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Writer The Yobanashi Girouette
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The Ruthwold Case
The Yobanashi Girouette
Oct 7, 2017
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15 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!ps9ytibjC5DLEWV13hxEposted on PENANA

It was a pleasant morning.copyright protection31PENANAJEVbqbRup3

The city was bathed in the soft glow of a new day, illuminating the few cars traveling to and fro along the old, cracked roads.  A soft wind was blowing, making the flowers that lined the Ruthwold mansion dance to a slow, unseen rhythm.  Indeed, it was one of those mornings where it felt as though time itself had decided to take a rest and enjoy the scenery.copyright protection31PENANAIOvSmZayiM

Then, off in the distance, the lonely howl of a police siren could be heard, getting louder as it approached, and being joined in a dissonant chorus by other such sirens.  One by one, police cars surrounded the old, dawn-bathed mansion, like a wake of vultures circling a corpse.  One car, the head of the pack, pulled into the dirt driveway and shut off its siren, followed by the rest of its kin, as if on cue. copyright protection31PENANADWyhSujWLQ

Out of the car stepped a rather heavyset man, clad in an unbuttoned brown overcoat thrown over a regulation black tie and white shirt, and a pair of red suspenders which seemed to be engaged in a tug-of-war contest with his overwhelming paunch to see whether his loose-fitting black trousers would stay up or not.  Taking off his faded brown fedora, he leaned against the car and fanned himself for a moment, letting the breeze cool off his head.  Whether his hair style could be called a comb-over or not is debatable, for he had very little hair to comb, and as if reminded of this fact he hastily replaced the hat on his head and hastened to the mansion’s door.copyright protection31PENANABvvxGWIyq8

Upon knocking on the thick, oaken door of the manor, it opened slowly to reveal a thin ghost of a butler standing there. copyright protection31PENANAB9W71j7cRp

“Who are you?” He wheezed, raising a shaky hand to adjust his thick glasses.copyright protection31PENANAZvmxNf16bN

“Police Inspector Beetlesby,” The brown-coated man replied, showing his ID card.copyright protection31PENANAXNitkZp3xP

“You’re expected upstairs, Inspector” the butler rasped, pressing his nose against the ID card in a vain attempt to read the inscribed text.copyright protection31PENANAb8Z8g0sndj

Pushing by him, Inspector Beetlesby continued into the manor, ignoring the aged butler’s attempt to take his hat for him.  Mounting the steps to the second floor, he walked down a dimly-lit passageway lined with doors, until he reached one left slightly ajar.  Without bothering to knock, he walked right in. copyright protection31PENANANcP9KCoLIA

Inside, the room was brightly lit.  It was a cozy chamber, a study of sorts, with one wall dominated by a sliding glass door that lead to a balcony outside, and two of the other walls mostly covered by bookshelves. A bed and a closet stood in one corner of the room, and in the center was a many-drawered desk covered in loose papers, with a luxurious antique chair placed nearby.  It all would have looked far more inviting had the chair in the center of the room not been hosting a bloodied corpse.  Standing off the center of the room with his back to the door stood a middle-aged man in a gray suit holding a cigarette.  Upon hearing the inspector enter the room, he calmly turned to face him.copyright protection31PENANAzGoS9IRyMo

“Good morning, Inspector Beetlesby.” The man said, blowing a smoke ring.  “So good of you to come.”copyright protection31PENANAoYxn7NozbB

“Detective Leonhart,” returned the inspector.  “You seem to have a knack for always showing up where trouble is.”copyright protection31PENANATYNI8ykxk3

“Call it a detective’s intuition,” the detective returned, strolling over to the cadaver at the desk.  “No need to stand on ceremony, Albert.  This corpse won’t examine itself.”copyright protection31PENANA7TJvLSeDr1

“You could at least call me “Inspector,”” Beetlesby murmured as he approached the corpse.  “What do you make of it, Walter?  It’s not likely to be suicide, is it?”copyright protection31PENANA2PZzd6nBGy

“Hardly likely,” the detective replied, pulling off the corpse’s jacket.  “Not unless you know of a way he could stab himself in the back.”copyright protection31PENANAczx0hFyBdS

“How well did you know him?” Beetlesby said, examining the wound.copyright protection31PENANAEkMoQyg5bI

“We were quite close,” returned the detective.  “He and I were vice president and president of the same country club, respectively.  He had me over for supper tonight to discuss matters relating to that.”copyright protection31PENANA6dx6NKdblT

“Oh, so you were in the house at the time of the murder?” the inspector asked, unbuttoning the shirt on the corpse.copyright protection31PENANAKythyKX7ma

“Indeed, we always ate together on Thursdays,” the detective said.  “Afterwards, we would discuss club matters until approximately ten o’clock, at which time I would head to my usual guest room to sleep.”copyright protection31PENANAZ1vMpmkGrv

“So the murder must have occurred sometime after that,” Beetlesby said, standing up.  “There are several unusual points regarding this case, though.”copyright protection31PENANAoyJWFxGTI2

“So you’ve noticed them too?” the detective said, leaning against a wall and pulling out another cigarette.copyright protection31PENANANsBgJa1Hhn

“For one, the time of murder.” Beetlesby started, tucking his hands into his breeches band, as was his custom when he made deductions.  “You said you regularly came to this man’s house on Thursdays.  If that is the case, why did the murderer choose such a time to commit the crime?  Why not wait until there was a lesser chance of being discovered?”copyright protection31PENANAShon3NKntc

“A good question,” the detective said, inhaling deeply “perhaps they wanted to frame the crime on me.  After all, the fact that I am a detective is not exactly common knowledge.”copyright protection31PENANATSKCOq9vkS

“The second unusual point.” Beetlesby continued, starting to pace up and down.  “The murder itself.  This man was stabbed from behind, yet he is sitting in a chair, and his suit jacket itself is not pierced.  That means the man would have had to have had his jacket off at the time of the murder, and yet the jacket was placed back on him, and then buttoned up!  Not only that, but judging by a smear on the far wall, he was murdered while standing at the far end of the room, and then dragged to his chair, after which the murderer wiped the blood stains off the wall.  However, there’s no sign of anything they could have used to wipe the blood with.”copyright protection31PENANAx7k9o4jpLB

“Ah, so you noticed that too?”  The detective smiled, blowing another smoke ring.  “Anything else?”copyright protection31PENANAMESb2WYMks

“The most important thing, the motive!” Beetlesby said, coming to a halt in front of the corpse.  “The man himself did not live a lavish life, which can plainly be seen by the lack of decorations in his house, and by the few servants he kept.  It’s a well-known fact that Simon Ruthwold had plenty of money, but it was also well-known that he kept it safe in his bank.  There is practically nothing worth stealing in this room, and the man was well-beloved by the community for being a generous soul, despite spending so little on himself.  So, why was he murdered? copyright protection31PENANAYdkJQ9a0Eu

“Another fine question,” smiled the detective, taking another leisurely haul at his cigarette.  “You are in rare form today, Inspector.”copyright protection31PENANAScBcl0gEp2

“Coming from you, it sounds like you’re mocking me,” the detective scowled.  “Something I missed?  Where is the murder weapon?”copyright protection31PENANAgcG8nI5mvp

“Right here, Albert,” The detective said, tossing a kitchen knife towards him.  “You won’t find any prints on it, though.  I already examined it thoroughly.”copyright protection31PENANAPtCacsjmtX

“No prints?”  Beetlesby asked, catching the knife in his gloved hands.  “So the murderer took the time to wipe it?”copyright protection31PENANARl9txvtOaS

“Either that, or they were wearing gloves like you.” The detective smirked, blowing another ring.copyright protection31PENANARq4yzsgEOL

“Either way, we can assume a pre-meditated crime.” Beetlesby said, wiping his brow.  “Any suspects?”copyright protection31PENANA3DfGNs97PC

“Actually, the entire house is suspect,” the detective said, extinguishing his cigarette.  “As it stands, the only way in or out of this mansion would be through the front or back doors, both of which were soundly locked from the inside.  Further, the doors were still locked after the murder was discovered, meaning the attacker could not have left though them.  Not only that, but it rained yesterday evening, so you’ll notice the ground outside is still sodden.  Had the intruder come from outside, not only would they have been wet from rain, but they would have left prints in the mud outside.  However, as your policemen will note, there are no such prints.  Thus, it had to be an inside job.”copyright protection31PENANA4GXe9vJCjT

“Well, then it should be an open-and-shut case,” Beetlesby said. “Aside from you, how many people stay in the mansion?”copyright protection31PENANAvakAIT2ZxR

“Aside from me…” the Detective said, counting on his fingers, “the old butler you met, the cook and his wife, and the maid.”copyright protection31PENANALBv1hjtqqi

“No family members at all?” Beetlesby questioned.copyright protection31PENANA2uZ0J8vsLO

“Simon was unmarried, and his older brother and parents are dead, so no immediate family members, no,” the detective answered.  “The butler has been serving the Ruthwold family since before Simon was even born, so his loyalty is unquestionable.  Further, I doubt he has the strength to have been able to stab the victim, and then carry him to his chair.”copyright protection31PENANAmhZGRIzUH7

“That leaves the maid, and the cook and his wife as suspects, then,” said Beetlesby.copyright protection31PENANAMtIhu0AYq1

“So who, then, is the culprit?” the detective murmured, blowing out a lazy stream of smoke.copyright protection31PENANAgtvgtepYHa

“I’ll have my men question them and the butler thoroughly.” Beetlesby said, moving for the door. copyright protection31PENANAN4sNKkvkfd

“I wish you the best of luck with that.”  The detective said, laughing as the inspector gave orders to the policemen stationed outside the room.copyright protection31PENANAs1GbjbbU9C

“What’s so funny?” Beetlesby asked as he returned to the room, clearly irked.copyright protection31PENANAVq5rGzG5yn

“I already questioned them all myself.” He said, pulling out a little black notebook.  “The cook and his wife both claim they were sleeping soundly, and only found out about the murder after the butler came and woke them up.  Between wheezes, the butler himself told me he got up early to use the washroom, and noticed that the light in this room was still on, and when he went to check, he found the corpse just as it is now, at which point he woke up the household, starting with me.”copyright protection31PENANAglsJ8d3Exi

“And the maid?” Beetlesby questioned, taking notes in a faded leather journal filled with multi-coloured bookmarks. copyright protection31PENANAR0kybDKmyT

“She’s a real character, to be sure.” The detective laughed.  “She’s been mute since birth, and for some reason or other, she was never taught to read or write either, so good luck finding anything out from her.  She’s like a one-way stream of knowledge.  I heard that Simon confided many things in her, but I guess we’ll never know, will we?”copyright protection31PENANAYtk4U1EB7c

Beetlesby shut his book.  “This case only gets more and more complicated.  Where is this maid? I’d like to see her.”copyright protection31PENANAYoxr7GEbkb

“Why, she’s been standing outside the doorway this entire time!” the detective said, laughing at the look of surprise on the inspector’s face.  “She’s as silent as a shadow, that one.  You often have to look carefully, or you won’t notice her at all.”copyright protection31PENANAtccOKnruK0

Sure enough, standing in the doorway was a thin, pale girl with long black hair and a nightgown of the same hue, all of which blended perfectly into the dreary darkness of the mansion.  Giving a curt bow, she stepped inside the room, standing on the opposite end of the room as the detective.  Almost at the same moment, a police officer appeared at the doorway.copyright protection31PENANAoItJNoLrZS

“Sir, I brought the cook and his wife with me.  No matter what, they insist they were asleep through the entire event.”copyright protection31PENANADYhbpoS3zd

“I’ll see about that.”  Beetlesby said, still keeping the maid in the corner of his eye.  “It’s easy enough to have an alibi when they’re your spouse.  We can’t forget that the murder weapon was a kitchen knife.  Go get the butler too.  Absolutely no one is above suspicion in this case until more facts come to light!”copyright protection31PENANAf3prRaOjEy

“Does that include myself?” the detective said, giving a wry smile.copyright protection31PENANAj3hNN5bywb

“Oh, do be serious for once and help me with this case!” Beetlesby said, pulling out his book again.copyright protection31PENANAra9Imz6eDG

“Well, if you insist, Albert,” the detective said, walking towards the center of the room, as the door opened.  “Ah, and here comes the butler.  Good, now that we’re all assembled, I shall solve this case.”copyright protection31PENANArSKRkB19VF

“You mean to tell me you already know the culprit?”  Beetlesby said, unconvinced.copyright protection31PENANAIeJZ1x5d5C

“Knowing the culprit is easy, my friend.”  The detective said, pulling out his black book again.  “Proving it, however, is not.  Do you know who Simon’s will is made out to?”copyright protection31PENANAoxMyf98moL

“Well, he was unmarried with no immediate family…some distant nephew, perhaps?” Beetlesby guessed.copyright protection31PENANA3PENGYoH7j

“Actually, his will is made out to donate everything to the country club of which he is vice-president.” The detective said, walking over to the desk and picking up a loose sheet of paper from it.  “Quite generous, actually.  However, here’s an interesting piece of paper.  It’s a new will signed by him, not even yet given to his power of attorney, dedicating everything to his ‘daughter’.”copyright protection31PENANAnPy7PzFUNK

“His daughter?” Beetlesby exclaimed.  “I thought you said he had no wife!”copyright protection31PENANAwbijKxsSUR

“That’s a fact.”  The detective said, handing the sheet to the inspector.  “However, something very few know is that some decades ago, dear old Simon had a mistress, and she bore him a daughter.”copyright protection31PENANADXGhKng95n

“And that daughter would be…?” Beetlesby asked, now very interested.copyright protection31PENANAttd2B2CgWp

“Why, none other than the maid right behind you!” the detective said, laughing again at the startled inspector.  “That’s right, he raised the girl as a daughter, and employed her as a maid so as to avoid suspicion.  I reckon the only ones who knew would be Simon, myself, the daughter in question, and the old butler.”copyright protection31PENANA1tAjNlRgdL

“So according to that will, she would become the sole inheritor of the Ruthwold fortune!”  The detective exclaimed, writing furiously in his notebook.  “Still, that doesn’t explain the murder!  Who would stand to lose from the inheritor being switched from the country club to the daughter except…”copyright protection31PENANA7RIO9tbpDh

“Except me, you mean?” The detective said, flicking his cigarette stub into a nearby trash can.  “I, Walter C. Leonhart, would be the main suspect, seeing as I am president of the country club to which the fortune was to be donated.  Curious, isn’t it?  There you have the whole crime written up plain and simple.  He has me over for supper like any other Thursday and tells me about his plan to leave everything to his daughter.  I try to talk him out of it, but he is adamant.  I leave in a huff and head to bed.  Later, when he is alone in his room, I sneak inside and stab him in the back, put his jacket back on and put him in the chair, so he won’t be noticed, and head back to bed.  The perfect crime.”copyright protection31PENANAN7L09m2LCZ

“But…” Beetlesby stammered.copyright protection31PENANAaDsLXf6Ovk

“So who, then, is the culprit?” The detective said, smiling and looking at the maid, who met his gaze head-on. copyright protection31PENANAzCbiqkMCKp

“You don’t mean that it was you…” Beetlesby started, his mouth gaping.copyright protection31PENANAUxwFxF1zqE

“Please, Inspector, is that all it took to fool you?” the detective said, laughing.  “I suppose, had I not been a detective, this plan might have worked out perfectly.  However, that is one little mistake that the murderer didn’t take into account.  If I was truly after the money, why was the will that left everything to the daughter still left on the desk?  Wouldn’t I have taken it and burned it, to erase all proof?  After all, nobody knew about the will other than myself.  Awfully convenient, don’t you find it, Inspector?”copyright protection31PENANAyBi1mfgs3M

“So…who then is the culprit?” Beetlesby said, mopping his brow.  “Who else had the motive?”copyright protection31PENANAMCpYVQiHs3

“There’s one thing you never question, my friend, which I find interesting.  The maid over there in the corner is unable to speak by birth, yet she was never taught how to read or write, either.  Interesting, isn’t it?”copyright protection31PENANA6nAD27i4HJ

“What are you implying?” Beetlesby asked, furrowing his brow.copyright protection31PENANAIfk0hGfx9j

“Simply this: I knew Simon very well, and above all, he cared about appearances.  The Ruthwold name meant everything to him.  What would he have done had people found out about his illegitimate daughter, do you think?  Perhaps fearing this, he never taught her how to write, and in doing so kept the secret even to his death.  Perhaps the will was an attempt to reconcile for this, who can say?  Still, you can’t say that the father and daughter were on the best of terms.”copyright protection31PENANAkVWJURzdy2

Saying this, the detective approached the maid, smiling.  “So who, then, is the culprit?” he whispered in her ear. copyright protection31PENANAgFpQisXAwF

It happened in a moment; the maid suddenly grabbed the kitchen knife off the desk and stabbed at the detective.  Inspector Beetlesby and the policemen pulled out their guns in unison.  The cook’s wife screamed and fainted into the arms of her husband.  The old butler dropped his glasses in the confusion, and the detective, grinning all the while, grabbed the maid’s arm, stopping the blade right as it pierced his clothes. copyright protection31PENANAkfUEfbkvJt

“Drop the knife!” Inspector Beetlesby yelled, pointing his pistol at the maid.copyright protection31PENANAO4pKOkCnxa

“Don’t worry yourself on my account, Albert,” the detective said, twisting his arm and forcing the maid to release her grasp on the knife.  “She barely pierced the skin, although I’ll have to buy a new jacket now.”copyright protection31PENANAqNQQD8iBJO

Beetlesby lowered his gun, as two policemen hurried over and handcuffed the maid.  “So she was the murderer all along?” he asked the detective.copyright protection31PENANAh34bHjn2P7

“She hated the old man, and I can hardly blame her.” The detective said, brushing himself off.  “He trapped her in this mansion, forcing her to work as his servant.  Perhaps it was his attempt to ‘buy’ her forgiveness with the will that pushed her to murdering him, who can say?  I imagine, in her mind the murder would have gone something like this: after it was revealed that Simon was dead, they would question the residents.  She, being mute, would not have to answer any questions, and would thus not have to worry about a story to stick to.  After the police found out that my bedroom was right down the hall from his, they would investigate me, discovering that the country club I am president of was set to inherit his fortune.  Having me already suspected, they would surely not assume anything of her, and after it had all blown over, she could ‘find’ the will he wrote on his desk while cleaning.  Thus, she would gain his fortune, and her revenge.”copyright protection31PENANAwEcWp0g1oN

“How did you manage to figure it out?” Beetlesby asked, shaking his head.copyright protection31PENANAcOB2EfbXQU

“Simple,” the detective replied, smiling. “Once you assume my innocence, she was the only one that could have committed it.”copyright protection31PENANAL7XPjF9HHZ

“It’s a lucky thing she didn’t know you were a detective, Walter,” Beetlesby said, shaking his hand.  “I apologize for suspecting you earlier, it’s a good thing you were here after all.”copyright protection31PENANAPeE1a32q5q

“Think nothing of it, you were only doing your job,” the detective laughed.  “Well, I think I’ll be going now, if you don’t mind.”copyright protection31PENANAehfPkU4vRV

Stepping outside, the detective was greeted by a now fully-risen sun, shining down in full splendour, as if to burn away the darkness of the previous night.  Stepping down the dirt road, he glanced over to see the maid being ushered into a waiting police car.  Winking at her glaring face, he strode out through the property’s large iron gates, taking a walk through the nearby park. copyright protection31PENANApD3ntm3D4K

Stopping at the park lake, he reached into his jacket and pulled out his black notebook, a white handkerchief, and pair of white gloves, both dyed a red hue.  Tying them together with the handkerchief, he dropped them into the lake and walked away, as they sank to the bottom without a trace. copyright protection31PENANACUZgW9kYAp

“So who then is the culprit?” the detective murmured to himself quietly, blowing a smoke ring and watching it slowly fade away.copyright protection31PENANApOGFD0zHwr

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