The phone rang and it was Lester. Lester Peabody my sidekick of fifteen years.
Lester sounded excited, I liked it when he was as it meant a case, another baffling case I was hoping but it turned out to be more than that, what started out as an ordinary day in an even more ordinary town, soon developed into the most challenging of all cases, the Wordle Murder.
It was Lester who first saw the body.
It was lying on the pavement, face down, the window on the third storey was open and it looked for intents and purposes a suicide.
Then Lester rolled the body over to discover the gruesome discovery. There on the man’s forehead was the evidence Lester was dreading, a wordle stapled to the guys head.
The guy was one Samuel Morrow, a small time inventor of unimportant things. He had been shunned by most of the inventive community as a guy with big ideas and worthless inventions.
But now the guy was dead and the search for his killer was on. Further examination of his body showed he had grappled with his killer. In their struggle it was clear that Morrow’s rosary had been used to strangle him as it was wrapped firmly round his neck.
What puzzled us was the wordle, twelve words, seemingly unconnected but obviously connected and we knew if we could crack it then we would have our killer, a killer whose coarse and pitiless actions had brought about the end of this quiet and innocent man.
That night I looked at the wordle:
Over supper, I had a steak, it had been a long day, Lester was anxious to get stuck into the case and I wanted something to give him the next day, so I pondered the wordle. I went to my dictionary to look up minutiae, than realised that this case was one that was going to have its fair share of subtlety about it.
The medical examiner had earlier reported a small lesion on Morrow’s arm, a mark obviously made with a grappling hook, the kind you’d find in a produce store. I was puzzled, I was baffled but I knew if I looked at the wordle long enough and eliminated the words I’d find the answer.
The smell of vinegar in the air alerted me to the parchment. Was it really parchment or a red herring thrown into the wordle to confuse and distract me from the obvious truth? All I needed was a splinter of truth, a skerrick of information to lead me to the killer, a person who had for reasons yet to be discovered descended into his or her own private hell.
Then it hit me, earlier that day we had informed Morrow’s wife of his demise. She was shocked, I watched as she stood by the window, her rosary gliding between her fingers, her coarse features twisted in grief, or so I thought.
Mrs Morrow was an actress there was no doubt. Lester had come in to report that she worked at O’Grogan’s produce store and had a reputation as a woman who could throw a bag of wheat with the help of a grappling hook right across the produce store. She was a woman to be reckoned with despite her descent into the bowels of society, a woman whose pitiless actions had led to the death of her husband. A woman strong enough to strangle him and throw him from their third floor apartment.
A day later we had her in cuffs. She swore her innocence. She claimed to love her husband. But the body and the splinters we found in her hand from the window she had thrown him from all told a different story.
She was known to have a way with words but this time the words had been her undoing.
There’d be no more wordles from this dame.
She was going down and she knew it!