Can you solve this mini-mystery?


By Richard Ciciarelli

"You never heard of Wally Ford?" Sergeant Adam Willis was amazed.

Detective Sheri Dawes shook her head. "No. Who was he?"

"Only the country's top inventor of board games for adults. Haven't you ever played Bloody Murder?"

Dawes gave Willis a look that would wilt cabbage.

"Actually," Eleanor Parker said, "Mr. Ford didn't invent all the games his company marketed. He had a group of people to do that for him. He just put his name on them."

"And you know this because...?" Dawes asked.

"I've been Mr. Ford's private secretary for over ten years. I know everything that's happened here in that time. Believe me, the president of Walford Company was not well loved by his employees."

"And why is that?"

"Those people worked for months at practically minimum wage creating games for the company, and when they finally finished they were given pitifully small bonuses. And if the game became popular, Mr. Ford raked in millions."

"Why didn't these people just quit?" Sgt. Willis asked.

"Because they were under contract and couldn't leave. In fact, even if they invented a game on their own time, Walford Company would own all rights to it."

"That would give any of them motive to kill him, I guess," Dawes said. "Who are these people?"

"There's Mary Jenks. She invented Stately Trivia. That's a game where players have to know things like state flowers, birds, trees and nicknames.

"Then there's Charles Bane. He invented two very popular games: Tee to Green, a golf game, and Race Car where players roll dice and race around a track.

"The last employee is Sam Crowley. He invented World War III where players try to conquer the world."

"Didn't Wally Ford invent anything?" Sgt. Willis was disappointed.

"Oh, yes. The whole company started with his two most popular games, Bloody Murder and Word Def, a game of definitions."

Detective Dawes was about to ask another question when two men entered the room. One, the Medical Examiner, spoke.

"The victim was shot once in the chest. The bullet hit his heart, killing him."


"No. I think he lived for a few seconds at least."

"What makes you say that?"

The Medical Examiner looked at the second man, one of the investigators.

"You want to tell her?"

"The victim was shot while sitting at his desk. Across the front of the desk was a whole bunch of colored wooden and plastic things."

"Those are game pieces to each of Walford Company games," Eleanor Parker explained.

"Anyhow," the investigator continued, "before he died, the victim grabbed one of them. We found this clutched in his hand."

He showed Dawes a miniature silver colored bottle.

"That's the poison bottle from Bloody Murder," Parker said.

"A game Ford invented himself?" Sergeant Willis said. "If I were him I'd grab a piece from a game my killer invented. You know, a dying clue."

"I think this is a dying clue," Dawes said. "And I think I know what it means."


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