The following is a Whodunit by Hy Conrad featuring Sherman Oliver Holmes, a mysterious crime solver and great-great-grandson of Sherlock Holmes. Can you solve the crime?
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Sergeant Wilson hated stakeouts. Here he was, stuck alone in a first-floor apartment, photographing the comings and goings at the home of a suspected hit man across the street. And it was a beautiful day outside, which just made things worse.
Wilson heard the door to his own apartment building close and glanced outside to see Dr. Weber's regular Tuesday patient leaving. 11:58, he noted on his watch. Time for the elderly psychiatrist to watch his half-hour game show, and then make himself lunch. When he concentrated, Wilson could hear the TV upstairs in the doctor's living room.
At 12:35, the whistle of a teakettle announced the doctor's lunch preparations. Three minutes later, the kettle was still whistling furiously. Wilson abandoned his stakeout and hurried one flight up to see if anything was wrong.
When his knocking produced no response, Wilson walked into the unlocked apartment. The doctor lay on the kitchen floor. A fruit knife lay in his right hand. A bloody steak knife lay imbedded in his back.
Wilson did his own whistling. "Wow."
"Wow is correct, dear fellow."
The sergeant turned to find Sherman Holmes standing behind him in the doorway. "This murder just happened," Wilson gasped. "How do you do it? You're like a vulture."
"Thanks awfully," Sherman said and quickly perused the scene. The noisy teakettle sat on a low flame. On a cutting board were an open can of tuna and a sliced apple, its flesh already turned brown. The TV was on in the background. "Someone interrupted his lunch."
Sammy Cole, on the third floor, answered the door in his underwear. "I work nights," he said with a yawn. "I got home around 11 a.m., had a little breakfast, and went to bed." Sherman looked through to Cole's kitchen and saw a half-filled carafe sitting in the automatic coffee maker. "The floors are thick," Sammy added. "I didn't hear a thing."
Glenda Gould lived across the hall from Sammy and seemed unnerved by Dr. Weber's death. "He was my psychiatrist. I told him to get better security. With all the nut cases he treats, this sort of attack was inevitable." She twisted the ring on her finger, revealing a raw patch of skin underneath. "I'll need to find another doctor."
Wilson walked back down to the crime-scene apartment with Holmes. "Naturally I know who did it," Sherman said in his unique, infuriating way. "1 just need to check one thing."
WHO IS SHERMAN"S SUSPECT?
WHAT WAS THE VITAL CLUE?
The whodunit above was provided by American mystery fiction author Hy Conrad.
In addition to his work in mystery and crime puzzles, Hy was also one of the original writers for the groundbreaking TV series Monk.