Was It Something I Said?Mystery teasers are little stories where you need to figure out what happened based on the given clues.
"Nora Shekrie, your reputation precedes you." Her second cousin once added, Sir Loine of Boef met her at the rail depot near his home in Northumberland, UK.
"I'll sue the Mirror," she grinned; he returned the smile.
"Truly, Ralph Pennies thinks quite highly of you, and we think highly of his recommendations on this side of the pond."
"I'll admit, it came as quite a surprise."
"Quite. I understand that this is your first murder case?"
"It's the first time anyone has ever hired me to consult."
"Really! An auspicious beginning, I must say. Reads like one of those trade paperbacks, I suppose." He gestured at the bookseller's across the street.
"Perhaps; I wouldn't know. Now that I'm here, please tell me the facts as you know them. Ralph was hardly lucid, especially over that wretched trans-Atlantic linkage."
"Of course, the important thing is that you're here, and can view the situation with a clear eye -- or ear, as the case may be."
"That might be important?"
"It's one of our signal clues."
"The facts, please, your Lordship."
"Certainly, if you'll admit to being family and call me Harold from now on."
"Thank you, your ... Haroldship." She chuckled.
"The inn in town was hosting the town meeting to consider redistricting. Tempers flared a bit, and we recessed to let the hotheads find a draught and cool off. When we reconvened fifteen minutes later, we found one of the council in his room, dead. Struck with a blunt object, loss of blood, but dead from the impact."
"So you think it's a matter of hot heads?"
"Yes; the new village boundaries would exchange the old way of life for the new. The close-knit village would become a center for growth. Some can't abide it, and others say they must have it to survive."
"So there were deep feelings under the hot heads."
"This has been brewing for longer than the ale, I'm afraid."
"So what are the clues?"
"The victim was for keeping the old ways, so we suspect the supporters of the new. Too many to haul them all off to the gaol for the night, even if the constable could make the excuse of disturbing the general peace."
"Not to mention bad politics when his position is up for review."
"You do understand some. All to the good. They have the weapon, a simple club, but no prints. Some fibers on the club, perhaps from gloves, perhaps from the victim's own shirt, when the murderer wiped it clean and tossed it in the basement laundry tub."
"You know a little of the language?"
"Even Yankees pick up some, here and there."
"On to the next, then. One of the staff heard an argument in the room, perhaps a minute before a noise he thought might have been the fatal blow. He doesn't know placements, but said that the one voice sounded like Bugs Bunny, but angry. He couldn't say why."
"A Brooklyn accent!"
"Brooklyn is part of New York City. That's the accent they used for Bugs Bunny's voice."
"I see. We thought it was probably from the States, and Ralph had mentioned you were in the area, just in the line of family news, you know, and now you're here."
"Of course. So how many Yanks are there in this meeting?"
"None that we know of. Several new residents, all on the side of growth, but none from out of the country, or so we thought."
"So someone is hiding their background?"
"That's what the constable thinks. He's no village idiot, and I agree that someone from the States might want to keep it quiet, just to fit in for a while. The last person from the States who bought a place here, left after eleven months, still without finding his balance. The locals don't take to foreigners readily."
"Or change, I gather."
"Well, can you see that I get seated near the newcomers? Maybe I can detect a little of the accent, or see a sign that looks like an American covering a murder instead of a local upset about stagnation and a by-election."
Ten minutes later, Nora was in the middle of the "new" group, taking and making good jabs at American life, and near the bottom of her first glass of the local. She listened hard, but had trouble separating the characteristics of local speech from any hint of Brooklynese.
"To the Queen!" someone proposed. Nora turned toward LeBlanc and made eye contact. He returned her friendly glance and clinked her glass, as if sharing some minor intimacy.
"To Her Majesty!" he intoned heartily, downing his half-pint in one long pull.
The others were staring at him. Nora looked around, caught Harold's eye, and the constable frog-marched LeBlanc down to the lock-up for questioning.
What gave him away?
HintIt wasn't his accent this time.
AnswerYou don't clink glasses during a toast to the Queen: legend has it that each clink heralds the death of a seaman in the Royal Navy. A life-long resident of the Commonwealth would know this.
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