From the beginning, it was fairly obvious, you only had to look at it in the correct way. The killer could easily fool me, as I was convinced of their innocence without even realising it. Now that I knew the truth, I knew that everything in this mystery added up, and that everybody, apart from the murderer of course, was telling nothing but the truth. I did not see who the real killer was because I did not allow myself to, but I understood the killer's motivation, and I understood completely everything that they did.
When I arrived back at the house, nobody was aware that I knew who the murderer was. I had decided not to tell them on the way home, because it would be for the best. I simply thanked Miss Douthwaite and Mary for the lift, and went upstairs, where I lied to them, saying that I was going to try to work out who the murderer was with Victoria. Actually, I was planning on telling Victoria who the murderer was, and exactly how I figured it out. I entered her bedroom, where she was sat, drawing.
"I have some news for you", I said to her.
"What's that?" she asked me.
"I know who the murderer is".
"What?! Oh, my God. Tell me".
"I will in a moment, but I would like to tell you how I worked it out first. Now, if you remember what Mary told me, that she felt that people in her family were murdered before".
"Well, she was right. I'll start from the very beginning. When Violet gave birth to a baby girl, the baby's father was so mad and upset at the baby for been a girl, that he made Violet the heir, and if Violet were to die, the house would go to Lucille".
"How did you know that?"
"It was only an assumption. This was confirmed when I discovered the will of Violet".
"But Lucille died?"
"Exactly. She died, as well as Violet's husband... and child, so Violet was the only one left, or was she?"
"Well, apart from Mary, Violet had to be left with the house".
"Exactly! That is what was intended to happen!"
"What do you mean?"
"Let's start with the first murderer, shall we?"
"What are you talking about? There are two murderers?"
"I'll come back to that in a minute. For now, let's just focus on the woman who has just been murdered. Do you remember what was said in Amos' suicide note, the very last thing?"
"Yes, it said 'that woman was not the woman you thought she was'".
"And Amos was exactly right".
"I do not understand where you are coming from".
"Do you remember the photograph of Violet standing in a mirror?"
"Well, that photograph deceived you, as well as me at first, for the woman who has just been murdered was not Violet, but it was Lucille".
"Lucille and Violet were identical twins, meaning that nobody could tell the difference between the two. However, there was one way".
"And what was that?"
"Years ago, when both of the twins were alive, Lucille wore a pearl necklace every day, as seen in another photograph. This could tell the difference between the two. So, bearing that in mind, all that Lucille had to do, was pretend to put the necklace on her sister in order to try it on, choke her to death with it, leave the necklace around her neck, and stuff a piece of food down her throat. This would cause people to believe that Lucille was dead, and Violet was alive, but in reality, it was the other way round, and that is what we have missed the whole time".
"So, she killed Robert and the child?"
"She killed Robert by pushing him out of the window. It was easy to create the impression that he was taking drugs. The child, however, is a different story".
"What do you mean?"
"I remember been with Mary and she said, 'I had never seen her when she was ill'. This meant that nobody was allowed to see the child. Right?"
"And therefore, nobody would know what was going on behind those closed doors?"
"Where is this going?"
"Now, do you remember how many gravestones there were in that graveyard, other that Violet?"
"There were six".
"And do you remember when Mary said that all of the people who have lived and died in this house are buried here?"
"So, we know that Violet's grandparents lived here, so that totals two, their son and his wife totals four, Lucille totals five, and Robert totals six, so where is the child?"
"I don't know".
"And do you remember when Amos said that he remembers two people hanging around the house at the time the child went?"
"So, these two points both point to one thing: that the child is still alive,and she was probably adopted by those people in the funny clothes".
"And now I understand why all of the staff back then were fired, except for Amos, who Lucille forgot about. Lucille had firedthem because she did not want the truth to come out thatthe child was actually alive, in case it raised the suspiscion of any visitors, like ourselves. Lucille was worried that one day, the child would come back looking.Now, bearing all that I have told you in mind, I have worked who the murderer is".
"Will you please just tell me".
"I know that the murderer, Victoria, is you".
Victoria just stood there, frozen. "Me?" she eventually said, quietly.
"Don't try to deny it. I know that you are the child of Violet. You were the daughter who was sent away, and you killed Lucille!"
"No! No! Why are you saying this?"
"Because it's the truth. It all adds up now. Your age, 21 and the age of Violet when she gave birth, 25 adds up to 46, which is how old she would be today! Also, in the suicide note of Amos, it mentions that the knife was not taken from his cabin all night, so that knife could not have been the murder weapon. So, what other knife has been taken? None at all, so the murderer must have brought their own knife in, and how could anyone else manage to do that? They would be found out in an instant if the police were to investigate, because these days, they can find records of purchases in any shop".
"There has to be another explanation for that!"
"I'm far from finished yet. You pretended to crash the car when you just noticed this house in the distance, making it look like it was completely innocent by chatting away like you always do. Then, you climbed a tree to see if you could see the house more clearly. When you got to the top of the tree, you used the knife that you brought, and cut the telephone wires connecting to the house, so later, we could not contact the outside world so easily. Your main purpose of doing this was so that you would be stuck in the house, right where you wanted to be".
"Later, when you were introduced to 'Violet', you became so angry that you could have had this house, and she took it away from you, as well as killing both of your parents. When you saw how happy she was, that pushed you to kill her, so on the night of the murder, you forced her to go down into the wine cellar by taking her favourite bottle of wine, Blue Nun, and pouring it down the drain while pretending to wash up for an exhausted Margaret, who was too tired to notice. This would cause Violet to go down into the cellar to choose some more wine, and you hoped you could trap her".
"This is not true!"
"Yes it is. I am not finished yet. After you had killed Violet, you did not run out of the door, nor did you escape out of the window. You simply hid yourself under the stairs leading into the basement, where you knew nobody would notice as they were too busy looking at Lucille's dead body, including myself. Then, all you had to do was get out from under the stairs and pretend to arrive just after me. However, you did not realise that Amos had a knife, so when I interviewed Amos, you quickly made an excuse to leave in order to get into Amos' cabin in order to retrieve the knife. It was risky, but the only option you had, otherwise you would have been found out. This made me think that Amos was guilty. Then, you gave yourself the idea to try and frame all of the suspects by placing a note through the door, and planting the high heels in John's bedroom, in the hope of confusing me so much that I was forced to give up investigating. Now, the assault on Tim. You wanted Tim out of the way because he inherited the house that you were supposed to inherit, so you took a book from the library and struck him at the first opportunity you got".
"I am almost finished now. Here is the last part. Earlier on today, I telephoned Angela back at home".
"You did what?"
"You know, the woman who 'recommended we come here'?"
"What about her?"
"It turns out that she has never even been to England, and does not recall recommending you to come here. Plus, there is no such thing as The Great Mining Memorial Museum in England. You told lies. This proves that your motivation for coming to England was something that I did not want to know about, and I now know that it was murder".
Violet remained silent, and eventually confessed.
"Alright. I did it. I'm the murderer. Are you happy now?"
"I'm anything but happy", I said, "I had no idea that the murderer was always with me all along. You were the killer, and it hadn't even crossed my mind".
"How did you know it was me?"
"Apart from the knife, I think I knew deep down from the start. I knew there was something strange when you first entered this mansion. I watched you when you saw the portrait of your father and yourself as a child. The emotion in your face was incredible. Now I understand that the reason you were like that is because it was the very first time you saw what your father looked like".
"I'm sorry, Janet. I really regret doing it".
"I know you do, and I completely understand your actions. I just didn't think you were capable of murder".
"Neither did I, but I suppose you never know what you are capable of until you do it".
"So, where do we go now?"
"Are you going to tell them?"
"No. You will be put to death if I do that. Although I think that it was wrong when you assaulted Tim, you did justice for your parents at last, and you can finally put them at rest".
"Can we still be friends?"
"I don't know. I have not made my mind up yet".
To conclude this story, Miss Douthwaite and John finally married, Margaret found a better job as a chef, with higher wages, Mary and Tim divorced, and because the house was not yet legally theirs, Tim got nothing. Mary was not told of her cousin's murderer. I thought it would be best not to tell her, because she would have just been more upset if everything was explained to her. It was strange, because I remember that she mentioned playing with Victoria when they were children, and Mary did not even know that it was her, or that is what I thought.
When we left the house, all of the staff came out to say goodbye, and Mary was stood in a window, looking at Victoria, with an expression in her face which perhaps showed that she realised something, such as Victoria been her long lost second-cousin after all this time. She stood in the window, and tears went down her face. I think that deep down, Mary knew who Victoria really was. Finally, when Victoria looked at the house one last time, she pointed at the window and said "look, I think I can see my parents".
I did not see anything, but she said she did, so maybe in her mind, her parents came down to her to say thank you.
Victoria and I went our separate ways when we returned home. She still sends me Birthday and Christmas cards, but even if she didn't, I would still remember her. Solving that murder was the most amazing experience of my life, and after all of the murders I went on to solve after that, that one was special. It was a story of love and hate, and the most memorable thing of my life.
© Copyright 2016 declan mckimm. All rights reserved.