(Image credit: Flickr user Alan English CPA)
The Tafel nephews had finally persuaded their sedentary Uncle Gil to go camping with them. "I love food and I hate discomfort," the heavyset man protested as he wedged his huge frame into the four-wheel drive. "This will be the death of me."
On the first evening it poured. The nephews all pitched in, building a fire and setting up a rain cover for food preparation. The ensuing meal was haphazard, with each camper fixing a plate for himself, then scurrying back to his own tent and eating alone.
As they finished their meal, the rain stopped. Ed, the eldest, was the first one out of his tent. "I hope Uncle Gil got enough to eat," he said as he surveyed the empty pots.
His youngest brother joined him under the dripping tarp. "You can bet on it," Richie said, flashing his usual, dazzling white smile. "I saw him going back for thirds."
The middle brother, Pete, was the last one out. They washed the pots in the river, then, on their way back, stopped by Uncle Gil's tent. He lay collapsed among his empty plates. Dead.
"A heart attack," Pete deduced. "I mean, it couldn't have been the food. We all ate the same things."
"I had some wine," Pete said, "so it couldn't have been tainted. What about the freeze-dried shrimp soup? Richie and I are both allergic to shellfish."
"I had a big bowl and it was fine," Ed volunteered. "What about the blueberry cobbler? Pete never eats dessert. And by the time I got back to sample it, it was gone. Maybe Uncle Gil ate it all."
"No," Richie said. "I had a huge portion. Between the two of us, Uncle and I finished it off."
Based on their discussion, the brothers dismissed the idea of food poisoning. But two days later, at the autopsy, potassium cyanide was found in the old millionaire's system.
One of the nephews was obviously lying. 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.
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