Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Love Him or Lock Him Up? The March Murderer, Part 2


When we last left our fearless sleuth, Det. Lauren Order was on the scene of a brutal murder and had just fingered the culprit. But was it Joe or was it Byron? How did Lauren know? To find out who she will love and who she'll lock up, here is Part 2 of "The March Murderer." (To read Part 1, just scroll down to my previous blog entry.)

The March Murderer, Part Two

Byron Corpus gasped when Lauren singled him out. “How can you accuse me of such a thing, Lauren? I thought we were friends!”

Mrs. Biddy clearly took his side. “It can’t be him! No, look at his boots, they’re clean as a whistle. Mr. Maraschino’s though, they prove his guilt. Look at all that mud, just like the prints he left on the back porch.”

“I got this mud on my boots when I worked here two days ago!” Joe insisted. “I haven’t set foot in this house since then, not until just this morning.”

“I believe you, Joe,” Lauren said. “It was too cold last night for anyone to get mud on their boots—the ground was frozen solid. Obviously, those tracks outside were made long before Carrie was murdered. Besides, the way that dry mud is flaking off your boots, Joe, you would have left a trail of it all through the house if you’d been here. Carrie cleaned up after you left two days ago, and her kitchen floor is still spotless… well, most of it is. Besides, it’s obvious Byron had the better motive and opportunity to murder his sister.”

“Why would I kill her?” Byron cried. “Our parents are gone; she was all I have left!”

“Exactly, and now that she’s gone, this house is all yours.”

“But I didn’t want the house! I can show you the agreement we drew up. Lauren was keeping the house and she was paying me for half of it. That’s the arrangement I wanted.”

“It might be what you wanted at first, then you realized your share would be a lot less than what your sister would get. She was doing all the renovations so she could sell the house for much more than the agreed-upon appraisal, wasn’t she?” Lauren questioned. “You would get half the old amount, but she’d get everything else. Isn’t that true?”

Byron’s gaze darted about anxiously. Officer Bell moved into the doorway, blocking any route of escape.

“What do I care about that? I didn’t kill her; she was my sister!”

“And she was cheating you. She didn’t even hire you do the remodeling, did she?”

He gave an angry snort. “She hired this ex-con to do the work that I could have done. Can you believe it? Her own brother, and she made me grovel and beg for crumbs that should have already been mine.”

“That’s why you killed her, isn’t it? She’d gone to the bank to get money for Joe. You thought that money should have been yours.”

“It was my money. And she owed me a lot more than just $2,000.”

“But she wouldn’t give it to you,” Lauren said. “So you took it, didn’t you? She tried to stop you, so you killed her with that wrench.”

“I’m not the ex-con here,” Byron snapped. “Why don’t you accuse him? He threatened my sister! I saw that horrible note he wrote her.”

Joe quickly defended himself. “It’s true I warned Carrie that she needed to pay. But it wasn’t a threat. I’ve got to have the money for my nephew’s medical bills—it’s a matter of life and death!”

Byron tried to argue, but Lauren shushed him. “It’s too late, you already admitted your guilt when you mentioned the money. There’s no way you could have known the amount or seen that invoice before yesterday—the invoice was only mailed the day before, and Carrie went to the bank yesterday at noon. It’s obvious that you were here yesterday, Byron. You saw Joe’s invoice and you took the money.”

“No! I told you, I couldn’t go anywhere—my car was out of gas.”

“Then how did you show up here in your car this morning?” Lauren asked. “You filled it up because you took that money last night. That’s why Mrs. Biddy saw you walking away, clomping along in your two-sizes-too-big workboots with no mud on them. You walked here, and then you walked home… after you murdered your sister.”

Byron lunged at Lauren, but Officer Bell and Joe jumped in to stop him. They barely held him back as he seethed.

“All right, fine. I did it!” he snarled at her. “But you’re no goody-two-shoes, Lauren Order. You made a date with an ex-con!”

“Worse, I almost stepped out with a murderer,” Lauren said, giving Joe a quick grin. “But I won’t give that ex-con the boot. Think we could give the movies another try, Joe?”

Joe smiled back at her and gave a wink as he said, “Yeah, I think we can do a reboot.”

So how did you do? Did you figure out who gets the love and who gets locked up? 
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