(Image credit: Yumi Kimura)
A lot of towns have their neighborhood bullies. But few neighborhood bullies were as hated as Pete Weider of Cozy Heights and, luckily for the crime statistics, even fewer wound up like Peter.
A passing patrol car heard the screams and responded immediately. They found the burly corpse in his own backyard, with multiple stab wounds. There were signs of a struggle, and blood was everywhere around the fenced-in yard. The officers immediately went to question the neighbors and were surprised to discover that not a single one had heard or seen a thing.
"They're lying, of course," the homicide captain said when he heard the news. At least three men on the block had been outside when the murder occurred and the captain insisted on talking to them as soon as possible.
Blake Fromm had just finished painting his porch when the captain approached. A young, genial man, Blake wiped his hands on his nearly spotless jeans before shaking hands. The captain immediately noticed the cassette player on Blake's belt and the earphones draped around his neck. 'I've been outside all morning. The porch ceiling took forever. Pete lives two doors away. I really didn't hear or see anything," he added apologetically.
Nelson Olson had been in his garden, right next door to the victim's yard. "I was in and out of the house. Weeding. Planting bulbs for the fall." There was dirt on his hands and under his nails. "Inside, I had the air conditioner cranked up. It all must have happened when I was indoors. Sorry."
Kenny Kitchner's story was even less plausible. "I was on a ladder, washing my windows," the paunchy, middle-aged man admitted. His T-shirt was still wet. The captain could see that Kenny's yard overlooked the victim's. "I never looked over into Pete Weider's yard, nor did I hear anything. I had other things on my mind."
"Two of those guys are just lying," the captain muttered. "Protecting the killer. And I think I know who that is."
Whodunit? And what clue gave him 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.