Murder Works Weekends

Wilson and Holmes were enjoying a Saturday breakfast at the Baker Street Coffee Shop when the call came in. “Murder on a weekend?” Sergeant Wilson muttered between bites of his cheese omelet. “What’s this world coming to?”

They arrived at the law offices of Wynn, Loose, and Draw to find Chester Wynn sprawled on his Oriental rug, his left temple a bloody mess. The usual group of three suspects stood in the reception area outside the victim’s private office in the company of an officer.

“Why are you people working today?” Wilson barked.

A tall man in a polo shirt stepped forward. “An old client just filed a lawsuit against Chester for malprac­tice,” he explained. “It could cost the firm millions. Of course, with Chester dead, we stand a much better chance of winning.”

The tall man introduced himself—Kiefer Loose, the law firm’s new senior partner. “We came in today to get a jump-start on the suit.”

The only woman of the group stepped forward. “We all arrived at about the same time,” said Penelope Draw, a middle-aged attorney with a no-nonsense attitude. “Chester went into his office and closed the door. I had documents to prepare for the meeting. I went back and forth between my office and the document center.” She pointed to a cubicle outfitted with copy machines and supplies.

“I had just finished making copies for everyone and binding them when I heard Chester shouting. Then came a loud thud. I knocked on his door. The others were knocking on his two other doors. We all walked in and found him. Someone had hit him with that award from his desk. Lawyer of the Year. Funny, huh?”

Kiefer Loose didn’t smile at the irony. “I was in my own office,” he said, “right beside Chester’s. Like Penelope said, we all heard the murder. My side door opens directly into Chester’s office. I knocked and heard the others knocking.”

The third suspect was a bulky young man. “Ben Tingly,” he announced and shook the sergeant’s hand. “Junior partner. There are no secretaries today, so I took it on myself to set up the conference room. As you can see, it’s also next to Chester’s office, on the other side, and has a connecting door. My story is the same. I heard Chester and what I suppose was the attack.”

Sherman wandered around the office. He examined the pile of freshly bound background documents, then crossed to Kiefer Loose’s door. Inside, he could see a golf club and a water glass lying sideways on the rug. Strolling past the conference room door, he glanced in and saw four places set at the table, with water carafes, crystal tumblers, pens, and tablets at each place setting.

“What did you do after calling the police?” Sherman asked.

“Nothing,” Ben replied. “We all came into the confer­ence room and just sat down until your people arrived.”

Kiefer Loose nodded and sighed. “Well, as long as we’re here, we may as well have the meeting. Excuse us, sergeant.” He grabbed the background documents from the top of the copy machine and passed out all three of them, one to each partner of the firm.

“Bunch of cold fish,” Wilson muttered as they disap­peared into the conference room. “I hope you got someone for me to arrest, Holmes. That’ll wipe the smug off their faces.”

Who killed Chester Wynn?

What clue implicates the killer?

SOLUTION

“Was it Loose?” Wilson asked eagerly. “The guy with the golf club in his office?”

“No,” Sherman said. “Just because a suspect goofs off doesn’t mean he’s a killer. I think our solution lies in those background documents Miss Draw put together.”

Wilson’s eyes gleamed. “You mean it had something to do with this lawsuit?”

“No. Look at the number of copies. How many were in the pile that Loose picked up from the document center?”

“One for each person. Three.”

“So, why did Penelope Draw make three copies when there were going to be four people in the meeting—the three of them plus the deceased?”

Wilson thought for a second, then grinned. “The lady was in a rush. She had to get her copies made, then go in and kill her senior partner. She didn’t have time to put together a fourth document that would never get used. It’s elementary, Holmes, elementary.”