Chapter Twenty-Two: The Vicar #AtoZChallenge 2023 Who Killed Sir ABC?

Hello, and welcome to my 2023 A to Z Blogging Challenge! For a detailed explanation of what I’m up to this year, see my Theme Reveal. But basically, I’m taking all the suspects I made up for my A to Z last year (with help from several commenters!) and putting them all into an actual murder mystery. See the sidebar for links to last year’s posts; if your device doesn’t display sidebars (if, for example, you are visiting on your phone), the links will be under the comment section, right under my A to Z 2023 participation badge.

Chapter Twenty-Two: The Vicar

The Vicar smiled a helpless smile. “Only wish I could. But I just don’t remember anything about it.” He looked around, saw a sea of still-expectant faces, and sighed. “I do remember being angry with Sir Adam. Oh, yes! Very angry. But then I often was angry at Sir Adam. He wasn’t a nice man.” The faces still stared at him. “I believe… yes! I recall that I had made up a little list of topics to talk over with him that day. I planned to get through as many as possible before he threw me out. But, of course, I’ve lost the list long since. I’m afraid I’m helpless without my little lists.” And he settled back, as if that closed the matter.

“I urge you to try to remember your discussion with Sir Adam, sir,” said Crowner. “You don’t really have an alibi, not to speak of, for his death. Yes, I know you have a partial one for Miss Polly’s—most of the time between six and seven you were either disentangling the church flower rota or talking with Leonard in preparation for the committee meeting at Miss Polly’s, and you and he discovered the body together. But you had just the same opportunity as everyone else to poison Sir Adam. So, really, sir, this is no time to be forgetful!”

“I don’t know if you realize,” said the Vicar, looking harassed, “what a hectic life I lead in this quiet village. There’s about a million committees to see to—seems to be a new one every month, and they all want me on ‘em—and the sermons to write—people actually seem to remember what one says, I find, so I can’t repeat my materials, and really, it does start to strain the intellect a bit, thinking of a totally new inspirational message every single week—and the Church roof…” and here he stopped. “The Church roof,” he repeated. “That was one of the things I wanted to discuss with Sir Adam! I remember now!” And he smiled proudly at Crowner.

“You wanted him to donate to the Roof Fund?” asked Crowner. It didn’t surprise him a bit. Crowner himself had given a donation to the Roof Fund, during his interview with the Vicar. He hadn’t wanted to, but it had happened. The man was hypnotic on the subject.

“Well, no,” said the Vicar, looking visibly flustered. “Or, of course, I did, but I only expect a very limited number of miracles to come my way in my lifetime, and that was not one of them.” He glanced at Fred. “That school,” he said. “They would have needed a local chapel to take the boys to on Sunday. When I heard of the sale, I thought, I really did, that my roof problems were over. The school would surely take on the repairs. It seemed such an elegant solution. And then Sir Adam—quite wickedly, I felt—decided to scupper the whole deal. It would do this community so much good, to have a bunch of youngsters about. I was planning to be very firm about that, in my talk with Sir Adam.”

“You speak as if the interview did not take place,” said Crowner.

The Vicar now wore a hunted expression. “Well, no. I suppose it didn’t.”

“There is something you are not telling us,” said Crowner.

The Vicar said nothing.

“Again, I have an intuition,” said Crowner. “You overheard someone else’s quarrel with Sir Adam, and you don’t want to tell us about it, because it wasn’t your business. And it wasn’t any of the quarrels we’ve heard about so far, or you wouldn’t feel so unhappy about mentioning it.” Crowner looked stern. “Tell us who it was, please. It is only fair. And we’ve got to get these murders solved, you know. The health of your little community here depends on it.”

The Vicar shook his head. “I have no idea who it was,” he said. “I heard quite a lot of shouting—but that was all Sir Adam. The other voice wasn’t audible. I only assume that someone else was in the room with him because sometimes the shouting stopped. I’m afraid most of what Sir Adam said was vulgar and threatening nonsense, and I did not retain it. There was one word, though, often repeated, that does stick in my mind. Bones. They were arguing about bones.”

“Bones,” said Wilhelmina, with tragic significance.

“Bones!” said Xavier, with controlled violence.

“Bones?” said Yuri, with faint hopefulness.

Crowner looked at Wilhelmina. “Madam,” he said, “tell us why you quarreled with Sir Adam about bones.”



Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Soon we will have the answer!

  2. I guess Yuri might have been the unheard voice during the discussion about bones. He might have gone to confront Sir Adam about having the bones he had collected, on which he believes a Yeti gnawed. Bones he also has reason to believe Sir Adam stole and brought back to Clutterbuck Court. But if it were Yuri arguing with Sir Adam, why would he be faintly hopeful hearing someone had overheard them?

    If Xavier did gain access to the locked attic, and used his X-ray machine to scan the dusty old trunk that contains the bones of a 15-year-old girl, he might have confronted Sir Adam with his suspicion that the bones are Belinda’s. He might even have accused Sir Adam of murdering her. But I doubt Xavier would have kept his voice down during such a discussion, so I don’t think that’s the argument the Vicar heard half of.

    More likely, it would have been an argument between Sir Adam and Wilhelmina, who is no doubt thinking of the bones she might have unearthed during the many archeological digs Sir Adam blocked her from undertaking. And that she might look forward to unearthing now that he is no longer an obstacle. But did she poison him? Let’s hear from her…

    • Your analysis of everyone’s interest in the bones is, of course, spot-on. Impressive!

      I should warn you: I am deviating a tiny bit from the ideas in last year’s posts, on one or two small details, to make a more effective story, but everything you’ve said above is still canon. I’m sure I’ve already deviated a bit, here and there, from last year’s frame, but this time, I’m actually aware of it beforehand.

      And it is a good point about Xavier. I expect he would have shouted!

  3. Okay, this post has reminded me of one of the most awesome songs of all time:
    And now I actually cannot think of anything else.

  4. OK.
    I guess I was wrong.

    Only a few more days to find out.

  5. Annabelle, Bruce, Timothy, Ulric, and Xavier. Like I said, no certainty whatsoever. I’m sure the murder and the murderer/s will be clear and obvious in retrospect, but even this late in the list of suspects, I am at a loss.

    • I won’t say if any of these guesses are right, but I will tell you this: one of the comments you left in the first half of this month made me think you were on the brink of solving the whole thing. You said one thing that was so on point, so perceptive, and that if followed through would lead so directly to the solution, that I actually started mentioning you by name in conversations that I was having about my A to Z. I told, for example, my parents, “Susan’s onto me.” Later, they asked for Susan updates. “Did Susan figure it out?” And all I could say was, “I’m not sure.”

  6. I admit I vacillate about Dr. Daniel, but I can see how this could easily happen without his help.

    Timothy is a liar. He lies easily and insistently in front of people he knows have the knowledge to prove he’s lying. I’m beginning to think he lied about how the fire started because he knows who started the fire, and as Crowner suggested he is waiting “for a good chance to turn that knowledge into money.”

    Of course the shed by the orchard isn’t haunted. Timothy heard a living person banging around in there. Could it have been Josephine? Or …Annabelle? (See below.)

    I can’t walk away from my feeling that Annabelle is the murdering mastermind here, working in concert with Bruce and …Josephine? Annabelle got Bruce to set the fire, and Josephine to carry gowns for her while she went to poison the whiskey. Bruce’s reward would be to keep his embezzlement secret as long as he keeps Annabelle’s murder of Sir Adam secret. Maybe Josephine’s price was cash or valuables (bones she could sell to a museum, perhaps?) that she has hidden in the shed Timothy thinks is haunted. And now those bones have been produced back at Clutterbuck! No wonder her eyes went wide and she clutched her dog harder than it liked — that duplicitous Annabelle! And poor Josephine would have no proof that Annabelle poisoned the whiskey because Annabelle never told her why she wanted Josephine to carry gowns for her.

    Certainly, that speculation leaves questions to be answered. What was in the vial Leonard buried in the woods? Did he really find it and re-bury it or was he asked to bury it by the poisoner? Or did he provide the poison that killed Sir Adam and was just getting rid of the remainder of the evidence? How does Bruce know about Cecil’s digging? And I know there are other questions I’m just not recalling right now.

    So. My suggested solution might not be whatever your admittedly brilliant solution is going to turn out to be, but I think it’s not completely wacko, lol.

    • Well, I agree that the shed isn’t haunted. 🙂

      As for Bruce knowing about Cecil’s digging, I think that is just something I didn’t fill in adequately. My idea is, Bruce noticed it happening, possibly during some errand he was running about the estate, and didn’t say anything at first because it was none of his business.

      Your solution is by no means wacko, and touches on several important points, but isn’t what I have in mind.

  7. Oh, one other thing. The conversation about the bones would have been between Sir Adam and his horrid wife as she plotted his demise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *