Author Topic: Fortnightly Writing Competition - WHODUNNIT! (Results)  (Read 6842 times)

Baron

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That's right folks, it's the FWC's own WHODUNNIT Competition!



Mysteries can take many forms, from missing biscuits to murder most foul, to weird sci-fi scenarios where psychics are harnessed to machines to predict crimes and cars self-drive in three dimensions, but the predictions of who the culprit is still come rolling dramatically down a Rube Goldberg marble run :P.  But it is considered one of the highest art forms of fiction to weave a mystery that is both solvable (if you can piece the clues together properly), and yet confounding to the vast majority of readers.  Your goal for this competition is to craft such a mystery according to the following criteria:

-Target of 1000-2000 words.  We don't disqualify you if you spill over slightly, but don't miss it by an order of magnitude.
-There must be hidden clues that point to the real perpetrator (but of course red herrings are very welcome as well)
-The perpetrator must not be revealed!  Instead we will guess WHODUNNIT?  at voting time, with the big reveal afterwards!

The criteria your work will be judged by will probably include:

-Best character (most believable, compelling, adorable, captivating, or mesmerizing)
-Best setting (best described/developed location for the mystery)
-Best word craft (stylistic marks for good word choice or turns of phrase)
-Best crime (be creative!  It's worth 20% of the votes!)
-Best mystery (the subtle weaving of clues and colour to make the story compelling to our sense of curiosity over WHODUNNIT?!?)

Deadline is midnight June 2, 2015, with voting to be started by me at some point the following day.  Good luck to all participants!  Get out there, and get writing! ;-D
« Last Edit: 13 Jun 2015, 15:46 by Baron »

JudasFm

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Here's mine: 1991 words :) Packing it into such a small number of words was hard, but hopefully I scattered enough hard-to-spot-yet-solvable clues through it. I also have two questions: will all the entries have the big reveal, or just the winning ones? Also, will the big reveal be in story form, or just along the lines of, "Well, it was so-and-so who did it and you can tell because A said this but B said that..."

DEATH IN THE STARS

James Lawson, head of communications and second-in-command of the city-sized spaceship Nemesis, paced the bridge in an uncharacteristic display of anger, pausing only to let off epithets in his native Mercurian like verbal grenades.

"How the hell did this happen?" he demanded of no one in particular.

Cy, the captain of the ship, sighed.  "How many times?  We're still working on that."

"We need to work faster!  This is a public relations disaster!"

Cy raised a dark eyebrows.  "That's a rather odd view of the situation, don't you think?"

"Perhaps, but it's a realistic one.  The crew is going to kill us!"

"They've already had a pretty good try," Cy pointed out.  "Or had you forgotten that we're up here at three in the morning because our navigator got her head smashed in?"

"You know what I mean!" James threw himself onto his seat so hard he almost went over on his back.  Righting himself and glaring at Cy and weapons operative Amelia Crewe in a way that just dared either of them to comment, he went on in a slightly calmer voice.  "None of them wanted to let tourists in.  You didn't want to let tourists in.  I didn't want to let tourists in, only it seemed the only way to convince people that we're not the evil murderers that the government is making us out to be!  And now this!  Don't you think that it's a bit too convenient we've survived this long with no major crimes, and two days after a group of strangers come on board, we have a murder!"

"Then let's discuss it," Cy said.  "What about the tourists?  Where were they when this happened?"

"Two groups were in their rooms," Amelia answered.  "Three more were out with their guides getting breakfast at a diner on the rec-deck."

Cy paused.  "There's an elevator that goes to that floor opposite the...the crime scene, isn't there?"

James nodded slowly.  "Yeah.  But they'd have to sneak away from their guides to use it and that wouldn't be easy.  And I don't think they're responsible anyway."

"We'll see about that.  Which tourists were outside when it happened?"

"Neptunian Kanae Godai and her two nieces, age five and seven.  She worked for us as a freelance actress for six months.  I think we can rule her out.  I only assigned her a guide because she couldn't be seen to be without one."

Cy nodded.  The oldest member of the Nemesis's crew was twenty years old, and since they made their own films and dramas, older performers had to be found from outside.  Kanae Godai had been the first and was one of the very few outsiders considered a friend.

"A bunch of college students from Mars.  They've been a bit of a nuisance, but they're more annoying than dangerous.  And an elderly couple from Mercury, who have so far been very well behaved no matter how much provocation was thrown at them for being outsiders.  And there's been quite a bit, Cy; we really need to look into that."

"I'll deal with that after we solve the murder.  Who were the guides on the rec-deck?  Maybe they saw something."

James tapped a few buttons and scanned the results on his console.  "According to this, Ismene of Team MRX—"

"She's sound," Amelia interrupted.  "The only way anyone could sneak away from her would be to knock her out."

"—your friend Alec who's been looking after his fellow Martians – he's with the students I told you about—"

"It's not Alec either," Cy said immediately.  Alec's loyalty to him was beyond question.

"—and Tania Delarose of Team Gamma," James finished.  "She was the one with Kanae."

Cy paused.  "I don't know much about her.  Do you?"

James shook his head.  "No.  Team Gamma doesn't have any noteworthy members; they just get on with their jobs.  Four are cleaners, Tania herself works for CGT and the sixth member works in the dining hall under Fredrica.  The real question is, what would anyone have to gain from murdering one of the bridge crew?"

Cy massaged his forehead.  "Who found the body?"

"Race Palmer.  Team Ace.  He was pretty cut up about it.  Well, he would be; he and Paige had been going steady since before we arrived here."

"Right.  No chance he could have done it then?  Only we all know what he's like when he loses his temper—"

James sighed, swiveling around in his chair to face Cy fully.  "No.  Race's T-card was clocked on at six am, two kilometers away from where Paige was murdered.  She didn't clock on at all."

Cy leaned back, staring at the ceiling.  Six am was an earlier clock on time than most crew members, but there was nothing actually suspicious in that; by and large, people on the Nemesis set their own working hours.  "And there's no way he could have got to her in time to kill her?"

James was already shaking his head again before Cy finished the word and.  "Paige was killed at ten past six.  The only way Race could have got to her was if he hitched a ride on a cleaning machine, and he didn't.  I asked CGT – you know they have a monopoly on those machines – for the passenger records and Chelsea sent them up this morning.  No one bought passage on any machines until the beginning of the shift at eight am.  Besides, that corridor is pretty out of the way.  There were a couple of machines there, but it's not a good place to go if you want to guarantee finding them."

"So what was Race doing there?" Amelia demanded.

James shrugged.  "You tell me.  Maybe he needed some space to get his head together.  He wouldn't be the first who went to an empty sector for some peace and quiet."

There was a knock on the door and without waiting for an invitation, Race Palmer opened it and came in.

"I found this," he said, holding out a folded scrap of paper.  "I think it's something to do with the murder."

"Where did you get it?" James asked.

"It was in my box, so I thought I'd better bring it to you."

"At—" Cy checked his watch— "twenty past three in the morning?"

Race looked down.  "I couldn't sleep.  Not after...you know.  Have you found anything out?"

"Not yet," James admitted, "but we're working on it."

Race turned and walked over to the exit, then paused and looked over his shoulder.

"It was one of the tourists," he said.  "I'm sure of it."

"Of course you are," Cy said wearily.  He'd spent the entire day dealing with crew members who were sure the killer was a tourist.  He could understand their reasoning; it was much easier to blame an outsider than to face the fact that one of their own could be capable of something like this.

Race's eyes narrowed a little, then he strode out without another word.  Cy waited until he was sure Race was gone before he turned to James.  "He hasn't ever been in the running for a job on the bridge, has he?"

James shook his head.  "No.  He used to work for CGT until Chelsea fired him for losing his temper with a customer.  Now he's something of a gofer."

Cy nodded.  The Nemesis was full of gofers, people who would do all sorts of odd jobs to earn the virtual tokens that served as the ship's currency.

"So it looks like we can rule him out.  But why would someone give him this note?"

James shrugged.  "To increase his suffering?  To ram the point home?  Or to make sure it found its way to us, maybe.  Our rooms are out of the way, so anyone there would be remembered.  Race and Paige's room was opposite the dining hall; it's one of the busiest places on the ship.  Anyone could have slipped that letter in.  What does it say, anyway?"

Cy unfolded it and started to read. 

Why did I want her dead? That Well, if you knew how much I hated Paige Kerr – how much everyone hated her – you wouldn't bother asking me that.  And She was the worst navigator you could have chosen.  I could have done a better job, even without any expertise.  So

Of course, if you expect me to tell you my name, you're out of luck.  I don't intend to make things that easy for you, nor and besides, the thought of the likely penalty punishment doesn't do a great deal for me.  Though

So, it looks as though you need a new navigator, huh?  Bet you wish you'd offered me the job when you had the chance.  Then Oh well; live and learn, as they say.  I know Paige won't couldn't do either, but I can't help that.  She And you know what?  I'm actually glad she's dead.  She was the most useless waste of oxygen on the Nemesis.  I don't know why you let her be navigator to at all.  Maybe now you'll get someone who's better at the job.  Like me, for example.  You

Actually, forget that; I know you wouldn't take a murderer.  Although personally, I think that's rather mean unfair of you, 'Cy', or whatever your full name is.  I don't notice you didn't object when your wonderful crew killed those people to keep everyone else safe. 

Oh, and I haven't left enough evidence for you to call Conclave on me.  So don't even try it.  You I wouldn't bother to answer the summons anyway, and that I know you can't send your hired lackeys to arrest me just because you want to.  And I also know that I haven't won't be the most popular person on the crew when you get this, but that doesn't matter to me.  Just telling you how much we hate some of your decisions about is enough for me. 

So Of course, if you really want to know who I am, well, you might be able to work it out from my letter.  Or Might.  I told you I don't plan to make it easy for you, or and I don't really care what you plan to do.  I'm not going afraid of you.  The rest of the crew may be, but that's not my problem.

-SK


"Who's SK?" James wondered.

"No idea."  The letter was handwritten, which was a rarity in itself in their day and age, but he supposed whoever did it hadn't wanted to risk being seen at one of the terminals.  Cy cast his mind back to that day two years ago, when they'd found themselves alone on the Nemesis.  "Who else was in the running for navigator?"

"That Neptunian in engineering, Ken'ichi Sawada.  And you as good as said he'd replace Paige as navigator if anything happened to her, since his father was a navigator as well.  Selena Mount – well, sort of.  She just wanted a position of authority.  She seemed happy enough to be made head of security instead.  Amalla Firenze.  Harriet Phillips.  Oh, and Samara King from Team Diamond; she was another favorite.  Her father worked on the bridge crew of one of the big liners, that's why I remember her."

Cy's interest perked a little.  "Navigation?"

"Radio comms.  She was pretty disappointed to learn that job was already taken."

"Where is she now?"

James tapped at his console, then shrugged.  "No idea.  The last time she clocked on was the day before the murder.  There's been no trace of her since then."

Cy took a deep breath, held it until spots started to flash in front of his eyes, then let it out very slowly and returned his attention to the note.  There was something there...something he was missing.  Something that would give him the key to the whole thing.  He knew it.

He just didn't know what it was yet.

Baron

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Wow!  Impressively fast word-slinging!  Remind me not to insult-duel with you at dawn.... ;)

I also have two questions: will all the entries have the big reveal, or just the winning ones? Also, will the big reveal be in story form, or just along the lines of, "Well, it was so-and-so who did it and you can tell because A said this but B said that..."

I was envisaging just a "it was so-and-so" after all the votes were cast and everyone had a stab at guessing the culprit (part of the voting process ;)).  But if you're really feeling energetically creative, a continuation story reveal would be perfectly acceptable.  Hopefully all contributors will do a reveal in one form or another: there's nothing more frustrating than an unresolved cliffhanger . :P

JudasFm

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Thanks :-D And I will definitely do a reveal, probably as a continuation story. Writing is my life ;-D

WHAM

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I started writing, got first of my six story segments done and found I had written 1200+ words.
I think I'll scale the story back a bit and try again...
My Fortnightly Writing Competition collected works
https://goo.gl/VUQbzU

Mandle

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Here's mine: 1991 words :) Packing it into such a small number of words was hard, but hopefully I scattered enough hard-to-spot-yet-solvable clues through it.

Nice read! I'm pretty sure I know whodunnit... I guess I will see at voting time if I'm right ;)

JudasFm

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Thanks, I'm so glad you liked it :-D I've already written the continuation story for when the time comes, so you'll find out for sure after voting.

Baron

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One week left, folks.  Keep those mysteries pouring in! ;-D

Mandle

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One week left, folks.  Keep those mysteries pouring in! ;-D

STOP THE PRESSES!!!

I might have one:

Quote
Inspector Callum Beaux looked over the only witnesses involved in the brutal basement bashing murder of Steven Sloggins:

His eyes scanned from left to right and he asked each the same question:

"Where were you between 6:00PM and 9:00PM the night of the murder?"


Guy George replied: "I was suppos'd to be at the pub drinkin' with Steve and Marv by 8:00PM but they never showed up did they? I'm now shattered to find out that Steve's dead."

Lady Lentil replied: "I did see some footprints in the snow that led to the basement window of the residence. I tried looking through the window and saw what looked like an empty basement at about 7:30PM. I do remember though that a dog barked at the headlights of a car turning nearby..."

Kevin Kline replied: "I just happened to be out for a drive while yelling "ASSSHOOLE!!" out the window at all the assholes driving on the wrong side of the street when a dog darted out in front of my car. The owner yanked the dog back in by its lead just in time. This happened around 7:30PM...

Marvin Masters
replied: "At around 8:30PM I tried looking into Steve's basement window after he did not answer the door. The light was on so I wiped the condensation from the window and looked inside but there was nothing to see."

Henry Higgins
replied: "I walked my dog past the residence at around 7:00PM. I saw no footprints in the snow. The basement window light was off."

Mary Masters
replied: "I was out looking for my husband around 8:00PM when I heard a strangled cry and ran back home to call the police! I also remember dog tracks in the snow all around the scene after the police arrived. I don't know if it was the flashing red lights from their cars or not but I remember thinking that the dog tracks looked like they had blood in them..."

Inspector Callum Beaux scanned his eyes back from right to left and announced:

"Based on the witness testimony I have solved this case. The murderer is..."
« Last Edit: 27 May 2015, 15:46 by Mandle »

JudasFm

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STOP THE PRESSES!!!
I might have one:
Ooh, interesting (nod) I think I've narrowed it down to two possible suspects, leaning far more in favor of one than the other...

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
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I'm so bad at figuering out whodunnits. I have no real idea yet for either JudasFm's or Mandle's story. Hopefully, I'm better at writing them.

Lady Susanna‘s Necklace

„All of them were exited – for all the wrong reasons. I could see it in their eyes. And yes, I admit, I’m being unfair here and exaggerating quiet a bit, but still. It really seemed to me that all of them thought more about the necklace than my sister and her groom. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Rachel had worn the diamonds, but it was her mother-in-law and everyone was looking at her and admiring her. Hell, they fawned over her. The duchess had deigned to come to the wedding of her son personally and was even so gracious as to flaunt her most precious possession. Of course, Lord William and Lady Susanna were a bit down on their luck so she needed to affirm her richness in the eye of the people.”

“You really are being unfair, Benjamin. Lady Susanna went to the wedding of her son and wore expensive jewellery. There’s really nothing wrong with that. And besides, you are telling me about the day her necklace was stolen and she was murdered. So whatever she might have done wrong in your eyes...”

“Oh, she’s done plenty wrong, not just in my eyes.”

“You didn’t like her.”

“That’s an understatement if I ever heard one. But I especially didn’t like the way people reacted to her and that it felt a bit like she was doing everything to demean Rachel, to show everyone that she wasn’t good enough for her son.”

“That might have had something to do with you, Ben.”

“It might. But stop being so damn reasonable and let me vent, Tim.”

“It’s still Inspector Coultry to you.”

“And here I thought we were friends. I’m hurt.”

“Sure. Tell me about the theft.”

"All right, all right. Well, the reception was held in a little seaside hotel. Very intimate, family-owned, romantic, lovey-dovey, in the middle of nowhere – you know the kind. And because it’s winter, the sea is really not in season for tourists so we had the hotel to ourselves. Bride and groom, some family and some friends from farther away had booked rooms and most of us arrived a few days before the wedding. Lady Susanna and Lord William planned to stay for a few days ore after the wedding. Everything was just exquisite. Garden lights illuminated the gravel path to the entrance. The reception area was decorated with lace and white roses. The receptionist, who should have looked harried, was all smiles and wore the most beautiful and at the same time professional dress I’d ever seen. It was black, short-sleeved and ruffled over her B-cup breasts, knee-length...”

“You’re being awfully detailed here and, if I’m not mistaken, sarcastic, too. Does any of this matter? At all?”

“It could. Didn’t you tell me when you arrested me that every detail, even the smallest one, could be important to solve a crime?”

“And to commit one, as you’d successfully proven to me four days later.”

“I was completely innocent.”

“Of course you were. Is anything of this important?”

“No, of course not.”

“Jerk.”

“Same to you, thanks. Anyway, what is important is that the hotel not only has a lovely receptionist but also a small safe in an office right behind the reception desk. It’s an Andres960, in case you’re wondering.”

“I’m not familiar with that model.”

“Most important details: Cheap, so small that one man can carry it away if it’s not bolted to anything, opens with a single key, and a professional needs about two minutes to pick the lock.”

“Do I want to know how you know that?”

“As if you don’t know what an honest answer to that question would be. Not that you’re getting one.”

“Of course not. So the necklace was stolen from the safe? Or was the whole thing taken?”

“Actually, according to the police, the necklace was ripped out of Lady Susanna’s cold, dead hands.”

“So the safe has nothing to do with the crime? Damn it, Ben. Can’t you stick to the actual facts of the murder for a moment?”

“Sure. As soon as you tell me what the facts are. What the police discovered? Because they found a necklace soaked in dried blood in my room and arrested me or murder! You think they have the facts? Then you can just leave! Or maybe you want to hear what Rachel thinks, or Peter, her husband? How about Lord William, who is absolutely certain that I murdered his wife, or maybe you’re interested in Simone’s opinion? She’s the maid of honour. Or Frederick, the best man, or my parents, or Agnes, the cute receptionist I mentioned earlier. Or I could just tell you who did it, because I know it but can’t tell you because you wouldn’t believe me until you came to the conclusion yourself. What, prey tell, Inspector, are, in your opinion, the mere facts?”

“You swear that you didn’t steal the necklace and kill Lady Susanna?”

“I never killed anyone.”

“All right. Let’s assume for a moment that you are telling the truth. What happened that night?”

“Not much, except for a wedding, of course.”

“Ben...”

“Sorry. - I actually had a reason to mention the safe earlier, because it was stolen that night; taken whole and later found empty and locked some ways away from the hotel.”

“You’re telling me two crimes happened that night?”

“At least. The police don’t think so, though. They think I stole the safe, didn’t find the necklace there and broke into Lady Susanna’s room to get it from there. She surprised me, I killed her. End of story.”

“Simple.”

“But wrong – for so many reasons. Not the least one being that the necklace found in my room is a forgery, according to the police, and was covered in sticky blood.”

“I don’t see the significance of it being a forgery. Unless it’s a really bad one, you can’t recognize a forgery on a glance.”

"No, I can’t. But then, where’s the original? Anyway, the theft of the safe was discovered first. I can tell you, Agnes has a pretty damn loud screaming voice for such a petite girl. As you can imagine, it being a small hotel and nearly empty, we all rushed to the reception when we heard her. All, except of Lady Susanna, of course. When she didn’t turn up after a while, Lord William went to look for her. In case you’re wondering: They were still married but they hadn’t shared a bed in nearly twenty years. Their rooms in the hotel were adjoining, both of them with a door to the corridor and in addition a door connecting the two rooms. So that’s why he didn’t know sooner that she was murdered. Anyway, he opened the connecting door and, I can tell you, his scream was in no way inferior to Agnes’s.”

“He had just found his murdered wife. It’s understandable.”

“Of course it is. So we rushed through the hotel a second time this morning and were only momentarily stopped  by Lady Susanna’s locked door. And then we saw her... It was awful. There was blood everywhere. She was covered in it. Someone had turned her over, rolled her around in her own blood, and that after she had apparently crawled to the door to escape. There was blood on the key in the keyhole, I think. But I couldn’t look at it any longer and turned away. As you can imagine, the police were called. They were more interested in the murder than the theft of a hotel safe that seldom contained anything worth mentioning, of course. Who wouldn’t be? They conducted a search of all the rooms and the area around the hotel, looking for any clue at all. They found the safe at the beach and the bloody necklace in my room and arrested me. Again, end of story for them.”

“It’ll be difficult to prove your innocence, Ben.”

“Yes, thank you for stating the obvious. But I didn’t do it and I know there must be something to prove it.”

“Okay. Tell me where everyone was that night.”

“Apparently all over the hotel and nearly nobody where he was supposed to be.”

“Ben.”

“Well, all the guests who didn’t stay at the hotel had already left when Lady Susanna and Rachel got into an argument. I don’t know about what. Rachel and Peter were the first to go to their room shortly afterwards. They were tired after all the stress of the last few days and just wanted to sleep.”

“Yes, I’m sure they were tired and wanted to sleep.”

“You want to think about the sex life of your sister, Tim? She’s one sexy woman if I ever saw one; her perky breasts that show her nipples even through thick fabric, her sensual mouth. Just imagine this mouth kissing you, licking down your body, down, down, down your legs and up again, stopping in your crotch and then...”

“Stop it! Stop it, you made your point. Rachel and Peter were tired and needed to sleep. Got it.”

“Thank you. Well, Lord William left for bed next, followed by Frederick, than Gabriel and Hanna, my parents, than Lady Susanna. Simone and I left together, last. We wanted to finish the excellent port they had.”

“You didn’t happen to go to the same room, did you?”

“No. No easy alibi for me. But it seems like Simone found some company in Frederick. At least, that’s what Rachel says, who saw Fred sneak into Simone’s room when she, Rachel, went down to the restaurant again to get some more champagne. Neither of them admitted to it, though. But Frederick mentioned that he saw someone going from my room to one on the opposite side of the hallway at some point during the night.”

“Who was on the opposite side of the hallway from you?”

“Either Lady Susanna, Lord William or my parents. Fred wasn’t sure about the room or the person or the time. As for Agnes, the receptionist, she went to bed right after putting Lady Susanna’s diamonds into the safe.”

“All of this doesn’t look good for you.”

“I know. That’s why I called you.”

“Is there anything else? Anything that could help you?”

“Well, there’s one thing: Agnes was the only one more upset and worried about the stolen safe than the murder. She mentioned that they’d probably not noticed the theft of their cash for a few days if the thief hadn’t taken the safe with him because they didn’t need to open it very often.”

“Damn it, Ben, damn it to hell. I know who murdered Lady Susanna, I know how you know, and I know that you’re a bloody idiot!”


-----------------------------------------------


1796 words.
More than one crime was commited it this story. Only telling us the murderer is not enough to solve the mystery.

Mandle

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Awesome story Sinitrena!!!

I will have to spend some time combing through it for clues though because the first read was just so good that I forgot I was supposed to be solving something, which is the best distraction in a whodunnit: Good story and writing...The reader doesn't even realise they are being distracted into reading on at a furious pace and missing all the clues...

Well done!!!

Baron

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Two more days!  Let's keep heaping the stories onto the pile, folks. ;-D

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
  • Wheel of Fate
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Thanks, Mandle. I just hope the solution for the story will be satisfying.

And speaking of solutions, Baron: You want us to vote and speculate about the culprits at the same time, right? It's your decision, of course, but might I suggest that we guess whodunnit first, then reveal the true perpetrators and only then do the voting? It's just that I think I can only vote on the best mystery and best crime, for example, after I know how well the given clues match the intended solution.

JudasFm

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Thanks, Mandle. I just hope the solution for the story will be satisfying.

And speaking of solutions, Baron: You want us to vote and speculate about the culprits at the same time, right? It's your decision, of course, but might I suggest that we guess whodunnit first, then reveal the true perpetrators and only then do the voting? It's just that I think I can only vote on the best mystery and best crime, for example, after I know how well the given clues match the intended solution.

I admit I've been wondering about that as well, especially since I scattered several red herrings through my story ;) I second this suggestion.

(Also on a side note, I love your story, Sinitrena, but I can't begin to guess whodunnit!)

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Thanks, Mandle. I just hope the solution for the story will be satisfying.

And speaking of solutions, Baron: You want us to vote and speculate about the culprits at the same time, right? It's your decision, of course, but might I suggest that we guess whodunnit first, then reveal the true perpetrators and only then do the voting? It's just that I think I can only vote on the best mystery and best crime, for example, after I know how well the given clues match the intended solution.

Yeah, I agree as well. It's a whodunnit so most of the enjoyment comes after you know if you were wrong or right about the solution.

I would suggest:

(1) Some time for people to post their theories on each story (using "hide" function so as not to spoil it too much for others)

(2) Some time for the authors to then post the reveals of their stories.

(3) Voting begins.

Baron

  • Mittens Serf
  • Not-so-Evil Banana Dictator
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2011, for the concept and management of SWARMAGS
    • I can help with voice acting
    • Baron worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
....And the submissions phase of our little competition is now officially closed.  Thank you to all of our contestants.  They are, in order of entry:

JudasFm with Death in the Stars
Mandle with Stop the Presses!
Sinitrena with Lady Susanna's Necklace

Now to the voting format.  The consensus seems to be to separate the voting from the guessing, and I never was one much for getting in the way of a consensus.  So, we will have 3 phases of post-competition interaction:

Phase 1 - Speculation (now to midnight Saturday): Try to guess whodunnit in each mystery, and why.  Using [ hide][ /hide] tags would be classy, but I'm not going to insist on it.  If you really don't know what other people are thinking, don't read past this post until you've come to your own conclusions! ;)

Phase 2 - Revelations (Sunday - Tuesday): The heavens will burn and the seas will boil and... wait, not that Revelations!  In this phase authors will reveal whodunnit, either as a continuation story or a "she did it, because of clue x, y and z".

Phase 3 - Voting (Wednesday - Friday): Specific voting criteria to be revealed when voting starts (but they'll probably be very similar to the ones in the OP).  Actually, if all the revelations are in early, we'll just start this early.

Sorry for drawing the process out, but it takes time to coordinate people from all over the internet.  So, to get started, start speculating! 

kconan

  • After⇐---—---⇒Before
I read and reread JudasFm and Sinintrena's murder mysteries and I couldn't deduce jack squat.  Of course I want to blame Colonel Mustard or some monacled professor, but I blame me for being bad at whodunits.  Regardless I've made educated guesses as to "who" for both stories, but I've got nothing concrete for "why".

Dun Dun Duuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnn...

Spoiler: ShowHide

JudasFm w/ Death in the Stars
Who: James Lawson?
Evidence and Motive: I couldn't figure anything out...

Mandle w/ Stop the Presses!
Who: Marvin Masters!
Evidence and Motive: Marvin seems to be lying.  Mary can't account for her husband at 8:00PM, and that's when she heard a cry.  Marvin went poking around at 8:30pm supposedly, and if he was getting Steve to meet Guy at 8:00pm, then he was around Steve's place from 7:45pm to 8:15pm.  Uhhh...Steve was hooking up with Mary on the sly, and Marv caught wind?

Sinitrena w/ Lady Susanna's Necklace
Who: I'll pin the theft of the hotel safe and necklace on Ben.  And the murderer is...Lord William?
Evidence and Motive: I couldn't figure anything out...


DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNN!
« Last Edit: 04 Jun 2015, 19:06 by kconan »

Sinitrena

  • Mittens Serf
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All right, let's see. I'm fairly certain I have Mandle's figured out, but JudasFm's still has me stumped.

Mandle's Stop the Presses:

Spoiler: ShowHide
Steve and Marv were supposed to be in the pub by 8.00, so it seems strange that Marv is looking for his friend at 8.30, even though he never went to the pub and therefore never knew that Steve was late. He had no reason to be there at this time. In addition, he says that he didn't see anything in the basement, even though the murder happened at about 8.00, according to Mary (who also happened to look for her husband at that time, so he doesn't have an alibi) - I assume that that time is correct; the police would know about the time of the call, after all.
Therefore, I conclude that Marvin Masters killed Steven Sloggins (and that Kevin Kline is not a good driver - poor dog (wtf))



JudasFm's Death in the Stars:

Spoiler: ShowHide
I got an idea here, but it just seems way too obvious: The letter is signed SK. Of all the names mentioned, only Samara King and Ken'ichi Sawada match these initials. The letter claimes that the motive for the murder was basically jealousy, so it's logical to assume that someone who wanted her job was responsible. In addition, Samara hasn't clocked in since before the murder. The only problem with this solution is that I really don't believe it. I have a feeling that I miss something important in the letter, especially in the few words that are crossed-out, and I'd really like to know what the deal is with Cy NO LAST NAME, the incedent that found them without a navigator in the first place, and the incident when the crew killed people to keep other safe (as mentioned in the letter); Are those two incidents the same? Looking for a motive, I actually think Race would be a likely candidate: He is a gofer while Paige seemed to have a succesful career. There might have been tension between them.
As I said, this storie has me stumped. I still say it was Samara King, even though I think this is too easy.
« Last Edit: 04 Jun 2015, 20:13 by Sinitrena »

JudasFm

  • Zlang-Zlang Squid Says: All Hail the Squid!
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Warning to everyone: these are both very long ;)

Mandle's:

Mandle and I already speculated on each other's via PM, but I'll post my thoughts here too :)

Spoiler: ShowHide

I suspect Marvin Masters, for the following reasons:

"I tried looking into Steve's basement window after he did not answer the door."

1. What was he doing at Steve's house at 8.30 if he was supposed to be meeting Guy and Steve for drinks at 8pm? And Guy himself said that neither of them showed up, so Marvin couldn't have gone to look for Steve. And if Marvin was running late, why didn't he phone Guy?

"so I wiped the condensation from the window"

2. This is the statement that rang a big old alarm bell in my head. Marvin is lying here, for one very simple reason. Condensation is caused by difference of air temperatures (ie, if the temperature on one side of the glass is higher than the temperature on the other side, you get condensation on the warmest side. This is why your car windows always fog up on cold days; it's because your body heat is sending the interior temperature through the roof). It's also why condensation tends to be on the inside of a house as opposed to the outside, thanks to central heating and such.

Of course, it is possible to have condensation on the outside as well, but this would require the outside temperature to be higher than the inside; you get this sometimes in the summer, especially if it's quite humid.

However, this wasn't the case here as three separate witnesses all mentioned there being snow on the ground. Generally speaking, and factoring in that places tend to be colder at night, the basement would probably have to be quite far into the negative temperatures for condensation to form on the outside on a snowy night.

Therefore, Marvin did not wipe any condensation off the window; if there was condensation at all, it would have to have been on the inside. If there was no condensation, why is he saying that there was? He's lying.

Plus, Mary Masters's testimony:

I was out looking for my husband around 8:00PM
Why? If Marvin had made plans to meet Guy and Steve at the pub at that time, surely he'd let his wife know? In that case, she'd know where he was and wouldn't need to go out looking for him.

Conclusion
Marvin is the only one whose testimony can be proved to be blatantly false. There are discrepancies in the others', but these can be chalked up to human error; people don't look at their watches often and it's easy to mistake time.


Sinitrena's: (Edited with new thoughts!)

Spoiler: ShowHide

Seriously, I have no idea at all, so I'll try working it through a bit here. I'm pretty sure that the thief and the murderer are two different people.

“You swear that you didn’t steal the necklace and kill Lady Susanna?”
“I never killed anyone.”


I notice he doesn't say anything about not stealing the necklace ;)

They think I stole the safe, didn’t find the necklace there and broke into Lady Susanna’s room to get it from there.
Didn't happen for several reasons:
1. Small or not, a man carrying a safe is going to be rather suspicious. And there was nobody else in the hotel so the guests all knew each other; there was no way he wouldn't be recognized and no way he could pass himself off as a safe-repairman ;)
2. We also know that the safe was found locked. Having opened the safe, it seems a bit odd that someone would shut it again. If the necklace was there, they would have taken it and run. If it wasn't, why would they bother to lock an empty safe?
3. It is possible he broke into Lady Susanna's room, since we know he's adept at picking locks and that this hotel is a small one as opposed to a big chain. Therefore, it's likely it would use keys as opposed to keycards.

When she didn’t turn up after a while, Lord William went to look for her.
Okay, so my money's now very firmly on Lord William being the murderer. If Agnes's scream was so loud, why didn't Lady Susanna hear it and come down herself? Their rooms were right next door to each other, so if he heard it, she must have.

[...]the necklace found in my room is a forgery, according to the police, and was covered in sticky blood.”
“I don’t see the significance of it being a forgery. Unless it’s a really bad one, you can’t recognize a forgery on a glance.”
"No, I can’t. But then, where’s the original?"


I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the local pawn shop, or rich people's equivalent. We know they're down on their luck from Ben's description in the opening paragraph. There's no indication anywhere that there were two necklaces. Ben himself admitted that he couldn't tell a forgery just by looking at it. I think Lady Susanna had already sold her necklace and replaced it with an imitation.

I think Lord William returned and lay in wait for his wife that night, then killed her as she came in (motive: probably money). He then planted the necklace in Ben's room (based on this, it's likely Ben never had the opportunity to steal the necklace at all; Lady Susanna was probably wearing it when she came upstairs).

Yep...that's about the best I can do ???

EDIT: Oh yeah, and I think Lord William took the safe and threw it out. The reason it was still closed was because he wasn't interested in its contents; he just wanted to use its disappearance to create a diversion and bring everyone out of their rooms, leaving him free to go 'discover' his dead wife. Possibly get rid of any troublesome evidence as well...
« Last Edit: 05 Jun 2015, 07:18 by JudasFm »