Mince Pies & Murder – The Crime Scene

This third and final extract from Mince Pies & Murder focuses on the crime scene. It’s Christmas Morning, the ground is covered by deep snow and the sleuths have been summoned to the scene by the scream of the kitchen maid.

Groundsman’s Cottage / Murder Scene

The cottage is about 20 yards behind the main house, next to the garage. It is a small two-roomed structure with a bedroom and a kitchen / living room. An outhouse behind the cottage provides toilet facilities.

Late last night, as Henry sat for a quiet beer whilst reading the local paper, his murderer paid him a visit. The two chatted for a little while and then his murderer struck him about the head with a large and heavy icicle.

The murderer’s original plan had been to stab him with a kitchen knife but death by icicle was a more fitting crime for the great detectives to solve. However, in the cold conditions, the icicle would not melt so the killer piled the fire high with wood and coal.

When the players try to reach the cottage they will see that the snow is several feet deep but fresh footprints leading to and from the cottage show the way. Around the rest of the cottage and house, the snow is undisturbed.

Inside, the cottage is cramped but it is clearly a home. A few knickknacks and photos can be seen amongst the tools and the clutter of daily life. Overall, it appears well cared for and tidy.

Henry’s body sits at the table, slumped face down on a blood stained newspaper. By him is a knocked over beer glass and the beer, blood and newspaper have made a soggy mess. The table occupies much of the room and Henry’s chair is close to the fireplace.

Difficulty Clue
Easy The body is cold and the cause of death appears to be a blunt object. The back of the skull is caved in suggesting an attack from behind.
All the trails of blood from the injury match the pools of blood on the table so there is no evidence that the body has been moved.
Outside the cottage, several sets of footprints run from the house to the cottage. Around the rest of the cottage (and the house) the snow is undisturbed.
Moderate The dead man was struck several times in the same place, though the first blow probably knocked him unconscious.
The stiffness of the body suggests he has been dead several hours.
The rug underneath the table is coated with ice. (From the icicle that was melted by the fire and then refroze once the fire died down)
There is a lot of ash in the fire place that is still warm, suggesting there was a roaring fire last night.
It was still snowing until the early hours so any footprints from last night will have been covered.
Hard The fire tongs used for putting logs and coals on the fire place are casually discarded to one side. This is out of place with the rest of the cottage where everything is neatly put away.
Outside, from the guttering, several large icicles hang down plus one spot where it appears that one icicle has been broken off.

Who Murdered Henry?

It doesn’t matter. One of the staff was responsible and all are capable of it. Even Jimmy Cheese could have done it, though the two prime suspects are Newgate the Butler and Johnny the Footman. Mrs Baxter the Cook and Tim the Hall Boy are possibilities with the two maids as unlikely but plausible killers.

Mince Pies & Murder is being released on Monday 20th June 2011. It will be available as a free download but you can also choose to pay £5 for the PDF. Both PDF’s are identical but the £5 option gives you the Living Document promise and you also receive the next adventure in the series – Memory & Murder – free of charge when it is published later this year. On top of that, you get the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a small RPG company.