Yes, Sir, That’s My Bomb
Sherman sat in Sergeant Wilson’s homey but cluttered office reviewing a recent murder case, now closed. The sergeant was about to release a statement to the press and wanted to be sure he fully understood the brilliant deduction that he had supposedly made to solve it.
“Excuse me? Are you Sergeant Wilson?” A young, expensively dressed woman stood in the doorway. “I want to report a threat on my husband’s life.”
Her name was Amanda Sur, and her husband was John Sur, the real estate magnate who owned several blocks of Capital City’s downtown district.
“Yesterday, we received this in the mail.” Mrs. Sur handed the sergeant a note made up of cutout letters. “Prepare to Die, You Fat Old Parasite. Ka-Boom.”
“Rather rude,” sniffed Sherman.
Wilson looked over the note, then dismissed it as harmless. “A man like your husband must get threats all the time.”
Mrs. Sur seemed taken aback. “No, this threat is serious. This morning I was at my kitchen window pouring coffee. The garage door was open and I saw someone inside there, skulking about. I sent John’s nephew out to look, but by then, whoever it was must have left. My husband’s life’s in real danger.”
“Have you thought about hiring a bodyguard?” asked Sherman.
“John refuses. He’s not taking it seriously.”
Sergeant Wilson was sympathetic but, as he told her, if her husband didn’t take the threat seriously, there was little the police could do. He sent her away with a warning to keep her eyes open and call if she saw anything strange.
A few hours later, a call did come in, but it wasn’t from Amanda. It was from an ambulance team parked outside the Sur residence. “There’s been a car bomb explosion,” the emergency worker informed them. “Both Mr. and Mrs. Sur were killed.”
Holmes and Wilson arrived to find the mansion’s garage a smoking, charred ruin. The victims inside the car had never stood a chance.
An EMS worker approached the sergeant. “We actually got a call from Mr. Sur, before the explosion. It seems his wife had tripped down the stairs and been knocked unconscious. He said he was going to drive her to the hospital. We told him to leave her alone, that we’d be there within ten minutes. But I guess he didn’t want to wait.”
Wilson nodded. “So, he puts his unconscious wife in the car, starts it up, and bam! It explodes. Whoever wanted to kill him got them both.”
When the crime scene investigators finally showed up, Wilson and Sherman retreated into the mansion. They found the Sur nephew in the kitchen near the rear of the house. Kenny Sur had been at home all day. He verified the mailed threat and Amanda Sur’s fears about an intruder.
“When was that car used last?” asked the sergeant.
“The one that exploded?” Kenny looked out the window and, although the wreckage wasn’t visible, wisps of smoke wafted from around the corner to remind them of the carnage. “That’s their only car. The other one’s in the shop. Amanda used it this morning to go to the police. It hasn’t been used since.”
“Were you here when she fell down the stairs?”
“Yeah,” Kenny said. “She was knocked out cold. I told Uncle John to wait for the ambulance, but he refused. I helped him get her into the car. I was standing right outside the garage when it exploded.” His face was still black with soot and there were cuts on his face and hands.
Wilson took his friend aside. “I feel terrible. The woman comes to us for protection and I send her home to get killed.”
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” Sherman said. “But I’ve got a pretty good idea who was involved. You couldn’t have prevented this.”
What does Sherman suspect?
What evidence made him suspicious?
“I should have listened to her,” Wilson berated himself. “But the threat sounded so unconvincing.”
“It was unconvincing,” Sherman agreed, “because she made it up. My guess is Mrs. Sur was planning to kill her husband. She constructed a note and a story about seeing someone sneaking around the garage. When her husband died in an explosion, we were supposed to believe it was some enemy.”
Wilson shook his head. “But Amanda Sur also died.”
“So? She was unconscious, unable to prevent her husband from putting her in the car. Unless I miss my guess, Mrs. Sur died from her own bomb.”
For once, Wilson was speechless.
“She may have had an accomplice,” Sherman continued. “You should check into that.”
“And what makes you think Mrs. Sur made up the story about the intruder?”
“Elementary. She said she saw into the garage from her kitchen window. But that’s impossible. The garage is all the way around the corner from the kitchen window.”
Sherman proved to be right, of course. Kenny and Amanda were in it together, planning to split John Sur’s money on his death. When Amanda was knocked out, Kenny figured it was his lucky break. He would no longer have to share.