Can you solve this mini-mystery?

Murder Non Stop

By Richard Ciciarelli

Lieutenant Beri Jaffe looked at the dead man who lay face down in the elevator. A knife stuck out of B J Powers' back just under his left shoulder and at a slight downward angle. A newspaper folded into thirds lay at Powers' feet.

"Okay," Jaffe said to the pretty blonde at the receptionist's desk, "tell me what happened."

Margaret Kiley looked up. "Every morning Mr. Powers gets into his private elevator using his key. When he does, that light lights up." She pointed to a light above the elevator. "When that happens, I have about a minute to get his coffee and meet him in front of the elevator. This morning when the doors opened, he was lying there — dead."

"Was anyone in the elevator with him?"

"Oh, no. Mr. Powers was very strict about that. No one else was allowed to use his elevator."

"Is this an express elevator?"

"Yes. Once Mr. Powers hits the up button, the elevator comes non-stop up here to the tenth floor. In fact, the only floors it opens onto are this one and the lobby."

"What happened after you saw his body?"

"I think I screamed. I was so shocked I really don't remember. Then Mr. Farley came out of the public elevator, saw what had happened, and called the police."

Jaffe pointed to elevator doors immediately to the left of B J Powers' private elevator. "Is that the public elevator?"

Margaret Kiley nodded.

"Where is Mr. Farley now?"

"In his office. He went there after the police arrived."

Jaffe walked down a hallway, knocked on Farley's door and entered.

"Mr. Farley, would you tell me what you know about this?"

Farley shrugged. "I got here today about the same time B J did, same as usual. We walked in together, he grabbed his newspaper from Abe, used his key to enter his private elevator, and hit the up button. I took the public elevator next to his.

"As my elevator doors were opening on the tenth floor, I heard a scream. I stepped out to see Miss Kiley standing in front of B J's elevator, staring in it. When I saw what had happened, I sat her down at her desk and called the police."

"Who'd want Mr. Powers dead?"

"Who wouldn't? He was a womanizing jerk. A lot of husbands in this city would like to stick a knife in him."

"Including you?"

"To be honest, yes. B J hit on my wife at every company get-together. We finally stopped attending them."

Jaffe left Farley's office and entered B J Powers' elevator. She pushed the down button and, as the elevator descended, examined it. Except for some blood where Powers had fallen, it was spotless. An emergency exit door was in the wall to her right as she faced the front of the elevator.

When the doors opened in the lobby, Jaffe exited and walked to the newsstand.

"Are you Abe?" she asked the attendant.

"Abe Crossen. That's me."

"Can you describe B J Powers' actions this morning?"

"Sure. He did what he always does. He came in and took the newspaper I held out to him. Then he went into his private elevator and went up."

"He didn't pay for the paper?"

"He pays for the whole week every Monday. No tip, either, the cheap SOB. Expects me to fold it just so, too, or he has a fit. Every other day he just grabs the paper on his way by. Not even a 'Good morning, Abe.'"

Jaffe shook her head.

That morning J B Powers entered his private, non-stop elevator alone, and, when the doors opened on the tenth floor, was dead.

And only one person could have killed him.


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