Exercise #5: Get a Clue

Possible murder weapons from Cluedo in a scann...

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I’ve never written a murder mystery before, but…  Here goes. Exercise 5 instructions

Vivian checked her watch as she neared the mansion for what she hoped was the last time that day.  She’d been all over town from one end to the other today and, as Mr. John Boddy Junior’s personal secretary, she supposed that was to be expected.  She’d originally been hired by the aging Mr. John Boddy Senior,  a self-made millionaire who only hired her because he was getting too old to do much of the leg work on his business investments himself.  John Junior, however, was quite charming and had been given his every desire by his late mother.  As a result, there was nothing he’d ever wanted in his life that he hadn’t been able to get by one method or another.  This included willing women.

Vivian was well aware of all of this.  From the moment she’d first come to work for his father, she’d noticed that John Jr had his eyes on her.  All the same, she tried to maintain a professional relationship with the man.  Many of his more elaborate gifts were often sent back.  His request to have her move to his mansion was politely refused.  However, she couldn’t deny that he was handsome.  She’d even considered featuring him in some of her more risque personal fantasies.

Pulling up to the door at the head of the grand drive, Vivian adjusted her red business suit.  She always wore red at work because she knew it was her best color, setting off the rich red-brown of her hair to perfection.  Popping the trunk of her car, she removed the one concession she’d made to John Jr. since the death of John Sr, a pair of two-inch red pumps, and slipped them on.  She preferred to wear flats, more as a matter of personal safety than taste.  However, Mr. Boddy had been very persuasive when he’d asked her to wear heels instead of flats, so she wore them, if only in the mansion.

Stephen, Mr. Boddy’s oh-so-proper butler, met her at the door, as usual.

“Good evening, Miss,” he intoned.  “Mr. Boddy is waiting for you in his office.”

“Thank you, Stephen,” Vivian smiled, hefting her heavy crimson briefcase.  “I know the way.”

“I know, Miss,” said Stephen, “but Mr. Boddy has left strict orders that I should escort you.”

Vivian nodded wearily, shaking her head a moment later.  She imagined that John thought this necessary to his station, or some such thing.  She kept hoping that he’d allow her to find her own way in his big house, but he always insisted on having her escorted.

It wasn’t long before they reached the door to Mr. Boddy’s office.  Here, Stephen knocked on the oak door.

“Sir, your personal secretary is here,” he said, sounding like he was speaking through his nose.

“Very good, Stephen,” came a voice from within.  “Send her in, please.”

“You may enter,” said Stephen, bowing.

“Thanks,” Vivian smiled a flat, sarcastic smile, watching as the stuffy old man walked away before turning the door knob and pulling the door open.  To her great surprise, the room was quite dark.  Even the window curtains seemed to have been drawn.  “Sir?” she ventured, timidly.  Instantly, there was a flare and a little puddle of light appeared around long candle lighter, lighting the face of her employer.

“Good evening, Vivian,” said Mr. Boddy, smiling. “Did your errands go well, today?”

“Yes, sir,” Vivian responded, still a little uncomfortable to have her employer refer to her by her given name.

“Vivian, really,” Mr. Boddy chided.  “We’ve worked together long enough that you should be calling me ‘John’.”

“Yes,” Vivian smiled, “sir.”  She’d decided long ago that she’d never call an employer by their given name.

“Please, indulge me, Vivian,” Mr. Boddy urged, smiling that charming smile of his.

Vivian sighed.  “John,” she said, her voice flat and reluctant.

“There,” he said, taking her hand.

“Is something wrong with the lights, sir,” Vivian asked, earning a flat look from her employer.  “John,” she corrected.  He smiled again.

“I have a surprise for you,” he said.  Reaching forward with the lighter, the flame caught the wick of a tall, white candle set in the middle of a round table covered in a white cloth and set for two.  A bottle of wine sat chilling in a wine cooler just to the right of one of the chairs.  John pulled a chair out for her and, rather self-consciously, Vivian took it.  John took the other.

Once seated, John snapped his fingers.  A hitherto concealed door opened and a servant entered carrying a pair of plates filled with steaming food.

“Mr. Boddy,” Vivian began.  The look on her employer’s face silenced her.  “John,” she tried again, “This is really, too much.”

“Try the wine,” John interrupted, seizing the bottle. “Finest year in my cellars.”

“No, thank you,” Vivian demurred, suddenly confused.  “I don’t drink.”

As though he hadn’t heard, Mr. Boddy poured two glasses of wine and set one by her right hand.

“Sir,” said Vivian, coming to her feet in irritation, “I didn’t come here for dinner.  You told me that you had one more business transaction to discuss.”

“This is veal parmigiana, Vivian,” John purred, gesturing to her plate.  “You really should try it.”

She glanced down at her plate, flanked as it was with cutlery.  Just looking at the delicious dish set before her made her feel even more uncomfortable.

“I-I’m sorry, sir,” Vivian stammered, regathering her belongings.  “I-I need to go home, now.  I-we have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow.”  Turning, she began to make her way toward the door, only to be stopped as a set of strong fingers grabbed her arm and swung her back.

“Vivian, I’ve tried so hard to let you know how I feel about you,” Mr. Boddy began, obviously trying to pour on the charm.

“I appreciate the sentiment, sir,” Vivian said, prying at his fingers, “but I don’t fraternize with employers as a general rule.”

“Couldn’t you make an exception,” John asked, plaintively, “just this once?”  Then he leaned in and kissed her, his arms snaking around her waist beneath her blazer.  He reached up and began to try and take it off her.  She slipped a little in his grip, so he renewed it and yanked at the blazer, tearing it.

“Sir, please!” Vivian gasped, turning her head aside from Mr. Boddy’s insistent mouth.  “Wait.”

“I’m through waiting, Vivian,” he breathed into her neck.  “You’ve tempted me for far too long.”  He yanked at her blazer again, ripping the ruby-red fabric so badly that the lining was hanging out.  Bracing herself against his chest, she shoved him away and ran, but was brought up short by the tattered remains of her jacket, still in his grip.  She shrugged easily out of it and leaped for the door, but the handle wouldn’t turn.  Mr. Boddy must have locked it after she came into the room.

Then he had her by the wrist again and was tearing at her white blouse, the buttons flying everywhere.

“No!” Vivian pled, “Stop!”  He kissed her again, silencing her as he shoved her onto the surface of the table.  On her back now, Vivian began feeling around for something, anything, to defend herself with, her brain shrieking at her to get away somehow.  Any how.  A wooden handle met the heel of her hand.  Closing her fingers around it, she brought it up between herself and Mr. Boddy and shoved.

“Urk!”  John said, his eyes going suddenly wide with surprise.  Shoving himself off of her, he looked down.  There, protruding from his chest was the wooden handle, throbbing with each heart beat.

“Vivian,” Mr. Boddy croaked.  He reached for her but she stepped back in revulsion.  “Call an ambulance,” he begged, falling to his knees.

“Mr. Boddy,” Viviane gasped, trying to get her breath back, “I’ve been nothing but respectful to you from the moment we first met and this is how you choose to repay me?  You can just rot in hell.”  So saying, she grabbed the handle and yanked.

Okay, folks.  Did you have a Clue, yet?

If not, the answers you seek are below, waiting to be highlighted.

Murderer: Ms. Scarlett

Scene: The Study

Weapon: The Knife


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