A church choir was picnicking in a rest area near Pine Gorge when they heard the distant squeal of tires. The choir members gazed out over the winding ribbon of road in time to see a red convertible slam through a guard rail and sail out into the steep gorge. The driver was thrown clear of the vehicle seconds before impact. Miraculously, there was no explosion.
The highway patrol found the bloodied body of Mike Ilirium smashed on the boulders. Inside the mangled car were several loose rocks, a tangle of broken branches, and more blood on the seat and the dashboard.
The Ilirium saga was well known to the area gossips. Mike had been engaged to a local beauty. They broke off the engagement when she confessed to having had an affair with one of Mike's brothers; no one knew which.
"Mike was in a funk," Dirk testified. "He'd been drinking all morning. Finally, he just grabbed his car keys and left. I yelled after him not to drive. I didn't hear any motor, so I thought he'd listened. Then a couple minutes later, I heard his car peel out. I would've gone after him, but there was this play-off game on TV- I had no idea he'd kill himself."
Roger Ilirium confirmed his brother's story. "I was in the garage office, working on my computer when I heard the front door slam. I looked out the window and saw Mike stumbling around the driveway. I went back to work until I heard the ignition. I looked out again and saw Mike driving off in his convertible, weaving down the road. I wasn't too worried. Not until the highway patrol guys showed up."
The police concentrated their investigation on one of the brothers and soon had a confession.
Whodunit? What made the police 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.
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