“Claire, will you please go and see that?” Lillian Evans, the detective, called out as she heard the
“A bunch of young girls, Madam,” said her help.
“Please send them up. I’ll be there right away.” Miss Evans replied.
Settling down on a sofa, Miss Evans smiled at the girls. “Please introduce yourselves.”
“Clarice Brown, 21”
“Janice Wright, 26”
“Bexley Allen, 25”
“Celine Miller, 24”
“Melanie Ellison, 25”
“And what brings you here?” asked Miss Evans.
“An attempt to murder me” replied Clarice.
“We ought to report it right away!” Melanie whisper-shouted.
“Yes! If it happened once, it can happen again,” Bexley piped in giving a slight shrug.
“Right, but I don’t have the slightest idea about who’d want to kill me!” This time it was Clarice who
Celine was the only one who had remained quiet, after all, would she really care if Clarice was gone?
Just a little while back, the five girls were taking a stroll in the Northwood Park. “I will go get some
ice-cream’’— Bexley rushed off. Melanie followed her-- “I’ll go and help her!” The other three—
Janice, Clarice and Celine walked through the soft grass, not knowing about the unfortunate
happenings that were about to occur. Celine, on the other hand, wore an expression of despair,
determination and slight hope. Right as they flopped themselves down on the soft grass, a bullet
flew right past Clarice’s shoulder. The three startled friends got up immediately.
“The bullet came from behind us!” Janice exclaimed.
“That bullet…it was meant for me, wasn’t it?” Clarice hesitated trying to get a grip on herself.
“You’re awfully lucky that the bullet missed you by an inch, and landed on this tree instead.” Celine
replied with a slight tone of mockery in her voice surprising everyone.
“I’m back!” came a voice as Bexley ran up to them with five scoops of ice-cream. “I say, what’s the
matter, did you want a different flavour?” she continued catching the worried look on their faces.
“Heavens, what a shock! Who’d want to kill Clarice!” Bexley exclaimed after hearing the story.
“I say, where is Melanie, I thought she said she was going to help get you the ice-cream?” Janice
asked looking around.
“Melanie? Why, no. She wasn’t with me.” Bexley replied taken aback.
“Here, I’m back. I totally forgot about helping Bexley out! There was a bookstore nearby and you
know how I can’t just walk past one without entering it!”
“Well, that’s all very good but Clarice here has almost been shot. The police need to be informed
immediately.” Bexley said cutting her off.
Celine stopped her narration seeing a man walk into the room.
“Oh, there’s Inspector Jones. Good evening.”
“Good evening, mademoiselle.” Inspector Jones greeted taking off his hat as Celine started all over
“Oh, excuse me for just a moment please, that’s my boyfriend calling.” Clarice flushed taking out her
phone. Miss Evans observed the picture of a young man that had appeared on the screen.
“Jacob? No, I’m not at home at the moment, I’ll call you when I get back, alright?”
“Now, Clarice, could you tell us about your family?”
“Well, my parents recently died in an accident. I don’t have any sibling but my mother had told me
that she had accidentally got pregnant before marriage. Since she was too young, she had to give
that child away.”
“Alright, my schedule is packed for the next few days, but I’ll get back to you all in a while.” Lillian
Evans announced putting her left leg over her right one.
“Well, what did you understand from all that?” Inspector Jones asked when the others had left.
“Not much, not much.” Lillian sighed as she ruffled her fingers through her auburn hair.
“In other words, you managed to understand something!” Inspector asked raising her eyebrows.
“Janice knows something.”
“Solving a crime is like solving a puzzle, unless we have all the pieces, the mystery isn’t completely
known. And that one piece might be the most important one, the one determining the entire
picture” Lillian Evans said walking down the road with Inspector Jones. “We are going to the Lorest
Apartment in the evening, that’s where all five of them live. We’ll inspect their rooms and ask each
one personally what their idea about each other is. Who knows, we might get something that might
Meanwhile, in their apartment, Janice was getting ready to go for her bath.
“Hang on, I’ll get that.” Janice said scrambling off to check who called.
“Yes?” Janice asked picking up the phone.
“Is Miss Brown there?” came an unknown voice.
“Clarice? The call’s for you! I’m going in for my bath, alright?” Janice called out.
“Is this Clarice Brown? Right, there’s a package for you, should I leave it here, or I should I bring it
“A package? It would be very kind if you brought it up”
It had been about twenty minutes when Janice came out from her bath, softly whistling a tune to
herself. Her expression changed rapidly and the colour drained out from her face almost
immediately. She stood petrified for a minute and then she rushed towards the dead body of Clarice
Brown. Her hands shaking, she picked up her phone and dialled a number,
“Miss Evans? It has happened.”
“Janice? What’s happened?” Lillian Evans asked as she put on her coat.
“Clarice. She’s…she’s been… killed.” Janice said in almost a whisper.
“Hang on, I’ll be there.” She replied beckoning to Inspector Jones that they had to leave right away.
“What has happened now?” Inspector Jones asked flinging the door open.
“They’ve got Clarice.” Lillian Evans replied as she watched Inspector Jones’ eyes round up.
By the time they reached, Melanie, Bexley and Celine had already reached the flat. They stood
nearby and Janice sat beside the lifeless body. The inspector and Miss Evans bent down to examine
the body. A knife had been stabbed into Lillian’s chest and blood was spurting out.
“I think we ought to leave this to the doctor and have a talk inside” Lilian Evans said placing her hand
on Janice’s arm.
“By what I just saw, I concluded that Clarice Brown had been stabbed right in the middle of her
chest. Her eyes seemed petrified, it’s obvious that she saw the murderer but he didn’t have the time
to shout for help. Well, now you all must let me interview you individually. But before that, where
were all of you, did you see the murderer?”
“I had gone for my bath, right before that, Clarice had received a phone call. It was about a parcel.
And when I came out…” Janice’s voice trailed off.
“You mean you heard the voice? Was it a female or male?
“Male. But I think I’ve heard the voice before…” Janice mumbled as all eyes turned towards her.
“Since it was a male’s voice, why would you want to interview us? And why would we want to
murder Clarice?” Bexley asked.
“Just because I interview someone, doesn’t mean I suspect that person, it’s the details, the little
things which might fit in and give away the game.” Miss Evans said pronouncing a strained smile.
“Janice, this is your room isn’t it? Will the other three of you please step out for a few minutes?”
“Now, Janice, I want you to tell me your impression of Clarice.” Miss Evans said.
“Well, it was last autumn when Clarice shifted to Stoneybrook. She was studying Journalism, along
with Melanie. Bexley is in the arts department, while Celine and I are studying medicine.”
“Go ahead, what else is there that we should know?” Miss Evans asked further.
“I don’t think there’s anything else, Miss Evans.” Janice said firmly sitting up.
“What about the fact that Celine’s boyfriend ditched her, when Clarice joined the Institution?” Miss
Evans said narrowing her eyes.
Janice sat rooted to her spot, struggling to find words.
“I assumed this from the way you acted. You seemed to be shielding her, for some reason. You
suspected her of committing the crime. The first day I met you, you seemed to watch Celine in a
nervous manner. Celine, on the other hand seemed not bothered by the fact that Clarice could have
been killed. I saw the picture of Jacob on Clarice’s phone screen. I saw a picture of Celine with the
same man in the living room.”
“But it can’t possibly be her, it was a male’s voice over the telephone after all.” Janice exclaimed, her
“We’ll see, we’ll see, now do step out of your room just for a few minutes. You share this room with
Celine, don’t you? Melanie shared hers with Clarice while Bexley has a room of her own?”
“Now, what do we have here?” Lillian Evans asked walking around the room once Janice had left.
“Not a thing that seems suspicious?” Inspector Jones asked.
“Here’s something rather interesting.” Miss Evans said handing the inspector a picture of a 9 year old Celine with a toy gun aiming at water balloons.
“Oh, how I loved playing this as a child. But how difficult it was to shoot the yellow balloon placed at
the centre!” Inspector Jones groaned.
“But look, the balloon in the centre is burst.”
“Heavens, she has a fancy for guns then, that girl. Could she be…!“
“Well, it all adds up, but we might be on the wrong track. The girls said that Celine was right beside
Claire when the first attempt occurred.
“I say, what’s that?” the inspector exclaimed taking out a packet of white powder.
“We’ll have to send this to the police laboratory immediately” Miss Evans commented.
“Celine, come on in, now!” Miss Evans called out as the girl entered in. “Tell me about yourself.”
“There isn’t much to tell anyway.” Celine replied grimly.
“And what about your history with Clarice’s boyfriend?”
“If you know everything, why do you ask?”
“Doesn’t it bother you that I’ve found out?”
“No, why should it? I’ve heard of you, Miss Evans, you’ve solved the most astonishing crimes. You of
all people should know that it wasn’t me.” Celine left, sounding distraught.
At that very moment Bexley came in.
“Please tell us about your family,’’ said Miss Evans.
“My parents passed away when I was a child. I just had a sister.”
“I see. How well did you know Clarice?”
“Melanie’s turn now!” Miss Evans continued. “But before that, we’ll check your room once.”
“Naturally, Miss Evans.”
“Inspector Jones, did you manage to find anything striking?”
“Nothing at all, Mademoiselle. What about you?”
“These shelves just have notebooks, a whole bunch of puppets and some letters addressed to B.B,
must be Bexley’s.”
“Let’s move on to Melanie now, shall we?”
“Melanie, your room, how do you sleep here, it’s messier than a cobweb! Books scattered
“I’m sorry, Miss Evans! I told you about how books attracted me, didn’t I? The bookstore was what
attracted me that day, I ought to have helped Bexley instead...“
“Melanie, you seem to read a lot of detective stories.” Miss Evans interrupted Melanie’s musings.
“Why, yes, they are my absolute favourite.”
“Then, you must know all the perfect ways to get away with crimes.”
“Miss Evans, you can’t possibly suggest that I murdered Clarice! What would I gain from that?”
“I’m not suggesting anything. Inspector Jones, we’re done for the day. I’ll see you all tomorrow.”
“Miss Evans? Miss Evans, could you please come to ‘Monchester University’, right away? Please
come to the Journalism Department, Block 2, room 7.” Celine exclaimed from the other end of the
“Celine? Whatever happened now?” Lillian Evans asked in a perplexed voice.
“The second murder.”
“Move aside all of you”— Lillian Evans and Inspector Jones said trying to get into the crowded classroom.
“Heavens, what on earth is this?” Inspector Jones asked looking at the body of a 28 year old man
who was lying on the ground.
“That’s Jacob, the one who had ditched me to become Clarice’s.” Celine said her voice shaking a
“Doctor, what’s all this? And everyone other than Melanie, Bexley, Celine and Janice are requested
to not gather around. I’m pretty sure there isn’t any show going on in here” Lillian Evans asked.
“I just arrived here. It’s evident that he has been poisoned.” The doctor sighed
“Well, we were working on our assignment, Jacob had poured some water in his glass, but before
he could drink it, our teacher, Miss Dorothy had called us, right after we came back, he drank the
water and immediately fell dead on the floor,” said a boy who was standing nearby.
“Ammonium dichromate” the doctor informed putting a finger in the glass bringing out minute
“The same chemical that we found in that packet Celine’s room,” sighed Miss Evans.
“I beg your pardon?” Celine asked giving a perplexed stare at Miss Evans.
“When we were searching your room, I found this” Miss Evans stated coldly bringing out a packet of
white powdery substance.
“That’s absurd! I’m being set up, I tell you!” Celine exclaimed.
“We’ll know soon enough.”
“Miss Evans, I think there’s something I should tell you. There’s something I remembered,” Bexley
said in a hushed tone.
“Is that so? Please go ahead.” Miss Lillian Evans said turning around.
“Well, the night before the attempt to murder occurred, when Melanie, Janice and Celine were in
the University, Clarice was showing me her assignment. And, well…”
“Well, they had to write a detective story, but what’s odd is that the girl in her story dies exactly the
way she did.”
“Bexley, does it have anyone’s name?”
“No, surprisingly the characters are only numbered. It says that character 5 had killed her.”
“How will that be of any help then?” Janice asked.
“Connections and instances” Miss Evans smiled “Well, if this really is a clue left by Clarice then we need to find how the characters are related to each other. For example, in her essay, it’s written that character 5, wasn’t on friendly terms with Clarice. So we need to see who all did not like Clarice. Celine was one, of course. On the second page, she has written that character 5 had got into an argument with Clarice about Jacob a few days before the murder.”
“That happened on the 19th November. Clarice and Celine had got into quite a terrible argument
over Jacob,” Bexley said softly.
“It keeps coming back to Celine, doesn’t it?” the inspector asked softly.
“Miss Evans, you of all people should know it wasn’t me!” Celine exclaimed.
“Lillian, you know, I do feel bad for Celine if she is being set up.” Inspector Jones said after leaving
the crime scene.
“What if Celine is making it seem like she’s being set up by others?” Miss Evans replied with a smile.
The next day, everyone gathered in Miss Evan’s drawing room. Inspector Jones was also there.
“Let’s begin now, shall we? At first I suspected Melanie since she said that she was going to help
Bexley get ice-cream but went somewhere else. But then my suspicion moved on to Celine. The clue
which had been left behind by Clarice, their history, the poison, everything pointed to her.”
“And then?” Janice couldn’t control her curiosity.
“And then something struck me. What if I was being led on the wrong path? What if the essay wasn’t
written by Clarice but by someone else to put the blame on Celine? What if the poison was
implanted in Celine’s room? Maybe Jacob’s death was also for the same reason, no one would
gain from it, just that the suspicion would shift to Celine.”
“But, if it wasn’t Clarice, then who wrote it?” Bexley asked.
“Someone who would gain financially from Clarice Brown’s death. None other than Miss Bexley
Brown.” Miss Evans replied.
“Whatever do you mean, Miss Evans? I’m Bexley Allen, not Bexley Brown!”
“Bexley, you mentioned that you had a sister. Clarice was your sister. You gave it away by saying you
HAD a sister, instead of saying you HAVE a sister. You killed Jacob to make it seem like Celine was to
blame. For the same reason, you wrote that essay and planted the poison is Celine’s room. When I
was inspecting your room, I noticed quite a few puppets on your shelves. Your hobby is
ventriloquism, isn’t it? You used a male’s voice when you pretended to be a parcel delivery guy to
murder Clarice. Janice said she had heard the voice before. That was probably because you were
joking around one day switching voices and you gave away this one. On the first day when you had
attempted the murder, you first tried to shoot but missed and then went to get the ice-cream and
pretended that you didn’t know anything about it. Now let’s move on to the motive, shall we? I
figured out Clarice and Bexley were sisters, Bexley being 4 years older. Their mother had accidentally
got pregnant with Bexley before her marriage and she gave her away for adoption. Later, she met
Bexley but didn’t introduce Clarice to her sister. After Clarice’s parents died in an accident, Clarice
inherited their fortune. Clarice didn’t know Bexley, but Bexley knew who Clarice was; so she came
here to kill Clarice and get back the property which she felt should have been hers in the first place. I
found in your room some letters written by Mrs Brown, Clarice’s mother, addressed to B.B. This of
course made me realize who you really were.”
“You don’t have any proof.”
“What about the traces of your fingerprints had been found on the knife?”
“That’s impossible, I wore gloves!”
“I’ll take that as a confession.’’ Miss Lillian Evans smiled to herself wondering how many criminals
one passed on the streets without even realizing.
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brilliant story! very cleverly narrated, too!