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Clive pulled into his driveway, tired and cranky. When he'd taken this job with Gotham Advertising, he knew he'd be working long and hard, but he never expected to be arriving home at 8:30 A.M. With any luck, he could still get in a few hours' sleep before this afternoon's presentation. Clive climbed the porch. He had just put the key in the lock when he heard a noise behind him.
The police arrived ten minutes later, alerted by neighbors who'd heard a gunshot. They found a young businessman dressed in a torn and bloody suit and with a briefcase on the porch by his side. They also found a key chain suspended from the front-door lock and a bullet hole in the young man's chest.
"Looks like a botched robbery," the rookie officer told his partner. "Poor guy must have put up a struggle." He stooped to pick up a nearly empty wallet. "Clive Custard," he read from the driver's license.
The officers began by looking for witnesses. A taxi had been seen in the area. They tracked down the driver, told him all the facts they knew, then asked for his help. "I'd just dropped off a passenger," the cabby told them. "Maybe two blocks away. I had the window down and I heard something—like a car backfiring. It was a minute or two after 8:30. I didn't see anything—except this parcel delivery truck."
The police found the delivery man and gave him the same briefing. "Poor guy," he said shaking his head. "Someone must've followed him home. Unfortunately, I didn't see or hear a thing. I keep the radio playing in my truck, and when I'm in there sorting boxes I can't hear much."
The officers compared notes. "We're going to have to check with Custard's friends and associates," the rookie concluded. "If they tell us what I think, then we already have our killer."
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.
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