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?
(Image credit: Flickr user Anne Worner)
"This is a first," Wilson said with a bemused smile. "A guy with a bathroom in his office."
"This new office came with Mr. Seaver's recent promotion," explained Lisa, the dead man's secretary. She was young and tall and solidly built, in a modest skirt and blouse. "The workmen just finished putting in the bathroom over the weekend."
"I wonder if he ever got to use it?" Sherman mused. "Other than to die in, I mean."
It was Monday morning. Sherman and the sergeant were on the eighteenth floor of the Krall Building, in the private bathroom of the private office of Archie Seaver, newly appointed president of Krall Electronics. Seaver, a large, thin man, lay on the floor, strangled from behind, presumably with the necktie lying beside him. He was dressed for work, although his suit jacket was hung on a hook and his white shirt was unbuttoned and untucked.
"Why would a man who just arrived at work have his shirt half off?" Sherman muttered to himself.
"What are you looking for?" asked Wilson.
Sherman was bent over, inspecting the floor. "The other cufflink." It was only then that Wilson noticed it. The deceased was wearing one gold cufflink, while the other cuff spilled open over his other hand.
"There it is." Wilson donned a pair of plastic gloves, then tried to reach behind the toilet where the cufflink was tightly lodged. There was no way he could reach it.
“Forensics will find a way to get it," he said with a shrug, then turned to Lisa. "You discovered the body, Miss?"
Lisa nodded. "Mr. Seaver was always the first one in, usually around 7:30. I got in at 8:15. I put on a pot of coffee and then came straight here. I screamed and the others came running."
Brian McKay, a large, jovial man, was the company's executive vice president. "I got in at eight," he told the investigators. "My office is on the other side. I was just catching up on my E-mail when I heard Lisa screaming."
"Were you a candidate for Seaver's job?" Wilson asked darkly.
McKay just laughed. "You don't have to go that far to find a motive. Archie Seaver was an abusive opportunist. Lots of people probably wanted to strangle him."
Ed Washington, the third suspect, was short and slight, but seemed to have a more violent nature than the others. "I got here a minute before Brian," he said with begrudging civility. "I popped my head in Archie's door and we chatted about some new deadlines. Then I went around to my office and closed the door. I didn't hear a thing until Lisa called out."
Sherman couldn't help noticing that both Washington and McKay were in their shirtsleeves, tie-less and with their collars unbuttoned.
Sergeant Wilson finished his last interview, and then turned to find Sherman gone. He found his friend kneeling in Seaver's brand-new bathroom, buttoning the top button of the victim's shirt. "A loose fit," he murmured.
"What are you doing?" bellowed Wilson.
"Solving the case," Sherman said as he got to his feet and brushed off his knees.
WHO KILLED ARCHIE SEAVER?
WHAT CLUE GAVE THE KILLER AWAY?
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.