(Image credit: Flickr user Nick Klein)
"I'm changing my will," Abigail Wallace announced. Her four children might have been adopted, but they were just as spoiled and ungrateful as any natural offspring. "Tomorrow I'm cutting you all off without a cent." And with that satisfying but reckless statement, Abigail rose from the dining room table and headed up to her bedroom.
No one was surprised when a gunshot rang out two hours later. The only surprise was that it had taken so long.
"I was downstairs reading," Manny later told the police. "As soon as I heard the shot, I ran upstairs and down the hall to Mother's room. It was locked from the inside."
Moe had also been downstairs, in the kitchen. "I ran up the back staircase. Manny was already at Mother's door, pounding and calling out her name."
"I was in my own room at the far end of the hall," said Jack, the third child to arrive at the scene. "I suggested looking through the keyhole. But Manny and Moe decided to put their shoulders to the door instead."
After a few tries, the door jamb cracked open and the sons rushed in to find Abigail Wallace seated in her chair, her hand flailed limply over the armrest with the gun on the rug right below.
The boys heard a gasp and turned around to see their sister, Sheila, behind them in the doorway.
"I'd been on the third floor," she later testified. "I heard the gunshot but didn't know what it was. When I heard everyone running, I came down to the second floor. They were gathered at Mother's door. Jack was looking through the keyhole. Manny and Moe shooed him away and started ramming the door. I just stood there. Only after they busted the door open did I come out of my daze and follow them in."
Faced with a locked room, the police were all prepared to call it suicide, until they heard about the will. Then they reviewed the evidence and arrested a suspect.
Whodunit? And how did the killer arrange the locked room?
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.