Mr. Frots moved his long rabbit ears away from his face. The costume itched. He sighed. It was the only costume left when he went to Mr. Kilshings to purchase one for the museum event. He looked at Inspector Goodstone. His grumpy mood made Mr. Frots smile.
"I dread Halloween," The Inspector commented. He was dressed in his normal work attire.
"Yes, Inspector, I know. However, it is good for you to get away from that desk." Mr. Frots studied the crowd. Several people attending the museum's fundraising event were dressed in costumes ranging from pharaohs to every type of animal known. He was about to say something to the Inspector when a woman dressed in a cat suit, holding a martini that tilted back and forth came toward them.
"Oh, how lovely, a rabbit and what are you?" Her question was directed at the Inspector. The Inspector's eyes narrowed.
"I'm the Inspector," Inspector Goodstone slowly replied. The woman giggled and then spilled some of her martini on the Inspector's jacket. He glanced down at the wet spot on his dark overcoat and sighed.
"Inspector what?" The woman persisted in her giggling. The Inspector looked up at the woman, annoyed.
"Goodstone, Madam." He glanced at Mr. Frots who was trying to hold back a grin.
"Oh, I see and what a cute costume you have and," the woman started.
"Madam, this is not," The Inspector interrupted her, but Mr. Frots jumped in.
"Oh Madam, it is very nice to meet you." Mr. Frots extended his hand and she shook it, swaying a bit as she did.
"I'm just so happy to be here. My husband owns this museum you know." She put her hand over her mouth, giggling as she did.
"Oh, you must be Mrs. Jules then?" Mr. Frots said.
"Yes. My husband thought it would be a great idea to have this event, raise some money and show off our new exhibit." She swayed some more. It was apparent to the Inspector she had already had too much to drink. He helped her over to a chair in the corner.
"Mrs. Jules what is the new exhibit?" Mr. Frots asked.
"A pearl necklace worn by Queen Elizabeth the First." She grinned.
A tall man dressed in a black suit, his tie a bit tight and his hair white, came walking over to the Inspector and Mr. Frots.
"I must apologize for my wife. She sometimes drinks too much." The man extended his hand and Mr. Frots was the first to shake it.
"Mr. Jules, it's an honor to be part of this event." Mr. Frots pushed a rabbit ear out of his face.
"I was very delighted to hear that you and Inspector Goodstone had come. We have a wonderful exhibit that came in last week." Mr. Jules smiled and looked over at the glass case displaying the pearl necklace. The Inspector and Mr. Frots looked in the direction that Mr. Jules gestured to.
"It looks very impressive," the Inspector said.
"Please allow me to show you up close. You won't be disappointed." Mr. Jules walked over to the glass case. The Inspector and Mr. Frots followed.
They walked over to the glass case, then without warning the lights went out. The museum was pitch black, glass was shattered and a few minutes later the lights were back on.
"The necklace, it's gone!" Mr. Jules scurried around the shards of glass in a panic.
The Inspector and Mr. Frots looked around with the others. Mr. Frots bent down and picked up one of the shards of glass.
"Inspector, the way this glass is broken it looks like a round object smashed it." He brought the shard over to the Inspector to look at. The Inspector took it from Mr. Frots and studied it.
"I believe you are right Mr. Frots." He turned to Mr. Jules and handed him the shard.
"Whoever broke this glass used a rounded top of something. When they bashed in the glass it broke a circle and the shards confirm it."
Mr. Jules stared at the shard.
"Who knew that the necklace was here?" The Inspector asked Mr. Jules.
"Everyone who was invited of course and I believe we sent the press something."
"So basically everyone in the city," The Inspector grumbled.
Mr. Jules nodded.
"I think it be best if we asked your staff some questions." Mr. Frots watched as the Inspector walked around the empty case.
"Do you think my staff had anything to do with it?" Mr. Jules's face turned red.
"It could be a possibility," the Inspector responded, collecting more glass shards.
Mr. Jules sighed. "Okay, they are all here at the party per my request. I will show you them."
"In the meantime, please have someone gather these shards and put them in a box. I want to look at them more closely." The Inspector looked down at the broken glass.
"As well as a picture of the piece missing," Mr. Frots interjected.
"Of course." Mr. Jules walked over to one of his wait staff standing in the corner and told them to have someone clean up the glass shards per the Inspector's instructions. The waiter nodded in response and went to get someone. Mr. Jules walked back to the Inspector and Mr. Frots.
"I will get a photo of the necklace, please excuse me." Mr. Jules walked through an open door into his museum office.
"The necklace was taken quickly. How was it no one saw them?" Mr. Frots asked quietly.
"I'm not sure. But it is something I plan on finding out."
Mr. Jules returned several minutes later with a photo of the necklace and handed it to the Inspector.
"How much value has been put on this necklace?" The Inspector asked.
"It's valued at a quarter of a million pounds at the moment," Mr. Jules responded.
The Inspector placed the photo in his pocket.
"I think we should talk with some of your staff now." Inspector Goodstone adjusted his hat on his head. Mr. Frots agreed after moving one of the rabbit ears out of his face.
"Of course." Mr. Jules led them across the room into the hallway where some of his staff was working despite the fundraiser.
The office rooms were small and darkly colored. Inspector Goodstone looked around each office as he passed. Mr. Jules stopped at the third office where a woman was paging through a folder of documents.
"Miss Kessner, this is Inspector Goodstone and Mr. Frots. They're here investigating the missing pearl necklace."
The woman looked up and put down the documents.
"How can I help you?" Her voice was soft, matching the pastel colors she wore on her dress.
"We'd like to ask you some questions," Mr. Frots replied.
"Sure, anything I can do to help." She turned her chair around to face them directly.
"Were you here all night?" Inspector Goodstone asked as he walked around the room picking up small objects that were placed on various shelves around her office.
"I just came in about an hour ago. I had some paperwork to finish before Monday." She stared at the Inspector.
"And did you see anyone acting strange when you came in?" Mr. Frots asked.
"Not anything out of the ordinary. I mean these fundraisers tend to bring out some interesting people."
Mr. Jules frowned at her.
"What she means is at times people have a bit too much to drink and they are not themselves." Mr. Jules looked at her and then back at Mr. Frots.
"I see. It's important that if you do remember anything unusual you inform us right away," the Inspector said as he walked past Mr. Jules into the hallway. Mr. Frots thanked her and followed.
"I'm sorry she wasn't much help," Mr. Jules replied as they continued down the hallway.
The Inspector glanced at Mr. Jules.
"It was all she could answer at the time. How long has she worked for you?"
Mr. Jules scratched his head.
"About maybe, let's see, about a few months now."
The Inspector nodded.
"How many employees do you have Mr. Jules?" Mr. Frots interjected.
"We now have about ten. It's a small group. The rest of the general employees are not hired by me and don't work directly with me."
"And how many of those employees?" The Inspector questioned as they approached another office door.
They stopped in front of the door where an empty office greeted them.
"I believe between janitors and security there is about forty." Mr. Jules led them into the office.
"And whose office are we in now?" Mr. Frots looked around.
"We're in my account's office."
"Are they here right now?" The Inspector asked.
"No, they were not able to make the fundraiser. Mr. Lines has been ill the past few days."
"Does Mr. Lines keep track of everything including the worth of the items located here?" Mr. Frots moved around the room slowly looking at the cabinets located in the corner.
"Yes, everything including that."
"Okay, well thank you Mr. Jules. We're going to talk to some of the guests now." The Inspector started to walk out the room. Mr. Frots followed.
"Don't you think we should look more closely at the accountant's office," Mr. Frots whispered as they walked down the hallway.
"As training to be an Inspector Mr. Frots, one thing you need to know is to keep your options open and to not assume anything right away."
"But the accountant has access to everything."
"Yet, a motive for stealing the necklace could be anything; greed, revenge and so forth. Once we discover something of a motive, we can start to pinpoint more suspects. At this time we're just speculating."
Mr. Frots nodded.
Mr. Jules stayed behind in the office. He sat down and let out a sigh.
Mr. Frots and The Inspector had circulated the whole crowd of guests at the fundraiser. All of the guests had told them they were either not paying attention or not there at the time of the robbery. They looked at the place where the necklace was standing. The glass had already been picked up and there seemed to be no sight of a robbery even taking place. It was then they noticed Mrs. Jules who was sitting at one of the chairs, calmly staring at the painting in front of her.
"Mrs. Jules, you seem better," Mr. Frots said as he walked closer to her.
Mrs. Jules turned to look at Mr. Frots and The Inspector.
"Um, yes, I'm feeling better, thank you." Her eyes seemed distant, distracted from her surroundings.
"I hate to have to do this Mrs. Jules, but where were you about thirty minutes ago?" Mr. Frots stared at her waiting for an answer.
"I was here. Where else would I possibly be? This is his thing, his love of art, his everything." She stood up quickly.
"Can anyone verify that you were here?" The Inspector asked.
"Are you accusing me?"
"We just want to make sure Mrs. Jules that everyone is accounted for; that includes you." Mr. Frots looked at her with almost pity.
"Yes, I'm sure you do. Why don't you ask that Kessner. I'm sure she can answer some questions." Her face frowned. She clenched her teeth.
"Is there something going on between you and Miss Kessner?" The Inspector watched as her face went different shades of red.
"Ask my husband." Mrs. Jules sat back down and turned to face the painting. A scowl formed on her face.
The Inspector rubbed his chin and walked away from Mrs. Jules. Mr. Frots followed.
"Do you think we should talk to Mr. Jules again?'
"Yes, something has gotten her angry." The Inspector turned to look at Mrs. Jules again.
"Do you think it has to do with the robbery?"
"It just might. We need to find that out."
The Inspector and Mr. Frots walked back to the accountant's office where Mr. Jules still sat.
"Mr. Jules, we need to ask you some more questions." Mr. Frots looked at the back of the chair where Mr. Jules sat.
"Mr. Jules, this is important." The Inspector walked closer to the chair.
"Mr. Jules?" Mr. Frots turned the chair around.
There sitting in the chair was Mr. Jules; however, a slit across his throat and the vacant stare in his eyes, told them both he was dead.
"We just saw him," Mr. Frots said.
"I know; someone was back here while we were in this office."
"They waited until we left the area and then killed him." Mr. Frots commented.
"It looks very much like you said." The Inspector studied Mr. Jules.
"Mr. Frots notify the police. I'm going to talk to Miss Kessner again."
"Do you think she has something to do with Mr. Jules' death?"
"It's a possibility." The Inspector walked out and headed back to Miss Kessner's office.
The Inspector walked carefully down the hallway back to Miss Kessner's office. When he approached the office he saw her looking through papers.
"Miss Kessner, if I may?" The Inspector gestured with his hand to enter her office. She turned around and nodded.
"What can I do for you Inspector? I've told you everything I know." She still held onto one of the documents she was looking at.
"Where were you an hour ago?"
"You mean after we talked?"
"Here, of course. Where else would I be?"
The Inspector squinted his eyes and rubbed his chin.
"Well, Miss Kessner, Mr. Jules has been murdered."
"What? Oh No!" She put down the document and covered her eyes with her hands.
The Inspector stared at her.
"Miss Kessner, it's important that any information you have not told us, you tell us now."
She took her hands off her eyes and looked up; tears barely falling down her cheeks.
"What are you saying?"
"We've heard there may have been more than a working relationship between you and Mr. Jules." He glanced at the document she had put down. It listed all the finacial information on Mr. and Mrs. Jules.
"I can guess who told you that." She wiped the one tear off her cheek and frowned.
"But is it true?" The Inspector tried to focus more on the document without her noticing.
She moved in her seat and sighed.
"Yes," she said and put her head down.
"For how long?"
"He broke it off with me a few days ago." She frowned.
"What reason did he give for breaking it off?"
"He said he wanted to make it better with his wife. The person who apparently had several affairs on him, but he wanted to make it work. He said he felt bad."
"Hmm, and this break-up didn't bother your working relationship with him?"
"Well, I needed work. No one does better with records than me." In an almost proud like fashion she smiled.
"Is that why you have the records of Mr. Jules and Mrs. Jules?" The Inspector raised an eyebrow.
She glanced back at the document on her desk.
"This is personal information you are not allowed to look at without a warrant."
"I have not looked it over. You had it on your desk in the open and I saw the names."
"Why would you have that information?"
"Because I take care of the records," she spitted.
"But not the financial records; Mr. Jules informed us another employee handles that." The Inspector paced back and forth.
She glared at the Inspector.
"And what are you saying?" She yelled out.
"If you had his records, isn't it possible you knew how much he the museum would take in at this fundraiser and how much he had to gain from this necklace afterwards?"
"Everyone knew." She stood up.
"Yes, but not everyone knew the exact value of the necklace or had an affair with the museum owner."
She started to go toward the door. A couple of officers stopped her. Mr. Frots was next to them.
"I'm sorry Miss Kessner, but we can't allow you to just leave," Mr. Frots said.
"And why not? I didn't do anything."
"Oh yes you did," Mr. Frots responded.
"You're wrong." She tried to push past the officers but they blocked her.
"No, unfornately, you left several clues all around this museum." The Inspector smiled.
"Yes, we also found some interesting things after the police arrived," Mr. Frots interjected.
"You found nothing!" She screamed.
"Oh on the contrary Miss Kessner, we have found a ring in the pocket of Mr. Jules' jacket. It was engraved to My Beloved Helen, love TJ."
"That could be anyone."
"But isn't your first name Helen?"
"Yes and so what?"
"And you had an affair with Mr. Jules. It would be obvious that was your ring." The Inspector took the ring from Mr. Frots and tossed it on her desk.
"It doesn't mean I stole the necklace or killed him." She gave up and sat back down on the chair.
"Wait, there is more," Mr. Frots said back.
She glared at him. The Inspector just grinned.
"We also found a knife on the floor that had blood on it."
"So, that doesn't mean it was mine." She turned around and stared at the documents on her desk.
"Well, that's very interesting because you see the knife was also engraved. You must have really charmed someone."
Mr. Frots handed the knife to The Inspector who then looked it over.
"Hmm, well, Miss Kessner, this knife is engraved with to a wonderful employee and friend Helen Kessener love TJ."
She looked up shocked and then lowered her head.
"Seems you had made a very good impression on our Mr. Jules," Mr. Frots commented.
"Is there anything now you would like to tell us?" The Inspector placed the knife on her desk. She stared at it.
"Miss Kessener?" Mr. Frots stepped closer.
"Fine, Fine, she was so horrible to him."
"Who?" Mr. Frots asked.
"His wife, she was awful to him. She had affairs constantly, broke his heart. When we finally got together I saw a man who needed a strong woman; that was me."
"And you did all this why?"
"Because he didn't deserve it all. I gave him everything and he turned me away. I knew the fundraiser would bring him the recognition and money he needed to continue their museum. So I snuck into the main room dressed as a cat with a completed dark suit and mask. No one noticed, figuring I was one of the guests and given it was a custom party. I broke the glass and took the necklace, made it back inside, changing quickly. "
"Where is the necklace?" The Inspector walked around her office.
"I hid it in the safe."
"Which safe?" Mr. Frots asked.
She got up and went to the painting on the wall and took it down, putting it on the desk. A silver safe was behind where the painting was hung. She turned the knob right, then left and then right again until the safe opened. Inside the safe was the pearl necklace that was stolen.
"Here." She handed the necklace to The Inspector.
"You could've handled this differently Miss Kessner." The Inspector gestured for the two officers to come over by them.
"He deserved what he got! You know what he said when I held the knife up to him? He said I wasn't worth anything. Hmm, now he's not worth anything."
The officers took Miss Kessener and moved past The Inspector and Mr. Frots out the office and down the hallway.
"How did you know it was Miss Kessner?" Mr. Frots asked The Inspector.
"The documents and just her tone; she seemed relieved instead of upset that Mr. Jules was murdered.
"Until we found those items in the office where Mr. Jules was murdered, I was sure it was Mrs. Jules."
They walked out of the office and into the hallway.
"That's why it's important to look at all avenues. As you train more you will see it."
"You're right Inspector. It's sad that woman went to such extreme lengths."
"Rejection can produce an extreme emotion." The Inspector walked out into the main room. People were still drinking and now dancing.
"Seems like no one even cares about what happened." Mr. Frots looked around.
"Most don't when it doesn't concern them Mr. Frots."
They both walked toward the front doors of the museum and out into the cold night air.