Saturday, March 9, 2019

2019 WRITE: Death for dessert: Another workshop model: Detective, compact


Death for dessert: 
Another workshop model: 
Detective, compact  

A partially completed detective story in a virtual world.  An invitation to rewrite it to completion.  The story as told here is explicitly declared to be in public domain (CC0): use it in any way you please--no need to credit anyone. 
 Bromley is dead

Spoiler alert

  • The developing short story is a murder mystery.
  • This article may have information that would spoil the mystery.
  • This article is for writers, not mystery fans.
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Go to the mystery MUVE

  • MUVE update 3/7/2019 Opensim Fest exhibits thru April 6; Time to shift away from G+
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Death for dessert 1  A scream!  From the kitchen!

George and Julia rush to the kitchen and find Cuddles standing next to the body of Bromley, the owner of Dark Manor.  Cuddles is sobbing hysterically.   George and Julia hesitate, not knowing what to do.  Pat, the security guard, rushes in from the living room and immediately checks the body for life.

"He's dead, but he has not been dead long." Pat announces.  "I am a sworn law officer and I am declaring this place a crime scene.  I have called for the police, but in the meantime I will take charge of the investigation." 

"Thank God there is someone here to take charge as the rest of us had no idea what to do," Julia says calmly.  

"I still don't know what to do," George complained.   "Pat, what should we do?" 

"Don't touch anything.  Go over and take a seat at the table.  I'll get your statements in a minute.  Has anyone seen Miss Sissy? "  Pat busily snaps pictures of the body and the surrounding room with his smart phone.  

"I notice that someone had cut off  a slice of cheese," Julia observed as she walked to the table. "But there is no knife by the cheese."

"Miss Sissy told me a while ago that she was going to take a nap," George says.   "Do you want me to go wake her?" 

"No.  We need everyone to stay here,"  Pat responds.  "I'll try to get her on her smart phone when I get done with these scene shots ."  Pat continues collecting pictures while the other three take seats at the table.  Pat covers the body with a table cloth.     Then he dials and remarks "Speakerphone."

Several rings and a voice answers, "This is Sissy. Who are you?  Oh, Pat.  What do you want?"

Pat:  "Oh, I'm sorry, Did I wake you?"

Sissy:  "Oh, no.  I had to get up to answer the phone. "

Pat:  "Please prepare yourself for a shock, Miss Sissy.   I need to give you some distressing news.   Your brother is dead."

Sissy (gasping):   "Dead?  How?   One of his women, I would bet.  That hussy, the cook.  She probably had enough of him."

Pat: “I am taking charge of the investigation till the regular police arrive.  Can you come down and join us to answer some questions?” 

Sissy: “Of course.  I’ll be down in five minutes”

And indeed, Sissy arrives four and a half minutes later (by Pat’s watch).  She averts her eyes from the body covered by a tablecloth with blood seeping through.  

 The security officer gets 
everyone together

Death for dessert 2 Pat intro 

Pat stands at the head of the table, very much the authority in charge.   He touches his smart phone and pockets it.

“This very much looks like a criminal matter, so I need to get preliminary statements from each of you.  I have just started the recorder on my phone, so let’s begin with Miss Cook here.  Miss Cook, you discovered the body  and screamed.   What were you doing just before that?

Death for dessert 3  Miss Cook statement

"I--I was out in my herb garden getting some garlic.  And then I came in and found--this," Cuddles gestures toward the body with a sob.  "Oh this is horrible." Cuddles Sobs again.  
"I came in when I heard the doorbell, because I knew that Miss Young was coming about the pie."  

Pat:  "Did you see Bromley or anyone else before you went out to the garden?"  

Cuddles:  "I did't see anyone.  I heard mister Bromley and George arguing in the office as I was going out.  I thought miss Sissy was taking her nap.  That's what she usually does at this time."

Pat:  "About how long did you spend getting the garlic?"

Cuddles: "About a half an hour, I guess.  I did a little weeding while I was there."

Pat:  "So you came in when you heard the doorbell.  Did you see anyone when you came in?"  

Cuddles:  "No.  There was no one there.  I went to the bathroom and then to the Kitchen, where I found--well you know what."

Pat: "Did you touch the body?"

Cuddles: "Of course I did. I didn't know he was--well, dead.  I had to see if I could help him." 

Pat:  "Was that before or after you screamed?"

Cuddles:  "It was before.  I screamed when I realized he was dead."  

Pat:  "You said you were expecting Miss Young because of a pie?" 

Cuddles:  "I won a prize for my pecan pie recipe nearly ten years ago," Cuddles explains with obvious pride.  "That was from Miss Young's magazine.  She was coming to do a follow up article.  The pie is out on the snack bar."

Pat:  "I have pictures of that.  Did you hear anything out of the ordinary while you were out getting the garlic?" 

Cuddles shakes her head.   "Not a thing.  But the garden is not next to the house.  And Miss Sissy had stopped arguing with her brother.  She must have decided to let a knife do the talking." 

Death for dessert 4 Sissy statement

Sissy's face reddens.  She snarls at Cuddles.  "You little hussy.  You have been carrying on with my brother.  We all know that.  You wanted him to marry you and he wouldn't.  He would never marry any of his women."

Pat:  "Miss Sissy, am I correct that you inherit the entire estate now that your brother is dead?

Sissy: "Yes.  That is under the terms of our father's will.  I don't know whether Bromley had a will, but it would not matter."

Pat:  "What were you doing in the hour before you heard the scream?"  

Sissy:  "I did not hear the scream.  I was taking a nap and had my hearing aids out.  The one benefit of my hearing impairment is that I can nap in peace."  

Pat: "Miss Sissy, did you have an argument with your brother?

Sissy:  "We had a disagreement. We own this place jointly.  The property has become very valuable.   I wanted to sell and get out of this godforsaken place.  He did not.  My brother tends to get quite loud in such discussions because of my hearing impairment.  But George had loud discussions with my brother also.  That does not mean George killed him."  

Death for dessert 5   George statement 

Pat:  "George, did you have arguments with Bromley?"

George: "Loud discussions, at least.  And Bromley did get very agitated.  He disputed some of the figures and implied that I was stealing from the estate."  

Cuddles: "He was sure you were stealing from the estate.  Maybe that's why you killed him."

George:  "Cuddles, you know nothing about accounting.  If I were stealing, having Bromley die is the worst thing that could happen to me.  There will now be an independent audit that will catch any discrepancies.  I was not stealing, however, so I am ready for an audit."

Pat:  "On a more pertinent topic, George, where were you in the hour before the scream?" 

George:  "I was in the office working on the books.  I heard the door bell and was welcoming Miss Young when I heard the scream.  I rushed into the kitchen and found Miss Cook. standing over the body."

Pat: "Did you touch the body?"

George:  "I did. I checked for a pulse, but I could not find one."  

Death for dessert 6   Julia statement 

Pat turns to Julia.  "You are miss Young, I believe."

Julia:  "I am.  You will want to know why I am here and what I was doing in the last few hours.  I am Julia Young, editor of People's Gourmet Magazine.  Ten years ago Miss Cook submitted a pecan-pie recipe to a contest we were running and she won first prize.  I was here to do a ten-year follow up story."

Pat:  "You had just gotten here?"

Julia: "Yes, to the house.  The ferry brought me here earlier and then I had to walk up the hill to the house.  I forgot about that climb or I would have brought my walking shoes.  And I'm not as young as I used to be."  

Pat:  "You have been here before?  Did you know Bromley?"

Julia:  "Yes.  I met Bromley when I came here to award the prize.  And we had dinner together a couple of times when he was in Chicago.  I was looking forward to visiting with him again."

Pat:  "So you were just entering the house when you heard a scream.  Is that right?"

Julia: " I did not hear a scream.  Perhaps the door was not open when it happened.  Or perhaps I mistook it for the sound of the door.  The door opened and George excused himself and ran off I followed him into the kitchen and found an man bleeding to death."

Pat:  "Did you touch the man?"  

Julia: "Yes I did.  I saw a man bleeding to death and my first aid training kicked in.  George was bending over him, not doing anything useful.  I pushed George out of the way an looked for a way to stop the bleeding.  Unfortunately it had already stopped."  

Death for dessert 7   Julia remarks

Pat:  "Thank you, miss Young."

Julia:  "I am not finished.  I have noticed a few things that I want to point out.  First, we are missing a knife.  There is a slice of cheese on the snack bar, but without the knife that sliced it.  Then there are wounds on the body that look like stab wounds, but there is no knife there either." 

Pat:  "Pertinent observations, miss Young.  Do you have more?"

Julia:  "There is a knife in the fruit basket."

Pat:   "Which might be the murder weapon?  When the police get here, they will test it for fingerprints and give it the luminol test."

Julia:  "And miss Cook is probably pregnant."

Cuddles (snarling) :  "That is none of your business.  And it is not a crime!"

Julia (calmly):  "Quite true.  Not a crime if you are unmarried.  Not a crime even if Bromley is the father.  But if Bromley refused to marry you and give the baby a legitimate father--then it could be the motive for a crime."

Cuddles (sobbing): "He pretended to love me.  He swore he wanted to marry me.  Until I insisted that he make an announcement and set a date. Then he told me he would arrange for an abortion instead.  He deserved killing.  But I didn't kill him."

Julia:  "Where is the garlic?"

Cuddles (confused): "What garlic?" 

Julia: "The garlic you were gathering from the herb garden.  You brought it in with you, of course.  Did you drop it when you saw the body?"

Cuddles (confused):  "Yes, I must have--I don't remember--I don't know.  You're confusing me."

Julia:  "Mister Role, you went around carefully taking pictures.  Did you get a picture of a bunch of garlic--or of a bag that might have contained garlic?"

Pat: (with growing suspicion):  "No, I did not. I saw no garlic.  Miss Cook, was the garlic loose or in a container?"

Cuddles (sobbing):  "I don't know--oh, I didn't kill him--it was in a bag--a brown paper bag--oh, God I didn't kill him."
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The END?? 

  • Of course not. It can't end here.  
  • Cuddles looked like the obvious killer from the start.  
  • A writer would not want it to end that simply.  
  • You may now be thinking of a short story, "The Lady or The Tiger"  
  • In time we may write the denouement in the scene
  • But you are a writer and fully capable of making your own ending.  
  • The story has been seeded with points that, if elaborated, 
  • could lead to a different ending. 
  • You may want to make a few changes in our plot.
  • You can do that--this plot is in public domain.
  • If you know how to build in a MUVE, you can even write it as a 3D story.

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