(Image credit: Flickr user Michael B.)
"The trouble with hypochondriacs is you never know when they're sick." Such were the thoughts running through Ethel Evans's mind as she dialed the two cellular numbers, one for Dr. Mills and the other for her brother, Bertie. "Come immediately," she told them both. "Daddy just took a turn for the worse."
The hypochondriac in question, J. P. Evans, began the morning feeling well. Dr. Mills had been there for his daily examination, leaving the usual row of pills at JP's bedside. Bertie fed his father breakfast, then left for his regular day at the horse track. At 11 A.M. Ethel fed JP the first batch of pills. It was shortly after that when he began gasping for air and Ethel made her calls.
Ethel hung up and listened to the wail of a freighter as it chugged by. That was the problem with living on a residential island. Even though they were connected to the rest of the city by a drawbridge, there were times when she felt so isolated.
Dr. Mills arrived in ten minutes. "I was making my rounds at the city hospital when you called. I broke every speed limit. How is he?"
"Doing better," Ethel replied. But her diagnosis proved inaccurate. Despite Dr. Mills's best efforts, J. P. Evans died a short while later, just as his only son was driving up.
As usual, Bertie had an excuse for being late. "I was on my way here when you called. I had a premonition he might get worse. I was just approaching the drawbridge and then the dang thing went up for a freighter. I had to wait there forever."
There was no up drawbridge to stop the police from arriving. And there was nothing stopping the medical examiner from coming back with a finding of death by poison.
"We don't know how it was administered," a homicide sergeant complained. "And without knowing that, we can't know who killed him."
His partner loved to contradict. "Well, I know who killed him," he said. "And that tells me how the poison was administered."
Whodunit? And what made the detective suspicious?
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.