Monday, 25 April 2016

Murder Most Foul! - U is for Urgent - Cozy Mystery #AtoZChallenge 2016

Welcome to my contribution to the A to Z Challenge. My theme this year is Murder Most Foul, which, for you, my blog visitors, means that you will be sharing in The Case of the Cursed House, or rather the bare bones of it. 

Everyday, I will be revealing more about my developing Cozy Mystery: descriptions of scenes; character details; locations; clues to the mystery. And, at the end of each post, you will have the chance to vote on whodunnit. So, without further ado, on with the case...

Previous parts:

Story Notes Additional Details

Williams calls in SOCO's to check the skip. They find the remnants of wallpaper, but no the tin of rat poison.

With Debbie running the pup alone that afternoon and evening, and both Dave Fincher and Lord Michael away, interviews are arranged for the next day. Aisha is sent on her way for the rest of the day while Barnwell and Williams deal with getting warrants for the pub and the wider manor.

Just past midnight, Aisha gets a call from Barnwell. The Wittrenham Manor stables are ablaze and she needs her at the scene to deal with witnesses. By the time Aisha arrives at the scene, the fire is out, but Dr Elves' office has been burnt out. Fire crew and SOCOs are all over the place.

Half the village has come out. The Walkers are all in states of undress in their sleep clothes, Jon Lee and Bethany Mortby are full clothed. Lord Michael is also dressed, but Lady Emma is in her dressing gown and wellingtons. Debbie Fincher is in her dressing gown, but Dave is fully dressed and his car is parked haphazardly in the street: he called in the fire and is looking rather nauseous.

Aisha and Williams are keeping everyone together away from the stables slightly further up the drive, but everyone sees when a coroner's trolley brings out a body.


  DF - Oh god, I had no idea anyone was in there!
KW - You did not hear any shouts for help?
  DF - No, nothing, I just saw the flames as I was coming home after the cleardown of the dinner.
KW - And there was no-one else about?
  DF - No, the road was deserted.
KW - Any lights on anywhere?
  DF - Well, there were some on at the manor, and at home, I think, but it's all a bit of a blur.
  LM - You did the right thing, calling it in, David. And yes, I was still awake, Sergeant, I was in my study finishing up a few papers after getting home from the dinner.
KW - And what time did you get back, Lord Michael?
  LM - About an hour, hour and a half ago, I didn't check the exact time.
  DF - Did he set light to himself? He must have. He was in the pub raving drunk. It must have been an accident.
KW - How long was Dr Elves in the pub?
  DF - until closing.
KW - And he was upset?
  DF - He was real quiet when he first arrived, hunched over his beer at the bar, but by nine he was ordering spirits and he started muttering to himself, but it was all nonsense about 'her haunting me' and that 'she would have her way in the end after all they'd done wrong'.
KW - He was talking about the ghost?
  DF - seemed terrified of her, yes, but he was drunk.
KW - did he say what he'd done wrong?
  DF - Not so far as I heard, but I wasn't with him all evening.


Barnwell remains close to the SOCOs who are going in and out of the office. One of them comes out with a large tin with most of the label burnt off, but there is enough to be seen through the bag that it contains rat poison. Another comes out with the remains of a bottle, which had broken in the fire, and bits of tumbler glass. Barnwell asks them to put a rush on analysing the glass pieces and their contents and she agrees with the pathologist that he's going to work through the night on the autopsy of Dr Elves. 

Aisha Kakkar
Age: 23
Gender: female
Ethnicity Code: M3
Job: Police Constable - Weald & Marsh Liaison Officer - an officer working with local communities, especially villages, in the Weald of Kent and Romney Marsh areas. Her mum and step mum knew Lady Emma when she was an art student.

DCI Mags Barnwell
Age: 44
Gender: female
Ethnicity Code: W1
Job: Detective Chief Inspector Kent Constabulary Serious Crime Office

DS Kevin Williams
Age: 27
Gender: male
Ethnicity Code: W1
Job: Detective Sergeant Kent Constabulary Serious Crime Office
Other info: DCI Barnwell's bag man.

William (Bill) Whethers
Age: 36
Gender: male
Ethnicity Code: W1
Job: horror author
Other info: he opposes a new housing development providing affordable housing to local people. As well as an environmental survey, was also using the private access road to Court Farm, which he part owned, as leverage in the issue of the affordable house. he's a drunk. Suspected of taking part in black masses by Alice Rigden and half the village.
He had a smoking pouch that he carried around with his refills and e-cigarette in it. He sometimes left it lying around, but mostly he kept it in his pocket.
Bill had a fight with Andrew Parthing about the environmental survey. But according to Andrew, Bill came to see him the day of his death and promised to withdraw all his objections and help the affordable housing project along. This was not confirmed by his solicitor, but Bill did want to talk to the solicitor about his objection to the access road being made into a public highway just before his death.
Bill left everything to Jon Lee in his will. However, he did say he was writing a new will.
Death: broken neck from falling down stairs, but was being poisoned by his e-cigarette with arsenic, and it was convulsions that caused him to fall down the stairs. He was dying of lung cancer.

Dr Elves
Age: 29
Gender: male
Ethnicity Code: W1
Job: Environment Scientist
Other info: he is performing the analysis of the Court Farm yard to see if it is appropriate for development; the village thinks he is 'in' with those who oppose the affordable housing development. He says he is impartial, but he has possible grounds for making the site one of Special Scientific Interest, which would mean the affordable housing could not go ahead.
Killed in a fire in his office. He was getting very drunk in the pub and appeared to be very frightened the evening before his death. He was afraid because of what he had done wrong, although he did not say what that was, and he was scared of retribution, apparently from the ghost, Lady Elizabeth.

Debbie Fincher
Age: 41
Gender: female
Ethnicity Code: W1
Job: publican of the Ewe and Lamb
Other info: married to Dave Fincher.
Had a one-night stand with Bill Whethers. She does not think her husband has it in him to kill.
According to Lady Emma, Debbie is Lord Michael's long-term mistress.
Was witness to Dr Elves' drunken ravings in the pub just before he died, when he was going on about being haunted. She says Elves never said what he had done to be haunted.

Dave Fincher
Age: 43
Gender: male
Ethnicity Code: W1
Job: publican of the Ewe and Lamb
Other info: married to Debbie Fincher. Knew about Debbie's one-night stand with Bill Whethers. Enjoyed barring Bill from the pub, but that bar never lasted.
Saw the fire when he was on his way home after clearing the hunt dinner in Trenterden and called it in.

Lord Michael, Earl of Oxen
Age: 48
Gender: male
Ethnicity Code: W1
Job: Lord of the Manor
Other info: He has been friends with Bill Whethers since Bill moved into the village, but they had a fight the night before Bill's death. Plays golf with Bill Whethers. According to Andrew Parthing, Michael wanted to buy back Court Farm for the manor.
Knew that his wife, Lady Emma, was asexual when they married. Once their son, Lawrence, was born, he has looked elsewhere for physical love. His long-term mistress is Debbie Fincher.
Was awake and at home when the fire started in the stables.

Fire in Manor Stables
Dr Elves' office has been burnt out. He was killed in the fire. The tin of rat poison they have been looking for was in the fire and so was a bottle of whiskey and glass.

And now it's time to vote again - just take a punt - who do you think killed Bill Whethers (and yes, every character is listed - you never know ;P)?

Who dunnit?

Aisha Kakkar
Debbie Fincher
Dave Fincher
Jonathan Lee
Janice Walker
Lorri Walker
Hal Walker
Fred Walker
Alice Rigden
DS Kevin Williams
DCI Mags Barnwell
Lord Michael, Earl of Oxen
Lady Emma, Countess of Oxen
Dr Elves
Rev Sally Tawks
Graham Turner
Bethany Mortby
Lady Elizabeth Ryeman
Vic Walker
Andrew Parthing
None of the above, we haven't met them yet
Don't be silly, I don't know enough yet!

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  1. Ooh so is this the real killer's way of throwing us all off the scent... driving Dr Elves made with the ghost, or do we have a real ghost thrown into the mix too :)

    Nice to see the appearance of the last few characters as well! Can't wait for tomorrow.

    Mars xx

    1. If Midsomer Murders can have a ghost, so can I ;P But I'm not telling you if I have or not :D

  2. Hi Sophie - this is quite the tester ... I guessed I'm afraid .. but looks as though you've made a really good mystery come to life .. cheers Hilary

  3. I sure didn't expect this. NOw I'm really confused and I don't ahve any idea who the murder may be...
    Well don, I suppose ;-)

    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

  4. Goodness! Well, in my opinion ghosts always make things more interesting. Quite the twist.

    Meet My Imaginary Friends

    1. Whether they're real, or not, they make for an interesting dynamic :)

  5. A fire? Okay, now I will have to go back and find out why?

    1. Is someone trying to cover something up - or was it just a drunken accident? :)


Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear from you. :)