Friday, 22 April 2016

Murder Most Foul! - S is for Specialist - 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

Barnwell sends Aisha and Williams to interview Fred Walker, who is working in the manor. When they arrive, Fred is stripping a wall with his boss, Graham Turner. He breaks off, pulling off a breathing mask, to speak with them while Graham continues behind them.


Onsite interview with Fred Walker
  FW - Let me guess, you walk to ask me if I killed Bill Whethers.
KW - What was your relationship with Mr Whethers,
  FW - I didn't have one, I barely knew the guy. Only saw him from a distance.
KW - But you didn't like him.
  FW - Me and half the village, the half that wanted somewhere they could afford to live.
AK - Did you see him on the day he died.
  FW - He was heading to the pub when I was getting back home from this place.
AK - what time was that?
  FW - must have been about 7, eh Graham?
  GT - ::pulls off his mask:: 'bout that, 'cause it took us nigh on 3 hours to sand the floor next door and you don't leave a job like that half finished.
AK - What did you do after you saw him.
  FW - Went upstairs, had a shower, ate my tea and then slept like a babe till six the next morning. Graham knocked on the door about 7.30.
  GT - ai
  FW - And we headed on over here to start up again.
KW - You take this work very seriously.
  FW - Couldn't do it if not. We're specialists, Graham and me, restoration of old buildings, and that takes patience and know how.
  GT - This one has been picking my brains since he was ten years old, Sergeant.
AK - So you took him on.
  GT - That I did, soon as he left school, straight into an apprenticeship. Spent days filling in them damn forms I did.
  FW - And I'm worth every minute old man!
  GT- ::grumbles under his breath while putting mask back on and goes back to scraping the wall::
KW - How long have you been working in the manor.
  FW - Almost a month, the contract's been sorted for 6 months now, but we were over at Peacock Grange down Stone way for 4 months renovating their windows and doors.
KW - And it takes a lot of specialist knowledge to do something like this?
KW - Is it dangerous? Do you ever come across anything harmful?
  FW ::nods vigorously:: - you see that wallpaper, nice shade of green isn't it? Well, that's arsenic. It's why we wear the masks and gloves. Folks used some pretty lethal stuff to get the colours they wanted. You need to know your history when taking it all down.
  Plus. there's some really old nasties in the cupboards round here.
KW - Like what?
  FW - this was the servants' quarters, there's all sorts that hasn't been touched in half a century: lead-based paint, broken bottles of old silver polish, even this corroded old tin of rat poison.
KW - And what did you do with all this rubbish?
  FW - went in the covered skip outside for specialist disposal. ::walks over to the window and points out the skip::

Lady Emma walks in carrying a book of paint colours. She looks up, surprised to find Aisha and Williams there. She apologises and turns to leave, but Aisha jumps in and asks her if she can speak with her. Emma says 'of course', and Aisha leaves with Emma as Williams continues talking to Fred.

KW - Has the skip been emptied during the job?
  FW - Yes, it's been replaced once, two weeks ago.
KW - Before or after you put the wallpaper and rat poison in it?
  FW - before.

Williams leaves Fred and Graham and arranges for SOCO to check out the skip.

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.

Fred Walker
Age: 22
Gender: male
Ethnicity Code: M1
Job: apprentice builder working at the manor, long hours, not at home a lot.
Did not like Bill Whethers due to his opposition to the affordable housing.
Saw Bill Whethers on the night he died, but claims to have been asleep in bed when he was killed.
Had access to arsenic from the manor refurbishments.

Lady Emma, Countess of Oxen
Age: 43
Gender: female
Ethnicity Code: W1
Job: Lady of the Manor
Other info: married to Lord Michael; plays tennis with Bill Whethers. Village rumours says that Bill Whethers had eyes for her.

The refills for Bill's e-cigarettes that he had around the house were variously poisoned with arsenic. The refills from the shop had no sign of poison.
Arsenic was in the wallpaper at the manor, and could also have been in rat poison found during the refurbishments of the servants' quarters.

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. Sounds like they've found the murder weapon, now which one had opportunity and knowledge? We're getting there! :)

    1. Yes, who could get into that skip and who knew what was in it!

  2. Ooh love the housing restoration angle to provde the material readily!!

    Hotting up in here :)

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

  3. Well, I'm at a loss but I loved the house restoration aspect.

    Meet My Imaginary Friends

  4. Arsenic in the wallpaper - interesting! I like the line about having to fill out so many forms for the apprenticeship. I can just picture it.

    Cheers - Ellen

    1. The form filling actually came from real life - my brother-in-law's little brother is doing an apprenticeship and the person who originally wanted to take him on was drowned in paperwork!
      Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles | Wittegen Press | FB3X

  5. What a fun format. Love the poll format. I was just reading about another arsenic plot involving secret societies and attempts on various members of American politics back in the day. Very sneaky - they put it in the sugar cubes of the tea service at one of the proposed victim's favorite haunts. Poisoned 50 other people in the process; 38 of whom died. Sheesh!

  6. Wow! This thing about the wall painting and arsenic is very intesting. Never known that... and a very good twist for the mystery.
    I still don't know who done it ;-)

    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz


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