(Image credit: Janine)
The homicide sergeant glanced around the bedroom. It was a far cry from the obsessive neatness of the rest of the house. There were broken fixtures, scattered furniture, and a crunchy coating of shattered picture glass covering the carpet. "Quite a fight," he muttered. On the bed lay the body of Reece Cutter, a sales rep just returned from a business trip. He'd been stabbed through with an ornamental sword torn down from the bedroom wall.
The victim's brother was contacted at work, halfway across town. Earlier in the day Broderick Cutter had picked Reece up at the airport. "As soon as we got in, Reece went up to his bedroom and unpacked everything. We talked. Then I had to get to work. My shift starts at seven. Reece's wife was coming over later. Marjorie wanted Reece to sign divorce papers, but he kept refusing. I guess she doesn't have to worry about that now."
Marjorie Cutter confirmed the appointment. "I got there around 7:30 P.M." The sergeant noted that this was a full hour after Broderick had left. "I knocked and knocked, but Reece didn't answer. I figured he was just being childish—trying to avoid me."
The last person to actually speak to the victim was the manager at Parcheesi Pizza. "Around seven, Mr. Cutter called in an order: his usual ham and pineapple. He sounded nervous, not quite himself. Billy delivered it. Billy's not in any trouble, is he?"
It was Billy who discovered the body. "The front door was unlocked," the antagonistic pizza driver testified. "I wasn't about to be stood up, especially not for ham and pineapple. Yuck! So, I went inside. At first I didn't think anyone was around. And then I saw the bedroom."
The sergeant finished examining the crime scene. He opened the closet, saw the neatly hung suits and shirts, then removed the suitcase from a shelf. It was empty and immaculate, except for a tiny shard of glass caught in a side pouch. "I think we have our killer."
Whom does the sergeant 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.