Thursday 3 March 2011

Magpie Tales #55 Murder!

Image copyright Tess Kincaid
There were fourteen place settings. The hostess had served fish; on every plate there remained skeletons with varying amounts of flesh still clinging to the bones. From her position at the head of the table the inspector surmised that the victim was the lady of the house.  Her hospitality had been poorly repaid, he thought.

It was apparent that there had been a hasty exodus from the table. Napkins had been dropped on the floor, a couple of chairs were knocked askew, a wine glass had spilt its contents – red wine, the inspector noticed with snobbish distaste. Had the departure taken place before or after the attack? And where were the guests now?

Following his preliminary assessment of the scene, the inspector approached the body to seek further insight into the murder. The woman, middle-aged, grey-blonde, was slumped sideways in her chair. A scarlet flower bloomed on the left side of her head, a rose of rich dark red. The inspector swallowed hard. He had seen many such scenes before but always the bile rose in his throat at the sickly, sweet smell. 

The lemon - evidently the victim had not squeezed it over her fish - was splashed with red. Her fork was smeared with crimson and – yes! there were clear fingerprints on it and on the plate. So, death had not been instantaneous. Had she grabbed the fork in a vain attempt to fight back? If so, who had replaced it so neatly, so grotesquely?

The inspector scratched his head and decided he’d better try to locate the rest of the party. He opened a door and found himself in a large, square kitchen. It was crowded with people, all smartly dressed and obviously expecting him. He nodded at them, not sure what he should do next.

‘Well?’ said a tall thin man. ‘What did you think?’

A murmur of voices added, ‘Who do you suspect?’ and ‘It wasn't me,’ and ‘Confess, James.’ 

The inspector looked at them and grinned suddenly. ‘It was very convincing,’ he said.

The ‘victim’ appeared behind him. ‘Sorry about the smell,’ she said, ‘I know you loathe tomato ketchup but we had to make it look authentic. Come along now and have a stiff drink and join us for the rest of our meal.’

Everybody laughed and made their way back to the dining room.

Thank you to Tess Kincaid who organises and hosts this imaginative meme. Click here to read more Magpies.


  1. Very Clever tale of murder....with a wonderful twist of ketchup in the end....cheers...bkm

  2. wonderful! deliciously gruesome... i was indeed surprised by the ending... well done!

  3. Ah! Murder mystery dinner theatre! I love it! What fun - and yes, you got me, too!

  4. really had me there!! That inspector wasn't the only one that got fooled!!

    SUPERBLY written!!! I am a sucker for suspense stories... and tis one ROCKED!!!

  5. You got me, too. I was even feeling woozy from imagining the smell of blood. I thought something was a bit off when the inspector found the suspects in the kitchen instead of a parlor, however.
    Very well done, Janice, very well done indeed!
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  6. Oh, I liked this! So Gosford Park!


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