Friday, 13 May 2011

Guilty party

She did it!

There was absolutely no doubt in my mind. Oh yes, she killed him all right, little miss 'butter wouldn't melt' was as guilty as hell.

I had digested all the evidence, collated all the facts, dismissed all the red herrings, and seen through all the lies, and as far as I was concerned they could handcuff her, drag her off, and throw away the key.

I was born to do this, I had the logical type of mind that could cut through the bullshit and aim straight at the truth, oh yes, and the truth was exactly what I was looking at.

She had lied through her teeth. Oh, very convincingly, I'll give her that much.
You wouldn't think it would you? Upper middle-class sloane ranger type , cucumber sandwiches on the lawn, and show jumping trials every weekend, jeez, give me a break will you.

Oh ,how the lads at the station had laughed when I failed the exams for the CID. What a thoroughly good jape, eh?

“What? Old Griggsy? A detective? God help us.... har har har “


I can still hear the Superintendent's condescending voice.

“You must realise constable Griggs, that not everyone is cut out to be a detective, and you lads on the beat are the first line of defence in the endless fight against the criminals and lowlife that are trying to undermine the integrity of our society. You are a very large, and very important cog in the policing machine. So, chin up, chin up lad, eh? ”

Supercilious plummy-voiced twat!

Old Griggsy? Doesn't make the grade, eh? Hasn't got the smarts?
Well, I'd managed to work this one out without any help, hadn't I?

Oh yes, there were suspects a-plenty, the place was overflowing with them, they were under every stone, and behind every tree, but one by one I had eliminated them all.
All apart from her that is.

Means, motive, and opportunity. The three main building blocks to solving any crime.
Picking out the truth from the lies and the half-truths.
Who stands to gain? And who stands to lose?

The father in law, and brother in law, didn't arrive until after it was all over, the time of their breakdown on the M6 was well documented, and logged by the recovery company that they called out.
Out of the equation.

Martin and Rebecca had been a bit more cavalier with the truth, turning up just minutes before the first squad car arrived.
They swore they had been at the village fair all afternoon, a lie, oh yeah, they'd been at the village all right, shacked up in a hotel room.
They were both in deep trouble with their parents, but still eliminated from my list.

Most of the guests had been down in the lower garden when the shot was heard, and were discounted as not having the opportunity almost from the outset.

Aunt Julia had held my attention for a while, her bygone love affair with the victim was common knowledge, and the resultant bad feelings and acid conversations between them after it all went sour had been the source of much gossip.
Now revenge hungered for by a woman scorned, is a powerful motive, but at the time of the murder she was draped over the toilet pan noisily vomiting up the effects of far too many glasses of wine at the afternoon meal, whilst Georgina and Tobias listened in disgust outside the bathroom door, waiting impatiently to escort her to bed so they could return to the party.

Another three names crossed out.

Several family members stood to gain financially, or should that be ' hoped ' to gain financially?
For he had been rich. Very rich.
And god knows, some of them certainly seemed to have had ulterior motives too, for he wasn't exactly what you would call popular.
But one after another were dismissed as possible trigger pullers, mostly due to their lack of opportunity.

But SHE had had the opportunity, hadn't she?
There was a twelve minute gap in her presence accountability wasn't there?

According to her story she had been in the greenhouse, about to water the seedlings when she heard the shot, but no-one saw her either going to, or coming from, the direction of the greenhouse, did they?
No! She was just suddenly running into the house along with everyone else.
How bloody convenient!

No, my little miss murderous, I think you fired the gun, dropped it on the carpet, then ran out of the back servant's entrance, stripping off the surgical gloves and throwing them onto the open fire on the way past.
You then ran around the west side of the house, hidden from view by the shrubbery, and joined the crowd of guests flooding in the front entrance on their way to investigate the gunfire.

Oh yes, very clever, but not clever enough miss smarty pants.

“Oh yeah, Griggsy. A good plod Griggsy is, salt of the earth is Griggsy, but a detective? Nah!”

This coming from D.S. Bannister, who was a dead ringer for one of the 'fat sweaty cops' from 'The Fast Show'. Bleedin' slob, what the hell did he know?

Well, I knew this much, I had a lot more going for me than any of them gave me credit for.

Well, this was it....... The moment of truth.

I felt smug, and confident knowing that my superior intellect, and well honed powers of deduction were about to be proven.

I picked up the book, leafed through to the final chapter, and began to read....

I had only read a few paragraphs when the realisation sank home....

I was wrong!

I continued reading with a steadily sinking heart, as the final chapter laid out in meticulous detail exactly how the BUTLER had done it.

©2011 Stephen. J. Green.


  1. Darn, I hate when that happens! :)

    A nice hook, Steve. You held me captive the whole way through, and I never figured your lead as only reading a book instead of trying to work a real case. It makes perfect sense, though. Well done.

  2. Hahaha I ALWAYS want the butler to have done it. I genuinely thought he was really trying to solve a case, so some fantastic misdirection here.

  3. This was the first non-zombie story of yours I've read and it certainly gave me a chuckle. Everyone knows butlers are responsible for more deaths than Gaddafi, Kalashnikovs and mosquitoes combined so poor ol' Griggsy - despite eliciting much sympathy from us readers - really needs to return to the drawing board.

    P.S: Anyone who is still referencing the 'Fast Show' is an outstanding contribution to the human race in my book

  4. I never thought he was only reading a book! I thought the case was real. I am not sure if I am annoyed or admiring - probably a little of both!

    Liked the guy's thought, the way you wrote his thoughts down. That was really good.

  5. Much longer than your usual work, Stephen, but it carried well. Naturally I enjoyed a butler-did-it payoff!

  6. Ha hahaa you had me fooled! I loved the ending you led me a pretty dance but I enjoyed all of the steps!

  7. Oh, cleverly done, Steve. =) I almost thought he was taking the law into his own hands out of frustration, but a great twist. Always appreciate a twist which was there all along but I never saw coming.

    Breathes new life into the old 'the butler did it' conclusion. =)

  8. Great story! I really liked the narrator, it gave it a friendly feel. Of course, I loved the misdirection too. Great job with this character.

  9. @Stephen – Thanks Stephen, I actually wrote this last July when I was considering starting my blog, and for some reason it kept getting passed over for other pieces, I don't know why because I quite like the story myself.

    After my 'zombie April' I wanted to post something a little more light-hearted, and so it got dusted off and given its chance to shine.

    @Icy – Misdirection is such a useful tool ain't it? You're pretty darn good at it yourself too. :)

    @Jason – Thanks Jason, of the 46 stories so far posted to my blog, only 8 of them have been zombie stories, the rest are pretty much a mixed bag.

    You are certainly right about ol' Griggsy too, he definitely has ideas above his station (pun intended)
    and his ambitions certainly outstrip his abilities.

    Aaaah, The Fast Show, absolutely brilliant, just about all of the characters in it are just spot on, aren't they?

    @Sonia – For a story to elicit such reactions makes my writing it worthwhile, thank you.

    @John – Thanks John, as I replied to Stephen, I wrote this before I discovered the shorter and darker style that I mostly tend to favour now.

    @Helen – Thanks, I'm glad that it amused you, my tongue was firmly in my cheek when I wrote this.

    @John. X. - Thanks John, I enjoy using misdirection, I also like to be taken by surprise when reading other people's stories that contain misdirection and hidden twists.

    @Chuck – I found this character good fun to work with too. Thanks Chuck. :)

  10. I had the feeling this read like a summation from Sherlock Holmes, "Elementary, My Dear Watson..." but I did not expect or suspect the literal, literary twist! Nicely done Steve!

  11. Thanks Harry, this is the kind of story I first started out writing, until I found really short flash more to my liking, I still have another couple of longer stories so far unpublished, and I think I may post them over the next week or two and see how they go.

  12. Damn, those Butlers get around. Probably should just all be arrested on precautionary grounds.

    Nice idea, nicely executed. Liked the twist. Looks like D.S. Bannister was a good judge of character after all. :)


  13. Thanks Stephen, the idea for Griggs' character was a beat policeman who thought he was CID material, the only one who couldn't see it was himself.