4 DETECTIVE STORY FOR YOUR SOLUTION THE UNCONVENTIONAL MURDER
"Jessica Fletcher!" screamed the desk clerk.
Startled, Jessica dropped the pen on the hotel register.
"Please, I would expect someone in your profession to have a bit more
discretion," said Jessica.
"You're that famous murder-mystery writer, aren't you?" continued the
desk clerk in a whisper almost as loud as his scream.
"I can't deny that. But I am here for my avocation, not my vocation,''
"Oh. You mean the antique convention."
"Yes. I'm ready for four splendid days of Tiffany lamps, Chippendale
furniture, and antique jewelry. So I'd prefer it if you ignore the name
on the register and just think of me as room 803."
The clerk nodded dumbly as Jessica took her key and slipped into the
elevator. As the doors shut her off from the lobby she heard his scream
"Do you know who that was? JESSICA FLETCHER!"
Jessica was lying in bed half awakened by the morning sun when she heard
the voices outside her room. She was already at the door when the knock
came. She opened it to reveal the desk clerk.
"Mrs. Fletcher, I hate to bother you, but...well, there's been an acci-
dent. Actually, it could be a murder. I mean...could you take a look in
room 807? We really need your help."
Jessica looked up from the body on the carpet.
"The police have already been here", she said. "What can I do for you?"
The answer came from a man wearing a white carnation in the lapel of his
"The police spent all evening and solved nothing," said the stranger. He
bowed slightly and continued. "It's my great pleasure to meet you, Mrs.
Fletcher. My name is Jonathan Wadsworth, and I am the director of the
antique convention. Believe me, I am as distressed about this death as
anyone else. But I can't let it interfere with the business of the wee-
kend. I've made quite a large investment in preparing this convention,
and these rumors that are spreading of a murderer at large could scare
off all the buyers."
"Then let's get down to cases," began Jessica. "Who was this man?" she
"His name was Malcolm Penner, a jewelry dealer from Springfield."
"Exactly what type of jewelry did Mr. Penner deal in?", asked Jessica.
"Very fine items," said Wadsworth. "Nouveau One-Stones, Wallingford bro-
oches, gold coins, pre-war watches, and gold bracelets like the one on
the floor near the jeweler's loupe."
"I see. And those two items on the floor led you to believe his death
was an accident?"
"They most certainly did, Mrs. Fletcher. As you can see, there is no
bulb in the table lamp. The only working light in this room is the fix-
ture on the ceiling. So when poor Malcolm wanted to examine that brace-
let, he was forced to climb onto the chair and hold it up to the light.
Malcolm was a great collector, but he was no acrobat. Obviously, he lost
his balance and fell, knocking over the vase and the table lamp, and
landing head first on the table. It's a terrible loss. He was the second
most respected authority in the field."
"And who would be the most respected authority be?" asked Jessica.
Mr. Wadsworth smiled. "That would be me, Mrs. Fletcher."
Jessica turned to the desk clerk.
"What do we know about how Mr. Penner spent last night?"
"Well, he checked in about an hour before you did," began the clerk.
"There's not much more, except for the coffee he ordered about dinner
time. He asked room service to leave it outside the door."
Jessica wandered into the bathroom. She felt the inside of the bathtub,
and noted that it was bone dry. She then went to the sink, which was a
little moist, and glanced at the bar of hotel soap. It was unused, and
still neatly wrapped.
Jessica returned to the room.
"So the last person Mr. Penner spoke to -"
''Would probably have been me,'' a woman's voice replied. "My name is
Naomi Penner. That's right, Mrs. Fletcher, I am Mrs. Malcolm Penner.
Currently estranged, soon to be divorced. But I guess all that is moot
"And you say that you visited Mr. Penner last night?" asked Jessica.
"No, I said I talked to him last night," replied Mrs. Penner. "I called
his room hoping to have dinner with him, but he said he wanted to be
alone. And when I called again later in the night there was no answer. I
guess he was destined to spend his last evening alone."
"If you don't mind, Mrs. Penner, would you tell me if you felt your mar-
riage was unsalvageable?" questioned Jessica.
"Actually, Mrs. Fletcher, I thought it might still have had a chance.
Malcolm might have thought so too, but he was too preoccupied with this
darned convention to see me last night!"
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Penner. I can't change what has happened, but perhaps I
can find the guilty party."
Jessica pointed to the desk clerk.
"Have you or anyone who is not in the room stepped into the area where
the body fell?"
"No," the desk clerk answered. "The maid who found the body didn't go
near it, and the police roped it off as soon as they arrived."
"Seems strange, doesn't it... " Jessica said.
Jessica scanned the faces of the people in the room for any reaction.
"What? What's strange?" asked the clerk.
"A dealer. On an important sales trip. With only one sample?" Jessica
"Maybe he was just buying," Wadsworth suggested.
"No, I don't think so," responded Jessica. "I think he had many valuable
things to sell. Things that one of you felt were worth enough to kill
"One of us!" Naomi Penner gasped.
"Yes, someone came up to this room last night to have coffee with Mr.
Penner. I can only speculate on what happened next, but I know how it
Jessica Fletcher turned to the policeman guarding the room.
"Officer, arrest this person for murder!"
(1) How did Jessica Fletcher know that Mr. Penner had not been alone?
(2) How did Jessica know which suspect had been near the body? The ans-
wers to these two questions are both contained in the puzzle picture.
After you have put the puzzle together, look it over carefully, and re-
read the story before you decide on your answers.
RECIPE FOR MURDER
Written by Ehrich S. Wise
The cab driver glanced at his rear view mirror, and his eyes followed
the tall woman as she exited the airport door and entered his taxi.
She smiled pleasantly and confessed, "I'm not quite sure where I want to
go, actually. I've missed my connecting flight home, and I have two ho-
urs to kill before the next one. Do you know a restaurant nearby that
serves something a bit better than airline food?"
"Hey-aren't you that famous mystery writer? Jessica...?"
"... Fletcher," she finished.
"Yeah, I've seen your face in the paper. I don't waste my time reading
Jessica detected a smirk in the man's voice as he continued.
"I work real hard," he began. "Ten, maybe fourteen hours a day. So when
I read, it's a newspaper."
"I see," responded Jessica. "Newspapers have too much violence for me. I
prefer to curl up with a good book when I get home."
"Yeah. Well, I do most of my reading during red lights."
"Really? I thought cab drivers did most of their driving during red
lights," Jessica laughed.
The driver cackled uproariously at that comment. "Hey, you're all right.
I'll take you to the best place in town - Hoffinger's. Hoffinger is a
great French chef who came here about five years ago. He married Mary
Byrd - she was one of those fancy society women- and they opened a big
restaurant. She's a gourmet who fell in love with Hoffinger's cooking -
and then Hoffinger himself. The reason I know all this is because it's
been in the newspaper plenty this year. There's a restaurant critic na-
med Franklin White, and he's got some sort of a thing against Hoffinger.
He keeps giving him lousy reviews."
"Don't they spot him when he comes in?" asked Jessica.
"That's just it", said the cabbie. "He wears a different disguise each
time he goes to the restaurant. There's also a silent partner in the
restaurant. At least he was silent until all the hoopla began. His name
is Arnie Fallon, and he's an old-time gangster. Fallon doesn't know
anything about food, but he knows he's losing money on his investment.
The word is he's ticked off at Hoffinger for not keeping up the reputa-
tion of the restaurant. And the word is that Hoffinger's wife has been
fooling around and wants out of the marriage. And the word is that the
Jessica smiled and said, "You can learn an awful lot during red lights,"
Jessica sensed something was wrong as soon as she entered the restau-
rant. It appeared at first that she was the only one there. Then she no-
ticed several police officers wandering around just inside the door to
the kitchen. Walking toward the door, she heard a woman's tearful voice
"He called me to say he was preparing a dinner just for the two of us. A
romantic, candlelight dinner like the one we had night he proposed to
Jessica peeked into the kitchen and took in the scene. A dozen police
officers gathered around a woman sobbing into a handkerchief.
"This must be Mary Byrd, Hofffinger's estranged wife," thought Jessica.
"And judging by the body line chalked on the floor, she is his widow."
A short, heavyset man stood next to the widow. His toupe did not quite
match the hair on his head - restaurant critic Franklin White, no doubt.
Jessica remained silent and watched the officers continue the interroga-
tion. The police lab had determined that, judging by the way the fish
had been cooked, Mr. Hoffinger was working until at least half past two.
Jessica said, "When exactly did you arrive here tonight, Mrs. Hoffin-
"I came over at three," began Mrs. Hoffinger. "We were going to eat be-
fore the restaurant opened. It was quite a shock when I found Hoffy next
to his table. Dead. So I called 911. Then he came in before you arrived,
and acted very suspicious."
She pointed to Franklin White.
"What are you implying? My editor is my witness - I worked with him from
nine this morning until an hour ago. Then I came here a bit early becau-
se I wanted to have dinner before the maitre'd arrived at 7:30. He knows
me well, and I was afraid he'd recognize me and throw me out. Sure, the-
re's bad feelings between me and this place. But I'm a critic, not a
murderer. If Mrs. Hoffinger wants to get to the truth, she should expla-
As White reached for the jar labeled "Mary's Dreamy Creamy", a policeman
"Hold it! That's evidence. Our preliminary investigation suggests Mr.
Hoffinger was poisoned."
"Oh, my goodness! Was the poison in this? That's a low-calorie cream
substitute I am marketing through my new food company. I had it delive-
red here last night so that Hoffy could try it out."
White sneered. "Looks like he tried it all right. Here's the recipe. Mix
one half cup cream and one egg. Add salt to taste. Didn't I see a spoon
in Hoffinger's hand before you took him away?"
At that moment Jessica was startled by a beefy hand that pulled her sho-
ulder back roughly. She jumped back as a burly man barged past her into
"Out of my way, sister," he snarled. "Well, if it isn't my old buddies
in blue. What are you guys doin' in my joint? And where's that bum Hof-
finger? Ain't I losin' enough dough?"
"This must be Arnie Fallon," thought Jessica,
The man's reptilian eyes searched the room. The gangster appraised the
situation faster than any detective.
"Hey, wait a minute. I see what's going on." "Somebody bumped off Hof-
finger. And you guys waited around for me to show up so you could pin it
on me. Well, this frame won't stick! I wanna call my lawyer right now. I
can prove I was in meetings all day. I can..."
Jessica entered the kitchen.
"May I interrupt? Now I don't mean to intrude, but I think I can prove
Mr. Hoffinger committed suicide. If I could just get a look inside the
bottom of this food processor...."
There was a puzzled but obedient silence as Jessica turned the device on
"Does anyone have something I can use to unscrew this panel?"
Mary Byrd rummaged through her purse for a second, and produced a small
"Will this do?"
"Hmmmm, maybe. But perhaps one of the gentlemen has something better."
Jessica raised an eyebrow in the direction of Franklin White.
"Not me, all I carry are my keys, credit cards, and... let's see... will
this dime work?"
"Not quite good enough."
She turned to Fallon.
"You look like a resourceful man. Can you help?"
Fallon fumbled in his pocket and brought out a pocket knife.
"This'll do it," he said, handing it over.
Jessica fiddled with the knife until she found the screwdriver blade.
She then re-examined the food processor for a moment and put it down
right side up. All eyes followed her with rapt attention as she spun
"Forgive me for my little white lie. I never thought for a moment that
this was a suicide. Hoffinger was killed, and I can name his murderer."
Can you name the murderer? Complete the jigsaw puzzle picture and exami-
ne it for the vital clues.
Jessica Fletcher made her way through the maze of police cars. She stop-
ped to let an ambulance pass, then climbed the front steps of the house.
The patrolman at the door stepped aside and smiled as Jessica entered to
find a roomful of detectives.
"There are advantages to being something of a celebrity," thought Jessi-
ca. "You have a much better chance of getting into restaurants, theat-
res, and crime scenes!"
There was an awkward moment as the detectives stared at Jessica in surp-
rise. Then a man with a Lieutenant's badge broke the silence.
"Jessica Fletcher!" he announced. "What brings you here?"
"This," answered Jessica, holding up a well-thumbed manuscript. "The fi-
nal draft of 'Driving Ambition - Confessions of a Chauffeur' by Arnold
Myers. As a favor to my publisher I've looked it over and made some com-
ments on the text. I came here tonight to discuss it with the author. Is
Mr. Myers at home?"
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Fletcher," said the Lieutenant. "He's... well..."
"Yes, I thought so," stated Jessica. "That ambulance I saw leaving was
in no great hurry. And you needn't be coy with me about Myers' death,
Lieutenant. I was not a friend of his, and judging from this manuscript,
neither were many other people. He was a chauffeur and errand boy for
some very unsavory characters. I wouldn't be surprised if he was murde-
"Actually, Mrs. Fletcher, it looks like a suicide," said the Lieutenant.
"We came to investigate when a neighbor spotted smoke and called 911. We
found a dry tea kettle smoldering on the kitchen stove, and Myers spraw-
led over his desk, shot once in the head. There was a gun next to his
hand and a note stuck to the desk that proves he was depressed."
"Not too depressed to make a cup of tea!" suggested Jessica. "I'd like
to learn a little more if you don't mind, Lieutenant."
"Even though you're not officially involved in the investigation, Mrs.
Fletcher, I suppose it couldn't hurt to let you see the room where the
body was found. Come with me," directed the Lieutenant.
Jessica followed the detective upstairs to the desk where Myers had
spent his last moments.
"Have you listened to the tape on the phone answering machine?" she as-
"Not yet," replied the Lieutenant.
She poised her hand above the "play" button.
"Go ahead," nodded the Lieutenant. "The lab guys and the photographer
There were a few seconds of static. Then Jessica's voice came over the
"Mr. Myers, this is Jessica Fletcher. I'm headed over to your house now.
It will take me about an hour or so. We'd better get most of the editing
done tonight. The publisher asked me to let you know that he just moved
the deadline up to February sixteenth. See you at six."
"Too bad," the Lieutenant said as he pointed to the desk. "The bullet
that killed him also stopped the clock at 4:30, so he never heard your
"Yes, it's too bad - too bad Myers was murdered!" Jessica stated calmly.
"I know it isn't exactly according to Hoyle, but perhaps you would let
me take part in the investigation. There are three people whose careers
will be ruined if this manuscript is published in its current form, with
a live author to back up his allegations. If I give you their names, and
you bring them here tonight, I think we can solve a murder. What do you
A short time later the suspects were gathered together. A tall, dapper
gentleman, wearing a blue blazer, spoke first.
"Before we begin," he started, "I'd like to say we bear no animosity to-
ward poor Arnold. He was a pitiful, petty, delusional person. It seems
that whatever sordid daydreams were burning in his brain finally drove
him to self-destruction."
"Let's forget Myers for the moment, and talk about you," responded Jes-
sica, tapping the manuscript in her hand. "I found your life story very
interesting. Born, Samuel V. Torrence III, quite a regal name for a poor
farmer's son. College football hero. Navy fighter pilot with two Purple
Hearts. Congressman at 29, Senator at 33. Conservationist, nature lover,
and sportsman. Prime presidential material. But you'll never be presi-
dent - not if Arnold Myers' memoir is published. It seems, Mr. Torrence,
that just about every woman in Washington has been in the back seat of
your limousine. Every woman, that is, except your wife! Myers kept his
mouth shut and his eyes on the rear view mirror. Once this book comes
out --- "
"Lies! Insinuations! Rumors!" bellowed Torrence. "Without a witness to
back it up, that story has all the credibility of a supermarket tablo-
"And I suppose that trash has my name in it, too?"
The speaker was a slim woman with a cynical smile.
"Adelle Sims!" announced Jessica Fletcher. "Psychologist, television
personality, author of the popular advice column 'Tell Adelle'."
"Which is read by millions of American teenagers," Adelle chimed in.
"They believe in me because I am a caring, sensitive person. And they
won't believe one ounce of what that idiot chauffeur wrote about me!"
"As I was about to say," continued Jessica, brushing off the interrupti-
on. "Your show business career started in a small way - sixteen millime-
ter, to be exact. You starred in an embarrassing little film with the
revealing title, 'The Sins of Laila'. It would be worth a small fortune
if it were to be released. And you paid a small fortune to buy the nega-
tive and destroy the film before it destroyed your career. Myers was
your errand boy for that transaction, according to his memoir. Did you
know that he watched the film before turning it over to you? He even
wrote a review of it that he included in his manuscript. Actually, he
thought you were quite talented."
"Enough! Why should we listen to this woman?"
The speaker was a stout, red-faced man.
"Mister Krieger!" announced Jessica. "Welcome back to America. Did you
fly from Algeria? Or did you smuggle yourself in with one of your crates
of illegal machine guns?"
"By the way, I read in the newspaper that you were about to finalize a
70-million-dollar contract with the Army. But I doubt the Army will want
to buy arms from the same man who supplied them to thugs, dictators, and
terrorists around the world. Take my advice, Mr. Krieger, don't talk bu-
siness in the back seat of limousines anymore.
"You have no proof!" was all the flustered arms dealer could say.
"That's quite true," Jessica said. "This manuscript will not be taken
too seriously now that Arnold Myers is dead. That's why I don't believe
for one minute that Myers would commit suicide and leave his book to
speak for itself. And I certainly don't believe he would have approved
the disclaimer that the publisher tacked onto the last page, the senten-
ce in the rectangle which reads, 'Any resemblance to persons living or
dead is purely coincidental. I'm sure now that Myers was about to cross
it out this afternoon just as he was interrupted by one of you."
"One of us!" exclaimed Adelle Sims.
"You're mad!" shouted Krieger.
"Really, Mrs. Fletcher..." Torrence began.
"I don't think so either, Mrs. Fletcher," interrupted the Lieutenant.
"We checked with witnesses and found out that all three of these people
were working in their offices until five o'clock today. It looks like
Myers died at 4:30."
"Not quite," Jessica Fletcher said. "One look around this room tells me
"Number One: Myers did not die at 4:30 as the clock would indicate."
"Number Two: Arnold Myers did not write a suicide note. Nor did he in-
tend to. The murderer fixed things to make it look like he did."
"Number Three: The murderer left a 'calling card' on the desk."
Can you discover the clues that Jessica Fletcher found in the room? Re-
read the story then piece together the jigsaw puzzle. All the answers
are contained in the puzzle picture!
ART OF MURDER
Written by Ehrich S. Wise
Jessica Fletcher knew that something was wrong as soon as the elevator
There was no one at the reception desk, and the chairs beside the desk
were empty. She walked straight through the tall glass doors marked,
"Edward J. Osborne Industries," and directly into the office labeled,
"Chairman of the Board." A man she did not know was sitting on the desk,
leafing through papers. She appraised him in a second - the well worn
suit, the tired expression, the air of authority. He was a police detec-
"Excuse me. Where is everyone?"
"They're being interrogated down on the 98th floor. Say, don't I know
you?" said the detective.
"Has something happened to Mr. Osborne?" asked Jessica.
"He's not hurt or anything," replied the detective. "He's just being as-
ked if he knew the victim. Are you a reporter?"
"Victim!" exclaimed Jessica. "Has someone been hurt?"
"Someone's dead! An attractive young woman who worked as an artist for
the ad agency downstairs. She was found lying under her art table this
morning. It looks like murder," the policeman said matter-of-factly.
Then suddenly he burst out, "Hey, that's who you are! You're Jessica
Fletcher, the murder mystery writer. Are you doing research?"
"Not at all," Jessica replied. "I came here to meet Ed Osborne for
lunch. He's an old friend of mine. May I go down and see him now?"
"I guess so," shrugged the detective. "It won't hurt the investigation.
Who knows, maybe you can help out."
He escorted her to the 98th floor. The small advertising agency on the
98th floor was filled with detectives standing in a circle around three
people. One, a young man in a leather jacket, was sitting, sobbing qu-
ietly into a handkerchief. A second man, wearing a sweatshirt, stood by
visibly shaken. The third was an older gentleman who nodded to Jessica
Fletcher as she entered the room. Jessica walked over to the older man
and took his hand.
"Ed, how are you involved in all of this?" she asked.
"I think I'm a suspect, Jess," . "You know about these kinds of things,
what should I do?"
"Now Ed, just tell the truth, and I'm sure everything will be all
The detective said "Listen to her, Osborne. That's good advice. Tell us
how you knew Barbra Monk."
"Well, I first met Barbra in the elevator. My company is on the 101st
floor and she, of course, worked here on the 98th. It's a long ride up
and we'd often talk. I found out that she was an artist with this agen-
cy. One day we had lunch together and she spoke of how she and her part-
ner had won several advertising awards. That's her partner over there."
Osborne pointed to the man in the sweatshirt, Barry Barlow.
"Barlow wrote the copy and Barbra did the artwork. She convinced me to
hire them to handle my company's advertising. They were working on a new
campaign this week. It was for my 'Rust Buster-Rust-Proofing Spray.' I
told her that the work had to be ready by 8 A.M. this morning for a very
important meeting. She said she was willing to work on it all night. I
left here at about 8 P.M. last night and arrived home at about 9. My wi-
fe can attest to that. When I returned in the morning to pick up the
work, I found her dead," Osborne said, his voice cracking.
"Liar! You killed her!" the man in the leather jacket yelled. "You weal-
thy Americans are all alike. You think you can own anything you want -
even people. Why don't you tell us what really happened between you and
Barbra? She had an affair with you, and you wanted her to be your
full-time mistress. You even offered to keep her in a cozy little flat
nearby. But Barbra wasn't like that. She had brains. She had independen-
ce. And she had a career she loved. It's obvious to me what happened
this morning. Barbra told you once and for all that you couldn't treat
her like a little tart for hire. That made you mad enough to kill her."
For a moment it looked as if the two men would come to blows. Then Jes-
sica stepped between them.
"Is any of that true, Ed?" she asked incredulously.
"Yes, Barbra and I were in love, Jess. I know it seems strange - I'm ne-
arly 25 years older than she was. But we had something special, somet-
hing that had always been missing from my marriage. I told Barbra that
I'd leave my wife for her. But she said she had to get away for awhile
to think things through, and left for a vacation in England. After a few
days she called me to say that she had met someone at a museum in Lon-
He glared over Jessica's shoulder at the man in the leather jacket.
"She said he was a young painter named Samuel Reed, and that she now
regretted giving into the temptation to have one last fling before she
settled down with me."
Jessica turned around and asked, "Mr. Reed, could you explain your rela-
tionship with Ms. Monk?"
"Love at first sight. I told her to go back to the States for a few we-
eks to settle her affairs, and that I would come here as soon as she was
ready and take her back to England to live with me."
"And when exactly did you arrive here, Mr. Reed?" asked Jessica.
"I flew in very late last night, and decided to catch up on my sleep at
the airport motel before motoring here. But these fine gentlemen from
the police department arrived at my motel before I could rent a car."
Jessica Fletcher shot a quizzical glance at the detective.
"That's right," the detective volunteered. "We did a check of the phone
records and found a call made to this phone from the airport motel. So
we drove over to check it out and found Mr. Reed."
Barry Barlow spoke up for the first time.
"Wait, now I get it! This must be the guy Barbra told me about. She had
a brief encounter with him which meant nothing to her - but for him it
became an obsession. Why, it's clear to me what happened here last
night, Reed shows up in town and calls her without any kind of warning.
He tells her how much he loves her and she freaks out. She probably told
him to get lost and leave her alone. So he comes over here in the eve-
ning all worked up - they argue, and he kills her."
"Why, you inept little worm!" shouted Reed. "Barbra told me all about
you. She did the copywriting as well as the artwork on all of your most
successful campaigns. You did nothing to deserve the accolades, but
Barbra allowed you to share the awards with her. She was loyal and too
sentimental about you because you were college sweet hearts, but ...."
"That's true," Osborne chimed in. "I managed to finally convince her
that business is business. She was about to kick you out and start an
agency by herself. That would have ended your career - and that's why
you killed her!"
"Why you dirty old son-of-a...."
"You no talent bum..."
"Shut up, you crazy Americans...."
"Gentlemen, gentlemen, please! We don't need any shouting," said Jessica
holding up her hands. I think I can get to the bottom of this. One look
around this room tells me what happened here last night. Barbra Monk was
murdered by YOU!"
Who was Jessica Fletcher pointing at as the murderer, and what tipped
her off? Assemble the jigsaw puzzle, then reread the story. Can you de-
duce what happened to Barbra Monk last night?