Episode 13 of Witt Kepler, Private Eye
Private eye Witt Kepler and his partner Guthrie Oaks of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police approached the front desk clerk at the Townsend Hotel. Their goal was to discover who was occupying the room next door to the recently deceased chief from the Westborough Police Department. Witt knew the staff would have been ordered to keep quiet “to save the reputation of the finest hotel in Metro” so a subtle ruse would be in order.
Setting the trap…
“Excuse me, we are looking for the detectives investigating the murder in your hotel last night, could you tell me what room they are in?”
“605, sir. But I doubt they will let you in. We were told no onlookers would be permitted entry. I’m very sorry, but that is all I can tell you. If you would like more information, you will have to leave a message for the hotel manager. He will get back to you as soon as he is able.”
“Of course, privacy must be of the utmost importance, as I would expect in a top shelf hotel as the Townsend. Strange, though… I had heard the murder occurred in 603. I must have gotten my numbers mixed up. Are you sure there wasn’t a murder in 603?”
“Of course I am sure. Señora Abril Rimeiro was staying in 603 and I saw her myself, this morning at breakfast.”
The bait is placed…
“Rimeiro? A younger woman, correct? With long black hair, down to about here?” Witt placed his hand at about chest level to indicate the señora’s hair length.
“Oh no, sir. The señora is an elderly woman with short gray hair. She is one of our regulars, everyone knows her. Can’t miss her with her cane and all. She was in 603. In fact, the manager stopped by her table this morning to make sure she was alright.”
The trap is sprung…
Guthrie looked on with amazement as his partner played the desk clerk like a Stradivarius. Witt continued.
“Oh, one more question if I may. The señora, her middle initial wouldn’t happen to be “P” would it?”
The desk clerk tapped a few clicks on his computer, then looked up with a quizzical expression. “Why, yes. How did you know?”
“Just a hunch. But no matter. As long as she is alright, that’s what is important. Can’t be too careful with a murderer on the loose, can we? Thanks for your help. We’ll be off now.”
As the two men walked away from the front desk toward the security office, Guthrie stopped for a moment to interrogate his partner.
“Well, obviously you had a plan back there. Care to let me in on what “we” found?”
Witt raised one eyebrow, tilting his head slightly. “Sgt Oaks, it was very clearly stated – we have our murderer.”
“The little old Spanish lady? I hardly think so. Besides, she’s a regular patron here. I wouldn’t expect her to have an attitude bad enough to kill someone, unless they cancelled her bingo game or something.”
Witt replied, saying “Don’t dismiss our aging baby boomers, Guthrie, they were tough cookies back in the day and most still are. Besides, this woman, if she is indeed a woman, has given herself away.”
“How? You saw the wheel tracks in the carpet up there. That suitcase had to be extremely heavy. She wouldn’t be physically able to carry it!”
Witt laughed. “And that, my dear Mountie, is the beauty of it. She’s an old lady, and a well known customer. I imagine she tips the bellhops well to cart her bags around. Ask one of them and I bet they will remember her unusually heavy bag, but her being an elderly woman, they would have been hesitant to say anything about it for fear of losing a generous gratuity.”
“As you are want to say, I have one more question before we go stare at drab security tapes for hours on end. How on God’s green earth did you know the lady’s middle initial?”
“P was the only letter that made sense. You see, she isn’t playing the part of a Spanish matron, rather from Portugal. Her first name, Abril, translated from Portuguese into the Queen’s English is the word “April,” as in the month of. Her last name is Rimeiro, which is not a word in any language to my knowledge. Add the letter P, however, and you get the word primeiro.”
“Primeiro means first. Our culprit is masquerading as an old Portuguese woman, and is using a nom du plum translating to April First, or as the day is more commonly known – April Fools day.”
“So she, or maybe it’s a he, is having a little word fun at our expense,” Guthrie stated.
“No, sir. The killer is mocking us in plain sight.”
- We Have A Suspect Now? (djlutz.wordpress.com)