The lawyer glanced from his client to the three greedy young faces across the room. "You're sure you want to do this?"
"Of course," Derwood Dewdit replied. "I have no children. It's only right that my niece and nephews inherit my estate."
"That won't be for many, many years," Asa Dewdit said. His sister Bebe agreed as did brother Cecil. They watched, fascinated, as Uncle Derwood signed his new will.
Nothing happened until late afternoon. The lawyer was browsing through the books in the third-floor library when he heard Derwood's voice raised in a blood-curdling scream. For a few seconds, he sat in shock. Then he bounded down the stairs.
He found Asa on the second floor, standing at the top of the little-used back staircase. "It came from the first floor," stammered the young heir.
The lawyer took the lead down the narrow stairs. "Derwood!" he shouted and a moment later caught a spider web across his face.
The kitchen was right at the bottom. The white marble floor was spotless and still damp from a recent mopping by the maid. The adjacent pantry, however, was quite messy. Derwood Dewdit lay on the pantry floor. He'd been stabbed to death with a paring knife.
The lawyer was careful not to disturb anything. Using a handkerchief, he tried the kitchen door. Unlocked. Looking out into the garden, he could see a path of footprints in the mud, leading right up to the kitchen door and then away again. "Call the police."
The Dewdits and the lawyer all retired to the parlor to await the authorities. "An intruder must have come in the back way," Cecil said emphatically. "I was sitting in the front hall by the main stairs. I didn't see anyone."
"Me neither," Bebe said, absently fingering the mud on her shoes. "I was strolling around the garden, right by the kitchen. I didn't see a thing. Do you think it might be one of us?"
"Of course it was," the lawyer snarled. "And I can guess which one."
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.