Hello, and welcome to my 2022 A to Z Challenge! For a detailed explanation of my theme this year, see my theme reveal. But basically, I am exploring classic mystery novel murder motives, by making up a victim (Sir Adam Bracegirdle Clutterbuck) and then coming up with 26 characters who wanted to kill him. It is part genre exploration and part world-building exercise.
Today’s suspect is Josephine. I’ve mentioned her already: she is Sir Adam’s neighbor, and the wife of Freddie the Frustrated Flat-Owner (which now I think about it is a catchier title than Freddie’s Field… oh well!). In my entry for “F,” I mentioned that Josephine was having an affair with Sir Adam at the time of his death… but that is not strictly true.
Josephine doesn’t like Sir Adam. Who could like Sir Adam? Of course she doesn’t like him. But–well, she worked damned hard to begin her affair with him, because he was so very tantalizingly rich. Now he seems to think that he can end the relationship. Just like that. With no tender parting scene, or word of explanation. He has just stopped sending Bruce over with secret messages for her, and won’t reply to any of Josephine’s secret messages, left in their very own hollow tree. In fact, he hasn’t even bothered to collect any of her latest secret messages. There are three of them there now, moldering in the tree, risking discovery at any moment.
And Josephine knows–she knows!–that there is some other woman. Of course there is. He is leaving her for someone else, and that is intolerable. How dare he? She seduced him fair and square, and now he belongs to her. And if she can’t have him…
Well, just maybe she feels that, if she can’t have him, no-one can.
And that’s it for Josephine. Short and (not) sweet. I admit calling Josephine’s jealousy “justifiable” is a bit of a stretch… but I imagine Josephine, at least, feels that her claim on Sir Adam is legitimate. You go to all the trouble of seducing a married man you don’t care about, and this is the reward??? Really, he could at least present her with several (expensive) parting gifts… and the fact that he hasn’t bothered to do so probably irritates Josephine quite a lot, too. Makes her feel disposable.
What do you think of Josephine as a suspect? How would you conceal and then reveal her guilt in a story? Or would you prefer her as yet another red herring? Or do you see her more as second-victim material? If she were the second victim in a story in which Sir Adam was the first victim, which of the other characters I have so far mentioned would you suspect of the murders?
Also, for those of you who have been reading regularly, who is your favorite suspect so far?