Whodunit? (Part 1)

[Links to Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of the story]

Hasmukh, was walking up to Usha’s house, when Police Commissioner’s car told him what he feared the most. There was a death at Usha’s house. He should have listened to his instincts. A feeling of great regret just washed over him at the moment.

Hasmukh saw John was standing by the flower bed, under Usha’s window. Hasmukh walked up to him, and looked at John. The sadness in John’s eyes, gave Hasmukh another shock – Usha was the victim. Never in his wildest dreams did Hasmukh imagine that Usha would die so suddenly; her death was as surprising, if not more surprising, than Nitin’s death.

Hasmukh walked over to Police Commissioner- his good friend Mr. Shekhar D’souza.

“Hey Shekhar, what happened?”

“Very sad news, Hasmukh. Usha was strangled and mauled in her sleep last night.”

“So, you really think it was a murder?”

“Yes, absolutely. No doubt about it.”

Hasmukh, looked down at his shoes. He made a decision. “Shekhar, can I help you solve the crime. I would love to get hold of the bastard who did this.”

“Hasmukh, I admire you, however, I think this is a not detective story, where the murderer was in the house. It looks like an outside job.”

“Shekhar, let me help you. I had a terrible feeling yesterday at dinner that there was a murderer in that house.”

“Fine. I’ll give you all the resources you need.”

Happy with Shekhar’s affirmation, Hasmukh walked over to John.

“John, I know you loved your madam to death. I will find who did this. And I need your help. Holmes had Watson, Poirot had Hastings. Will you be my John?”

“Sir, my last name is Gomes.” The momentarily relief through John’s humor, confirmed Hasmukh’s desire to use John as his sounding board.

Hasmukh was staring at the flower bed, his eyes slowly rising up to the open window. He presumed it was Usha’s room. Better to confirm it, though.

“John, is that, I mean, was that Usha’s bedroom?”

“Yes, sir. They haven’t yet taken the body. Photographers having been taking pictures.”

Hasmukh was looking down at the flower bed dejectedly, when he suddenly had an idea- “Shekhar, why do you say it was an outside job?”

“Well, the window in her room was flung open. John testified that he closed it every evening, and it wasn’t hot at all yesterday. Oh, and there’s a pipe next to her window, from which the murderer could have climbed up. Her safe was open, and some contents were missing.”

“Hmm…I did see some glass shards on the flower bed. Two things – why didn’t Usha wake up when the window was broken? And why didn’t anyone else hear the sounds and wake up?”

“Hasmukh, that’s easy. Usha took sleeping pills with her, John said so. The guests were sleeping on the other side of house. You know this is a big house.”

“Too easily answered, in my opinion. Ok, take a look at the flower bed, and tell me does nothing strike you as odd about it?”

Police Commissioner trained his eyes toward the flower bed, “No, it looks pristine. What’s so odd about?”

Hasmukh managed to smile, “Exactly, that’s the problem. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take a look at the body.”

Shekhar thought to himself, “Old man’s lost it from shock of losing his friend.”


Hasmukh looked around the room – Usha’s, rather her dead body, was lying on the bed. A serene look over her face.

“She had no idea that she was being murdered.” There was sound of relief in Hasmukh’s voice. It steeled him even further.

Hasmukh walked around. He stopped by Usha’s bed, picked up the half-full glass of water. He sniffed it, and put it back down. There wouldn’t be any traces left in water by now.

Shekhar interrupted him, “I took fingerprints from the glass, and lab just called and said that there only Usha’s prints on glass.”

Hasmukh had a bemused expression on his face. He walked over by the safe, and saw it was open; yet, nothing seemed out of place. He walked over to window, looked outside and satisfied himself.

Finally, he said to Shekhar, “Come, let’s talk to the family members. We’ll get our next clue from them.”

Later, Usha’s body was taken to the morgue for post-mortem. Results of the post-mortem confirmed what was already known – Usha died in her sleep, she was strangled and injuries were post-mortem. She was heavily sedated, traces of over-the-counter sleeping pills were found in her blood.

[Chapter will be split into 2 posts; I’ll post the 2nd part later]


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