(Image credit: William Wilkinson)
"Avery Archer was involved in some shady deals," the homicide sergeant said as he gazed down at the body. "Maybe that's why he committed suicide."
It certainly looked like suicide. The businessman in question was slumped back in his office chair, his hands folded peacefully in his lap. The murder weapon, a revolver, had fallen onto the desk, right beside a box of cough drops. The victim had been shot in the back of the mouth at the closest range possible.
"It's near impossible to shoot someone in the throat," the sergeant continued. "Especially when there's absolutely no sign of a struggle."
The man's secretary provided background. "Avery was depressed, partly on account of his lingering cold. Also, a few of his investors were getting suspicious. One even threatened to call the police fraud squad. Avery was working frantically to salvage this one deal. He had a noon appointment today with an investor; I don't know which. When I went to lunch, the investor still hadn't arrived. When I came back, Avery was just like that. Gruesome."
The police checked the contracts and discovered that this particular deal had three investors: Gino Grimaldi, a suspected mob figure; Marie Lackaday, the owner of a chain of gun stores; and Dr. Pete Crocus, a general internist.
"One of these three kept the noon appointment with our victim," the sergeant hypothesized. "The investor threatened him with exposure and ruin— so Avery Archer killed himself."
"Not quite." The homicide captain had held his tongue until now. "This was definitely murder, not suicide. And I have a good hunch who did it."
Why does he suspect murder? And who is the most likely suspect?
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.