Another high school assignment. We were studying crime fiction, funnily enough.
Lachlan Marnoch, 2012
Avery Overshaw was extraordinarily proud of his work as a private detective. His living room was decorated with newspaper clippings describing his exploits. Missing husbands, snipped brakes, murders, he had solved them all.
How much of a difference did it make if he was the one doing the kidnapping, cutting the brakes, or committing the murders? The result was the same: glory, to swell his pride even further.
It was thoughts of glory that crowded his head as he crossed the police tape into the crime scene. The body lay across the pavement, a tangled clump of flesh and bone, shattered from its sudden descent from the penthouse above.
Exactly where he had left it.
The glare of the police detectives as he approached could not have been more hostile. Mediocrity hates talent, he reflected to himself.
“Good morning, gentlemen!” he called.
“Why are you here?” replied one of them, a man.
“Why, D.I. Levin, I’m surprised! Hasn’t your Lieutenant informed you? I’m to consult on this case.” The bumbling fools couldn’t solve this case even if it were real. “Now, to work!” He leaned over the body, studying his handiwork carefully.
“It’s suicide,” stated the other police officer, this one a woman. “She jumped off the balcony of her apartment, stupid bitch.”
Overshaw glanced up at her. “Not a fan of suicide, my dear?”
She shook her head. “Not that it’s any of your business, but no. It’s wrong to end a life so pointlessly. I don’t see why anyone would do it.”
Avery returned to his scrutiny of the body.
“I commend you for your strong moral stance.” Stupid bitch. “It is the responsibility of all officers of the law to comment on morality, to reflect on what is right: those who don’t aren’t worth the metal on their badges. However, this was not suicide.”
Levin had knelt beside him. “What makes you think that?”
“This head wound,” he lifted the body’s bloody, matted hair to demonstrate a sizeable bruise, “was not sustained upon landing. This woman was knocked out before she fell. See, she landed on her back, this injury is on the front.”
He remembered doing it, the satisfying crunch as the cricket bat collided with her skull.
“So, what – she was knocked out and then thrown off the balcony?”
“Precisely!” He had watched her fall, her hair fluttering around her like a drifting jellyfish in the air.. “Probably with a heavy… ah hah!” He picked a splinter from the mess of her scalp. “A heavy, blunt, wooden implement. Perhaps a cricket or baseball bat?”
Her husband was a proud cricketer.
“So who did it?” Levin asked, still looking at the body.
“It is difficult to say, but in these things it is often the jealous husband.” Maybe in detective novels. “I see she wears a wedding ring. If you search the apartment you may find the weapon.” Under the husband’s bed, a slight bloodstain on the tip, where Avery had planted it as the husband slept.
Levin rose. “Well, alright then. Shall we go up there now?”
Overshaw nodded. “You go on ahead, ladies and gentlemen. The immediate evidence is more than enough for me.”
Someone would be sure to report his role in solving the crime to the press. An anonymous letter, perhaps.
The police detectives left Avery alone with the body. He remembered the momentary look of terror in the woman’s eyes as, with gloved hands, he brought the bat down on her head, before she collapsed, lifeless. There had been no chance of her husband awakening: the crumbled sleeping pill Avery had slipped into his drink, lurking unseen in the apartment, was most potent. For such obvious members of the one percent they had a very basic security system.
Overshaw knew the police would never work out the real murderer. They never had before, in all the dozens of cases he had committed. This would be just one more clipping for his wall, and his pride.