As the guests approached, the wind howled relentlessly. The darkness of the night extinguished all light except that of the Riverview Manor, its warm welcoming glow lighting up the decorated driveway. One by one the guests began to enter the manor. The party seemed innocent enough, however, when the party was over and all the guests left the host, the owner of the manor, Mr Smith, was found in the study, lying in a pool of blood.
* * *
One week later…
John White hurried over to his new office, where he would begin his first case. John was recently hired to assist a detective named Christoper Stone in solving the murder at Riverveiw Manor. Today he would be brought up to speed about the murder and the suspects.
Opening the doors to the office, John saw a large lobby, filled with people walking around, delivering files or talking to each other. Then John saw a well dressed man walking towards him. “ Hello,” he said cheerfully. “ You must be John White. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Larry. You have an interview with Mr Stone, correct?”
“Yes,” John replied politely. “ Do you know where I can find him?”
“Right this way, Sir.” Larry answered. He led John into an elevator, then pressed the button for the fourth floor. They both got off, then Larry pointed at a door. “There is where you will find Mr Stone,” Larry declared.
“Thank you,” John said. He walked where Larry had directed him. Opening the door, John saw an office setup inside. There was also a secure looking safe in the corner. The desk had lots of papers and files scattered messily across the desk. Then John heard a knock on the door. As it swung open John saw a well dressed man, maybe in his late forties. He had a serious face, with slightly greyish hair. “Hello there,” he said. “You must be John White. My name is Chirstopher Stone. This is your first day on the job?”
“Yes, that’s right,” said John. “So, what is the case we’re dealing with?”
“Glad you asked,” said Mr Stone. “Let me bring you up to speed about the murder at Riverview Manor. What we know is that there was a party held there recently. There were three guests that night. They are our main suspects. The host of the party, who was also the owner of the manor, Lee Smith, was found dead in the study at the ground floor. To find out who commited the murder, we will be staying temporarily at the manor to stay close to the scene.”
“That makes sense,” said John. “But when will we start?”
“Today,” answered Mr Stone.
As the Sedan rolled across the country side, John wondered who was the culprit. Mr Stone had told him who exactly were the suspects. According to him there were three suspects. Mr Smith’s brother Albert Smith, a biologist Robert Clark, and finally a former detective Joe Michaels.
Eventually they turned towards a wide street. At the end, John saw a large, old fashioned house. It had large windows on almost every wall. On the left side of the house, there was a creek several feet below. John noticed a gushing river there, too. No wonder it was called the Riverview Manor. Getting out of the car, John walked up to the door and knocked. Mr Stone followed. After a few seconds, a pale faced woman answered the door. “Hello, gentlemen,” she said. “Can I help you with anything?” John assumed that this was Mrs Smith. “Are you Mrs Smith?” Mr Stone asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Chistopher Stone. This is my assistant, John White,” He said, pointing to John. “Could you take us to the site of the murder?”
“Oh,” she sighed with relief. “You two are detectives?”
“Yes,” Mr Stone said.
“Alright,” Mrs Smith said. “Come with me.” She led them through the door and into the house. Like the exterior, the furniture was old fashioned, too. They walked down corridors and through rooms. Mrs Smith led them into a small room. John realised this was the study, the study where the murder had taken place. Shifting his gaze down towards the ground, John saw the crime scene. Suddenly, something occurred to John. John had never seen any news about the murder at Riverview Manor, so how did Mr Stone have this information? Before John could ask Mr Stone, he said, “alright. How about we look further into this later.Why don’t you sort out lunch while I try to find anything interesting here.” Come to think of it, John was quite hungry. So he walked out with Mrs Smith to the kitchen. Unfortunately, Mr Stone was not searching for evidence. In fact, he was doing quite the opposite…
When the sun began to set, Mrs Smith showed them to their rooms. John knew that he should try to sleep lightly so in case anything happened, he could get up quickly and see what was happening. John slept peacefully that night, so he assumed nothing was amiss. Sadly, he was wrong. Very wrong.
The next day, John and Mr Stone began to question the suspects.
But they seemed innocent, and John could tell it in their voice. In fact, they seemed afraid of something. But what?
Later that morning, Mrs Smith called John and Mr Stone down to the hall. She had a look of panic on her face. “I got this note a few minutes ago,” she trembled. She handed it to John. It read:
To whoever is the current owner of Riverview Manor, I am the one who murdered Lee Smith. If you wish to ever see the light of the day again, give me Riverview Manor by wednesday, and none will be harmed. On the back of this note there is a sales contract that you will sign and drop at the letterbox next to the Manor Gate. Once again, if you wish to live, please comply.
John stared at the note in disbelief. John had to find that murderer, and fast, or else Mrs Smith would have to sell Riverview Manor for much less than it was worth!
After dinner John decided to talk to Mrs Smith to see if she could hold any clues to who the murderer was. Walking up to the master bedroom, John knocked at the door. Mrs Smith answered. “I assume you have come here to talk?” She said
“Yes,” said John. “I won’t stop searching until I will find the murderer.”
“Then I think that this will help,” she said. “Follow me. There are unsavory people trying to listen, so we must not talk here.” Mrs Smith walked over to a nearby bookshelf. She pulled out a red book, and John heard a grinding noise. “What is that?” John shouted over the noise. He had no clue what was going on. Mrs Smith walked over to a closet, opened the door, and instead of a wall, there was a gaping tunnel leading down into the darkness. Mrs Smith walked into the hole. John hastily followed. Inside, Mrs Smith flicked a lever and the hole was perfectly sealed. A second later, the tunnel was lit up by electric lights. They walked down some stairs for some time until they reached a room like a basement, except it had no entry ways other than the one they came from. John could not believe his eyes. “Is this a-”
“Yes.” Mrs Smith said. “This place was built a while ago, and these places tend to have such passages.”
“Now can we talk safely?” John asked.
“Yes, yes we can,” she said. “The murderer must have entered the manor with you, but without you knowing. While I was walking around the corridors, I heard something about someone leaving tonight at midnight. It might be the murderer. We cannot let him escape.”
“You are right,” John said sternly. He knew what he had to do.
As John heard the creaking of a door opening, his senses sharpened and he snapped awake, clutching a flashlight. He heard footsteps. They were walking away from him. He followed the footsteps down the stairs. The footsteps led him to the master bedroom. Then John saw a figure opening the door. For some reason, it looked familiar. He held a knife up above his head, ready to strike. The figure neared closer to the bed. John could not stand by and watch an innocent person get hurt. He had to take action. John turned on his flashlight. The figure staggered back, startled by the light. Then, he knew who the murderer was. John could not believe his eyes. It was none other than…
“Mr Stone!?” John shouted in confusion.
“YOU?” Mr Stone shouted.
“It was you the whole time?” John asked. His mind was full of questions. The murderer did enter the manor with John without him noticing.
“Yes,” Mr Stone grinned wickedly. “John, you know a dark secret. Unfortunately I cannot let you live to tell it.” John dashed out of the bedroom, Mr Stone in hot pursuit. John frantically looked around to see if there was anything that might help him. Then it caught his eye. There was a police car parked a few yards away from the manor. If John could signal them, Mr Stone would have no chance of escaping. John turned off his flashlight, then on again, then off, and on. Luckily, The police car had caught the signal and came racing towards the manor. Two officers jumped out and kicked open the front doors. As Mr Stone caught up to John, The police entered, and at the sight of a man with a knife, they raised their tasers and shouted,
* * *
Two days later.
People slowly filled the courtroom, and John White was amongst the few people required for the trial of Mr Stone. It was about half-way into the trial when the judge said, “Mr Stone, do you have a confession to make?”
“I do,” He answered solemnly. “I murdered Lee Smith then erased the evidence. I murdered him in the hope of scaring the only other owner of Riverview Manor to sell it for a price much less than what it was worth, then sell it myself for a large sum of money. As you can see, my plan failed horribly.”
“And do you regret your actions?” The judge said.
“Yes,” Mr Stone said.
“Regardless,” the judge answered, “Such a terrible crime is strongly punishable by law.” The judge raised his voice. “Mr Stone, you are hereby charged guilty of murder. You will be imprisoned the following day.” Most of the crowd cheered as Mr Stone was taken away.
After that, things returned back to normal, except for a few things. John was no longer an assistant, but an official detective, who solved many mysteries. Riverview Manor was not sold, still in the right hands and Mr Stone was finally brought to justice.
Image Courtesy : Eastwell Manor Hotel, Kent
: Holmes Illustrations by Sidney Paget
|Aiden B. is a budding writer, an avid swimmer, Marvel fan and a 6th grader. He enjoys bike riding, playing guitar and participating in mealtime discussions with his younger brother regarding Minecraft, funny videos and more recently Covid -19. Originally from Melbourne, Australia he currently resides in California with his parents and his brother.|