ask these. She turns to me and answers. "Miss Angela Dopart. I'm the nurse. I come here every day about this time to check on Mr. Longshear. Did Mr. Longshear expect her? "Of course," she says, annoyed. "I always come right about now."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 1:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ask her please to describe the state of Mr. Longshear's health. May she also tell us what were her usual duties and what time she usually spent in the place?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - 8:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ask her please to describe the state of Mr. Longshear's health. "He was of average health, except for his arthritis of course. He was on a medication for his limbs called Bendal; I brought the daily dose with me every day. I have today's dose with me." May she also tell us what were her usual duties and what time she usually spent in the place? "I'd give him his medicine and a brief checkup. I'd usually spend only a half-hour or so in here, maybe less, maybe more."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 2:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please ask our friend Japp to order a research what's that Bendal, of which substances it consists and with which substances it shouldn't be combined.

Questions to Miss Dopart:
Did Mr. Longshear have recently any crisis of health?
What could have happened, if Mr. Longshear - just theoretically - hadn't gotten his daily dose of medication?
From how long she provided medical service to Mr. Longshear?
Which doctor was taking care for Mr. Longshear?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Friday, August 12, 2011 - 10:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Please ask our friend Japp to order a research what's that Bendal, of which substances it consists and with which substances it shouldn't be combined. He does so and leaves, promising to call you later with the results.

Questions to Miss Dopart:
Did Mr. Longshear have recently any crisis of health? "No. However, even with the medication, his arthritis was constantly getting worse."
What could have happened, if Mr. Longshear - just theoretically - hadn't gotten his daily dose of medication? "If that had happened, his limbs would have deteriorated rapidly and seriously. It's a drug for his limbs; what do you think would happen?"
From how long she provided medical service to Mr. Longshear? "For about three years."
Which doctor was taking care for Mr. Longshear? "What do you mean? I gave him his checkups, but when he needed more aid -- after getting sick or something -- I would take him to the hospital where I work. St. Agnes' Hospital."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 3:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Do we have the medical examination of the body done?
If yes, what is the estimated hour of death? Did the victim die where the body was found? Or was the body moved after death? Any traces of medications or drugs in the victim's blood?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 3:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Do we have the medical examination of the body done? I think we do, and Constable Alder hsa just arrived with the report from the coffeepot. I'll ask him.
If yes, what is the estimated hour of death? Alder responds, "According to the medical examiner, the victim was killed sometime around a quarter after ten, give or take a few minutes. The maid stated that she found the victim's body just before half-past ten, so the murder must have been committed just minutes before the body was found." Did the victim die where the body was found? Or was the body moved after death? "The victim was not moved after death -- he was killed in the chair where he sits now." Any traces of medications or drugs in the victim's blood? Alder grins. "As a matter of fact, yes. There were traces of chloral hydrate in his system. We found traces of the same in the dregs of coffee from the pot."

I remark, "Chloral...that's a sleeping draught."

"Exactement," says Poirot. "Exactement."
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 6:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So...he was sleeping when he was killed, then?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 6:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So...he was sleeping when he was killed, then? It certainly seems that way.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 7:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Quote: "At ten o'clock Miss Erickson served the coffee, as always. We went back to work, but only a few minutes later, I felt very tired and was nodding off at the desk. I asked Mr. Longshear if I could go to sleep, and he muttered some inaudible response. So I went, and didn't wake up until just a little while ago when the constable came in. I was frightened, but the calmed me down and told me to wait hear. Then the inspector came to take my statement."

Odd, since caffeine normally makes one more awake. It seems that Miss Kingsbury, the secretary, was also asleep when the murder happened...she may have helped him drink the coffee, but it seems her own had a sleeping draught in it, too. Miss Erickson brewed the coffee...do you think I am right in suspecting her?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 9:19 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Quote: "At ten o'clock Miss Erickson served the coffee, as always. We went back to work, but only a few minutes later, I felt very tired and was nodding off at the desk. I asked Mr. Longshear if I could go to sleep, and he muttered some inaudible response. So I went, and didn't wake up until just a little while ago when the constable came in. I was frightened, but the calmed me down and told me to wait hear. Then the inspector came to take my statement."

Odd, since caffeine normally makes one more awake. It seems that Miss Kingsbury, the secretary, was also asleep when the murder happened...she may have helped him drink the coffee, but it seems her own had a sleeping draught in it, too. Miss Erickson brewed the coffee...do you think I am right in suspecting her? Interesting thoughts. I mention this to Poirot, who replies, "Yes, that is suspicious; she certainly could have drugged the coffee while she was brewing it. But remember, she left the room. Anyone could have placed the chloral into the coffee."

Drat...and I thought I was onto something.
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011 - 8:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ask Miss Erickson if she served coffee in the pot or in coffee cups. Does Miss Kingsbury usually drink exactly the same coffee as Mr. Longshear? (milk? sugar?)

Did anybody enter Miss Kingsbury's room while she was sleeping (or at least she pretends so)?

Can this kind constable Alder take a walk in the neighborhood/ Maybe someone saw anyone entering or exiting Mr. Longshear's house or heading to it within the timeframe: 9.00 - 10.15?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 12:24 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ask Miss Erickson if she served coffee in the pot or in coffee cups. "In cups. I poured them out in here and brought them on a tray. They would take the cups and I would bring the tray back." Does Miss Kingsbury usually drink exactly the same coffee as Mr. Longshear? (milk? sugar?) "Neither takes it with milk or sugar."

Did anybody enter Miss Kingsbury's room while she was sleeping (or at least she pretends so)? I don't think there's any way to tell, but I ask the secretary anyway. She answers, "I have no idea. I was in a deeper sleep than normal, and wouldn't have known if anyone came in or out."

Can this kind constable Alder take a walk in the neighborhood/ Maybe someone saw anyone entering or exiting Mr. Longshear's house or heading to it within the timeframe: 9.00 - 10.15? I bring this up with Alder, who promises to ask around. He has just left when I feel a tap on my shoulder -- Poirot.

"I do not think any of the neighbors are here, cher Hastings. There has been the drought."

I stammer back, "Well, someone might have remained around." But even as I say this, Poirot returns to the study. "Poirot!" I follow him in.

Just outside the door, he turns to me. "We must not let Mademoiselle Dopart remain alone in here. She is, how do you say, cocky. I fear she may tamper with evidence...or worse."

As we enter the study, I just have time to glimpse the nurse messing with the locked cabinet before I hear a voice behind me.

"No one's around." Poirot and I turn around: it's Constable Alder, having returned from his sojourn around the neighborhood. "That was fast," I reply.

"I know. All the houses in the crescent are empty."

I turn back to the study, where Angela Dopart is now examining the books in the bookcase.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 4:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Excuse me, Miss Dopart; what do you think you are doing?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 - 8:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I quickly say, "Excuse me, Miss Dopart; what do you think you are doing?" She turns to me with a smug glance. "Investigating, since apparently you're too lazy to do that." The cheek of her!

Poirot calmly responds, "Mademoiselle, a lot can be accomplished by merely sitting back in the chair and thinking. One only has to use the little grey cells."

She retorts, "Then why are you standing up?" before continuing: "I don't even like the police that much. They don't try to get anything out of their investigation. Just catch the killer and all that, when they could use what they know to their advantage." Before anyone can respond, the nurse marches out of the room. As she reaches the door, she turns and whispers something to Poirot, who is standing there, then quickly leaves. Odd.
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Monday, August 22, 2011 - 1:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If she hasn't definitely left yet, ask Miss Dopart if she possesses chloral hydrate. If yes, was there any of it missing recently?

Can we take a look in the rooms of Miss Kingsbury and Miss Erickson? Looking especially for coffee cups, marble chips, chloral hydrate and the key of Mr. Longshear's cabinet. And of course anything which seems odd.

Can we arrange meetings with Mr. Burke Burke and the carpenter who made the cabinet? Maybe they would accept our kind invitation to the house?

Is the house surrounded by a garden? If yes, can this kind constable Alder search the garden for the key of Mr. Longshear's room.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Monday, August 22, 2011 - 2:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If she hasn't definitely left yet, ask Miss Dopart if she possesses chloral hydrate. If yes, was there any of it missing recently? I walk out to ask her, but she's already taken off. I'd presume that as a nurse, she would have especially easy access to chloral hydrate.

Can we take a look in the rooms of Miss Kingsbury and Miss Erickson? Looking especially for coffee cups, marble chips, chloral hydrate and the key of Mr. Longshear's cabinet. And of course anything which seems odd. All right, but I'd better go ask each of them if it's OK. Constable Alder volunteers to help out. "If you search one room, and I search the other, it will go faster." "All right," I say, "but we'd better ask permission first."

"I'll go ask Miss Kingsbury. You ask the maid," he says. I agree, and we split off.

I ask Miss Erickson if it's all right if we search her room. She agrees, but adds, "You know, I've just remembered something. This morning, when Mr. Longshear and Miss Kingsbury left the study, he mentioned something about Mrs. Sweeney. I thought it odd."

"Mrs. Sweeney? Who's Mrs. Sweeney?" I ask.

"She was Mr. Longshear's secretary before Miss Kingsbury," answers the maid. "I remember that she left rather suddenly -- Mr. Longshear never said why, but the neighbors were saying that she had some sort of breakdown."

I thank the maid for the information and ponder this as I search the room. The search proves fruitless.

When I return to the foyer, Constable Alder is already waiting for me. "Nothing. You?"

"Nothing."


Can we arrange meetings with Mr. Burke Burke and the carpenter who made the cabinet? I suggest this to Poirot, who says, "Oui, but how can we make the telephone call? Do you see a telephone in here?" Which, of course, I don't. "But," continues Poirot, "we can make the appointments after we leave." Maybe they would accept our kind invitation to the house?

Is the house surrounded by a garden? No; just a lawn. And not a very well-kept one, I might add. If yes, can this kind constable Alder search the garden for the key of Mr. Longshear's room. He hunts around the lawn for a little while, but returns empty-handed.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 2:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

i can haz recat of what we know so far, plz? =)
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 3:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

i can haz recat of what we know so far, plz? =) Constable Alder kindly lends me his notepad, and I scratch a few notes down.

-Josiah Longshear was murdered at around a quarter past ten, his throat having been slashed. He was found in his locked study by the maid, Hilairie Erickson, at about half past ten.

-According to the testimonies of the other two people in the house, the following timeline can be established (up to the discovery of the body):

5.30 Miss Erickson (maid) wakes up
6.45 Mr. Longshear wakes up
7.00 Miss Kingsbury (secretary) wakes up, helps Longshear out of bed
Just after 7.00 breakfast. After breakfast Longshear and Kingsbury go to study to work, Erickson makes beds and dusts bedrooms
9.00 Erickson starts brewing coffee
9.15 Longshear and Kingsbury leave study, go outside. Erickson goes to her room for a moment
9.20 Longshear and Kingsbury return to study, Erickson finishes brewing coffee and starts laundry
10.00 Erickson serves coffee to Longshear and Kingsbury. Erickson continues laundry
A few minutes after 10: Kingsbury goes to room to sleep. Longshear sleeps in chair.
Sometime between 10.00 and 10.30 (probably closer to the latter) Erickson returns to kitchen to wash coffeepot, knocks over coffee cups, begins to sweep up cups
Sometime around 10.15 Longshear murdered
Around 10.30 Erickson hears gong, discovers body

Constable Alder searched the house and found no other person other than the two who had been in the house at the time.

Evidence:

-Hunting knife (murder weapon) found in Longshear's hand. Attempt at making crime look like suicide.
-Marble chip on floor, probably comes from a marble figurine (yet the ones on bookcase are intact).
-Crushed crockery (coffee cup?) by desk.
-Traces of chloral discovered in remnants of coffee in coffeepot.

Other persons of interest:

-Angela Dopart, nurse. Visits Longshear daily. Longshear's prescription -- Bendal. Wait for Japp to give more details on the drug. She is very arrogant and cocky -- hates police?
-Burke Burke, solicitor. Office on Cowley Street.


I turn to Poirot and show him the paper. "Have I missed anything?"

He just shakes his head. "Oui! You have missed two persons. The Madame Sweeney, the former secretary of Monsieur Longshear. And Monsieur Rawling, who is the last 'visitor' to the house, and built the cabinet."

Really? I forgot two people.

What do you all think -- did I miss anything else?
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 3:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I wonder how the second gong was made up.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - 6:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I wonder how the second gong was made up. I never thought of that...wow! I'll have to make sure not to forget about that. I share this with Poirot, who nods. "Oui, oui. That is something we must determine. In the meantime, do you wish us to stay at this house forever? Or shall we take the investigation elsewhere?"
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Friday, August 26, 2011 - 6:17 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

First, I'd like to check one more thing, if it hasn't been done already. Could the bookcase or cabinet be hiding secret passages or storage? Would moving the books or figurines trip the opening? Do either the bookcase or cabinets look like they've been moved recently? What about the desk? Is there any possible entrance in the ceiling? Perhaps I read too many books...

Ok, maybe now it's time that to pay Mr. Burke a visit.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Friday, August 26, 2011 - 3:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

First, I'd like to check one more thing, if it hasn't been done already. Could the bookcase or cabinet be hiding secret passages or storage? It's possible, I suppose, but I see no way of knowing. Would moving the books or figurines trip the opening? The books, maybe, but Poirot's already moved the figurines, so I don't think that would do anything. Give me a moment...

I tried pulling out and pushing in all the books on the shelf. No luck.


Do either the bookcase or cabinets look like they've been moved recently? No. For one, there are no marks on the floor or wall that could suggest that.

Poirot seems pleased at my observation. "See, you are learning from the best," he claims, with that proud false modesty of his.


What about the desk? Is there any possible entrance in the ceiling? No, the ceiling looks solid enough. Perhaps I read too many books... I love a good thriller or mystery myself. Don't be ashamed of it!

Ok, maybe now it's time that to pay Mr. Burke a visit. Alder, Poirot, and I walk out of the house, leaving the maid and secretary in their quarters. As we walk to the main road to catch a taxi, Alder speaks. "Mightn't it be best if I, erm, stay behind?" Poirot and I turn to him as he continues, "This way, I could make sure nobody tampers with the scene."

"Makes perfect sense to me," I answer. "I say, Poirot, that would be a splendid idea."

Poirot nods, but responds, "Oui, Hastings, but perhaps he should ask the good Chief Inspector."

Alder answers, "All right. That's probably a good idea."

We reach the main road and hail one of the cabs driving by. Alder flags down a second, and we head our separate ways.

----

In only a short while, we've arrived back at Whitehaven Mansions. As we walk inside, Poirot says to me, "I must make a few telephone calls and send out some telegrams. You should sit and think, as I am known to do."

"But what do you need to..."

"Sit and think! And it will come to you." Poirot walks inside, leaving me to myself.

All right, I say to myself, if he wants me to sit and think, then I shall. I plop down in a wooden backed chair and lean back.

Suddenly, I hear a loud THUD next to my ear. I jump out of the seat and find Poirot standing there, shaking his head.

"Imbecile! Cher Hastings, you were supposed to think, not sleep! Now come. We have an appointment on Cowley Street. I have called the cab."

As we walk to the cab, my mind is spinning. So much for thinking... I must have dozed off by mistake. Anyway, where are we going again... Cowley Street? Ah, yes, the offices of Mr. Burke Burke, Josiah Longshear's solicitor.

We sit down in the cab and Poirot gives the driver the destination. As he takes off, Poirot turns to me. "Since you could not think in there, perhaps you can think in here. Tell me now, why did I need to make the phone calls and send the telegrams?"

Honestly, I'm still half-asleep; I have no idea. Perhaps you could help me out a little?
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Friday, August 26, 2011 - 4:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would try to confirm where Mr. Longshear's money came from. A telegram to Africa?
Telephone - to make an appointment with Mr. Burke Burke.
Maybe checking the references of maid and secretary? Finding out something about Mr. Rawling and Miss (Mrs?) Sweeney?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 3:05 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would try to confirm where Mr. Longshear's money came from. A telegram to Africa? "No, but I believe I know that already. One of my other telegrams gave me that idea. I need only to ask a few questions, but I already have the answers here!" Poirot cries, tapping his head.
Telephone - to make an appointment with Mr. Burke Burke. "Yes. I also got the call from Japp about Bendal. It is an arthritis medication and it is not dangerous when taken with any particular food; however, it should not be mixed with other medications, as is true with most medicines. Also, Constable Alder will be keeping watch at the Longshear house. He wishes us to stop by later today."
Maybe checking the references of maid and secretary? Finding out something about Mr. Rawling and Miss (Mrs?) Sweeney? Poirot smiles. "Ah, yes. I called the house of Monsieur Rawling. He actually lives on Hoberton Crescent, and is going to be returning from a holiday this evening.

"As for Madame Sweeney, I sent a telegram. We are almost at Monsieur Burke's office. Knowing what you know, where did I send the telegram about Madame Sweeney?"
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 3:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A hospital or institution, maybe? I'm not sure about the type or severity of her breakdown.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 3:21 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A hospital or institution, maybe? I'm not sure about the type or severity of her breakdown. Poirot beams. "Exactly! I have located the hospital where Madame Sweeney lived after her breakdown. Do you know what I found out? Two things, Hastings."
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 5:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What two things did Monsieur Poirot discover?

Did she make any sort of unusual report about her former employer? Was she frightened or stressed by anything?
What is the nature of her breakdown, and has she recovered at all?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 5:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What two things did Monsieur Poirot discover? "Hastings, use your grey cells. I discovered a where and a who, and that should be enough."

Did she make any sort of unusual report about her former employer? Was she frightened or stressed by anything? "I believe this to be the case. There is one person I need to ask first, and you should know who that is."
What is the nature of her breakdown, and has she recovered at all? "Sadly she is now deceased. I do not know the exact medical nature of the breakdown."
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 10:55 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You are an excellent writer, Balin. I enjoy reading your entries.

I am sorry to hear about poor Mrs. Sweeney. Does Monsieur Poirot intend to speak with her doctor then? If she made a report of a criminal nature, might there be a police report also?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Monday, August 29, 2011 - 3:47 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You are an excellent writer, Balin. I enjoy reading your entries. Thank you! I'm glad you like them!

I am sorry to hear about poor Mrs. Sweeney. Does Monsieur Poirot intend to speak with her doctor then? If she made a report of a criminal nature, might there be a police report also? The cab pulls up to a stop, and Poirot turns to me. "You were getting very close, Hastings. What I determined is that Madame Sweeney was in care at St. Agnes Hospital, and not only that, but she was in the care of...?"

I think hard...wait..."Miss Dopart?" I ask, dumbfounded.

Poirot beams widely. "Oui, Hastings! Angela Dopart was the attending nurse to Madame Sweeney until her death. Madame Sweeney is now buried in a small graveyard behind l'hopital. Perhaps Mademoiselle Dopart heard something before the death that can be of use to us."

I'm still a bit surprised, but then again, I've heard much wilder things when on cases with Poirot in the past.

Anyway, we're now at Mr. Burke's office. Poirot has knocked and we have been admitted. Mr. Burke is a very stone-faced man, with graying hair and a slightly overweight figure.

"How may I help you?" he asks.
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Monday, August 29, 2011 - 7:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think we should break the bad news gently (or allow Poirot to do so) and see what he has to say before asking about Mr.Longshear's affairs. We need to know about the state of Mr. Longshear's finances and the details of his will. It might also be worth asking if Mr. Burke knows if Mr. Longshear had any enemies.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Monday, August 29, 2011 - 7:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think we should break the bad news gently (or allow Poirot to do so) and see what he has to say before asking about Mr.Longshear's affairs. I begin to mention the death when Poirot interrupts me. "I have already told Monsieur Burke about the death." We need to know about the state of Mr. Longshear's finances and the details of his will. I ask about that and Burke responds, "Mr. Longshear was very rich. Although he did not hold a job, he was receiving steady payments from a single source.

"As for his will..." Burke coughs. "Josiah Longshear left his money to an old friend who once saved his life on a hunting trip, a Mr. Koutouvides. I have informed Mr. Koutouvides of Longshear's bequest. He said that he appreciated the inheritance; was saddened to learn of Longshear's death, though they had not seen each other for a long time; and was going abroad in mere hours, so could not claim the estate for another week. As I am Longshear's executor, I know that the delay in claiming the estate is perfectly valid."


It might also be worth asking if Mr. Burke knows if Mr. Longshear had any enemies. "Not as far as I know of, no."
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Monday, August 29, 2011 - 10:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does Mr. Burke know the source of Mr. Longshear's income?

Also, a thought for Poirot- Did Miss Dopart care for Miss Sweeney and Mr. Longshear simultaneously or had Miss Sweeney passed away by the time Miss Dopart went to work for Mr. Longshear? If she cared for them simultaneously, I wonder who first? Perhaps something Miss Sweeney said motivated Miss Dopart to apply for employment with Mr. Longshear...
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Monday, August 29, 2011 - 10:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Does Mr. Burke know the source of Mr. Longshear's income? "I'm afraid I do not."

Also, a thought for Poirot- Did Miss Dopart care for Miss Sweeney and Mr. Longshear simultaneously or had Miss Sweeney passed away by the time Miss Dopart went to work for Mr. Longshear? If she cared for them simultaneously, I wonder who first? Perhaps something Miss Sweeney said motivated Miss Dopart to apply for employment with Mr. Longshear... Poirot closes his eyes. "Mademoiselle Dopart said that she has worked with Monsieur Longshear for three years. I know that Madame Sweeney died just over a year ago. Therefore, Mademoiselle Dopart must have been caring for Monsieur Longshear before she cared for Madame Sweeney."

I murmur, "I wonder what she found out, and if she did anything about it..."

Poirot nods. "I believe I may have the solution to that."
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 10:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Shall we talk to Miss Dopart then?
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 1:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mr. Burke, how often did Mr. Longshear receive steady payments from the single source? When did it begin? How big were the amounts?
Have Mr. Longshear recently made any bigger payments or dispositions?

Do we know the established cause of Mme Sweeney death?

Is it possible for us to pay a visit to St. Agnes' Hospital, after we finished conversation with Mr. Burke? Or can we establish - by telephone or telegram - if there were any traces of missing chloral hydrate recently? And if Miss Dopart have taken some from hospital supplies recently?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 1:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mr. Burke, how often did Mr. Longshear receive steady payments from the single source? "Weekly." When did it begin? "Approximately two and a half years ago. They stopped just over a year ago, but only for a short while. Then they started up again just over a month later." How big were the amounts? "Fifteen pounds a week. A few months ago, they went up to twenty per week."
Have Mr. Longshear recently made any bigger payments or dispositions? Burke checks his records. "No...no, he hadn't. Although he has been making a payment of five pounds per week for the past few months."

Do we know the established cause of Mme Sweeney death? I ask Poirot, who responds, "It seems, Hastings, that her death was due to her breakdown. But visiting the hospital would make this even more clear!"

Is it possible for us to pay a visit to St. Agnes' Hospital, after we finished conversation with Mr. Burke? Poirot smiles. "Why, certainly! In fact, I believe we can go right now." Or can we establish - by telephone or telegram - if there were any traces of missing chloral hydrate recently? And if Miss Dopart have taken some from hospital supplies recently? I'd hazard that we can certainly do that while we're there.

Poirot thanks Mr. Burke for his time, and we leave the law offices and make our way over to St. Agnes' Hospital. As we walk in, the first person we see is none other than Angela Dopart! She expresses shock first, then annoyance. "Did you have to come here?"


Shall we talk to Miss Dopart then? I am about to speak, but it is Poirot who answers. "Relax, Mademoiselle. We have but a few questions."

The nurse frowns. "Fine, but make them quick."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 8:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Miss Dopart, what kind of patient was Mme Sweeney? What was her case? How did she die? Was she taking any medications? Did she speak to you about anything concerning her work? Did she speak about anything which seemed to make no sense or was bizarre to you? Did she receive any gifts while in hospital?

Did you use chloral hydrate in your work? How would you describe this drug? Did you take some from the hospital supplies recently? Did you discover any of it missing from your supplies?
When visiting patients, do you always have your bag with you?

I felt it was high time to bring some order to my notes of this case. Order and method - that's what my friend Poirot used to say. Sit and let your little grey cells do the job for you. So I tried. Anyway, if Poirot can, why should I be not capable to do this?
First - motive.
Mr. Longshear was a rich man - so his friend who inherits whole estate should be main suspect. But - he was not on the crime scene (at least was not seen there). But he might have an accomplice?
Nobody knows of any enemies of the deceases. But nobody knows also where Mr. Longshear's income comes from. When one gets wealthy, usually someone gets poor.
Mr. Longshear received regular payments from someone. Blackmail?
The old idea "cherchez la femme" seems to be of no use here. There seem to be too much women. Was any of them in love with the deceased? Or maybe with happy heir?
Mr. Longshear seemed to have a secret. Maybe that's why he ordered a cabinet. Maybe that's why Mme Sweeney ended in the hospital. All people who knew this secret seem to be dead now.
Second - opportunity.
All three ladies (Miss Kingsbury, Miss Erickson and Miss Dopart) seem to have had an opportunity.
Miss Kingsbury - slept hard, at least says so. But noone can confirm this. Had an opportunity to put chloral hydrate into the coffee cup - but not to the pot. Spent significant time alone in the room of the deceased. Started working after Mme Sweeney's breakdown.
Miss Erickson - certainly had the best opportunity to manipulate with coffee. But why then she didn't wash the coffee pot immediately? Maybe someone tries to frame her? Could have murdered Mr. Longshear when Miss Kingsbury slept. Heard the mysterious gong (by the way, Miss Kingsbury sleeping, Mr. Longshear dead - who could have rung the gong? Only the murderer - but why? Or Miss Erickson lied about the gong - but why?)
Miss Dopart - was not seen in the house at the time of murder. But, Miss Kingsbury sleeping, Miss Erickson busy in the kitchen, she could enter and get out unseen. Has the best access to chloral hydrate. Took care of Mme Sweeney after her breakdown. But how on earth could she drug coffee?
Third - points to clarify.
1) The gong. Maybe it was not the gong, but something else? Marble figurine breaking? Coffee cup breaking? Should we re-question the maid?
2) Alibi of Miss Erickson. Maybe Poirot, with his extraordinary sense of order, can tell us if the works, which the maid claims to have done, were really done that morning?
3) References of Miss Kingsbury. Can we find her former employer? How she got a job by Mr. Longshear?
4) Cause of death of Mme Sweeney. Was it strictly natural? Maybe a quick inquiry in the hospital?
5) Motive. If any of the ladies was secretly married to Mr. Longshear, would his will still be valid? I don't think so. Visit Somerset House and look for marriages of any of three ladies.
6) Is any of the ladies a relative of Mr. Longshear's hunting friend? Maybe police can get this information for us?
7) Chloral hydrate. That should be easy to trace. Where did it come from and how the murderer got it?
This "order and method" thing seem to give more questions than answers and seem to be leading nowhere.
Balin (Balin)
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Redwine: Wow! Excellent job with taking notes, and you've made some really good steps forward! Unfortunately, I can't respond to these now, as I have a required hall meeting, then another event to go to, but I will answer these tonight. -Balin
Balin (Balin)
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Miss Dopart, what kind of patient was Mme Sweeney? "She was a psychiatric patient. Mental, as you'd probably call it." (How condescending! But then again, Poirot sometimes likes it that way.) What was her case? "She had a complete mental breakdown. Anxiety, depression, fear...you name it, she got it." How did she die? Angela Dopart pauses. "If I had to guess...I'd say she lost the will to live." (Was that sympathy I detected in her voice?) Was she taking any medications? The nurse shakes her head. "I gave her some medicines, but she refused to take them. Wouldn't eat or drink anything either. She just...well, wasted away." Did she speak to you about anything concerning her work? "She did..." She shakes her head. "Since you're going to squeeze it out of me anyway, fine! I'll just tell you. She wrote me a letter right before she died -- it was the first time she'd moved in ages. I've kept it ever since." I am about to ask for it when she continues, "And since I know you're just going to ask for it, here." She hands over the letter, a bit roughly. Poirot pockets it. "In case you really care, she's buried in the graveyard out back. Nobody ever seems to visit anymore." Did she speak about anything which seemed to make no sense or was bizarre to you? "She never spoke. Nothing audible, anyway." Did she receive any gifts while in hospital? "No. Her brother visited though, fairly often."

Did you use chloral hydrate in your work? "Of course. It's a common sleeping drug. You can get it at any chemist's shop." She mutters something under her breath which I'd guess to be along the lines of "idiot." How would you describe this drug? She just stares. "As a sleeping draught. What else could it be?" Did you take some from the hospital supplies recently? She looks stunned. "No! Why on earth would I do that? You don't think I killed that miserable old man, do you?" Did you discover any of it missing from your supplies? "I didn't look. And I don't carry it around all the time anyways."
When visiting patients, do you always have your bag with you? "Always. And now that this is all off my hands, and since my shift is over, I'm leaving!" She roughly pushes past us and straight out the door!

I turn to Poirot. "The cheek of her!" He nods.

"But, Hastings, we now have an important clue! Let us go somewhere more private to read it."


I felt it was high time to bring some order to my notes of this case. Order and method - that's what my friend Poirot used to say. Detective Marta, I didn't know you'd met Poirot before too! When this is over, we must reminisce. Sit and let your little grey cells do the job for you. So I tried. Anyway, if Poirot can, why should I be not capable to do this? That's what he always says. But whenever I try to do it, he usually shakes his head. I don't get it.

Anyways, I shall share these notes with Poirot. I'm sure he will appreciate it -- I know I do -- and hopefully he will also remember you.


First - motive.
Mr. Longshear was a rich man - so his friend who inherits whole estate should be main suspect. But - he was not on the crime scene (at least was not seen there). But he might have an accomplice? Hmmm...perhaps. But Mr. Koutouvides said that he hadn't seen Mr. Longshear in years. Unless he was lying...

Poirot comes over to me and says, "Remember, money is not the only motive. It is the most common, yes, but it may not be the case here."


Nobody knows of any enemies of the deceases. But nobody knows also where Mr. Longshear's income comes from. When one gets wealthy, usually someone gets poor. Right...and who is poor here...hmmm...
Mr. Longshear received regular payments from someone. Blackmail? Now that's an idea! In fact I jumped in excitement upon reading that, bumping into Poirot in the process and knocking him over. After apologising and being called an imbecile by Poirot (which I really asked for, by the way), I share this with the detective. His eyes light up. "See? Your grey cells are working, Hastings! Surely Longshear was committing blackmail!"
The old idea "cherchez la femme" seems to be of no use here. There seem to be too much women. Was any of them in love with the deceased? Or maybe with happy heir? I do admire your recognition of Poirot's methods, but on the face, I doubt it. It doesn't seem like Longshear was a likable man, and if he were blackmailing someone...
Mr. Longshear seemed to have a secret. Maybe that's why he ordered a cabinet. Maybe that's why Mme Sweeney ended in the hospital. All people who knew this secret seem to be dead now. That does seem to be the case, but Poirot taps my shoulder. "Not so. Remember what we have just learned."
Second - opportunity.
All three ladies (Miss Kingsbury, Miss Erickson and Miss Dopart) seem to have had an opportunity.
Miss Kingsbury - slept hard, at least says so. But noone can confirm this. Had an opportunity to put chloral hydrate into the coffee cup - but not to the pot. Spent significant time alone in the room of the deceased. Started working after Mme Sweeney's breakdown. Right.
Miss Erickson - certainly had the best opportunity to manipulate with coffee. But why then she didn't wash the coffee pot immediately? Well, she said that the broken crockery distracted her...and the laundry. Maybe someone tries to frame her? Maybe...there certainly is a lot of information to think through. I wonder how Poirot does it so easily? Could have murdered Mr. Longshear when Miss Kingsbury slept. Right, and since the secretary went to sleep immediately after leaving the room (at least, she says she did), plus the medical examiner's evidence, it seems that the time when Christiana Kingsbury says she was asleep is the time when Josiah Longshear was killed. Heard the mysterious gong (by the way, Miss Kingsbury sleeping, Mr. Longshear dead - who could have rung the gong? I never thought of that! Only the murderer - but why? Oh my...that's absolutely right? Assuming the maid is telling the truth, only the murderer could have rung the gong. But how? Or Miss Erickson lied about the gong - but why?) Hmmm...could she have lied? I don't really know at this point.

Poirot is just leaning back against a wall with his eyes closed. I'd best not interrupt him -- he probably already knows who the killer is.


Miss Dopart - was not seen in the house at the time of murder. But, Miss Kingsbury sleeping, Miss Erickson busy in the kitchen, she could enter and get out unseen. Definitely. But how did she get out of the room? Does she have a key? Has the best access to chloral hydrate. Definitely. Took care of Mme Sweeney after her breakdown. But how on earth could she drug coffee? Drat...I thought you were on to something. I don't see any way she could have drugged the coffee. But could she have...?
Third - points to clarify.
1) The gong. Maybe it was not the gong, but something else? Marble figurine breaking? Coffee cup breaking? I'm no expert, but a brass gong sounds nothing like a marble figurine or coffee cup breaking. Plus, if the maid had been habitually hearing the gong, she probably would have recognised it as what it really was, and would not have been fooled by an imitation or something. Should we re-question the maid? Maybe. Maybe we should re-question everybody...I'll ask Poirot, after he's done thinking.
2) Alibi of Miss Erickson. Maybe Poirot, with his extraordinary sense of order, can tell us if the works, which the maid claims to have done, were really done that morning? I hate to interrupt Poirot in mid-thought, but all right....

I tap him on the shoulder, and he rouses, looking at me semi-sternly. "Hastings, must you interrupt while I am exercising the grey cells?"

"Sorry, Poirot," I stammer. "I just wanted to know if all that the maid said she did this morning, she actually did."

Poirot closes his eyes again, and for a moment I think he's not going to answer me. But he opens them again and says, "I did not search the entire house, but from what I saw, the maid did do what she said. At least in the rooms I was in."

Before he can close his eyes again, I ask him if we should re-question everyone, and he nods. "That would be helpful, Hastings. Now permit me to think." He closes his eyes and leans back again. No more interrupting him now, not until he's good and ready.

3) References of Miss Kingsbury. Can we find her former employer? How she got a job by Mr. Longshear? That's a good thought...maybe we can just ask her.
4) Cause of death of Mme Sweeney. Was it strictly natural? Maybe a quick inquiry in the hospital? From what Angela Dopart said, I'd assume she died of a loss of the will to live. I suppose we could check the records -- best bring that up when Poirot's not in mid-thinking.
5) Motive. If any of the ladies was secretly married to Mr. Longshear, would his will still be valid? I don't think so. You're right...hmmm...I suppose it's possible, but I wouldn't have thought of that. Interesting idea. Visit Somerset House and look for marriages of any of three ladies. When we head back, I'll make sure to do that. I'll also ask Poirot to poke around in the records...maybe to look through old newspapers for marriage announcements.
6) Is any of the ladies a relative of Mr. Longshear's hunting friend? Maybe police can get this information for us? Maybe. I'll ask Poirot about that too.
7) Chloral hydrate. That should be easy to trace. Where did it come from and how the murderer got it? Well, it could have come from the hospital, but it also could have been checked out of any pharmacy. It's pretty easy to obtain, so a search would take a while. But I'll mention that too.
This "order and method" thing seem to give more questions than answers and seem to be leading nowhere. I suppose Poirot would say, "Yes, but the answers that lead to questions are themselves answers. And every question has an answer, Hastings." And then he'd tell me to use my grey cells again. But from what I see, we've come pretty far. What should we do next?
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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I would mention to Poirot the possibility of an alternate motive- not greed but revenge. If someone blamed Miss Sweeney's death on Mr. Longshear, they most definitely would have motive to take his life. The only ones I can think of at the moment are the brother and, quite possibly, Miss Dopart.

Other than this, I'd like to see the letter!!!
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 12:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would mention to Poirot the possibility of an alternate motive- not greed but revenge. If someone blamed Miss Sweeney's death on Mr. Longshear, they most definitely would have motive to take his life. The only ones I can think of at the moment are the brother and, quite possibly, Miss Dopart. Poirot, who has gotten out of his trance, nods. "Yes, Hastings, that certainly seems like a strong motive in this case. But, if Mademoiselle Kingsbury or Mademoiselle Erickson were to find out about Madame Sweeney, could they have had the same desire for revenge?"

I never know if he's giving me important information or trying to confuse me. Or...something else.


Other than this, I'd like to see the letter!!! We walk out to the graveyard and read the letter there, as nobody is around:

Dear Nurse,

Thank you for being so kind to me these last days. I know that I am about to die, so I thought the truth should be known. You see, I worked for a man called Josiah Longshear; I was his secretary. What he did behind closed doors was nothing short of despicable; he blackmailed me. None of it was true, of course, but he had such wealth and such influence that I gave in and paid. And he bled me dry.

My husband had died back home, and my only family was my brother, but Longshear wouldn't even let him see me. I was not only bled dry financially, but also personally. I was withering away. Eventually I could no longer take it, and now I'm here.

Nurse, I want to thank you for your faithful service. However, nothing is worth living for anymore, and I have accepted my fate. Even my brother, who has been so kind and devoted to me; I cannot live for his sake. But I have taken care of that; after all, he has visited me. He will be all right.

Goodbye Nurse.

Melinda


If I may be honest...that letter has brought tears to my eyes. Looking around now, I see that we're standing right next to Melinda Sweeney's grave. Among the decayed gravestones, this one, though not very old, seems to have decayed as well, although the beautiful roses planted next to it give a feeling of life still somewhere.

Poirot is tearing up too, but wipes his eyes. "Come, Hastings, let us go."

All right...but where?
Redwine (Redwine)
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I would like to know who is Melinda's brother. And we have some things to do in Somerset House, so maybe we could do this right now.

I keep thinking about the gong. I can see two possible purposes for the murderer to ring a gong. First, to be sure that the corpse is discovered immediately after the gong. Second, to let the murderer get out from the locked room, with the key in his/her pocket. If only I remembered if there were any place to hide in Mr. Longshear's room...
Balin (Balin)
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I would like to know who is Melinda's brother. And we have some things to do in Somerset House, so maybe we could do this right now. Good idea. I bring this up with Poirot, and he nods. "Perhaps, Hastings, we can see if Monsieur Rawling has returned to his home as well."

I had forgotten about Mr. Rawling -- that will be a good idea. Maybe he can give us some information about the cabinet.


I keep thinking about the gong. I can see two possible purposes for the murderer to ring a gong. First, to be sure that the corpse is discovered immediately after the gong. This seems likely, but if so, the murderer must have hid somewhere. Second, to let the murderer get out from the locked room, with the key in his/her pocket. Right, but in this case, the murderer must have had access to a key. If only I remembered if there were any place to hide in Mr. Longshear's room... Let me think...hmmm...you may be on to something there, but for the life of me I have no idea what. I bet Poirot might have some idea.

We're on our way to Hoberton Crescent. Any questions I should ask Poirot before I get there?


Redwine: Did you come up with the name "Somerset House"? Because the first post with the word "somerset" in it is yours. I like it. -Balin
Redwine (Redwine)
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerset_House In Agatha Christie's novels Poirot and other people often checked marriages and wills in Somerset House, as there were National Archives of marriages, births and deaths.
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2011 - 10:19 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I mentioned Somerset House to refer to the archives, not as the name of the Longshear's House at Hoberton Crescent. There is probably an misunderstanding. :-)
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2011 - 1:41 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerset_House In Agatha Christie's novels Poirot and other people often checked marriages and wills in Somerset House, as there were National Archives of marriages, births and deaths. I mentioned Somerset House to refer to the archives, not as the name of the Longshear's House at Hoberton Crescent. There is probably an misunderstanding. :-) Oops -- my bad. I'd forgotten completely. -Balin

Anyway, we are headed to Somerset House, then to Hoberton Crescent. In fact, we're already there, and have received permission to search the files there. I dig through a great load of marriage archives, but I have found no record of marriage for any of the three staff. I turn to Poirot. "Have you found anything of interest? Any marriage of Miss Kingsbury, Miss Erickson, or Miss Dopart?" Poirot responds, "Those three? Non. But something interesting? Mais oui!

As we walk out, I ask Poirot what it was he found, but he simply shakes his head. "Hastings, if I told you everything, would you be able to use the little grey cells? Someday, cher ami, I will not be able to help you, and you must think like I think."

We've reached the cab and are now headed towards Hoberton Crescent.
For real this time... -Balin Hmmm...there's a lot to wrap my mind around.
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Was Poirot, by any chance, checking on records for Mr. Longshear?
Balin (Balin)
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Was Poirot, by any chance, checking on records for Mr. Longshear? "Non."

He sighs. "Hastings, I am disappointed. Your imagination has been working rather slowly today."
Redwine (Redwine)
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So, what interesting did Poirot find in records concerning Mme Melinda Sweeney? :-) A child?
I would like to know the ages (at least approximate) of all four relevant women.
Balin (Balin)
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So, what interesting did Poirot find in records concerning Mme Melinda Sweeney? :-) "Ah, Hastings! Your grey cells are improving! While you were searching the records, I looked at the birth and death archives as well as the marriages. And I was looking for Madame Sweeney." A child? "Mais, non. Not this. I did find that she was widowed but months after la mariage."
I would like to know the ages (at least approximate) of all four relevant women. "Mademoiselle Erickson is approaching sixty. Mademoiselle Dopart has just passed thirty-five. Madame Sweeney was thirty-one when she died, and Mademoiselle Kingsbury is nearing twenty-five."

The cab turns onto Hoberton Crescent, and as we approach Longshear's house, we see a car in a nearby drive. "That Rawling chap must have returned," I say to the detective, who nods. "Perhaps, Hastings, we should talk to him."
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Yes, we should, but first:

Does Poirot expect that the blackmail is related to Ms. Sweeney's husband? His death?

As to Mr. Rawling- why was the cabinet constructed? Any relevant details about the construction itself? Was there anything that made this cabinet different from other cabinets he has constructed? Did he notice anything unusual while at the Longshear residence? Would it be possible, if someone had a key to the cabinet, to lock oneself inside (a possible escape for our killer)? Does he have a second key to the cabinet? Is there a way to open it without a key? How did he meet Mr. Longshear (as in, did he put out an advertisement, did a friend refer him, etc.)?
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Something else has been gnawing at me... it seems that, other than her brother, Miss Dopart was the closest person to Ms. Sweeney. If she believed that Mr. Longshear directly or indirectly caused Ms. Sweeney's death, why would she seek or accept employment with him? I don't trust her. This is all very strange, Hastings.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2011 - 5:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, we should, but first:

Does Poirot expect that the blackmail is related to Ms. Sweeney's husband? His death? "Non, Hastings, non. I do not believe that Monsieur Sweeney's death is at all important."

As to Mr. Rawling- why was the cabinet constructed? Any relevant details about the construction itself? Was there anything that made this cabinet different from other cabinets he has constructed? Did he notice anything unusual while at the Longshear residence? Would it be possible, if someone had a key to the cabinet, to lock oneself inside (a possible escape for our killer)? Does he have a second key to the cabinet? Is there a way to open it without a key? How did he meet Mr. Longshear (as in, did he put out an advertisement, did a friend refer him, etc.)? I don't remember any details about the cabinet itself that seemed any different. As for the rest of these, I think we'd better ask Mr. Rawling about that, and Poirot agrees.

Something else has been gnawing at me... it seems that, other than her brother, Miss Dopart was the closest person to Ms. Sweeney. If she believed that Mr. Longshear directly or indirectly caused Ms. Sweeney's death, why would she seek or accept employment with him? Huh...I don't know. Poirot probably has an idea though. I don't trust her. I don't either. This is all very strange, Hastings. Indeed. Poirot taps my shoulder. "Shall we speak to Monsieur Rawling?"

We walk to the short distance to Rawling's house, and Poirot is about to knock on the door when a man yanks it open. He looks astonishingly flustered and out of breath. Poirot opens his mouth to speak to him when the man says, "Thank God. You'd better come here quick...something's happened...I don't know what to do?"

A bit taken aback, we follow him to the drawing room, and he points out the window. "Out there!" Poirot and I look out there, and see a figure sprawled in front of the window.

"Is that...the nurse?" I ask the detective, who nods. "Oui, it appears to be Mademoiselle Dopart, yes."

Poirot turns to the man, who is standing by a rubbish bin in the corner. "Monsieur...you are Monsieur Timothy Rawling, n'est-ce pas?" The man nods. "Very well. Monsieur Rawling, you will wait here with my while I telephone ce Chief Inspector. Hastings, go to the house Longshear and tell Constable Alder. Have him come to the crime scene." I nod and head out the door.

My mind is spinning. Miss Dopart...? Yes, I didn't trust her, but who would want to kill her? Perhaps a disgruntled patient...no, no, not that. I have no idea, but I feel as if I should.

I enter Longshear's house and find all three people in the secretary's room, the maid bringing tea for the other two. I say to Alder, "Poirot needs you. There's been...another death."

The policeman is about to say something, but it is Christiana Kingsbury who speaks. "But...who?"

I look at Alder, asking without words whether or not to tell them. He nods, and I answer. "The nurse, Angela Dopart." Miss Kingsbury drops her teacup and faints. Alder catches her and turns to the maid, who is in a bit of shock, but less so. "Miss Erickson, get the brandy." She obeys and leaves the room, returning seconds later with a decanter and glass. The maid pours it out and Miss Kingsbury drinks it, the color returning to her face. "I'm all right...I think. But I'm afraid." Stephen Alder comforts her. "You'll be all right, trust me." He sets her down and the two of us go back to Rawling's house.

As we arrive, the police, responding in record time, are already beginning the investigation. Constable Alder, spotting Japp, joins him. I find Poirot standing outside, and against a fence I see a policeman interviewing Timothy Rawling.
Balin (Balin)
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Side note: I just realized I hadn't told you Constable Alder's first name before now. -Balin
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2011 - 9:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

After all those things I said about Miss Dopart earlier... well, I cannot be a suspect here! I was with you the entire time!

The questions about the cabinet can wait. Ask Mr. Rawling about the events of the day leading up to how he happened upon the body. Ask what happened after he discovered the body.

Is there an obvious cause of death? How does the body look (messy hair? torn clothing?)? Please describe the scene.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Sunday, September 04, 2011 - 11:35 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

After all those things I said about Miss Dopart earlier... well, I cannot be a suspect here! I was with you the entire time! Don't worry; I know you couldn't have done it.

The questions about the cabinet can wait. Ask Mr. Rawling about the events of the day leading up to how he happened upon the body. Ask what happened after he discovered the body. Poirot has given him some brandy, so he's a bit more relaxed. "I was travelling most of the day. I had been away on holiday and was just returning home. I arrived by train and picked up my car from a garage. I came here, went into the drawing room, and...there she was! I was stunned for a moment, unsure of what to do, and then I heard you two outside and ran out."

Is there an obvious cause of death? From my viewpoint, nothing looks terribly wrong. Although, something doesn't look right about her head, but there's no external bleeding. Fortunately, the medical examiner has just finished. "She was hit over the head repeatedly with something like a truncheon or sandbag, but smaller; something that wouldn't break the skin." How does the body look (messy hair? torn clothing?)? Angela Dopart is lying face down, her head toward the window. Her hair is very messy. She's wearing her nurse's uniform. Please describe the scene. On the grass by the window is the body. About ten feet or so away from the house are some hedges. Direcly behind the hedges is a fence.

One of the policemen is now talking to Poirot. He appears to be showing him something.
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Can you see what the object is?

How long had Mr. Rawling been away? Where had he gone? How well did he know Miss Dopart? Was there any reason for her to be at his home? Did he know Miss Sweeney? Miss Kingsbury? Miss Erickson? How well did he know Mr. Longshear? How had he heard of Mr. Longshear's need for a cabinet? What was the cabinet for? Was there anything unusual about this cabinet in comparison to others he has made? Did he ever see the contents? Does he have a spare key to the cabinet? Is it possible for someone to open the cabinet door without a key if it is locked? Any hidden compartments? A safe? Did he see anything unusual at the Longshear residence?
Balin (Balin)
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Can you see what the object is? I go over and look. It's a large flat-head screwdriver. The policeman says, "We found this in one of the pockets of Miss Dopart's apron. We'll have it checked for fingerprints." Poirot nods, and he comes over with me to question Rawling.

How long had Mr. Rawling been away? "Only a week." Where had he gone? "To the south of France. I figured a dip in the sea would do well after this weather," he says, laughing. How well did he know Miss Dopart? "Miss Dopart? Oh, the, um, dead woman. I didn't know her at all. I mean, I'd seen her a couple times when working over there, but that was it." Was there any reason for her to be at his home? He ponders. "Not at all -- none that I can think of." Did he know Miss Sweeney? Miss Kingsbury? Miss Erickson? He blinks a couple times. "Sweeney...no, I didn't know a Miss Sweeney. As for the last two, again, only from when I had the job at that house." How well did he know Mr. Longshear? Mr. Rawling laughs, saying, "Not at all. On this street, nobody knows their neighbors well." How had he heard of Mr. Longshear's need for a cabinet? "Well," he says, scratching his head, "I was walking down the street, trying to catch a cab. I believe I was going into town for a meal. I happened to run across the old man and his secretary, and she mentioned that Mr. Longshear was looking to have a cabinet built. I immediately offered my services." What was the cabinet for? "For his important papers, I believe." Was there anything unusual about this cabinet in comparison to others he has made? "No. Well, actually yes," he states, pausing. "He wanted it very secure, and near-impossible to break into. So I had metal panels installed in the wooden doors." Did he ever see the contents? Again, Rawling laughs. "I'm sure he did; after all, it was his cabinet." Does he have a spare key to the cabinet? "No; I never keep spare keys. I feel it would be rather unbusinesslike to go through someone else's cabinet." Is it possible for someone to open the cabinet door without a key if it is locked? "Not a chance," says the carpenter, grinning. "I made absolutely sure of that." Any hidden compartments? "Nope." A safe? "Well, it's about as safe a cabinet you can get without actually being a safe, I suppose." Did he see anything unusual at the Longshear residence? "When? I've been away for a week. If you mean 'ever,' then I guess...no, I...no, I haven't," he says firmly."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Mr Rawling, who let you into the house today? How come that you entered the drawing room? Did you have the keys to the house while working over the cabinet?

How old is Constable Alder by the way? When you have an opportunity, ask Japp how long has he worked in the police and how is he found by his supervisors.
Balin (Balin)
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Mr Rawling, who let you into the house today? "What house? Mine? Well, it's my house, so I let myself in. I never went into the Longshear house or any other." How come that you entered the drawing room? Well, I'd guess because this is his own house. Did you have the keys to the house while working over the cabinet? "To their house? Yes, I did; I was given a spare key to let myself in. But I don't have that key now; I gave it back."

How old is Constable Alder by the way? When you have an opportunity, ask Japp how long has he worked in the police and how is he found by his supervisors. I can do so now. Japp genially responds, "He's twenty-four and has been with the force for just over two years. He's a good policeman, but still a little green."
Redwine (Redwine)
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I feel confused... Where are we now? In Mr Rawling's house? In Mr. Longshear's house? Where the body of Angela Dopart was found?
Balin (Balin)
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I feel confused... Where are we now? In Mr Rawling's house? In Mr. Longshear's house? Where the body of Angela Dopart was found? We are just outside Mr. Rawling's house, where the body was found.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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*yawns* o hai balin kitteh...I tries to think of moar kweshunz...am getting over a couple of minor seizures from yesterday, so kweshunz iz hard to come by. would Rawling haz cheezburgur by any chance?
Balin (Balin)
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*yawns* o hai balin kitteh...I tries to think of moar kweshunz...am getting over a couple of minor seizures from yesterday, so kweshunz iz hard to come by. would Rawling haz cheezburgur by any chance? Noez, but ai haz. *givz* Sori tu heer abowt seezyurz =(


NOTE TO EVERYONE: In case it's not obvious, anything in blue is a message from the host, and is generally not part of the action. -Balin
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - 8:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mr. Rawling,
Did Mr. Longshear ever give you something apart of money for your service? Did you have anything valuable in your house? Where in the house you store your private papers?

Did you give Mr. Longshear any discount for your service?

Did you remember any unusual things that happened to you or in your house while working for Mr. Longshear? Did anybody try to break into your house?

Go and take a discreet look in the house. Any marble figurines?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - 1:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Mr. Rawling,
Did Mr. Longshear ever give you something apart of money for your service? "No, nothing." Did you have anything valuable in your house? "No, I don't. Just my own papers." Where in the house you store your private papers? "Some of them are in a box at the bank. Others..." He leans in and whispers. "There's a secret compartment under one of the cabinets in the kitchen. The cabinet's floor opens."

"If you would be so kind to show us this...compartment?" Poirot asks.

Rawling nods and leads us into the kitchen. He opens one of the lower cupboards, takes some cookingware out, and does something with the inside of the cabinet (I couldn't see what, the cupboard door blocked my view). The cupboard's floor pops open and there are papers inside.


Did you give Mr. Longshear any discount for your service? He shakes his head. "No. I offered the same price as normal."

Did you remember any unusual things that happened to you or in your house while working for Mr. Longshear? Did anybody try to break into your house? "Nothing happened at all then."

Go and take a discreet look in the house. Any marble figurines? I haven't seen any. I ask Rawling if I can use his lavatory (to which Poirot glares at me, but I think he knows what I'm up to). He gives me permission, and while I head there and back I take a quick snoop. No marble figurines here.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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iz a pity Rawling no haz cheezburgur, balin kitteh...kitteh sleuthz iz gettin hungry again. o well, haz cheez an peanut butter crackurz. *sharez wit balin kitteh* iz feelin betterer nao, just tryin to thinkz of moar kweshunz...doez Poirot thinkz anywun iz lyin?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - 6:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

doez Poirot thinkz anywun iz lyin? Poirot has been thinking for a while. Now he nods. "Oui. Someone we have spoken to has not told the truth. Mais, I have no proof. There is something missing... I need something."

Constable Alder pokes his head in. "I say, Poirot, after we're done here, do you think we should go back to the Longshear house?" Poirot nods wearily. "Oui. But let us now focus on the scene of the crime."
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - 10:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Before we leave, please take another look at the body- does it appear that Miss Dopart was entering the property or leaving it when she died?
Anything in her pockets except the screwdriver?
Could Mr. Rawling break into the cabinet he made for Mr. Longshear, short of hacking it to pieces with an axe, should we be unable to find the key?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - 12:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Before we leave, please take another look at the body- does it appear that Miss Dopart was entering the property or leaving it when she died? It looks like she was trying to break in. There are marks on the window ledge, and it has been pried open. There is also a small red thing stuck in the ledge.

I call Poirot and Japp over and we take a look at it. "Looks like a bit of a broken fingernail," Japp states. "Her nails are painted the same color, and one of them is broken. Must have cracked it when she fell after being hit."


Anything in her pockets except the screwdriver? No. Speaking of, another policeman has joined us: "No prints on the driver."

Could Mr. Rawling break into the cabinet he made for Mr. Longshear, short of hacking it to pieces with an axe, should we be unable to find the key? "No," Rawling says, "but I hide a lot of things around my house, so I'm very good at guessing hiding places. If the key is still in the study, I can probably find it."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Thursday, September 08, 2011 - 8:57 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hastings, it's very important for you to be precise now. When you entered Longshear's house and announced there'd been another death, before saying it was Miss Dopart, what feelings did people show?
I have the impression that Miss Kingsbury expected other person to die...

Mr. Rawling, how much time elapsed between your entering the house and finding the body?

Please describe how Miss Dopart was dressed when she died (how does the uniform look like). What was she facing when she died? Have we established the time of death?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Thursday, September 08, 2011 - 1:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hastings, it's very important for you to be precise now. When you entered Longshear's house and announced there'd been another death, before saying it was Miss Dopart, what feelings did people show? They all seemed genuinely shocked and upset. The constable was the most professional about it, though; after an initial feeling of shock, he seemed to gather himself together fairly quickly.
I have the impression that Miss Kingsbury expected other person to die... Really? I didn't feel that way... although I suppose it's possible... you could be right.

Mr. Rawling, how much time elapsed between your entering the house and finding the body? "Not long at all. Less than a minute."

Please describe how Miss Dopart was dressed when she died (how does the uniform look like). It looks exactly the same as we've seen; she never changed clothes before her death. What was she facing when she died? She was facing the window, then hit on the head. She fell face-down. Have we established the time of death? The police surgeon says that she must have been killed just minutes before Rawling discovered the body.
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Friday, September 09, 2011 - 10:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The nurses I know are not allowed to have painted nails as it presents a health hazard. Of course, Miss Dopart is unlike any nurse I've ever met. Was, I mean.

Well, I think we ought to get into that cabinet. It seems the case keeps leading us back in that direction.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 3:53 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The nurses I know are not allowed to have painted nails as it presents a health hazard. Interesting. I ask Poirot if that's relevant to the case, and he says, "Not in that way, no."

"But the painted..."

"Mademoiselle Dopart, Hastings, has a dislike of authority. That is why." Oh.


Of course, Miss Dopart is unlike any nurse I've ever met. Was, I mean.

Well, I think we ought to get into that cabinet. It seems the case keeps leading us back in that direction. All right, and since Rawling offered to help find the key, Poirot invites him to come to the Longshear house with us. Alder and Japp follow as well.
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011 - 9:08 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK, then back to the Longshear residence. Has anything changed significantly?

If not, let's see if we can find that key. First check the area near the desk (in any drawers that will open, under the desk, taped to the sides maybe, under the chair). Then check under the rug. Check under the chair where Mr. Longshear met his demise. Check the back of the gong. If we cannot find it, have Mr. Rawling give it a go. If he is unable to find the key, try standing in front of the cabinet and saying, "Open Sesame!" I'm teasing, Hastngs. We don't want to give Poirot a headache.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011 - 2:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK, then back to the Longshear residence. Has anything changed significantly? No. I can see Miss Erickson in the kitchen and Miss Kingsbury in her bedroom, but only for a moment as the five of us enter the study.

If not, let's see if we can find that key. First check the area near the desk (in any drawers that will open, under the desk, taped to the sides maybe, under the chair). Then check under the rug. Check under the chair where Mr. Longshear met his demise. Check the back of the gong. If we cannot find it, have Mr. Rawling give it a go. If he is unable to find the key, try standing in front of the cabinet and saying, "Open Sesame!" I'm teasing, Hastngs. We don't want to give Poirot a headache. I'm about to head over to the desk, but Rawling hurries over there ahead of me, calling out, "You check the rug," as he begins to check the desk. I do that -- nothing. Ditto with the chair, and the gong...hang on, the mallet for the gong is missing.

I have just noticed this when Rawling lets out a cry of triumph. "Got it!" He pulls his hand out from under the desk, clasping a silver key.
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Monday, September 12, 2011 - 7:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Quietly mention the mallet to Poirot, please. Then take the key from Rawling and offer your thanks.

Look around the room- is there any place (a vase, basket, etc.) that might be holding the mallet? Can you see it outside from a window? If not, take a quick peek in the kitchen. If you can manage it without arousing suspicion, check the ladies' bedrooms too. Perhaps you could ask them both to come to the kitchen to "be sure you have the facts straight" while Poirot checks the rooms.

Once you have done the best you can to that end, go ahead and open the cabinet. I am anxious to see what (if anything) is inside.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 4:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Quietly mention the mallet to Poirot, please. Straightening the marble figurines, he simply smiles, saying, "I thought that would be so." Suddenly, he stops straightening the figurines for a moment, then nods. Then take the key from Rawling and offer your thanks. Done. Rawling appreciates it.

Look around the room- is there any place (a vase, basket, etc.) that might be holding the mallet? Can you see it outside from a window? If not, take a quick peek in the kitchen. If you can manage it without arousing suspicion, check the ladies' bedrooms too. Perhaps you could ask them both to come to the kitchen to "be sure you have the facts straight" while Poirot checks the rooms. I am about to, but Poirot stops me. "I know where it is. I have already done the thinking." Sometimes he just boggles my mind.

Once you have done the best you can to that end, go ahead and open the cabinet. I am anxious to see what (if anything) is inside. I unlock the cabinet and open it. It's fairly spacious; there is a high stack of papers on the right side of the cabinet. Other than that, it's empty...wait, there's a long string in there as well.

I wonder...might there be a secret compartment in here? I run my hand along the inside walls of the cabinet, as well as feeling the inside of the doors as well. Other than brushing my hand over the keyhole, there's no secret lock or switch.

I turn to Poirot, but he is already heading out of the room. I try to follow him, but Japp stops me. "He told me not to let anyone leave the room while he heads out for a few minutes. I'm going to officially take Mr. Rawling's statement, and the constable is getting the other two ladies to come in here."

"But what do I do?" I ask.

Japp just shrugs. "Watch the door. And think, or something. I'm sure the old boy would tell you to do that." Okay...
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 5:59 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What about pulling on the string?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 1:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What about pulling on the string? It's just laying on the floor of the cabinet. Although it's really long -- at least 5 metres, and maybe longer.
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 6:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When Poirot comes back, ask him again about the figurines. He arranged them when Londgshear's body was found, so they MUST have been straight. If he had to straighten them again, someone must have tampered here. Ask Poirot what was the change.

Can you remember whether the mallot from the gong was on place when you were there for the first time?

Could the string have been used to ring a gong while sitting besides the cabinet?
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 6:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

excuze me balin kitteh, how long iz five metrez plz? kaylee iz american kitteh, liek yuo iz...iz translatin plzkthnx?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 6:50 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

When Poirot comes back, ask him again about the figurines. He arranged them when Londgshear's body was found, so they MUST have been straight. If he had to straighten them again, someone must have tampered here. Ask Poirot what was the change. Alder enters the study with the two other ladies as Poirot enters the house carrying a shoe-box. I go out to see him and ask about this. He says something to Japp and closes the study door before answering. "You have been using the grey cells well, Hastings! There was an extra figurine there -- this one!" Out of the shoe-box he pulls a small marble elephant.

Can you remember whether the mallot from the gong was on place when you were there for the first time? It was.

Could the string have been used to ring a gong while sitting besides the cabinet? Maybe, if it were attached to the gong, or attached to something...but how?

I ask Poirot, and he says, "I know exactly how. I know everything."

"Everything?" I ask.

He nods. "Oui, Hastings, everything. I suspected it from the start, and I was on the correct trail all along. And I have all the confirming evidence here," he says, gesturing to the shoe-box. "I wish to give you a chance to exercise your grey cells further before I tell all. That is why I have closed the door; to see if you can determine what I already know."
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 10:01 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is the elephant damaged in any way, Hastings?

I wonder if someone was hiding in the cabinet and used the string to ring the gong from inside. Perhaps the culprit rigged some sort of device to allow himself (or herself) out of the cabinet once the coast was clear. Am I on the right track? If not, ask Poirot if I should focus more on one of the following:
alibi
motive
the broken chips
the marble figurines
Mr. Longshear's past
Miss Dopart's murder
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 10:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Would the string be long enough to come from Mr Longshear's room to Miss Kingsbury room (through windows)? To the kitchen? To the ground outside the window?

What can be the sense of bringing marble elephant? Maybe someone didn't want it to be spotted among his/her belongings? Or to cover the fact, that other figurine was previously removed from the collection?

What can anyone gain by removing the mallet? Maybe it was previously attached to the string?

I wonder if it was the culprit who tampered with things so visibly to hide evidence or someone wanting to frame someone else...
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 12:02 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

excuze me balin kitteh, how long iz five metrez plz? kaylee iz american kitteh, liek yuo iz...iz translatin plzkthnx? A bit over 16 feet.

Is the elephant damaged in any way, Hastings? Its tail is chipped. Wait a moment...

I wonder if someone was hiding in the cabinet and used the string to ring the gong from inside. That could work...but the string isn't that thick. Would it take the tension of the gong? Perhaps the culprit rigged some sort of device to allow himself (or herself) out of the cabinet once the coast was clear. That's a good question...but Poirot always says if something appears complex, it must be simple. So this must be simpler... Am I on the right track? Yes! If not, ask Poirot if I should focus more on one of the following:
alibi
motive
the broken chips
the marble figurines
Mr. Longshear's past
Miss Dopart's murder

"The first two and the fifth are related and will tell you who the killer is. The third and fourth are really one and the same, Hastings..."

Would the string be long enough to come from Mr Longshear's room to Miss Kingsbury room (through windows)? To the kitchen? To the ground outside the window? It would reach the ground, but none of the others.

What can be the sense of bringing marble elephant? Maybe someone didn't want it to be spotted among his/her belongings? Or to cover the fact, that other figurine was previously removed from the collection? Just a thought...what if it had been part of the collection all along?

What can anyone gain by removing the mallet? Nothing that I can think of. Maybe it was previously attached to the string? It was attached to a thicker string which is still attached to the gong.

I wonder if it was the culprit who tampered with things so visibly to hide evidence or someone wanting to frame someone else... I don't know, but I like that idea of framing someone.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 12:09 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hangon, hang on...iz sumwun tied string tu elephant, an usez elephant to ring gong...elephant definitlee getz chipped liek dat...poor elephant...
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 12:15 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hangon, hang on...iz sumwun tied string tu elephant, an usez elephant to ring gong...elephant definitlee getz chipped liek dat...poor elephant... That sounds exactly like what could have happened! I say this to Poirot, and he beams. "Oui, Hastings! Someone, hiding in the cabinet, rang the gong with the elephant. But who was in the cabinet?"
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 2:43 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, let's see....

A lot of people had a motive to hurt or kill Mr. Longshear.
Miss Sweeney was blackmailed. But she has passed away. Her death was confirmed, correct?
Miss Dopart had motive. Personally, I think she was bent on revenge all along. Why else would she have taken a position with the man she held responsible for the death of another patient? She too, is dead. I doubt that is a coincidence. I would suspect that she was either framed or working with a partner. Does Poirot think there was more than one responsible person?
Personally I have not picked up on a motive from Miss Kingsbury or Miss Erickson, unless Miss Erickson knew Miss Sweeney and had the same motive as Miss Dopart. Or perhaps I have missed something important.
As for Mr. Rawling, I do not know of any motive, but if he knew the workings of the cabinet he may have had opportunity.
Then there were a couple of other people with motive- a friend that received an inheritance and Miss Sweeney's dear brother. But we don't know much about them.
Oh, and the solicitor. But I don't know of any motive or even opportunity with him.

So I suspect everyone but the solicitor. Oh, no. That can't be right. Anyone else have any ideas?
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 9:32 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Someone hiding in the cabinet couldn't have been Miss Erickson. That person wanted Miss Erickson to come after a gong, discover the body, go call the police and therefore let the someone out of the room. I think about Christiana Kingsbury, but have no idea for motive, unless she was somehow related with Melinda Sweeney.
What was Melinda Sweeney's maiden name, by the way?

And Hastings, ask discretely Constable Alder, Miss Erickson and Miss Kingsbury (separately) who, when and for how long was leaving the room where they were sitting when nurse was killed
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 11:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, let's see....

A lot of people had a motive to hurt or kill Mr. Longshear.
Miss Sweeney was blackmailed. But she has passed away. Her death was confirmed, correct? Right.
Miss Dopart had motive. Personally, I think she was bent on revenge all along. Why else would she have taken a position with the man she held responsible for the death of another patient? Good question. Poirot keeps mentioning her "problem with authority," so maybe there's a reason in that. She too, is dead. I doubt that is a coincidence. I would suspect that she was either framed or working with a partner. Does Poirot think there was more than one responsible person? "Only one person committed the crime, and only one person could have."
Personally I have not picked up on a motive from Miss Kingsbury or Miss Erickson, unless Miss Erickson knew Miss Sweeney and had the same motive as Miss Dopart. Or perhaps I have missed something important. Well, I haven't seen anything there. Not that I can think of, at least.
As for Mr. Rawling, I do not know of any motive, but if he knew the workings of the cabinet he may have had opportunity. Definitely.
Then there were a couple of other people with motive- a friend that received an inheritance and Miss Sweeney's dear brother. But we don't know much about them. Right.
Oh, and the solicitor. But I don't know of any motive or even opportunity with him. Also right.

So I suspect everyone but the solicitor. Oh, no. That can't be right. Anyone else have any ideas?

And Hastings, ask discretely Constable Alder, Miss Erickson and Miss Kingsbury (separately) who, when and for how long was leaving the room where they were sitting when nurse was killed I quickly pop back into the study and ask. Their answers confirm that they all started in separate rooms (the maid working, the secretary taking a nap, and the constable watching the study and checking on the other two) before they all ended up in the same room.

Someone hiding in the cabinet couldn't have been Miss Erickson. That person wanted Miss Erickson to come after a gong, discover the body, go call the police and therefore let the someone out of the room. That makes sense...except the phone was in the study...on the desk... AUTHOR ERROR: Originally I mentioned a phone on the desk; later I said there was no phone there. I was correct the first time, and there is a phone. -Balin I think about Christiana Kingsbury, but have no idea for motive, unless she was somehow related with Melinda Sweeney. I guess this is right...
What was Melinda Sweeney's maiden name, by the way? I ask Poirot, who smiles. "Her maiden name is the same as the last name of the killer! I wondered, cher ami, when you would ask that question. Hastings, you are getting closer, though you do not know all that Poirot saw! Think of the cabinet."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 3:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

How old is Mr. Rawling? If he's younger than 50, then only Miss Erickson is in appropriate age to be Melinda Sweeney's parent. She could have lied to us about the gong and later, when she realized we will be asking about it, made up the elephant, mallet and string.
How old is Constable Alder?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 8:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

How old is Mr. Rawling? He looks to be in his thirties. If he's younger than 50, then only Miss Erickson is in appropriate age to be Melinda Sweeney's parent. She could have lied to us about the gong and later, when she realized we will be asking about it, made up the elephant, mallet and string. That's an interesting theory, and I present it to Poirot. He just responds, "But how does that explain the mallet? Or the marble chip?" Drat, I thought I had something.
How old is Constable Alder? As Japp stated earlier, he is twenty-four.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 9:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Could Rawling be Melinda Sweeney's brother? Cousin?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 9:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Could Rawling be Melinda Sweeney's brother? That's possible...he's the right age. Poirot adds, "And the cabinet?" Cousin?
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 11:17 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Christiana Kingsbury can be Melinda Sweeney's sister...
Balin (Balin)
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Christiana Kingsbury can be Melinda Sweeney's sister... True -- she's also about the right age. I look at Poirot, who just sighs. "Hastings, you have the great imagination, yet you cannot see what is right in front of you! The cabinet, Hastings, the inside of the cabinet..."
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 2:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have a feeling that Mr Rawling knew where the key was - or he had the key in his pocket for all time to triumphally "find it". But maybe it's again imagination.
The inside of the cabinet... There was a string - used to ring a gong with a marble elephant. And also a pile of papers. Anything interesting among the papers, Hastings? Was the inside of the cabinet dusty? Any foot- or handprints? Was the cabinet spacious enough for someone to hide? Is any of our heroes too big to hide in the cabinet?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 5:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have a feeling that Mr Rawling knew where the key was - or he had the key in his pocket for all time to triumphally "find it". But maybe it's again imagination. You know...that might be very important.
The inside of the cabinet... There was a string - used to ring a gong with a marble elephant. And also a pile of papers. Right, and right. Anything interesting among the papers, Hastings? I skimmed through them earlier; they were financial records, similar to what Mr. Burke told us about. Was the inside of the cabinet dusty? Any foot- or handprints? No, and no. Was the cabinet spacious enough for someone to hide? It definitely was! Is any of our heroes too big to hide in the cabinet? No; anyone could have fit in the cabinet, even Inspector Japp, the tallest of the bunch.

Poirot speaks again. "Hastings, when you were feeling for a secret switch, what did you feel?"
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 8:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A keyhole!
Balin (Balin)
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A keyhole! Yes, I remember feeling the keyhole...but what does it mean? I feel like I'm missing something important...
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 11:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

well, a keyhole means a lock...a locked door, or drawer, or something...a door, I'm thinking? A secret passage?
Balin (Balin)
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well, a keyhole means a lock...a locked door, or drawer, or something...a door, I'm thinking? A secret passage? Well, it obviously means a lock, and it was probably just the lock to the cabinet...wait a minute, I've got an idea right in front of me, but I'm just missing it...
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2011 - 3:53 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Might someone have been looking through the keyhole from the inside? Manipulating the string?

This keyhole wouldn't have anything to do with Miss Dopart's broken nail, would it?

I am sorry, Hastings. I need more sleep.
Balin (Balin)
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Might someone have been looking through the keyhole from the inside? Manipulating the string? Poirot shakes his head. "Non, non, non. Hastings, someone was in the cabinet, which had a keyhole on the inside. What does that mean?"

This keyhole wouldn't have anything to do with Miss Dopart's broken nail, would it? Not at all; that was over at Rawling's house.

I am sorry, Hastings. I need more sleep. I don't blame you; it's been a fast-paced case.
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2011 - 3:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wait, you mean that the cabinet could be locked from the inside?

Rawling constructed the cabinet. If he made it with a keyhole facing the inside- well, that couldn't be an accident!
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2011 - 4:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Rawling seems very suspicious now to me, Hastings...

especially becauz he can nawt haz cheezburgur, balin kitteh...*looks at him* hmm...but he haz inside-lockin cabinut...perhapz is storez teh cheezburgur in dere...or perhaps he hid the mallet in there? or himself? or...I don't know yet...
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2011 - 8:19 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wait, you mean that the cabinet could be locked from the inside? ...Yes, that's exactly it! And Poirot is nodding...this must be it!

Rawling constructed the cabinet. If he made it with a keyhole facing the inside- well, that couldn't be an accident! Poirot smiles. "Oui, Hastings, it could not and it was not!"


Rawling seems very suspicious now to me, Hastings... Definitely.

especially becauz he can nawt haz cheezburgur, balin kitteh...*looks at him* hmm...but he haz inside-lockin cabinut...perhapz is storez teh cheezburgur in dere... or perhaps he hid the mallet in there? or himself? We've already figured out that a person can fit in the cabinet, so maybe he did hide in there. or...I don't know yet...

Poirot continues, "Now, Hastings, how much of the case can you piece together? Whenever you are ready for Poirot to reveal all, I will gladly do so. An old man loves his show."
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Friday, September 16, 2011 - 9:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hm, how's this for a theory?

Mr. Rawling is Miss Sweeney's brother. She told him of her treatment by Mr. Longshear before she died (or perhaps Miss Dopart told him). I suspect he was likely stalking Mr. Longshear when he offered to construct the cabinet. A smaller cabinet would have been fine (there was a lot of extra room even with the financial papers in there), but he made it extra large because he already planned to hide inside it. He made a keyhole facing the inside so he could lock himself in and let himself out. I suspect he held on to the key (by accident?) which would explain why we were unable to find it during our first search and why he was able to find it so quickly (if that's the case, that was very poor judgment on his part- it would have served him well if the key had never been found). He hid in the closet, getting out only to drug the coffee, stab Mr. Longshear, and escape. He used the string-marble elephant contraption to ring the gong (so he wouldn't be stuck in the cabinet for hours?) and then waited inside the cabinet while we investigated or else escaped before the police arrived. Who would suspect the cabinet-maker? Miss Dopart, that's who! Unfortunately for Mr. Rawling she would have recognized him as the brother of her deceased patient. So he killed her and tried to frame her for Mr. Longshear's murder.

There are a few things I don't understand:

How did Mr. Rawling get in to begin with?
When did he leave?
Why is the mallet missing?
Miss Dopart- was she trying to break into Mr. Rawling's house to look for evidence?
Significance of her broken nail?
Significance of the broken cups? Did he somehow manage to break them to give himself time to escape? How?
Where did Poirot get the shoebox? Was the marble elephant the only thing inside? Why place it in a shoebox rather than get rid of it?
And how did Poirot know the identity of the killer before the inner keyhole was revealed?

Any ideas from the other members?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2011 - 1:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hm, how's this for a theory?

Mr. Rawling is Miss Sweeney's brother. She told him of her treatment by Mr. Longshear before she died (or perhaps Miss Dopart told him). I suspect he was likely stalking Mr. Longshear when he offered to construct the cabinet. A smaller cabinet would have been fine (there was a lot of extra room even with the financial papers in there), but he made it extra large because he already planned to hide inside it. He made a keyhole facing the inside so he could lock himself in and let himself out. I suspect he held on to the key (by accident?) which would explain why we were unable to find it during our first search and why he was able to find it so quickly (if that's the case, that was very poor judgment on his part- it would have served him well if the key had never been found). He hid in the closet, getting out only to drug the coffee, stab Mr. Longshear, and escape. He used the string-marble elephant contraption to ring the gong (so he wouldn't be stuck in the cabinet for hours?) and then waited inside the cabinet while we investigated or else escaped before the police arrived. Who would suspect the cabinet-maker? Miss Dopart, that's who! Unfortunately for Mr. Rawling she would have recognized him as the brother of her deceased patient. So he killed her and tried to frame her for Mr. Longshear's murder. Poirot grins. "Well done, Hastings! You are not completely correct, but you have the basics of the crime figured out. Do you wish to continue to work the grey cells or shall I tell all?"

There are a few things I don't understand:

How did Mr. Rawling get in to begin with?
When did he leave?
Why is the mallet missing?
Miss Dopart- was she trying to break into Mr. Rawling's house to look for evidence?
Significance of her broken nail?
Significance of the broken cups? Did he somehow manage to break them to give himself time to escape? How?
Where did Poirot get the shoebox? Was the marble elephant the only thing inside? Why place it in a shoebox rather than get rid of it?
And how did Poirot know the identity of the killer before the inner keyhole was revealed?

Any ideas from the other members? I know the answer to all of these, being the author, of course. You have the choice of letting me $poyle here or continuing to figure out the intricacies of the case, as you have successfully determined the murderer and a good chunk of the method used. I would like to here from the other detectives (puzzlers, but you've earned the title =) ) about what I should do first. (Although I just realized we might not hear from Redwine for a while -- IIRC, her wedding is tomorrow.)

Anyway, I will repeat Poirot's question to you all: Do you wish to continue to work the grey cells or shall I tell all?
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2011 - 2:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Congratulations to Redwine!

Balin, personally, I would like to see if the others can solve the details before you spoyle, but I am at a standstill.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2011 - 5:52 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I will wait for Redwine to post; Kaylee called me and confirmed that she's also at a standstill.
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2011 - 4:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah, I hasn't had cheezburgur, and you know what that does to me, balin kitteh =(

I hope Redwine had a good wedding! =)
Balin (Balin)
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I will post the $poyler on the 24th, this puzzle's two-month anniversary, if no more questions are posted by then. -Balin
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 3:56 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I will post later today with maybe some last guesses, thanks for your concern about my wedding, it was great.
Redwine (Redwine)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 9:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think that Poirot knew the identity of the killer when he found out Mme Sweeney's maiden name.

I would guess that broken crockery was to conceal something, but what? Another coffee cup?

Rawling could have got into the house during breakfast, while Longshear and Miss Kingsbury were eating and Miss Erickson was serving. As he worked in the house, he could have known the hours of the meals.

The cupboard with coffee cups could have been left open on purpose - to distract the maid from washing up the pot. Drugged coffee certainly pointed to someone from the house, not from the outside.

I would personally want to know with what did Mr Longshear blackmail Melinda Sweeney...

And what if Rawling had an accomplice?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 10:33 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think that Poirot knew the identity of the killer when he found out Mme Sweeney's maiden name. Definitely. Maybe he had a hunch earlier though; how, I have no idea.

I would guess that broken crockery was to conceal something, but what? Another coffee cup? I don't know. Wait...there was the broken crockery in the kitchen, but there was also the crushed cups in the study.

Rawling could have got into the house during breakfast, while Longshear and Miss Kingsbury were eating and Miss Erickson was serving. As he worked in the house, he could have known the hours of the meals. Yes, this makes sense.

The cupboard with coffee cups could have been left open on purpose - to distract the maid from washing up the pot. Maybe...but why? Rawling would have wanted the pot washed up. Drugged coffee certainly pointed to someone from the house, not from the outside. Yes, this makes sense. But if Rawling got into the house at breakfast, he might have been able to drug the coffee...but when?

I would personally want to know with what did Mr Longshear blackmail Melinda Sweeney... Who knows...maybe he was just threatening her?

And what if Rawling had an accomplice? I suppose it's possible, but I'd guess that he worked alone.
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 10:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've added to your earlier notes, Hastings. I'd like your opinion (as well as our other detectives' thoughts).

(Perhaps Rawling got in the house in the wee hours of the morning, under the cover of darkness- just like the old novels!)
5.30 Miss Erickson (maid) wakes up
6.45 Mr. Longshear wakes up
7.00 Miss Kingsbury (secretary) wakes up, helps Longshear out of bed
Just after 7.00 breakfast. (Or perhaps Rawling got in at this time.)After breakfast Longshear and Kingsbury go to study to work, Erickson makes beds and dusts bedrooms
9.00 Erickson starts brewing coffee
9.15 Longshear and Kingsbury leave study, go outside. Erickson goes to her room for a moment 9.20 Longshear and Kingsbury return to study, Erickson finishes brewing coffee and starts laundry (I think he probably drugged the coffee now)
10.00 Erickson serves coffee to Longshear and Kingsbury. Erickson continues laundry
A few minutes after 10: Kingsbury goes to room to sleep. Longshear sleeps in chair.
Sometime between 10.00 and 10.30 (probably closer to the latter) Erickson returns to kitchen to wash coffeepot, knocks over coffee cups, begins to sweep up cups
Sometime around 10.15 Longshear murdered (Rawling kills the man in his sleep, slips back into the cabinet, and rings the gong using the string and the elephant.)
Around 10.30 Erickson hears gong, discovers body

This would give us a rough timeline, if I am correct, but I am still confused by the broken crockery. Any comments?
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 11:05 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've added to your earlier notes, Hastings. I'd like your opinion (as well as our other detectives' thoughts).

(Perhaps Rawling got in the house in the wee hours of the morning, under the cover of darkness- just like the old novels!)
5.30 Miss Erickson (maid) wakes up
6.45 Mr. Longshear wakes up
7.00 Miss Kingsbury (secretary) wakes up, helps Longshear out of bed
Just after 7.00 breakfast. (Or perhaps Rawling got in at this time.)After breakfast Longshear and Kingsbury go to study to work, Erickson makes beds and dusts bedrooms
9.00 Erickson starts brewing coffee
9.15 Longshear and Kingsbury leave study, go outside. Erickson goes to her room for a moment 9.20 Longshear and Kingsbury return to study, Erickson finishes brewing coffee and starts laundry (I think he probably drugged the coffee now)
10.00 Erickson serves coffee to Longshear and Kingsbury. Erickson continues laundry
A few minutes after 10: Kingsbury goes to room to sleep. Longshear sleeps in chair.
Sometime between 10.00 and 10.30 (probably closer to the latter) Erickson returns to kitchen to wash coffeepot, knocks over coffee cups, begins to sweep up cups
Sometime around 10.15 Longshear murdered (Rawling kills the man in his sleep, slips back into the cabinet, and rings the gong using the string and the elephant.)
Around 10.30 Erickson hears gong, discovers body

Excellent timeline -- I definitely think you're right about the drugging of the coffee; that would have been the only time he could have slipped over to do it.

This would give us a rough timeline, if I am correct, but I am still confused by the broken crockery. Any comments? I have no idea about the broken (or crushed) crockery. Maybe it was just an accident.
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 8:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I will try to post the $poyler on Sept. 30, so if you have any more questions, get them in soon!
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Friday, September 30, 2011 - 6:46 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Poirot comes up to me.

“Very well done, cher ami!” he states, beaming. “You have shown that your grey cells can come to the truth, and your imagination is still as vivid as ever. Now let us reveal the truth to all.”

**********SPOILER (PART 1)**********

We all move from the study to the dining room, where there are chairs. Everyone takes a seat around the table, except for Japp, who stands by the door. Poirot, at the head of the table, rests the shoe-box on the flat surface and motions for quiet. “The stage is set; now let the comedy begin.”

“It all began, as it seems to always do, with a phone call. Inspector Japp summoned me here to investigate, as he knew that, despite initial appearance, Monsieur Longshear could not have committed suicide. Oui, the weapon came from his own sheath, but he could not grip the handle of a coffee cup, so how could he have held the hunting knife? So obviously, this was not a suicide, but a murder. And inside the house were two suspects: Mademoiselle Erickson and Mademoiselle Kingsbury.”

“A case can be made against both of these women. But relax, mademoiselles, I am not accusing you of anything yet.” (I'm glad he said that, as I think the maid was about to protest.) “Let us begin with Mademoiselle Kingsbury. She seemed the obvious suspect at first, as she was the last person to see Monsieur Longshear alive. It is possible that she could have killed him, rang the gong and run across to her room, then feigned sleep for one or two hours until the investigation was going on.”

“But...” begins the faint voice of Christiana Kingsbury, before another voice interrupts.

“That's not possible!” interjects Constable Alder.

Poirot and Japp ask simultaneously, “And why not?”

Alder stammers for a moment before replying. “Well, when she woke up, she had obviously been asleep. And in a deep sleep for that matter. Besides...”

“Relax, Constable,” interrupts Poirot. “I have not made an accusation yet, I am just making a case.” He continues, “Now, I wish to point out one clue that was discovered fairly early on in the case. Because of some broken china, Mademoiselle Erickson never washed the pot of coffee that she served this morning. The coffee inside it was analysed, and we discovered traces of chloral hydrate in the pot.”

Miss Kingsbury ejaculates, “You mean...I was drugged?”

“The coffee was drugged, oui. But that does not exonerate you. There were the remains of a crushed coffee cup, or possibly two, by the desk. You could have drugged the coffee, waited for your employer to drink it, crushed the cups underfoot so they could not be analysed, and slashed Longshear's throat.”

The secretary turns to Alder, before stammering, “And...and my motive?”

Poirot walks over to the door and whispers a few words to Japp, who gives him an odd look, but nods. The detective then returns to the table and keeps speaking. “Monsieur Longshear's solicitor, Monsieur Burke, showed myself and Captain Hastings some of the deceased's financial records. He had a steady income which was unaccounted for, and recently grew larger. He had also maintained this income through the time of his former secretary, Madame Sweeney, whom I learned about through Mademoiselle Erickson.

“Now, where could he be getting this income from? I remembered that Madame Sweeney had suffered a nervous breakdown which later killed her. I believe that Monsieur Longshear was threatening her, possibly claiming that he would...I do not know exactly what, but something horrific and unspeakable...if she did not bow to his every whim. The man was an egoist who longed for power; his life story spoke to that. Now tell me, Mademoiselle Kingsbury, was he also doing the same to you?

After a moment's silence, she breaks down sobbing. “Yes,” she nods, eyes full of tears. “I...you...he said...and my family now...gone...” The constable leans over to comfort her, and after a few minutes, she wipes her eyes and sits back up. “I don't really want to talk about it.”

“That is all right, mademoiselle,” Poirot says. “We do not need to.” The secretary looks extremely grateful.

Timothy Rawling, who has been sitting quietly so far, now wipes his brow with a handkerchief. “Wait a minute, Mr. Poirot, are you saying she did it?”

Poirot shakes his head. “Non. For despite the case I can build up, there are two things that prove it was not she. The one, that she was with the deceased the entire morning. She would have had no opportunity to drug the coffee. I will return to the other later.”

He takes a breath and keeps going. “Now then, there was another suspect in the house. The maid, Mademoiselle Erickson, could also have committed the crime.” Before the maid can protest (I swear, if Poirot keeps this up, she will protest...she's maintaining her composure rather well, though), Poirot holds up a hand. “This is not an accusation, recall.”

“But she could have killed him. All that would be needed was to drug the coffee, wait until the secretary had gone to sleep, killed Monsieur Longshear, and made up the story about the gong. Simplement. Motive? Perhaps she was upset at having to work like this for such little wages.”

“I was,” says the maid. “Who wouldn't be? But I couldn't exactly leave, you know. Nowhere else to live.” She folds her arms, upset.

“But,” says Poirot, and all eyes turn to him. “If she did commit the crime, then why did she not wash the pot of coffee? She would have had all the time she needed to, yet she did not? Non! That makes no sense!

“Therefore she did not do it. And the other clue I mentioned tells us that as well.”

“And that other clue?” asks Japp from the doorway.

“In time, Inspector,” replies Poirot. “You know that I enjoy the setting of the stage.” Japp shrugs and nods, but everyone else seems a bit confused. Before anyone can say anything, the detective starts again.

“During the investigation, a third suspect appeared. The nurse, the late Mademoiselle Angela Dopart. And as we investigated, it became clear that she detested the police. She detested any authority whatsoever. She, how do you say it, snooped. And she did this to... “get the edge” on the police. Later, as you know, she was killed outside Monsieur Rawling's house. Why? And could she have been the murderer?”

Poirot pauses. “Non.

“And why not?” asks Japp.

“There are two reasons,” responds Poirot. “One material, and one psychologique. I will begin with the second. As we know, the nurse did not like authority. She was also not the sentimental type. Yet she carried with her a letter from the late Madame Sweeney – her last words. Why?

“I asked myself this and soon came up with an answer. Remember, Hastings, when we went to Monsieur Burke's office? Recently a regular outgoing payment had started up. Put that together with what we know about Madame Sweeney's breakdown, plus the fact that Angela Dopart was her nurse, and we see the answer clearly. The nurse knew about Monsieur Longshear and how cruelly he treated his secretary. She could have killed him, but non! She came up with something better.” Poirot pauses for effect, then utters a single word: “Blackmail.”

Gasps are heard from all around the room, including from me. Blackmail!

“I never would have imagined it,” I nervously state, “but come to think of it, it fits with the nurse's personality. She wanted revenge, not justice.”

Poirot nods. “Oui, Hastings. She also decreased the dosage of his medication so his limbs would decay faster. And Longshear could not fight back. He could only...”

“...take it out on me...”

Poirot nods again, this time in the direction of the broken secretary. “Oui, Mademoiselle Kingsbury. That is why he made you pay him more.”

Christiana Kingsbury starts to sob again. “I was his slave...” Alder pulls her close. “It's all right now, dear, it's all over.”

I glance at Poirot with a look that reads “I really should have seen this coming, shouldn't I?” Hercule Poirot smiles and nods, then keeps speaking.

“Before I get to the material evidence that proves Mademoiselle Dopart innocent, let us go on to the second murder. Behind Monsieur Rawling's house, the nurse was hit over the head and killed. There was something that did not seem right about the scene, and I will tell you what. Hastings, do you recall what was on the window sill?”

I think back. “Tool marks. Wait, wasn't there a screwdriver in her apron pocket?”

Oui,” says Poirot, “and whose prints were on it?”

“No one's,” I reply.

Poirot immediately answers, “And that is strange indeed! Because Mademoiselle Dopart was not wearing gloves. She broke a fingernail on the window sill, after all. So it seems that someone else pried open the window, wiped the prints, and planted the screwdriver on the body.”

“But why?” asks Rawling, still sweating.

“We will get to that later, but there is one more point I wish to make,” answers Poirot. “You know that I like to tie up loose ends, and there is one that the police did not come across. The murder weapon.”

Stephen Alder asks, “You found it?”

Poirot nods. “You see, the police did not check the hedges by the body very well. They are thick. I noticed some policemen prodding in with sticks – I do not know if you noticed that, Hastings – but they did not look deeply. I did. There are no thorns on that hedge; it was not difficult. And I knew what I was looking for.”

“How?” I inquire.

“Remember the medical examiner's description of the murder weapon. 'Something like a truncheon or sandbag, but smaller; something that wouldn't break the skin.' I knew something like that in existence...something that is now missing...”

After a pause, I figure it out. “Oh! The gong mallet!”

The detective pulls the object out of the shoe-box as he nods, placing it on the table. “I found it in the hedge. I am sure it will be consistent with the wounds.”

He briefly pauses, then keeps going. “But that does not help. Constable Alder, Mademoiselle Erickson, and Mademoiselle Kingsbury were all in the house, and each of them had periods of time when they were alone. Any of them could have taken the mallet, killed the nurse, stuffed it in the hedge, and returned without being noticed.

“But now I will tell you...everything.”
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Friday, September 30, 2011 - 6:48 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

**********SPOILER PART 2**********

“The material evidence you want? It is this,” states Poirot, removing from the shoe-box the little marble chip. “This chip of marble was found below the gong. And what is it from, you may ask? Well, Hercule Poirot has the answer!” He now removes the marble elephant and places that by the marble chip.

“When I see this, I immediately ask myself, 'What is this doing here?' I have already straightened the figurines on the bookshelf and there are none that are chipped. So where is the chipped one?

“After Mademoiselle Dopart is killed, we return here and what do I do? I straighten the figurines again. But why, if I have already straightened them, must I straighten them again? The answer is obvious: because someone else has moved them. I feel and find the one that is chipped, and I know what it was for.

“Why was the chip below the gong? Because...” Poirot, again, pauses and lets the effect settle in before continuing: “Because the gong was rung with the elephant. And nobody in the house would have reason to do that!”

“But what is the solution? What is the truth?” demands Miss Erickson, standing up.

Poirot stares directly at her. “Remain calm, and I will tell you.” The maid sits back down.

After the interruption, the detective continues: “The first thing that helped lead me to the truth was mentioned by Nurse Angela Dopart. She said that Madame Sweeney's brother visited her often. Madame Sweeney's last letter mentioned the faithfulness and vigil of the brother. It is almost certain that she would have told the brother about Monsieur Longshear.

“So, let us assume the brother knows of Longshear's cruelty. He plans to kill him and does, the motive being revenge. Does that seem logical?” Everyone agrees.

“After visiting the hospital,” Hercule Poirot continues, “Hastings and I went to Somerset House. And we searched the marriage records. But while Hastings was looking elsewhere, I searched for what I was looking for. The marriage certificate of one Richard Sweeney...and Melinda Rawling.”

All eyes turn to Timothy Rawling. He glances around, and finally looks at Poirot, with a sort of smug, faux-confused look on his face. “Are you trying to pin this on me?”

Poirot shakes his head. “I do not need to, as you say, 'pin' anything on you. You are the murderer, Monsieur Rawling...”

The carpenter laughs. “Really? And how can that be? I was in France at the time!”

Poirot shakes his head. “No. I have evidence that you were in England.”

“And what sort of 'evidence' might this be?” Rawling demands.

“For one? Roses.”

Everyone is confused at this, even myself. Even Japp! “Roses?” the inspector asks.

Hercule Poirot nods. “Oui. You see, behind St. Agnes' Hospital there is a little graveyard that is rarely used. And there has been the drought fantastique! No flowers should be blooming! Yet by Melinda Sweeney's grave are blooming red roses.

“And who would be watering them? Not Mademoiselle Dopart. Certainly not Monsieur Longshear. Non, only the brother, Monsieur Timothy Rawling.”

Rawling rises to protest, but Poirot cuts him off. “Sit down, I have more.” From the shoe-box he pulls a passport. “This is your passport. You dropped it coming out of the car. We know exactly how long you were in France.”

Rawling sits back down. “So I came back early! And so my sister was destroyed by this lunatic! It doesn't prove I killed him.”

Japp starts walking toward Rawling. “So you admit that your sister is Melinda Sweeney?”

Rawling rolls his eyes. “Yes, I do! But that doesn't prove anything!”

Non,” Poirot says, “but there is one thing that does prove it. Remember the gong – it was rung by striking it with the marble elephant. But where does Rawling go after the murder? He cannot leave by the door or risk being seen; plus, he must lock it. And he cannot leave by the window.”

Japp and Alder look confused; Rawling, in contrast, is very smug. “See? I couldn't have gone anywhere – it couldn't have been me!”

But Hercule Poirot just smiles. “You could not have gone anywhere then. You were still in the study through the entire investigation.

Everyone
gasps. Alder speaks up: “But...I searched the house!”

Oui, you did. But you did not search the locked cabinet in the study because you did not have the key. Nobody had the key.”

“And how...” Rawling begins, but Poirot interrupts him. “I know exactly how. When you were so kind as to give us the key, Hastings felt the inside of the cabinet for a secret panel. He did not find one, but he did find a keyhole on the inside of the door. The inside. Why, when building the cabinet, did you put a keyhole inside the cabinet?”

There is a long silence. Timothy Rawling tries to speak, but no words come out.

“Now!” says Poirot. “Permit me to say what happened.”

“Melinda Sweeney is dying. Timothy Rawling, her devoted brother, visits regularly, and she tells him about the terrible man, Josiah Longshear, who has driven her to death. I believe it was then that you swore revenge, though I do not believe you told your sister of your plans.

“You move across the street and wait. Eventually you hear that he needed a cabinet built – I suspect Monsieur Longshear mentioned it to his secretary outside. The plan quickly forms in your head. You offer to build one, and at a cheap price! Longshear accepts your offer. As you build, you learn the day's routine. You secretly put a keyhole on the inside of the cabinet door, and you copy the study key and the spare key to the house. You finish the job and wait.

“Eventually you decide the time is right. Enough time has passed since you built the cabinet that you do not believe you will be suspected. So you put your plan into action.

“First, you announce a holiday a week before. You drive your car to a garage and leave it there, giving the impression that you are gone. You also go to France for a few days before returning, allowing you to give yourself an alibi. But you return before you have said you would.

“The day arrives. In the early morning, before anyone is awake, you enter the study, take the key from the wall, and hide in the cabinet, locking yourself inside. You have with you a supply of chloral and a long piece of string.

“The hours pass. Eventually Monsieur Longshear and Mademoiselle Kingsbury take their break, and crucially, Mademoiselle Erickson leaves the kitchen. You act quickly! You run to the kitchen, slip the chloral into the pot of coffee that is on the stove, dash back into the study and lock yourself back in the cabinet.

“In due time, the old man and his secretary return. They are served coffee and become tired. Josiah Longshear falls asleep in his chair, and Christiana Kingsbury goes to her bedroom to sleep. The time has come.

“You unlock the cabinet, walk over, and lock the study door. Then you take the coffee cups and crush them to powder. You believe that once the coffeepot is washed, there will be no trace of the drug; you did not count on a bit of fortune. Some crockery broke in the kitchen, so Mademoiselle Erickson never washed the pot because she was cleaning up the mess.

“But you did not know that then! After smashing the cup, you took the hunting knife from Longshear, killed him from behind, and crammed the knife into his hand. Then you removed the elephant from the bookcase and tied it to the string.

“This was the critical moment, the time where something could go wrong. But nothing did. You re-entered the cabinet and left the doors slightly open. You threw the elephant at the gong, holding the other end of the string. The elephant hit the gong and – unfortunately for you – chipped. You pulled it back into the cabinet using the string and quickly closed and locked the doors. Just seconds later, Mademoiselle Erickson discovers the body. You cannot leave; you do not know if she will be watching the study door. You must wait.

“Eventually the police come, and I come, and you are watching through the keyhole. But Angela Dopart comes, and when she is in the study alone, before we can tell her to stop, she comes over and looks through the keyhole of the cabinet. And she sees you, and you see her, and she knows, and you know. She then examines the bookcase, where we find her. You are partially relieved; we do not know. But she does.

“Fortunately, you know her routine from when you worked on the cabinet. So when we have gone and only three people are in the house, you decide to act. You wait until the appropriate time – the study door has been left open, allowing you to see out – and hurry. Exiting the cabinet, you lock it behind you, accidentally leaving the string behind. You return the marble elephant to the bookcase, not knowing that I have straightened them, as you cannot see the bookcase through the cabinet's keyhole. You remove the mallet from the gong – not difficult, the string is old and loosely tied – and hurry out.

“You have a suspicion that the nurse will snoop around your house, so you head straight there and wait inside. Soon, Mademoiselle Dopart goes to the back of the house and tries to break in. You hurry around, mallet in hand, and kill her, shoving the weapon into a hedge. Then you have another idea: You take the screwdriver and finish prying open your window. This way, you can claim any evidence found in your house has been planted by the nurse. Then you wipe off the prints on the driver with your handkerchief and place it into the nurse's apron. But you wiped off her prints as well – a mistake.

“Finally, you take a taxi to the garage, get your car, and drive back to Hoberton Crescent just in time to put on a show for myself and Captain Hastings. But I, Hercule Poirot, do not see the scenery, I see the painted cloth.”

There is a long silence before Timothy Rawling, with a smug look on his face, breaks it with a round of applause. “Bravo, Poirot. You've shown how I could have committed the crime. But you have no proof at all.”

Poirot shakes his head, and reveals the last four items in the shoe-box. “This is a receipt for the garage you parked your car at. This is your ticket for the ship that took you back from France – please note the date on it. This is a copy of the key that fits the study door. And this....” Poirot removes a folded-up, yellowed paper. “This is the last letter written to Timothy Rawling by his dear sister, Melinda Sweeney.”

Rawling looks completely enraged, but no words come out. Hercule Poirot just smiles at him. “You see, Monsieur Rawling, you may hide objects well, but there is no one better than Hercule Poirot at finding them.” Almost as an afterthought, he picks up the gong mallet. “I suppose the police will want this. I would expect them to find your fingerprints on it.”

The carpenter hollers, “No they won't! I wiped–“

“...them off?” Poirot beams. “I believe that is a confession, do you not agree, Chief Inspector?”

Timothy Rawling is a mass of fury now, but he is utterly paralyzed as Japp cuffs him and reads him his rights before leading him out of the dining room. As he walks out, the criminal hollers out behind him:

“God rot his soul in hell! I'm glad I did it!”

The entire room looks out the door in shock as Timothy Rawling is led out of the house. Poirot breaks the silence: “Interesting.”

“What? What's interesting?” I ask.

Poirot answers, “It is only that that is the second case in a row I have heard that remark. Nothing more.”
Balin (Balin)
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Posted on Friday, September 30, 2011 - 6:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

**********SPOILER PART 3**********

The five people around the table all stare at each other. It is Hilairie Erickson who breaks the silence.

“I suppose I should go. I got a letter from an old friend the other day who wants to see me. I believe I have somewhere I can go now!” She walks out of the room.

Christiana Kingsbury cries, “I...I don't. My family is gone.”

Practically on cue, Alder looks to Poirot, who smiles and nods before leading me out of the room and out of the house altogether. I turn to the detective.

“Let me guess: You had that planned all along? Back there, you told Japp not to tell off Alder for unprofessionalism? For the sake of human happiness?”

Poirot cannot help but beam. And of course, I should have known; it was the man standing before me who brought my marriage together. “Oui, cher ami! Right now he is not Constable Alder, policeman, but Stephen Alder, lover. And Christiana Kingsbury is not a broken secretary, but the perfect beloved. It is the eternal mystery, Hastings; you know that.” And I do know.

We walk down to the kerb and the detective hails a passing taxi; the two of us climb in. It is Hercule Poirot who speaks:

“Whitehaven Mansions, if you please.”

**********THE END**********


Excellent work, everyone!! Promotions to you all: Redwine, Ciaobella, Vesica, Kaylee, Galfisk, and Peter365!
Kayleetonkslupin (Kayleetonkslupin)
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Posted on Friday, September 30, 2011 - 9:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well done, all of us! =) Now, if only Poirot can solve the unending mystery...

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
Ciaobella (Ciaobella)
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Posted on Wednesday, October 05, 2011 - 8:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you so much, Balin. That was so exciting! And a beautiful ending.

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