The Long Tale of the Murdered HeiressMystery teasers are little stories where you need to figure out what happened based on the given clues.
It was a dark and stormy night in Erisville. Jagged bolts of lightning wracked the sky above Detective Callahan's house. "Glad I'm not out there tonight," Callahan thought. He gazed out his bay window at the thick, frozen fog that had engulfed the landscape. As his yard vanished and was replaced by an eerie, foggy void, Callahan guessed it was maybe five degrees outside right now. Too cold for anything but tea and a book.
He took the last gulp of his cup of strong jasmine tea, and headed to the kitchen to make another. His mind was elsewhere as he poured the tea, but a sharp scream jolted him out of his daydream. He jumped, spilling boiling water on his hand, but he hardly noticed.
His thoughts were centered on the scream. He waited for another, but no sound came. "Just a loon," he laughed, and went back to his chair, fire and book. His phone rang ten minutes later, making him jump again. It was Murphy, the desk sergeant at the precinct. "Callahan, we have an apparent homicide at one-two-seven Apple Blossom Rd. Will you check it out since you're so close?"
"Sure," the detective replied, stunned by the awful realization the scream he'd heard was not a loon after all.
"Thanks," said Murphy. "Officers Gould and Apfel are on the scene now."
Callahan only had to drive around the block to get to the stately home of Celine Omar, heiress to the Omar Tasty Snacks fortune. He drove up the long driveway, passing a small guest house which was about sixty feet from the bigger one. He parked in front of the main house's big bay window and walked inside. He entered the house and was greeted by Gould, who led him into the study with the big bay window he'd parked under. Only the desk lamp was on, giving the room a shadowy appearance. Inside was Apfel, holding an evidence bag containing the murder weapon, a large butcher knife.
The body of Ms. Omar was in the middle of the room, covered with a sheet. On the couch sat a woman in a white nightgown, and a man in pajama's, both disheveled and spotted with blood.
"What happened here?" He asked the woman.
In a voice choked from tears she said, "I'm Tessa, the maid. I live in the guest house on the drive and my front window faces this bay window. I heard a scream as I was getting ready for bed. I looked out my front window and saw him struggling with Ms. Omar. I raced in here to stop him, but she was already laying on the floor." She began to cry again. "I tried to pull the knife out and save her but he attacked me too. The whole staff knew he hated her. They were dating up until a month ago, when she broke it off. He seemed fine, but we all knew he would try to get revenge."
"What?!" yelled the man sitting next to her. "She is a liar!"
"Calm down sir," said Callahan. "Why don't you tell me what happened."
"I am John, the butler. I live in the guest house out back. I heard the scream and ran in the back door. When I got to the study I saw Tessa standing over Ms. Omar's body. I rushed over to Celine, and tried to pull out the knife, to save her, but Tessa attacked me. I loved Celine. I would never hurt her. But Celine had found out that Tessa has been stealing from her. Tessa watches out her front window and spies on Celine in the study. When Celine is occupied, Tessa goes into the house and steals from her. She was about to be fired," said John sadly.
"Lies!" screamed Tessa, jumping to her feet.
Apfel took her by the arm. "You're going to need to calm down ma'am." Tessa sat back down, whimpering.
"What do you think sir? Both their fingerprints will be on the knife and I've never heard two such conflicting stories," said Gould.
Callahan thought a moment. "Take Tessa into custody. She's obviously lying."
How did Callahan come to this conclusion?
HintTessa spied every night, but she couldn't have on this night.
AnswerJohn was telling the truth,
Tessa had to have been lying.
Callahan had looked out his own window at home and had not been able to see anything through the foggy void. Being only a block away, the conditions would have been the same at Ms. Omar's home. Tessa would not have been able to see into a poorly lit room through 60 feet of frozen fog, making her story impossible.
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