Neatorama is proud to present a new series of Whodunits from Hy Conrad. The new mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?
(Image credit: Flickr user Carin Rhoden)
Homicide Detective Gilson was visiting his accountant in a small, seedy office building when he heard noises coming from above. First there were angry voices. Then came a scream, followed by a heavy thud.
Gilson excused himself and raced up the stairs. On the next floor, he found an open door. Wiley Kline, a low-rent lawyer, lay on the floor of his office, a switchblade knife sticking out of his chest. Gilson called in the murder and immediately found himself assigned to the case.
When his partner arrived, the detectives examined the office. Not far from the victim's hand was a half-smoked cigarette. On the floor beside it were a turned-over wastebasket, a cheap lighter, and a blank notepad. On the desk they noticed a telephone, a pen, a shot glass smelling of bourbon, and an ashtray filled with cigarette butts and burned matches.
"It's funny how none of his neighbors poked their heads out," Gilson observed. "Let's go talk to them."
The floor contained three other offices. The first door they knocked on produced Helen Hurly, a massage therapist. She told them she was relaxing between appointments. "I didn't hear a thing," she claimed, pointing to the stereo headphones she'd just removed. "You say Wiley was murdered? I'm not surprised. He must have cheated everyone he'd ever met."
The second office belonged to Jackson Cod, an artist. In one hand he held a paintbrush, in the other an unlit cigar. "Sure I heard the scream. But I was right in a moment of inspiration. Besides, you hear all sorts of things in this building." Jackson held out his cigar. "Either of you fellows got a light?"
Behind door number three was Lionel Wafer, a chiropractor, also between appointments. "I heard a scream. What happened?" Gilson told him; then he asked Lionel why he was holding an ice pick. "Oh. I'm defrosting," Lionel said and returned to the old, ice-ladened refrigerator in the corner. "You want a drink or a cigarette? We should celebrate. Kline deserved what he got."
Later, the detectives compared notes. "Well, we definitely have a suspect," Gilson said.
Whom did Gilson suspect and why?
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.