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 post is a bit different, because we’re going to look at the possibility that nobody killed Sir Adam. And let me just go ahead and admit that I was stuck for an N post, and that my dad came through with this, I think, fairly brilliant suggestion. Thanks Dad!
Sir Adam could have killed himself. After all, he was a dying man (according to Dr. Daniel). Even if the good doctor hadn’t told Sir Adam of his terminal condition at the time of Sir Adam’s death, Sir Adam may have suspected the truth. Perhaps he was more afraid of dying than of death itself. Some people are like that.
Of course, suicide is only really plausible in certain cases. If Sir Adam died via a stab in the back, suicide is slightly improbable. Which, you may argue, makes it actually more likely to be the case, as mystery novels have a tendency towards trickiness. Still, I think that at this point in my A to Z, it is time I made a commitment to the method used to kill Sir Adam. Let’s say he was poisoned. It was in the whiskey that was kept for his exclusive use in a decanter in his study. He regularly had a whiskey and soda at night before retiring, and he was so cheap that he marked the level of his whiskey every night, to make sure no-one sneaked any. Mistakes were therefore unlikely to occur (though not impossible), and poisoning the decanter was unlikely to result in the death of anyone but Sir Adam.
Or, of course, Sir Adam might have poisoned the decanter himself, to commit suicide in a way that would look like murder, and thus be optimally spiteful.
And that’s it for this post! What do you think? Is this ever a satisfying solution in a mystery novel? Is there a way you can see it being presented to you that wouldn’t leave you feeling cheated? Also! Now that I have committed to a specific method of murder, does that make you look at any of our suspects differently?
Let me know in the comments below! Or, if you want to be sociable but don’t feel like weighing in on this, feel free to just say hi!