(Image credit: Flickr user Joanna Bourne)
Inspector Matthews glanced around the kitchen of the weekend cottage. There was cold coffee in the coffeemaker, an ice cube tray half filled with melting cubes, and just a trace of ash in an ashtray. "All right, Mrs. Thurl. Tell me again."
The next-door neighbor looked uncomfortable. "I had just come home. It was about 8 P.M. I heard a car pull into the driveway next door. I mean here, at this house. When I looked out, two people had arrived and were walking toward the kitchen door. I recognized the woman. Myra Lovesy is rather fat—was. The man I couldn't see. They were fighting. The man grabbed Myra by the throat. She collapsed in a heap. Then the man just unlocked the door and walked inside. It took you long enough to get here—fifteen minutes from the time I called."
Myra Lovesy's three grown sons were in the house when the police arrived. "The place had been closed up for the past month," Sherman Lovesy testified. "I arrived early this afternoon. No one else was here. I parked in the garage. Then I went down to the basement to turn on the electricity. In the kitchen, I smoked a cigarette. Then I went up to my room and took a nap. You guys woke me up."
"I was the first to arrive," his brother Donald protested. "I parked behind the cottage. The electricity had never been turned off. We often neglected to do it. I made coffee, then took a cup into the library. I guess I fell asleep."
The third brother also declared his early arrival. "I parked in the garage," Luther said. "Sherman's car was not in the other bay. I went into the basement, turned on the electricity, then came up and made myself a cocktail. Mother said she would be arriving with one of the other boys."
The inspector reviewed his notes. One of them was lying. One of the sons had driven his mother to the cottage, fought with her by the kitchen door, and strangled her to death.
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.