The Great Detective Stumbles

The Great Detective always finds a way to trip up the villain…

…but is all really as it seems?

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(c) 2016 Simon Goodson.
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The Great Detective Stumbles

“Aha!” shouted the Great Detective.  “How did you know your wife was stabbed with a paper knife?  We only just learnt that ourselves, and I didn’t mention it.  The only way you could know that detail is if you were the murderer!”

The Great Detective finished with a flourish of his arms, a wide smile on his face and his eyes twinkling.  Standing by the door, PC Brooks was seriously impressed.  He’d heard the tales about the Great Detective, of course, of how the man could crack the most difficult of cases, but this was the first time Brooks had seen the master at work.  One moment the case had been wide open, the next the Great Detective had trapped the killer into making a mistake which left no doubt as to his guilt.

Or so it seemed.  Brooks expected the victim’s husband to break down now, to confess to the killing having been caught out.  He was disappointed.

“You told me,” the husband said.  “This morning, when you first came here.”

“Nonsense!  How could I?  We didn’t discover the knife until your poor wife’s body was moved.”

“You did!  And I can prove it.”

He stepped back to his computer, clicking several times then swinging the monitor around.  Video was playing, clearly taken in the same room.  Only the victim’s husband and the Great Detective could be seen.  Brooks watched the screen intently.

* * *

“Mr Blake,” the Great Detective said.  “I have been asked to assist with this case.  I just wanted to stop in and offer my condolences, I am so sorry to meet you under these circumstances.  I can assure you that we will be doing everything we can to capture your wife’s killer.”

“Thank you,” Mr Blake replied softly.  He looked stunned, unable to take in his surroundings.

“Mr Blake, I understand that you haven’t seen your wife’s body yet?”

“No… no.  They wouldn’t let me.  Only the cleaner saw her, she didn’t touch anything as far as I know.  She… they… they said it was obvious she was… she was… that she was dead.  They won’t tell me anything!”

By the end his voice had risen to a wail.

“I am very sorry, Mr Blake, but they are correct.  It is a disturbing scene.  Your wife was stabbed in the chest with a letter opener.”

Mr Blake collapsed into a chair, burying his head in his hands.  The Great Detective placed a hand on his shoulder, muttered something about hanging in there then turned and left the room.

* * *

Mr Blake froze the video, staring defiantly at the Great Detective.

“You see!  You did tell me.  I did not kill my wife!”

The Great Detective stepped back from the force of the man’s denials, taking another step back to move out of immediate punching range.

Brooks’ mind was spinning.  The video greatly weakened the case against Mr Blake, but there was a much more troubling question.  How had the Great Detective known about the paper knife?  Brooks had been in the kitchen when the body was finally turned over, revealing the murder weapon.  The Great Detective had been there too.  They had walked together from the kitchen to Mr Blake’s large office.

So the video footage came from earlier, before the corpse had been turned over and the knife discovered.  Which then begged the question, how did the Great Detective know about it?  Was it some amazing piece of deduction?  If not then…

Brooks suddenly realised the Great Detective had taken quite a few more steps away from Mr Blake, far more than he really needed to, putting him much closer to the door.

Instinct kicked in.  Brooks was moving to block the doorway even as the Great Detective turned and ran.  Brooks quickly had him bundled to the floor and handcuffs slapped in place. 

The language from his prisoner was toe curling.  PC Brooks ignored it and stood up.  All he could see were the many, many cases the Great Detective had solved.  An unusually high percentage of those convicted for the crimes still maintained their innocence, even once in jail.  Ice settled into Brooks’ stomach as he wondered how many of those had been framed by the Great Detective.  He was certain he wouldn’t like the answer when, or if, he eventually found out.

The End

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