At some point during the small party, Hazel got tired of dealing with the guests. They all had drinks in hand and seemed perfectly content. So, the maid wandered up the grand staircase to check on the sleeping children and do a little tidying up.
As soon as Hazel walked into her employer's bedroom, her eagle eyes saw that someone had been there. Taking a towel from her apron, she eradicated the quarter-size water ring from a mahogany table. "How many times do I have to tell Ms. Grant to use a coaster?" she asked the empty air. Seconds later, a breeze from an open French window drew her outside. Young Davey's skateboard was on the balcony, right by the railing edge.
"Someone could trip and fall," Hazel said with another disapproving cluck. Instinctively, she peered over the railing and was startled to see her prophecy fulfilled. Her employer, the Broadway star Indira Grant, lay on the flagstone walk, her beautiful neck broken but her cut-crystal water glass still in one piece in her outstretched hand.
The guests were devastated by the tragic accident. Indira's husband, George, refilled his brandy snifter twice before his hand was steady enough to dial up the police. "They'll be here in five minutes," he announced.
Brent Overton, Indira's latest costar, seemed just as inconsolable. All night he'd been drinking shot glasses of whiskey. But the tragic accident sobered him instantly.
Indira's understudy, Martina Welsh, had never held much affection for the star, especially since Indira had never once missed a performance. But now, Martina put down her beer mug and became the picture of solicitude and mourning. "Whatever we do, we mustn't ever let poor Davey know it was his skateboard that made his mother slip."
"It wasn't the skateboard," Hazel muttered darkly. "Ms. Grant was pushed over that railing. And I know who did it."
How does Hazel know it wasn't an accident? Whom does she 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.