Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Winter Question & Murder Mystery

(This is not a contest)

What was the most significant event that happened in 2010?


Will you people get your act together and answer this question, please?
Only 9 responses so far. Winter is almost over.
What happened to old Jasper Fingerhut?

A murder mystery in 7 sections.

Section 1

The police came soon after Brett Salazar called them. He had called to report seeing a man floating face down in a quiet part of the Borden River. A police wagon soon arrived and they fished the man out of the water He was dead.

The man was old, barefoot, wearing large brown corduroy trousers and a tattered and torn blue shirt. There was nothing in his pockets. He had a large metal cross around his neck and on his left middle finger a ring in the shape of a skull with a small green stone in the left eye socket, the other socket was empty. No one recognized him.

Doctor Skinner, the Bordentown Medial Examiner, received the corpse to begin his examination. He was to determine time and cause of death and any other important information he could find about the mysterious dead man.

While this was happening Boris Klipton, Professor of Art History at Bordentown State Teachers College, was way upstream. Sitting by the river, he was working on his latest book. It was an account of recent unsolved art thefts.

During his interview with Detective Rice Turner, Brett Salazar, testified of hearing four gunshots in the distance long before he saw the body. When Detective Turner asked him what he was doing at the river, Brett answered that he was planning to fish but had forgotten his fishing gear and was about to go home when he spotted the dead man floating in the water.

Section 2

At around 3 p. m. Professor Klipton gathered up his papers, put them in his briefcase and got back in his car. He noticed some lint and bits of cloth on the seat, brushed them off on to the floor, put down his briefcase and drove to Sam's Place.

Sam Nevitt opened his general store and gas station about 25 years ago. It was on the outskirts of town, away from all the bustle, which is the way he liked it. He would get business from folks leaving Bordentown on their way home and others who were passing through. He did a good business.

Sam was a good man, but he had one nasty habit. He liked to go down to the river with his rifle and shoot birds.

When Professor Klipton arrived he found Hank, Sam's part time help. When asked Hank didn't know where Sam was but thought he was probably out shooting. Klipton filled up with gas, bought a few items for his dinner and drove home.

The dead man came to Doctor Skinner's office in a body bag. He and Ivan, his assistant, opened the bag and as they did Skinner immediately put a large towel over the dead man's face and upper body. Then he dismissed Ivan for the day and went to work.

section 3

Detective Rice Turner didn't speak often, he seemed to others to be bored with life. That was a mistake. He was very well educated. He had a PhD in Economics from Yale and a law degree from Princeton. He was Phi Beta Kappa and a Mensa member. He was looking forward to a career in government whn he discovered he had a genius for solving problems. That soon became criminal investigation. He settled.

Signing, he opened the report form the Medical Examiners Office. Reading through it he discovered that the dead man was between 70 and 75 years old, approximately. and in reasonably good health for a man his age. Doctor Skinner had removed three 22 caliber bullets from the body, one from the shattered right shoulder, one from the right ventricle and one embedded in the large intestine. All the bullets had entered the body from the right side of the back. There were severe bruises around his neck. There was water in his lungs and a strange substance in his blood stream which Skinner had suspected was poison. He sent it on to the police lab for analysis. Time of death was between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. Cause of death: strangulation.

Attached to the report was an advisory. Skinner thought the body should be buried as soon as possible. He didn't say why.

Presently the report came from the police lab confirming that the substance in the man's blood was arsenic.
Section 4

Detective Turner hated to look at dead people even though he had seen many in his career. Nevertheless, accompanied by officers Rourke and Minetti, he went to the morgue. The cadaver was laid out on a table. Dr. Skinner had done a sloppy job putting it back together but Turner could see that the man had been in his seventies. He had long hair and a long beard, very gray.

Officer Rourke said that they should locate the next of kin if there was any, but since they didn't know who he was it would be hard. Turner told them to take photographs of his face, front and sides, take them around town and see if anyone recognized him.

Turner lifted up the dead man's beard and uncovered two pieces of the puzzle. One, the bruises around the man's neck did not seem as severe as the doctor had said, particularly for one who had been strangled to death. And two, somewhere between the time he was removed from the river and this moment, the large metal cross had disappeared from his neck.

When Professor Klipton returned to his home he put his briefcase down next to his computer, checked his watch and took a shower. About an hour later someone rang his door bell. He opened the door. Without a word a man handed him a large, thick envelop, then turned and walked away. Klipton didn't open the envelop. He knew what was in it. Two hundred thousand dollars. His commission.

Sam Newitt leaned his unloaded rifle down against a chair and unbuttoned his shirt. Roy, his gay lover, was waiting for him in the bed.

Section 5

Detective Turner reread Dr. Skinner's report. He looked in the evidence bag, found the dead man's clothes, a tattered blue shirt. underwear and corduroy trousers, no shoes or socks. He found a ring in the form of a skull, and a smaller bag containing three bullets, but no cross.

He made a phone call, then filled out a police form assigning the body to himself and went home for the day.

Early the next morning Sam left Roy in the bed still asleep, dressed, took his rifle and went off to open his shop.

The police lab had made about six copies of the dead man's photographs and some of the officers set out to interview anyone they could find who might recognize him.

When Detective Turner arrived at the police station he got Officer Minetti to help him get the cadaver back into the body bag. Then the two of them carried it out and put it in the trunk of Turner's car. He got in and drove to Farmington.

Professor Klipton had put the envelope with the money into his safe with the other envelopes and went off to his job at the college, two towns away. He wasn't home when the police came around with the picture of the dead man.

When Dr. Skinner arrived at his office Ivan was cleaning things up. Skinner said he would be gone for a while he was going to take a drive. But just at that moment they brought in two more bodies. The police wanted a rush job because thee might be a crime and if so there would be a third person involved. One of the bodies, a woman, was badly beaten. So Skinner sighed and went to work.

It was mid day when turner got back from Farmington. He drove to Dr. Skinner's office to ask him some questions. When he entered Skinner was at work carving up a cadaver. Turner noticed some mounted deer heads on Skinner's walls and asked if Skinner was a hunter. Skinner replied that most of the men around those parts were hunters. Turner also asked if Skinner knew anything about a large metal cross that was around the dead man's neck when they pulled him out of the water. Skinner said he had no knowledge of it. Turner believed he was lying.

Back at the police station Turner was informed that in the whole town there was no one who recognized the dead man. Turner asked how far they went looking and was told everywhere except Sam's. Who is Sam, he asked. They told him it was far out of town but had some local business. Let's go talk to Sam, he said.

Section 6 tomorrow

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