Inspector Goodstone and the Case of the Murdered Artist

by Shells Walter

Inspector Goodstone looked at the painting once more.

"I don't understand what is so special about this painting." The Inspector tilted his head sideways to look at the painting from a different angle.

"It has to do with the brush strokes of the artist, sir," the man with the wide brimmed hat replied. He followed the painting with his fingers, not allowing even one to touch the colorful oil painting.

"Mr. Frots, I still have no clue why someone would kill for a piece of art." The Inspector shook his head. He turned as he heard a clinking noise.

A man with a white shirt, pressed black pants, whose hair was neatly trimmed, walked into the room. The clink of his ice-filled drink glass was the noise the Inspector had heard. The man held out a free hand to the Inspector.

"I'm sorry I've kept you waiting Inspector. It has been so chaotic here since my Sara passed away; everyone is either too afraid to stay here, or have just outright quit. I've had to learn to do things I've never done before." The man sighed and sat down on the black leather chair facing the Inspector and Mr. Frots.

"Mr. Bolds? I will need to ask you a few questions about Sara's death," the Inspector sat down on the matching leather couch. Mr. Frots sat on the other end of the couch.

"Yes, of course," Mr. Bolds replied. He sat his glass on the solid red oak coffee table in front of him. He moved it slightly to the right. The Inspector watched him.

"What time of the day did you find Sara's body?" The Inspector took out his notepad and pencil.

"It was morning, two days ago. I came in from my morning walk with Betsy our dog. I took the leash off the dog and went into the kitchen to get a cup of tea. I hadn't yet come into the bedroom where Sara was still sleeping."

"Does she normally sleep in?" The Inspector studied Mr. Bolds movements after each question and reply. He made a mental note to remember the certain facial jerks Mr. Bolds made as he answered each question.

"Sara would take a morning nap as she called it. Then she would wake up and go into her painting room where she would spend hours at a time working on one of her masterpieces." Mr. Bolds sighed and looked down. The Inspector nodded.

"Is there anyone else that goes into her painting room?" The Inspector jotted down some notes and then looked up waiting for an answer.

"Some maids maybe, but she normally didn't let anyone in."

"You included?" The Inspector asked.

"Yes," Mr. Bolds answered.

"What would make you check up on her that particular day? Didn't you assume she was just painting in her room as normal?"

Mr. Bold’s face reddened slightly.

"Inspector, as I told the others of your department, I found her in the painting room and she was on the floor," Mr. Bolds slurred some of his words.

"I understand that and I'm sorry for repeating any questions. I just want to make sure we have all the details."

"Shouldn't you be looking for her killer?" Mr. Bolds stood up. His hands clenched into fists.

"Mr. Bolds, please, there is no need for anger. We are searching for suspects." The Inspector stood up. Mr. Frots stood up as well.

"I'm sorry. Please accept my apologies. It has been horrible since Sara was murdered."

"I can understand that," the Inspector replied.

"Good, I should rest." Mr. Bolds bent down and picked up his glass. He turned and walked out of the library saying nothing else to the two men now standing.

"Inspector, he seemed really angry," Mr. Frots mentioned as he watched Mr. Bolds walk out.

"Yes he did, oddly so." The Inspector rubbed his moustache with his fingertips.

"How so?" Mr. Frots asked.

"He seemed angry when I mentioned the painting room." The Inspector put his notepad and pencil back into his pocket.

"He did find his wife dead in that room," Mr. Frots replied.

"True, Mr. Frots, but his face suggested otherwise. The twitching of his cheeks, his eyes narrowing—overall, I have a bad feeling about this."

"Your feelings could be wrong Inspector." Mr. Frots grabbed his jacket off the hook stand next to the door opening.

"Yes, but remember you have been assigned to me as an apprentice, Mr. Frots." The Inspector grabbed his jacket off the same hook stand and put it on.

"Yes, Inspector," was all that Mr. Frots said in response.

* * *

Mr. Frots handed the Inspector some photos and papers from a vanilla folder.

"Ah, see she was strangled." The Inspector pointed to a photograph of Sara Bolds' body.

"And judging on her wardrobe, it would appear she was painting at the time of her death." Mr. Frots studied the picture.

"Agreed, and the motive was in that room." The Inspector pointed to the wall in the picture.

"How can you tell?" Mr. Frots asked.

"Look closely at that wall; you will see that there are four holes, two on top and two on bottom." The Inspector handed the picture to Mr. Fronts. He nodded.

"So she was killed for the painting?"

"Perhaps, Mr. Frots, but we can't hold that as the only motive. Now tell me, could there be another reason why she might have been killed?"

"Well, the strangulation suggests that the killer wanted it to be quick. Whoever did this was angry." Mr. Frots studied the picture some more.

"Very good, now what other reason could there be for her death?" The Inspector watched Mr. Frots for a reply.

"Hmm," Mr. Frots started to pace the Inspector's office, "this could be a murder of vengeance perhaps?"

"Once again, good thinking. Vengeance is a powerful feeling, especially when it overrides your other senses," the Inspector responded.

"But how can we prove it?" Mr. Frots turned and flipped through the photos.

"After interviewing the insurance agents for the paintings, Mr. Bolds, and some of Mr. Bolds’ staff, we have learned the following information: Firstly, recall what the insurance agent said about his conversation with Mr. Bolds. How Sara’s pantings might be worth more than he had originally thought, and how angry Mr. Bolds had become upon learning this information.”

"I know the market and yes she was making a good start," Mr. Frots interrupted.

"Would you assume then that Mr. Bolds would be a suspect in this case?" The Inspector stood up and grabbed his jacket.

"Yes," Mr. Frots hesitated.


"But just because he has a temper doesn't mean that he killed his wife," Mr. Frots answered.

"Correct, that is why we need to make one-hundred percent certain before we accuse any suspect, especially someone of Mr. Bolds social standing." The Inspector started to walk out the door. Mr. Frots followed, forgetting his jacket still hung over the wooden chair by his desk.

* * *

The Inspector and Mr. Frots arrived at the insurance agent's office. They walked through the door, asked for Mr. Mekin, and the receptionist sent them on to his office.

"Good evening, what can I do for you two?" Mr. Mekins stood up and shook the Inspector and Mr. Frot's hands.

"Thank you for seeing us, Mr. Mekins. We wanted to follow-up on a few questions regarding the murder of Sara Bolds."

The insurance agent shook his head and sighed.

"Yes, that was very bad. It came as a shock. She was such a wonderful woman," Mr. Mekins said quietly. The Inspector watched him carefully.

"How well did you know Sara Bolds?" The Inspector asked.

"Basically since she started painting. About two years, I suppose.

"The Inspector took out his notepad and took some notes. He then looked back up at the insurance agent.

"And she was married then?" Mr. Fronts asked.

"No, not at that time. She had just come back from a trip to Paris. Sara always loved art and she wanted to study there."

The Inspector nodded.

"In a previous interview, you had described Mr. Bolds as an angry person. Why would you say that?"

"He threw fits often. Sara would tell me…"

"You would talk to Mrs. Bolds outside of insurance business?" The Inspector interrupted. His eyes narrowed, waiting for Mr. Mekins to answer. He noticed the soft look that would appear on Mr. Mekins face when discussing Sara Bolds.

"We would run into each other at events." Mr. Mekins started playing with a pen he had picked up off his desk. The Inspector noticed.

"Mr. Mekins, I apologize ahead of time for my boldness, but have you ever been with Sara Bolds romantically?"

Mr. Mekins quickly looked up. His face contorted in a shocked expression.

"No, I mean not since, well no not before she was murdered." Mr. Mekins looked down.

"But at one time you were?" Mr. Frots interjected.

"Yes." Mr. Mekins looked back down at his pen once more.

"Mr. Mekins, where were you the day Sara Bolds was murdered?"

"Inspector, are you insinuating that I might have had something to do with her death?”

"The report says you came soon after the police did. How were you able to get there so quickly?" The Inspector asked. He tapped his pencil on his notepad.

"I—I was called by Mr. Bolds," Mr. Mekins stuttered out.

"About the painting being stolen I assume?" Mr. Fronts asked.

"Well, um, yes, of course about the painting." Mr. Mekins nodded.

"But according to the initial report, Mr. Bolds did not realize anything was stolen right away. Are you certain he called you that day?"

Mr. Mekins stood up and walked to his door.

"I believe that I have already answered that question, Inspector, and now I think that you two should leave," he said.

"Is there something wrong, Mr. Mekins?" the Inspector asked standing up and turning to face the insurance agent.

"I have told you everything I know." Mr. Mekins' lips pressed firmly together. His eyes narrowed and a small crease formed on his forehead.

"Certainly. Well, thank you for your time," the Inspector replied and walked past Mr. Mekins out the door of his office. Mr. Frots followed.

They both stood outside the insurance office. "He was in a hurry to have us leave." Mr. Frots shook and wished he had remembered his coat in the damp and cold weather that was so common in England.

"Yes, Mr. Frots, he did and now we have something." The Inspector pulled his coat collar closer around his neck. The brisk wind chilled his bones.

They started walking back to the police station, the wind gnawing at their bodies.

"What now Inspector?" Mr. Frots looked at the Inspector as they walked.

"We need Mr. Bolds and Mr. Mekins together in one room."

"Isn't that a bit extreme?" Mr. Frots asked.

"I think not," replied the Inspector.

"How so?" Mr. Frots stopped and turned to face the Inspector in front of the police station.

"Because, Mr. Frots, we will see who really wanted Sara Bolds dead and who merely adored her." The Inspector opened the door to the station and walked in. Mr. Frots joined him.

The Inspector put his jacket over his chair. He picked up the photos of Sara Bolds.

"The way the murderer strangled her seems like a crime of passion."

"Why?" asked Mr. Frots.

"Because weapon of choice was the murder’s own hands and some other instrument, and her clothes were stripped off yet somewhat replaced with others. See here, with the top of her dress?" The Inspector pointed to Sara Bolds' dress in the photo.

"I don't see how that makes it a crime of passion Inspector." Mr. Frots leaned in closer to look at the photo.

"If the murderer just wanted to kill Ms. Bolds quickly and steal the painting, why take the time to redo her dress?" The Inspector asked.

"I see, yes, that makes sense," Mr. Frots replied.

"In every crime scene you must take notice of even the smallest details." The Inspector placed the photo back into the folder.

"But how do we get these two suspects together?" Mr. Frots sat down at his desk.

"Simply by telling each of them that the other one committed the crime." The Inspector wrote down some notes on his notepad he had just taken out.

"But couldn't that be dangerous?"

"Potentially, yes. But we will make sure to have police in both locations just to be safe."

"Sometimes, Inspector, I can’t help but wonder about your methods." Mr. Frots smiled and shook his head.

"Yes, but remember you are learning from me. So adapt."

Mr. Frots thought he saw a glimpse of a smile from the corner of the Inspector's lips.

* * *

Mr. Frots went to Mr. Bolds and told him the story the Inspector had created. The Inspector told Mr. Mekins the same story. After each story was told, they left and waited outside, hidden with the other police that were already there. Then it happened. One of the suspects came to the other's location.

Mr. Bolds ran into the insurance office. The Inspector watched as the man ran through the door he had opened and busting past the receptionist, went into Mr. Mekin's office.

"You killed her!" Mr. Bolds yelled.

Mr. Mekins approached Mr. Bolds and glared at him.

"You never cared about her. She was everything and you took her for granted." Mr. Mekins was now directly in front of Mr. Bolds, their faces dangerously close.

"We had an agreement. The painting would be taken and that was it. I didn't want her dead."

"She put up a fight. I had no choice." Mr. Mekins looked down.

"I don't care if you loved her. She was my wife! It was supposed to be just the painting."

Mr. Mekins looked up, but before he could respond, the Inspector and the police entered the office.

"That's enough gentlemen. Arrest these men please." The Inspector watched as the two men were escorted out of the office.

* * *

"How did you know both of them were involved?" Mr. Frots asked.

"Sara was killed by someone who loved her, but it was clear from Mr. Mekins behavior, that he could not have thought up this plan on his own. Mr. Bolds was too obsessed and jealous of her artwork. The plan was created as soon as he met Mr. Mekins through Sara."

"Seems we have a successfully closed case." Mr. Frots sat down at his desk.

The Inspector nodded and sat down at his own desk.

"You will make a fine Inspector some day, Mr. Frots. But until then, I have a few more lessons to teach you, should you be up to the challenge." The Inspector smiled.

© 2010 Shells Walter. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Shells Walter has been writing since she was young. Her work has been published in various anthologies and online webzines. She currently has a novel out called Justice Served. Shells lives in South-Western US and still writes on a daily basis.

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