(Image credit: Flickr user John Lloyd)
Star Cars had seemed like a great idea. Beau and Irving Plimpton would translate their passion into a business. The brothers would rent out vintage automobiles to Los Angeles film companies and production houses for background and atmosphere. Beau took care of the contracts and customers while Irving kept the cars in pristine shape, refusing to even drive them on the street.
But the Plimpton boys hadn't had a rental in weeks and were facing bankruptcy. One afternoon, an attendant spotted Beau's sports car driving into the basement garage at Beau's apartment building. An hour later, Beau's live-in girlfriend drove in and found his car occupying her spot. Peering through the dark tinted glass, Pauline could see her fiancé’s hulking silhouette squeezed inside. She opened the driver's door. There, strapped into his safety belt was the body of Beau Plimpton. He'd been shot once in the left temple, the revolver still in his left hand. An apparent suicide.
"Miss Pauline's spot is behind a pillar, so I didn't see anything," the attendant testified. "Didn't hear a shot either. And I was in the garage all day. Of course, if his windows were rolled up, that might account for it. Those tiny German sports cars are really well-insulated."
When the police visited the Star Cars garage, they found Irving patching a small dent in the side of their prized '48 DeSoto. "What can I do for you?" he asked the officers.
At first Irving didn't seem to understand. "Suicide? No. Beau would never kill himself. It must be Pauline—a gold digger if there ever was one. I don't know how much he's lent her. I finally talked him into trying to get the money back. And now, suddenly he's dead."
Pauline was more willing to accept suicide. "Yes, Beau was left-handed. And he had been depressed a lot lately. Do you have any reason to suspect foul play?"
The detective nodded. "Given the circumstances, suicide was virtually impossible. And we have a good idea who it was."
What fact eliminates suicide? Whom do they suspect and why?
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.