Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: MAIL (02/18/16)
TITLE: ALL IN THE DELIVERY
By Philippa Geaney
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Max, the Director of Forensic Medicine did nothing to finance these empires in ink but today he checked his stride on passing the newsstand -and almost handed over his lunch money.
SOCIALITE'S FIANCE DEAD.
Died describing the killer...
Interesting. I leave town for one day and...
Max swiped his pass card to enter his Unit and turned his thoughts from speculation to focus. If the newspapers weren't just talking things up he had a priority case waiting.
'Morning Boss. Didja hear the news?' The lab technician grinned, white teeth gleaming in contrast to his dark skin. He'd been dubbed Starski by the team because he was like a star - silent and bright. They were close. Starski, a man of few words and fewer conjunctions, could track clues and nuances with an accuracy bordering on eerie.
'What have we got Starski?'
'Twenty-nine year-old male; Jordan Eastwell. Might be suspicious death - police waiting to hear from us; managed to phone his fiancee who called the ambos; he went into V-tach and died- 1100hrs'.
Starski handed Max the clipboard. He'd been succinct. The rest Max would find out for himself-which he did after the autopsy and the toxicology.
'Preliminary report Pete - anaphylaxis.' Max handed Detective Reynolds his paperwork .
'Toxicology pending. He probably knew he had an allergy but not it's severity. Any Epipen found?'
The policeman shook his head and Max continued. 'Hypothetically he ingested the allergen without noticing, started to swell and possibly grew breathless.' Max swung his glasses deep in thought, 'He then phoned his fiancee?'
'Well he tried to tell her something. Seems he started with "hin, hin" but couldn't manage and changed it to "male, male".
Max thought about that. 'Well "'male" is easy to say. Not much tongue manipulation needed. But why just "male"?'
The detective mouthed the word a few times then referred to his notes, 'No help here.'
Max shrugged and the detective continued 'We're at a standstill. Nothing overtly suspicious. I'd appreciate it thought if you'd take a look; talk to the family. The phone call worries me. Being a priority case we must be seen to be doing everything.'
Max remembered the headlines.
Jordan Eastwell's residence was unpretentious; concealed high tech security cameras its only boast. An address book lay open on a desk beside a generous stack of envelopes and a framed photograph. Starski studied the picture. Susan Farqueson-Jones was smiling into Jordan's eyes; clearly their engagement day judging by the surroundings. But it was the malevolent stare from a woman in that background that stirred Starski's ancestral instincts. Jordan had been about to marrying into high society and the future mother-in-law Julia did not seem at all pleased.
Today Susan sat pale and listlessly fingering a defunct wedding invitation.
'He'd nearly finished. I should've...' Susan's voice broke and her mother cut in.
'Really Detective, this is cruel. Susan is heartbroken-we are heartbroken. '
Reynolds nodded sympathetically.
'Just for the benefit of the Forensic team, tell what you know about Jordan's last day. I'm sure we can close this quickly.'
Julia Farqueson-Jones sniffed. 'We dropped the invitations off that morning. Jordan was to address and mail his...' she paused to conceal a fleeting look of distaste 'his share of invited guests. 'We'd already posted the Farqueson-Jones invitations the night before'.
'Mother,' Susan stirred herself from a distant sad place, 'you dropped the invitations off. You made me sleep in.'
Julia's voice rose. 'Susan blames herself for not coming but even I didn't see him. I left them at the door'.
Starski replaced the photograph, saying 'Did Jordan have any allergies Susan?'
'None that we know of..really Detective!' Julia glared.
Susan frowned. 'He sometimes joked that I could bump him off with a smear of peanut butter. He carried an Epipen.'
Silence hung awkwardly.
'OK, we'll leave it at that, thanks Detective' said Max. 'That box of envelopes will need to be entered as evidence. Once the toxicology is back I'm sure we can settle this case quickly - if somewhat unhappily. Meanwhile I'd check the security tapes. Visitors in, visitors out, times'.
Max turned to bid the family farewell but Mrs Farqueson-Jones had turned as pale as the parchment invitations.
When out of earshot Starski whistled, 'M-a-i-l, swollen tongue-couldn't say the word invitations. Same thing isn't it? Mail.
'There'll be traces of peanut butter on these envelope seals hey Boss'.
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