THE MYSTERY OF SILVER PINE MANSION
A Mini Mystery
This was a sunny day at the SilverPineMansion. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood. Even Butler John was whistling while he straightened out the bar in the main parlor.
Of course the only sour puss who never could be pleased was coming down the front stair way complaining away to whom ever would listen. Yes Sandy Crawford was ranting away! Something about her drapes being left open and the morning sun awakening her too early.
This was typical for Sandy Crawford. She seemed to despise everyone with every bone in her body. A white haired retired spoiled actress that like other patrons rented out a room in the mansion including all the amenities and the staff provided.
Miss Crawford as everyone was requested to call her was the mansions most prickly resident. She still wore cakes of make up, and her hair was short and curly kept just so. Her blood red lips seemed to never stop with complaints on one resident or staff to the next. Secretly every one called her the nick name “Old Iron Heart”. There was never a more dreaded personality to live at Silver Pine.
Silver Pine was run by the sweet presence of Emma Pine whose family for generations owned the mansion.
Emma as inheriting the mansion solely at the age of thirty ran out of her trust fund money from using a dishonest broker. Therefore Emma resorted to renting out rooms in the mansion to make ends meet, as well being able to keep it still fully staffed.
You could never meet a more pleasant person as Miss. Emma Pine. She was an adorable seventy year old woman with endless energy. Emma’s blue eyes seemed to sparkle when she smiled which was almost all the time. She wore her faded blonde hair in a bun, and still had natural beauty as she aged. Most of Emma’s time was spent in the garden where she practically did everything from reading to watercolor painting.
The staff Emma employed for the mansion could not had been more loyal to her. The whole staff lived on the premises and had their very own quarters in the East wing of the house, except for the gardener who had his own cottage located on the east lawn of the grounds.
The rest of the staff consisted of two butlers, two chauffeurs, five maids and two cooks. It was a very large staff but very well needed seeing that there were so many guests to cater to.
Butler John a very stoic old gus over saw the main floor while Butler Henry was in charge of all the upper wings.
Contrary to Miss Crawford “Old Iron Heart” the mansion could not help but run exceedingly smoothly.
There was a maid to tend to the main floor and one to each upper wing. They did everything from the general cleaning to setting the residents up to retire for their night in their bed chambers.
It was Maid Alice who was stuck tending to Old Iron Heart, being Alice had more patience with her than any of the other staff.
By now it was already ten o’clock and almost all the residence had finished with their breakfast, and dispersing to their various task for the day. Of course Old Iron Heart was now just eating breakfast and now was ranting and raving about her eggs being too cold.
A few of the residence decided to get together on the north lawn and play croquet. There was Dan Briggs who was called Dapper Dan because he dressed so dapper. Homer, Al, Tanya, Jane and Rachel who all had their mallets readied to hit their ball in turn.
Jack Steam could be seen starting on his daily walk into the South woods sporting his usual plaid cap and knickers.
Gail and Sue were venturing out on their favorite horses after the gardener Sammy had helped them each mount.
Last but not least was sweet Earl Whatkins who spent the rest of his morning reading the daily newspaper in the sunroom.
Lunch was promptly served at one o’clock and high tea at four o’clock all went effortlessly seeing that Old Iron Heart was confined to her room with a headache she claimed to have.
Today was a residence meeting scheduled at six o’clock giving plenty of leeway for preparation of dinner to be served promptly at eight o’clock.
All residence were at the meeting including unfortunately Miss Crawford “Old Iron Heart” herself.
Generally at these meetings most of the residence were polite and compliant but this time when discussing music time (which usually occurred at seven o’clock pm each evening during cocktail hour) Old Iron Heart went too far trying to abolish the nightly music tradition.
Music time rotated to each resident choosing the music for the cocktail hour from playing their own instrument to choosing the music on the stereo system.
Jane was appalled at Miss Crawford’s insistence to get rid of her piano playing completely. This was Jane’s favorite thing to do “How dare she want to get rid of it!”
Rachel also had a red face that could no doubt be from pent up anger.
Al and Homer the youngest male in the bunch both were trying to seem not effected by Old Iron Hearts relentless words, but deep down they both felt like strangling Sandy Crawford.
Gail and Sue the two twin sisters in the house kept interrupting and protesting loudly to every comment Miss Crawford made.
The whole meeting was getting out of hand with almost everyone simultaneously voicing an opinion until a bell had been wrung by the youngest of the group.
It was small petite Tanya Creed who rang the bell and spoke up as the whole room quieted. Tanya suggested that the whole music night matter be held up for a vote to settle the issue.
The motion was seconded and the vote was unanimous except for one vote from Old Iron Heart herself to keep music time running just as it always had.
With the vote finalized Miss Crawford now certainly scorned huffed off out of the room, but not before she said some awful things singling out almost each resident to receive some sort of nasty remark from her.
That evening cocktail time went wonderfully with Homer’s serenading violin solo.
Before everyone new it, the dinner bell rang and all the residence except for Old Iron Heart gathered at the dinning table.
No small wonder with Miss. Sandy Crawford missing dinner couldn’t have been more pleasant. No one even wondered where she was they were so busy enjoying the evening without her.
After dinner many of the members went to their bed chambers to watch their TV’s or actually turn in for the night. However there was the die hards that decided to gather in the upstairs lounge for after dinner drinks and play a few hands of cards.
Miss Emma decided to join the lounge crew; as well there was Earl, Dan, Jack, Jane, and last but not least Rachel, whom was a little tipsy as usual from drinking too much wine.
Mean while the upstairs maids were busy turning down residence beds drawing blinds and prepping all things necessary for the residence evening comfort.
Everything was happening as it should until there came a blood curt-ling scream from Maid Alice!
There was no one in the house at that time that could not hear this now continuous screaming, which caused everyone and I mean everyone including staff to come running to Alice’s aid!
Come to find out it was Miss. Crawford’s room that Alice was standing frozen in “except for her repeated screaming”!
Than the culprit causing all of the screams was discovered and it was not a pretty site.
It was Miss. Sandy Crawford sprawled on her bed with nylon stockings rapped around her neck, and there was no doubt she was very dead!
It also did not take an expert to know Old Iron Heart had been murdered by strangulation! But who would have done such a thing?
The police were called and before you could shake a stick they were piling into the mansion.
Last but certainly not least entered the head investigator Sergeant Roth. Sergeant Roth was no stranger to the mansion or Miss. Pine. There was a time when the Sergeant dated Tanya and would visit there quite often.
Before anything else was said or done Sergeant Roth asked all staff and renters as well as Emma Pine to gather and wait in the main parlor until he could get a fix on the situation.
Next Roth as most familiar people called him had all police staff search the mansion and the immediate out side grounds while he and the photographer went to examine the body of Miss Crawford.
When Roth returned to the parlor he found some people pacing, others chatting away in comfortable chairs, and Maid Alice still being consoled from her horrible experience.
Roth quieted everyone down to speak and made some very firm announcements.
Clearing his throat he said “People listen up”
“I have determined that there was no break in and the killer must belong to this house hold” “So you are all suspect at this point”.
Roth went on “Further more I would like to divide the bunch of you into three groups for questioning.”
“The following people will stay in this room to be questioned by me” “Dan Briggs, Homer, Al, Jack, Earl Watkins, Both Butlers, the gardener, both chauffeurs, Gail and Sue.”
“Than the following will please gather in the downstairs library to be questioned by Officer Kent”
Tanya, Miss. Emma, Jane, Rachel, Maid Alice.”
“The rest of you on this last list will meet in the dinning room to be questioned by Officer Cal”
“Both cooks and the four remaining maids”.
Roth finished his statement off by saying “I thank all of you for your full cooperation in this matter.”
Little did anyone know but Roth with his astute detective mind already had eliminated some people, and had his main suspects sitting in the parlor ready to entrap the killer.
They are the following.
Dan Briggs, Homer, Al, Jack, Earl Watkins, Both Butlers, the gardener, both chauffeurs, Gail and Sue.
Roth by this point eliminated close to all the women except for the twins Gail and Sue because he figured that it would have taken the power of a man or a strong women to strangle Miss Sandy Crawford with nylon stockings. It just so happens Gail and Sue were made from the same farm girl big bone stock and it could be conceivable that each of them would have that type of strength.
As Sergeant Roth started to ask questions of the parlor crowd they each took turns throwing suspicion on each other.
As Roth knew no one cared for the deceased at all. As a matter of fact he himself could hardly tolerate Old Iron Heart. But a murder is a murder no matter who was killed and he had to get at the bottom of this.
Roth felt that the nylon stockings represented a crime of passion so next he dismissed Gail and Sue out of the room.
Listening to the answers Roth next eliminated and dismissed both chauffeurs and the gardener for all being outside at the time of the murder.
That left the remaining primary suspects to be Dan Briggs, Homer, Al, Jack, Earl Watkins, Butler John, and Butler Henry.
Now Roth was looking at the frailty of some of the men that were older and weak looking to determine who next to eliminate?
Both Dan Briggs (Dapper Dan) and Earl Watkins fit that frail weak description so next they were asked to leave the room. Which now still left five viable suspects? Homer, Al, Jack, Butler John, and Butler Henry.
Roth next dismissed Butler John who really didn’t have opportunity to head upstairs during the dinner hour, and time of death was determined to take place during that time say around eight thirty.
Because Roth kept seeing it as a crime of passion he ruled out also young Homer and even younger Butler Henry.
That only left now Al, and Jack
Only two remaining but how next to determine who was the killer; as well as prove it?
Sergeant Roth decided to exit the room and leave the two remaining men alone for a few minutes as he went to tend to some more details.
Al or Jack?
Roth had determined in his mind that one of these men was having a love affair with Miss. Crawford and acted in a crime of passion manner.
But which one?
Roth decided to pull the bluff card. He entered the room to announce that it was made evident through a found journal that Al was having an affair with Sandy Crawford. As quickly as Roth made the announcement Jack bolted at Al and called him every name in the book as he tried to kill him!
Roth promptly arrested Jack!
Even though Roth’s announcement was fake there was a hint of truth to it. Al was totally in the dark and innocent but Jack had killed Sandy because his jealousy did think she was caring on having an affair with someone although he never knew who?
Jack’s passionate anger gave him away.
The county sent Jack away to prison for a very long time and now there is only peace and tranquility in the SilverPineMansion.
You can still see the twins riding off on their horses, lawn games being played, walks being taken, as well as Earl reading his morning paper, and sweet Miss Emma painting away in the garden.
Lisa J. Warner