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Murder in The Hotel
Detective William Grant paced agitatedly across the deck.
Grant could barely contain himself from snapping at himself for deciding to go on this blasted trip. It had seemed like a good idea; he needed a break, and was interested in investigating reports of new drawings by Brunelleschi that would shed a good deal of light on the original plan of San Lorenzo. Unfortunately, he had failed to check the forecast, and was cooped up in this hotel thanks to one of the worst snowstorms on record. Fuming, he decided to go to bed
The next morning, Grant was awakened by an anxious guest.
“They want to see you”, Hugh said. “Someone’s been stabbed.”
Groggily, Grant went into the dining room to speak with the stranger who was in charge of things. It shortly emerged that the man was stabbed in his room. He had been seen entering his room, but there was no evidence of a break-in, the room had been locked, and nobody had been found within the room. The room was windowless. The stranger was quite baffled by how the murder could possibly have been carried out.
“Good”, said Grant. “That buys us some time, since the murderer will not think we are on his trail. Has anyone been in the room?”
“No” said the stranger. “It has been sealed off”
“In that case”, said Grant, “I would like to see it.”
They went up the stairs to the room. Along the way, the stranger turned out to be the manager of the hotel, whose name was Dylan. He had grown up in the UK, but had decided to move to the Tyrol for the climate, which was better for his health. He seemed quite affable, and was interested in hearing about Grant’s research
“So, how does a drawing from Florence wind up here?”, asked Dylan.
“The Poldi-Pelozzi family of had a house up here, and they may have brought some of their collections up here”.
Presently, they arrived at the room. The first thing that Grant noticed was that there was little blood in the carpet. Grant decided to look in the bathtub, and noticed that it was wet. Suddenly, a light bulb went off in his head.
“Dylan”, said Grant, “Is the key still in the room?”
“Not in any obvious place” said Dylan.
“In that case”, said grant, “I think I know how the killer got in. Either he let the killer in or else the killer got him outside the room and dragged the body into the room.”
“How would he have done that?” asked Dylan.’
“It’s simple”, said Grant. “He must have left the knife in when he dragged the body, and not pulled it out until he got the body into the bathtub, which is still damp under the mat. “
Walking over to the desk, Grant noticed a leatherette book. He opened it, to discover that it was the victim’s diary
“I’ve got to go”, Grant said, as he walked to his room to examine this new and interesting discovery.
Once in his room, he opened the notebook and discovered it to be the victim’s diary. More intrigued than ever, he went to the end to read the entries for the victim’s time in the hotel. He read for a few minutes, not noticing anything interesting, until he saw the words “Mr. Jones, the fool, arrived yesterday”. Just as he was about to further investigate the marvelous discovery, however, he was interrupted by the tocsin of the bell announcing that lunch was served. As he went into the dining room, he bumped into Dylan.
“Sorry”, said Dylan.
“It’s nothing”, said Grant. “By the way, did you see the victim and Mr. Jones talking at all?”
“A bit” said Dylan. “They seemed kind of hostile, though.”
“Thanks”, said Grant, now quite excited. He wolfed down his pasta and returned to his room to continue studying the diary. As he leafed through, he noticed an interesting entry: “Possible pitch: Postal arbitrage” and a list of names with the heading “have expressed interest” that included Mr. Jones. Intrigued, Grant leafed further and saw pasted into the diary a note saying only â€˜Flee. All is discovered”. Suddenly, he realized what was going on. Just then, the dinner bell rang.
He walked downstairs and went over to Dylan
“I have an idea”, Grant said”. “Announce where the evidence locker is, but make it look like a slip-up. Then, we wait there. If the person I suspect is the culprit is as foolish as I think he is, he will try to break in out of sheer panic.” Dylan, although skeptical, agreed to do so. At the conclusion of dinner, Dylan stood up on a table and began to announce that the road was almost cleared. “At which point”, said Dylan “we will re-open our south hallway, since the evidence locker can be removed.” Suddenly, Dylan twitched and began to sweat, as though he had just realized something unpleasant was happening. Seeming disconcerted, he got down from the table and walked over to Grant.
“Good”, said Grant to Dylan. “Come with me”. They walked down to the hallway, where Grant began to look around and noticed, inside the door of the locker, a security camera.
“Dylan”, said Grant, “Could you bring me a spring, a very sharp knife and fishing line? I figure that I can keep the spring tightly coiled and tie it to the pipe here. I can then set up a tripwire to loose the suspended knife over the spring. If it is positioned just right, the knife will cut the line holding the spring in place, causing it to exert a force on the door strong enough to shut it”.’
“So” said Dylan, “You’re trying to lock him in.”
“Correct”, said Grant. “Now suggest that the guards go on break. Make it look like the coast is clear. I’ll be waiting in that alcove.” With that, Grant gestured to one of those side rooms whose only purpose is to house vending machines. He had enough wrinkled bills to look busy. Grant entered the alcove and began pushing button and cursing under his breath. Soon, he saw a figure walking in the direction of the locker and began to follow him. The figure was indeed walking to the locker, and just as the figure was about to enter, Grant said
“So it was you who stabbed the victim, Mr. Jones” said Grant.
The figure turned towards him. Grant was not prepared for what he saw. This figure, who he supposed to be Mr. Jones, looked to be 50, and not a healthy 50. Mr. Jones was dripping in a nervous sweat. His right leg appeared to have a large varicose vein, which shifted as he trembled constantly, and he looked as though he had lost a large amount of wake very quickly. Overall, he seemed to be a wreck of a man.
“How did you know my name?” said Mr. Jones.
“I looked in your room and the victim’s room”, said the still shaken Grant, producing a sheaf of paper, “and found out that you had been duped in a pyramid scheme, as is shown by these papers”.
“I see”, said Mr. Jones. “So, what are you going to do with me now?”
“Given the shape you’re in”, said Grant, “I won’t do anything.”
Mr. Jones looked startled, as though he was having trouble processing such good news. He asked Grant how he would answer the questions.
“I’ll say that you were wearing a ski mask and forced me to do what you told me at gunpoint” said Grant. “If you want, you can go now. Just don’t go into the evidence locker-its booby trapped.”
With that, Mr. Jones walked away. Grant, startled by what he had said, sat down on the floor. Just then, a guest walked by.
“What was that about” the mysterious guest said.
“Nothing important” said Grant.