This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 17; the seventeenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.
Read Part 1 of this mystery HERE.
“Messy business, so early in the morning…Crime never sleeps in this city!! So Troy, what’s the update? Do we know who the victim is?” Detective Nicholas Carr enquired of the inspector who had first reported to the crime scene. The telephone booth on 13th Main was now cordoned off by yellow tapes warning the residents not to cross it.
“The shot was at point blank range. Ballistics will confirm, but I think the bullets were hollow point. That makes it even more devastating. Face is just a mangled mess. The driver’s license which we found on his person identifies him as Jett Jarvis from across the street. Neighbors say they saw him last night, drunk heavily. Clothes and wallet match as well…so we can close the case soon I feel, Detective.”
Carr stepped under the tape, careful not to step on any blood. He saw the mutilated face and with no other way of identification looming there; he called for the body to be taken away. There was no point of staying there. He’d seen enough. He stepped back under the tape and called for Inspector Troy and together, both went to the apartment that was identified as Jett’s residence. A shocked landlady greeted them without any gusto as they entered.
After the preliminary routines were done, “Mrs. Williams, what can you tell us about Mr. Jarvis? What was he like? Did he have a raging temper?” Troy began the questioning.
“I’ve no idea. He spent most of the day away and would return late at night. A scrounger he was, that I’ll tell you. Never paid the rent on time; dressed like he had not a penny to his name; never spoke to any other tenant. A strange lad he was. I recollect he said he worked at the docks.”
“We didn’t find a key on him. Have you a spare one? We’d like to go through his apartment.”
Mrs. Williams fetched the key and handed it to Carr. “It’s the first door to the right. He preferred the ground floor. I firmly believe it was because he wanted to enter and leave as he wished. I’d not have noticed him last night, if he hadn’t tripped and fallen on his way in.”
“He fell? Must have been the booze” Carr thought aloud.
“But I’m sure it was him. It has happened before too and he’s the only one living down here.”
Messy was the right word for Jett’s apartment. Clothes were strewn across the floor and on the single sofa, a half eaten dried up pizza was lying in the box, next to it was a bottle of cheap whisky and magazines usually considered as trash was all over the room… looking for clues would be difficult. Carr knew he had a challenging job cut out for him. There was no food in the pantry. A fine white powder lay on the coffee table. Troy extracted a brown paper bag and dusted the powder into it. He sniffed the dust left over.
“Good heavens sir, as if it wasn’t gruesome already, now this seems to be cocaine.”
“I’ve seen stranger ones, Troy. Get this to the lab, get the forensic experts confirmation”, Carr said, handing over the bag to a waiting police officer, as Mrs. Williams entered the apartment.
“Sirs, you could’ve searched without making a mess of things. Jett may have been slipshod, but he always tried to be neat”, she complained, making Carr and Troy look at each other in astonishment. “There’s been a struggle here. Troy, don’t miss an inch. Nothing should be missed. This could be the primary crime scene.”
“Detective Carr, there are drops of red near the door. It might have been when he was escaping the assailant”, Troy’s voice muttered as Carr busied elsewhere. He went to the door, and saw indeed there were red drops. He opened his lab kit and did a test. The result was positive. It was blood. The question remained, “Whose?”
“We’ll do the DNA analysis when we’re back at the lab”, he said and turned when a small glint in the wall mirror caught his eye. He bent down and reached under the neatly upholstered settee. A ring emerged in his hand. It was small and certainly wouldn’t fit Jett’s finger. There was no stone there; could it be a woman’s? He thought to himself as he dropped it into another paper bag. Few hairs were there on the carpet below the coffee table. That too went into another bag. Every glass pane, every chair in the room, the door knobs and even the switch board was dusted for fingerprints. They were determined not to leave out anything.
Carr looked out the window and saw the phone booth which they had cordoned off with a tape. He looked up and saw a closed circuit surveillance camera on the light pole. It was mainly for traffic rule violators, but it could give them an important breakthrough that they desperately needed. “Officer, I want those surveillance tapes at my desk in an hour. Get to it”, he said to the officer waiting at the door. Troy tapped him on the shoulder. “You’ve got to see this.”
There was blood on the toilet floor. Clearly an attempt was made here, before the final blow happened in the street below. Few drops had fallen into the sink, but the mirror there showed damning circumstantial evidence. It was written all over in blood red letters, “Got you! #@$*?#! son-of-a-bitch!”
“Damn it Troy, this case is getting fascinating with intriguing possibilities!”
Carr was sitting in his office at the Police headquarters. There was no clear clue. The fingerprints reports came back and pointed towards many people. Even after questioning all them, it still drew a blank and nowhere to go. Oddly each one of them had rock solid alibis. The strands of hair turned out to be of a feline kind, and he couldn’t arrest all the cats on 13th Main. The white powder was confirmed to be cocaine, but they had no one to pin it on. The fingerprints of the victim didn’t come up on AFIS or anywhere else, but they had the ID to go by. The doctor’s autopsy report wasn’t much helpful either. Death by gunshot it pronounced which even an amateur schoolboy detective would tell, if he could keep his breakfast down. And the time of the murder was determined as somewhere between eleven and midnight. Carr was beginning to lose hope, when the video from the surveillance team came in, after much delay. “Roll the tape, Troy!”
The time showed 8pm. There wasn’t much traffic on the road, just the odd car driving by. “No chance of a witness, I think. There is time, but not much hope, Detective”, Troy spoke a bit too soon. Just then, someone walked by… his face clearly visible in the streetlight, dressed in a tweed jacket and muffler. The frame was frozen, and the face captured. A search was made, and they made their first strike. The film rolled, and at 11:31, the same person was seen running away. He had a hood now, but there was no mistaking that jacket and muffler.
“Joe McNamara, this is the police. Open the door”, Detective Carr’s voice echoed in the hallway of Newton Avenue Apartments, two streets away on 11th Main. There was movement inside the apartment, and footsteps receding into the background. Joe was on the move. He didn’t want anything to do with the cops. He ran down the fire escape and into an alleyway as Carr followed, having broken the door open. He turned on to 12th Main only to find Troy waiting, alert, aimed pistol and ready to fire. He turned back and Carr had blocked his way, a pistol cocked as well. As Troy read him his rights, Joe didn’t utter a word till Carr said, “Joe McNamara, you’re under arrest for the murder of Jett Jarvis.” Then he shouted, “What bullshit! He tried to kill me last night. I didn’t kill anyone. He was alive and well when I saw him last. Don’t pull this one on me. I demand to see my lawyer!”
“We’ve the evidence, Joe. We got this from your pad! Recognize it?” Carr asked. Joe looked at his hand and saw a Browning there. His Browning… the one that on examination was determined as the weapon which mutilated the victim, Jett Jarvis. It was all the Jury needed a murder weapon to convict Joe alias “Reno” McNamara for the murder; the fact that Jett owed Reno money, Reno’s fingerprints matched what was found on the gun and in Jett’s apartment too and Reno was caught on camera just added to prove him as guilty.
Carr and Troy retired, pleased with themselves to have solved the case quite quickly, sharing a donut and some hot coffee.
Miles away, in a motel room in a far away town, someone was watching the top headlines on a news channel at prime time that evening. His hand lazily stroked the head of a cat, which was eating fish sticks from his pocket. A crooked smile spread on his face as the news broke and showed Reno being led into custody just outside the imposing court building. Jett crooned to the cat, “Well, dreams do have to come true, don’t they, Boots?” and his maniacal laugh echoed in the room.
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Images taken from HERE, HERE and HERE respectively.