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Thursday, October 18, 2012


Uncle Styles had outlived all his siblings, and as such he had received all of the family estate with all the cash and holdings.  Due to his frugalness the estate had increased in value to almost double.

He felt strongly about the family maintaining a solid presence in the financial world but he feared that when he was gone, the heirs would let it slip away for some were spin thrifts, and knew nothing of the value of money.

Uncle had been quite ill for some time, but had made the final changes in his will a few days prior, and on Saturday evening he requested, more like demanded that all heirs be present to find out what changes he had made.

This was an unusual happening for most wills are read after the demise of the Legator but he wanted all Legatees to know what they were going to get shortly.  He did this in order for anyone who thought they should receive more, would have time to present their case to Uncle.

Another reason was he knew that no matter how the estate was divided up there would be a squabble over it, and maybe even lawsuits filed.

This kind of action was not unusual for Uncle Styles because he enjoyed setting one against another, especially when money was involved.  Each one must be seated at the great table precisely at eight o'clock for this meeting.

Anyone not showing would be excluded from receiving any inheritance.

They started arriving at five o'clock for a storm was brewing, and the roads were dangerous when wet.

The cast of characters were as follows;

William was the oldest and the most stable of all and was employed.

Missy was flighty but always made over Uncle, and he ate it up. She was his favorite of the six nieces and nephews.

Roger never took to schooling and was the least productive except in the art of spending money.

Loren was a school teacher but lost her job for hitting a young thug in her class.

Austin was originally named Reginald, but became a fan of country music and changed his to Austin because it sounded more country.

Lastly there was Gwen, there was never a man she didn't like, at least until they rejected her.

So there you have the heirs of Uncle Styles, those he would be leaving a fortune to.  At precisely eight o'clock all were present, and had managed not to get into a fight so far. Their minds were focused on the main event of the evening, and they were consumed by thoughts of what might happen.  

Each had reflections of things they had done that might have a negative result in their legacy. There was a lot of thinking on things I should have done, and things I should not have done.

A voice came over the intercom that sounded like Uncle although it resonated somewhat strained.  They attributed that to his being ill, and thought little more about it.

The voice requested for all to be seated at the great table, and for William to open the letter at the center of the table and read the contents for all to hear.

Roger passed the letter down to William, and as he took it he noticed that it had already been opened.  

William rang for the butler, and when he came Roger inquired as to how the envelope might have gotten opened. The butler said; “I do not know sir, I wasn't aware there was an envelope, and don't know how it came to be in here.”

William saw he wasn't getting anywhere, and the other heirs were getting restless so he opened the envelope, removed the document and began to read.

William began to read the will, as everyone tensed up and listened with trepidation. As it turned out there was good reason for it.

First listed in the will was William, he was to receive the huge mansion and fifty percent of the estate's holdings. This brought forth a protest from everyone but William, but there was a condition attached to his receiving the lions share; and that was he must continue to live in the old family mansion until his death. This would complicate his life as he now lived. His business and social life required his presence, and adhering to this would require a great deal of driving.

While he was mulling this over in his mind the group quieted down and requested for him to continue reading the will.

Missy was to receive fifteen percent of the holdings most of which at this time was in cash.  She had hoped for at least half for herself but she was going to have to settle for much less.  Missy was so deep in though that she spoke out loud what she was thinking which was; “I wished I had never hugged and kissed that old fool.”

Roger, Loren, Austin and Gwen were to get equal shares of the remaining thirty five percent

It is safe to say that no one was happy about the will, and were planning to light in to him as soon as he came down from upstairs.

Then they heard a thud sound followed by a scream and then silence. They rushed upstairs, and found Uncle Styles lying on the floor with a head wound, and a hammer lying next to him.  A quick check on his pulse and breathing told them that he was no longer with them.

William yelled for the butler who appeared after a short time, and when he saw Uncle he gasped and said, “What have you done?”

Without answering the butler they told him to immediately phone for the police.  After placing the call to the police and sharing to them what he had seen, he returned upstairs and joined in the staring at what was now a body.

All the family returned to the dining room and sat at the great table and waited.

Due to the storm it was several hours later before detective Riley arrived with Sergeant Lester. The road had been treacherous and several times they had to remove limbs from their path. Upon their arrival, they saw the ominous looking structure with only a couple of lights on.

When they knocked on the door someone turned the porch light on where they could see the massive door, and they were invited in.

Due to the length of the time the family had been waiting the shock of the event had worn off somewhat, and they were calmed down now.

William related the events of the evening all of which seemed strange to the detective but he had learned by experience to listen first and then ask questions, and see if their story changed at all.

There were many questions that needed answers so detective Riley asked to see the body.  Uncle’s body still lay where they had found it, and nothing had been changed except they had turned him in order to check for signs of life.

Sergeant Lester retrieved the hammer, and bagged it for forensics and then asked if he should call the full forensic staff to come and gather evidence.

Detective Riley said no, it is too treacherous to make the drive up here for the storm has gotten much worse since we arrived. We will have to solve this the old fashion way with their testimony and logic. Sergeant Lester looked skeptical but said nothing.

Riley told everybody to return to the table, and sit where they were sitting during the reading of the will, and he asked the butler to bring them something hot to drink and then to join them.

While everyone sat around the table talking and drinking their hot drink they had forgot at least for the moment the reason they were here.
courtesy photobucket
Detective Riley sat and thought about the sequence of events as related to him by the heirs of the decease. He knew there was a clue somewhere that would lead him to the killer he just hadn't figured it out yet.  
Instead of sitting there looking confused he asked them to slowly go over the evening, of the events that happened as they arrived, what the butler said to them and where they went.

Each one related in detail the sequence of events of their part of the evening. When they got to the portion where Uncle Styles told them to go into the dining room Riley picked up on them saying "His voice" sounded different.”  Riley asked, “How was it different and could it have been someone else's voice?”

After a moment they looked at each other and agreed that it could have been another's voice. They had simply taken it for granted that it was Uncle speaking for they expected him to tell them to go to the dining room, and to sit at the great table for the reading of his will as it was the appointed time. Then the second time they heard something there was a thud and a scream.  Riley asked, “Could it have been someone else who screamed?”

Once again they looked at each other, and they said it could have been for they had never heard Uncle scream before; the only thing was everyone was present when it happened.”

They Riley asked if the butler was there with them each time they heard a voice or noise, and they agreed the first time he wasn't with them but the second time he was.

Detective Riley called Sergeant Lester aside and whispered something to him whereupon he abruptly left the room.

Riley asked them where they were before they were ordered to go to the dining room, and each said they all went into the large sitting room because it was the most comfortable room in the house. Their arrival times were between five and six o'clock, and after a trip to the Loo they were in each other's presence the entire time.

The butler said that no one had any contact with Uncle during that time, and the only one who left the room was him while he was preparing and serving drinks for everyone.  While these facts seemed to be of no help in solving the crime they spoke volumes to detective Riley.
After some time Sergeant Lester returned and whispered something in Riley's ear after which he said, “I believe we have found the answer we needed to solve the mystery.”

The murder was set up so one might conclude an interloper may have been in the house unawares to any of you, and he murdered Styles while you were all together having drinks. This would exclude everyone from suspicion including the real murderer.

There was one missing link, and that was found by Sergeant Lester hidden away in a small closet out of sight, and that was a recording machine and a timer.  The murder occurred just before the arrival of you all, and the voice you heard ordering you to go to the dining was the recorded voice of the murderer, the second noise you heard was a recording of the actual killing of Styles. 

Your Uncle lay up there all the while you were arriving, and waiting for the eight o'clock hour. We couldn't pinpoint the time of death by looking and even if forensics had been here they could have only estimated the time of death.  So who was the killer?

It was the only one who had the time and opportunity to do so.  It was the butler!  The butler did it.  He is the only one who had the time and opportunity.

There is only one thing missing and that is the motive, why did he do it?

When I privately questioned the butler, he told me he had worked thirty one years for Styles, long hours with little pay. He had promised to take care of him at his demise, but when he opened the will on Styles' desk he saw he was completely left out with nothing.  He took a recorder Styles had for dictating letters, and used it with a timer to set up the murder scenario.

As Sergeant Lester took the butler into custody detective Riley told him that there was another letter addressed to the butler on the desk in the office.

In the letter was the combination to Styles' safe where he had left fifty thousand dollars for the butler.

Uncle Styles had done it this way because he knew if the money had been left to the butler in the will; his heirs would have tried to keep him from getting his share, and Uncle wanted to reward him for his faithful service.

The butler could hardly believe his ears, and he openly wept as he was led away.

The End


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