Yes, that is a lame titled. To be honest, I’m thinking about combining this chapter with my previous chapter. We shall see.
Summary: For the Love of Elaine, set in the 1930s, recounts the investigation of young and sweet Elaine Whitney’s murder, focusing on the contrast of love with lust and the effects of guilt. The main characters include Gifford Boswell, the elderly Chadwick estate butler and guardian of Elaine; Ian Donald, the estate’s young gardener and close friend/lover to Elaine; Richard Farrell, the Chadwick’s newly hired personal detective; and Vera Sloan, the bitter, tough-as-nails, platinum blonde with an unconquerable ambition to escape her life as the estate’s cook. In Chapter 2, we took a glimpse into Detective Farrell’s somewhat mysterious life and stepped into the scene of crime. The chapter closed with these closing lines: “Murder. Suffocation. Most probably by her lover.”
The detective’s words hung in the air like a heavy asphalt cloud. Perhaps they had such an effect because of Elaine’s seeming innocence, or perhaps because of the incongruency between her warm smile now indecently beaming from a picture on the dresser and the verdict stated by Detective Farrell. The entire diagnosis felt near disrespectful to utter in that delicate room painted in varying shades of soft blue. For that same reason, his words still rang in the room like the discordant, suspended ding of a tin bell.
Wiping a hand across his forehead, the chief police cleared his throat. “Hrrm. I see. And the evidence for that…Detective?”
Nonchalantly, Farrell pulled his hand out of his coat pocket, revealing the crumpled scrap of paper he had previously stashed away, and handed it to the police.
The chief police squinted at the writing on the note as the other policemen peered over his shoulder. “Rest—errm—well, My Love.”
Farrell’s eyes flickered in bemusement as he watched the police piece together the evidence. Seconds later, he confirmed the chief’s doubtful conclusion expressed in the wrinkle of his brow. “The lovers had a quarrel. He or she knocked down the vase with the roses from the bushes in the garden in anger. She crushed his note that came with the flowers in her hand, and he,” Farrell closed in a matter-of-fact tone, “in a rage, clamped his hand over her mouth and nose—” He took back the scrap of paper and buried it into his pocket once more. “—Suffocation.”
“Yes, hrrm, I see,” I the chief police responded. “And do you have any clue as to whom this lover might be?”
“Unless pilfering roses is to be tacked on to the murder charge, my guess is the guilty one lives on the estate as well,” he answered.
“Ah, I will shut down all comings and goings on the place then,” the chief stated, relieved at finally finding a way to busy his force.
“No, actually. Why break our backs when the criminal might himself solve the case for us by a sudden disappearance?” The detective’s mouth stretched in a chilling grin.
“Hrm, I see what you mean, Detective,” the chief police acknowledged. “I’ll just, erm, take the corpse out…” he mused more to himself and his men than to Farrell.
Ian had stood in the doorway during the inspection, and, though try as he might, he could not make out the low exchange of words between the two men several feet away from him—only snippets from reading their lips. When the chief police stepped away, Detective Farrell looked up directly into Ian’s steady gaze. His eyes shone with a frightening intensity. The detective held his gaze with his own imperturbable stare before turning away to the dead figure of Elaine.
Farrell knelt beside her on one knee, crushing crimson roses under his weight, and peeled off his grey gloves. With one large bony, blotched hand he brought her right hand clutching the cream rose to rest on her chest. With the other hand, he covered her right with her left hand so that the rose lay clasped between beneath the two. If an observer had studied the detective’s face at that moment, he would have caught his weathered mask melt away for the fraction of a second and his face soften into almost an expression of tenderness. But the moment the mask began to waver, his face froze into pallid, stern stone with an equanimity equal to a gravestone statuette. He turned away and stood up.
Police zipped the plastic bag close over Elaine’s mottled face and with one on either end totted her out the blue shaded room.
Gifford’s low moans grew into chocking wails as the policemen crossed the sun-bathed floor.
Farrell shifted his eyes from the empty spot on the floor and caught Ian’s still unflinching gaze.
“Step into the next room. I have a couple questions.” And Farrell strode through the door.
4 thoughts on “NP3-Chapter 3: Verdict Explained”
Wow Abby! This is so well done! A true thriller as well as making you cry! Great job!
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Wow, this is getting really intense! I love it so far!! I’m really loving the obvious comparison between Ian and Ferrel, and the quirk with the chief police was a really nice, realistic attribute for such a minor character. I’m excited to see how the true criminal is discovered!!
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