“I can’t believe it, poor Mr. Cliff. His wife reported him missing a week ago. Are you sure he only died this morning?”
Doctor Calvin nodded, “Based on the rigor mortis, yes, he’s only been dead for a few hours.”
The police chief sighed, “If only we could have found him earlier, he might not have had to die, and leave his wife and children.”
“Begging your pardon, Sheriff Richards, we’re from out of town, but, I would like to extend my services to your office and bring the murderer in for justice,” stated David.
“Thank you, Mr. Turner, your reputation precedes you, and I readily accept. I only wish we had met under better circumstances, and that your first visit to Cape Coley was met with a brighter welcome, both groups.”
“Both groups?” asked Harris.
“Ah, yes, the family that found the body is also from Harport,” reported Calvin.
“Huh, what are the odds.”
Richards smiled sadly, “Actually, it makes sense. We get many families from Harport visiting Cape Coley. To be honest, since Harport is such a big vacation spot, they come here to get away from the crowds and, well, it keeps us from turning into a ghost town.”
“Hence why Mr. Cliff and his family moved here, to get away from the crowds,” stated Trin.
Richards sighed, “And now not only must I report to his family, I must also report to the whole world. One of the greatest actors of our time was taken from us.” He turned to Calvin, “Based on your experiences as a doctor, what would you surmise the cause of death was?”
Calvin shrugged, “I can’t say for sure, but since there are no puncture wounds, nor any sign of strangulation, the most likely cause was either straight up poison or a major overdose.”
“Probably whatever was used to keep him sedated,” David growled. Calvin nodded.
Richards rose from his desk, “Well, again, thank you for your offer, Mr. Turner, you have complete jurisdiction over this case. However, may I suggest visiting an old friend of mine, Jonquil Franklin? She’s just back in from her own vacation and was good friend of the Cliffs. If you could break the news to her while I break the news to the family that would be great. Also, she’s got a head for mystery as well, and since she knows the town, would be able to help you even better than I or my deputy could.”
“Of course, and we’ll bring this murderer to justice before the end of the week.”
Richards smiled as he shook hands with David, “Thank you, so very much. It’s taken quite the load off my shoulders.”
“Well then, let’s get a move on, that murderer won’t stay here for long if they knew we were on their trail,” grumbled Harris as he rose from his chair. The others followed suit.
“Yes, again, thank you, and the best of luck to you all.”
“Thank you.” The group shook hands with the sheriff before leaving his office and set out to find Miss Jonquil Franklin. The cab driver knew exactly where to go, and since it was a rather tiny town, the four practically memorized the route by the time they had arrived. After paying and giving the driver instructions to return in about an hour, the four marched up to the quaint cottage’s front door and knocked. The door was opened by a woman in her mid-fifties, prim and pretty in a mint green blouse and a matching paisley skirt.
“Oh, hello, can I help you?”
“Um, yes, and no. Are you Miss Jonquil Franklin?”
“I am, and you are?”
“I’m David Turner, and . . .”
“Why, the famous detective from Harport! Of course! And you must be his dearest friends! Captain Jeffrey Harris, Doctor Xavier Calvin, and the reporter, Trin Thompson! But, what brings you to my house! I’m nowhere near as famous as you.”
“Actually, Miss Franklin, I’m afraid we’ve come bearing bad news . . .”
“Oh dear, then you’d better come inside. I have a feeling I should be sitting down for this,” she stated as she let them into the house.
“I think you’d be right,” remarked Calvin as they filed into the living room. Gently, they broke the news to her. She sat back in her recliner, stunned for a minute, but seemed to recover rather quickly.
“So, dear George is dead,” she finally muttered.
“I’m afraid so. The sheriff has gone to tell the family, but, Miss Franklin, we’re going to need your help to solve this case.”
Jonquil pursed her lips, “You can be sure I will, and please, just call me Jonquil.”
“Of course, Jonquil. Um, could you tell us everything you can recall about the night he disappeared, or did you leave for your vacation before that?”
Jonquil sighed, “I did leave for vacation before then, the day before, in fact, which makes me worried that the perpetrator was watching both of us, waiting to strike upon my departure.”
“Why would your departure be important?”
Jonquil chuckled, “I’m kind of the local detective. I’ve helped the sheriff on many occasions.”
“I’m sure he’s grateful for it too,” commented David, thinking of the skeleton crew at the sheriff’s office.
“The perpetrator knew you would have figured it out real quick where Mr. Cliff had been taken, before anything could happen,” realized Trin.
Jonquil nodded, “Exactly.”
“Which could mean that the both of you might have known the perpetrator personally, without realizing it,” suggested David.
“That’s what I’m wondering.” The group was startled by a rapid pounding at the door. Jonquil hurried to open it. The deputy burst into the room, followed by Jonquil.
“We need your help. The results of the tire tracks just came back. The vehicle belongs to Mrs. Cliff.”
“As I suspected, those tire tracks were left on purpose, to throw us off the scent.”
“And now the perpetrator is going to reveal themselves.”