Whodunit: Driven to Suicide

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese 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 John Lloyd)

Star Cars had seemed like a great idea. Beau and Irving Plimpton would translate their passion into a business. The brothers would rent out vintage automobiles to Los Angeles film companies and production houses for background and atmosphere. Beau took care of the contracts and customers while Irving kept the cars in pristine shape, refusing to even drive them on the street.

But the Plimpton boys hadn't had a rental in weeks and were facing bankruptcy. One afternoon, an attendant spotted Beau's sports car driving into the basement garage at Beau's apartment building. An hour later, Beau's live-in girlfriend drove in and found his car occupying her spot. Peering through the dark tinted glass, Pauline could see her fiancé’s hulking silhouette squeezed inside. She opened the driver's door. There, strapped into his safety belt was the body of Beau Plimpton. He'd been shot once in the left temple, the revolver still in his left hand. An apparent suicide.

"Miss Pauline's spot is behind a pillar, so I didn't see anything," the attendant testified. "Didn't hear a shot either. And I was in the garage all day. Of course, if his windows were rolled up, that might account for it. Those tiny German sports cars are really well-insulated."

When the police visited the Star Cars garage, they found Irving patching a small dent in the side of their prized '48 DeSoto. "What can I do for you?" he asked the officers.

At first Irving didn't seem to understand. "Suicide? No. Beau would never kill himself. It must be Pauline—a gold digger if there ever was one. I don't know how much he's lent her. I finally talked him into trying to get the money back. And now, suddenly he's dead."

Pauline was more willing to accept suicide. "Yes, Beau was left-handed. And he had been depressed a lot lately. Do you have any reason to suspect foul play?"

The detective nodded. "Given the circumstances, suicide was virtually impossible. And we have a good idea who it was."

What fact eliminates suicide? Whom do they suspect and why?

Show Answer


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.

Currently, Hy is working on mystery novel series "Abel Adventures" as well as the Monk series of novels, starting with Mr. Monk Helps Himself (published by Penguin, order from Amazon here)

Check out Hy's official website and Facebook page - and stay tuned for more whodunits puzzlers on Neatorama from the master of whodunit mysteries himself!


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Ridiculous. It is actually very easy to hold a gun in your left hand while wearing a seatbelt in the driver's seat, such that you can indeed shoot yourself in the head.

Try holding your hand that way the next time you're in your car and you'll see it's not difficult at all. You can actually be flush against a wall and *still* hold a gun in a position to shoot yourself in the temple on that side.

The circumstantial nonsense about the "dent in the door" being a "result of a fight" is pure, unsubstantiated rubbish.

It's what attorneys call "baseless speculation", and you could just as well conclude that Martians teleported in and killed him, then teleported out. It's every bit as supported by the 'evidence' as the "fight theory", which is to say non-existent.

As far as the bit about "the car hadn't been driven in weeks", any decent lawyer would tear this to shreds. There could be 100 reasons why the dent was only being fixed now. Maybe it was just noticed. Maybe it happened when Irving was moving the car. Maybe vandals did it the day before. Maybe Irving was waiting for the proper paint to arrive. Seriously, there could be any number of reasons for this.

Sorry, but these "mysteries" by Hy Conrad just get worse with each passing day. :(
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