the u-town murder case (the solution)

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Jan got to her feet and started to describe the scene when we'd arrived at this apartment, including the position and condition of the bodies.

"The fight started near the door," she said. "That area was very messy, but there's very little blood, so that indicates that the fight moved toward the windows, since that's where there's more blood."

"Jasper had the worst of it, that's why he got cut so many times and the other fellow didn't. Finally, Jasper collapsed over there, and the other fellow would have finished him off, except that he got stabbed himself, in the back, by somebody he didn't expect."

"Charlotte?" Pat asked.

Jan nodded. "She picked up Jasper's knife, which he had dropped, and stabbed the other man once, probably as he was leaning over Jasper. Then she ran for the door, but he managed to go after her and stab her before she got away, and before he died. That's why he was nearer to, and facing, the door."

She lit a cigarette. "Then Charlotte did something very interesting. She stopped running. She came back and took the knife, the knife which had stabbed her, from the dead man's hand. And she placed her brother's knife back in his own hand."

"How do you know that?" Pat asked. I was wondering if she was pulling all of this out of her hat.

"Her fingerprints were on it, in blood. She had placed it back in his hand." She shrugged, "Why? Probably because she knew it was something he would have wanted, that his fellow Dragons would respect."

"Pat, the knife which was found with Charlotte's body was the knife which killed both her and her brother. We've tested it. There was a second knife in the room here, but it was not involved. It was clean of blood, but dusty. If somebody had wiped off the blood, they would have wiped off the dust as well."

"But," Pat protested hesitantly, clearly wondering if she had missed something, "Who took it there, to the apartment? The knife was in the room with her, not here."

Jan Sleet shook her head. "There's no evidence that there was another person involved, and if we assume another person, we would then get back to the problem of how somebody could have got into and out of that bedroom with Freddy outside, in order for the knife to have ended up where it did. Remember, we no longer have to get somebody in and out of the room in order to account for the stabbing, we know she was stabbed here. If the only question is how the knife got into the bedroom, when she was the last person to have the knife, the logical conclusion is that she brought it there herself."

"But why would she do that?" Pat protested. "And where's your evidence?" I wanted to add. As I thought about it, though, I knew the answer, at least to the second question.

"The evidence is in the pocket of her coat," she said. "There was dried blood in the pocket, quite a lot of it. Where did it come from, if not from the knife? I'm sure she put it in her pocket so that nobody would see it as she walked home.

"The question of why she did this is more interesting. It was very unusual behavior. People like Charlotte, not violent as far as we know, they tend to get rid of the weapon as soon as they can. So, maybe she intended to use it again. Maybe she realized who she really wanted to kill, and finally realized that she could."

She shrugged. "We'll never know that, and, if I'm right, we'll never know why she didn't do it. Did she change her mind, or did her body fail her at the last moment, slowly bleeding to death inside? Either way, it does explain why she locked the bedroom door behind her when she got home."

Pat nodded, then she thought for a minute. She looked very sad, and still nervous, as if still uncertain about her lover's reaction to all this. Then she nodded and stood up slowly. She still looked sad, but she was under control. "But what about Leo?" she asked, frowning.

Jan shrugged. "The person who really stabbed Charlotte is dead. I have no problem with letting everybody go on thinking Leo did it. It's the least he deserves."

Pat shook her head. "I guess that makes sense."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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