ForumsThe TavernMini-Mystery 2. Status: Re-Opened

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MattEmAngel
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With the Mod's blessing (again), I will post my second Mini-Mystery. So far I have written two, and this one is tougher. Plenty of false trails mixed with vital clues. It's not 100% waterproof, so ask if you don't understand a part of the scene.

I will reward guesses with hints or encouragement.

[SOME VIOLENCE/BLOOD. NO PROFANITY OR LEWD CONTENT. SUCK IT UP AND READ IT]

Italian Ice

MATTHEW ANGEL: DETECTIVE

The hotel room was small, but comfortable. The interior was decorated with a standard bed, table, and chair, with a single window facing the rear of the building. A bookshelf had been added to house a few novels and a Bible, none of which had ever been opened. One might have considered it a relatively pleasant place to live, with the small exception of the dead man.
His name was Giovanni Vespacci, an Italian immigrant who had only arrived in the United States a few weeks earlier. He had come alone from Sicily, and had no immediate family, wife, or children. The only thing on him was a cheap watch, a wallet with 50 euro banknotes in it, an Italian driverâs license and his passport. Only a few changes of clothes were in the single closet in the room. Other than that, everything about him was normal. Except that he was dead.
âSuicideâ, muttered Simon Mendoza, the officer in charge. Standing beside him was freelance detective Matthew Angel. He was inclined to agree. âAny news on the weapon?â he asked the officer, snapping on a latex glove and running a hand over the gun, a well-polished Smith & Wesson .38 revolver. âIt doesnât belong to him, Iâm guessing. An Italian immigrant, living in a hotel. He had just enough money to enter America. Owning a gun would be the last thing on his mindâ.
The officer nodded. âWe havenât figured out who it belongs to. It was most likely stolen, but the only fingerprints on it are his. Iâve got a few men asking around the neighborhood across the street. Then again, a gun may have been the first thing he wantedâ.
Angel barely glanced up. âDid he have enemies?â
Mendoza nodded again. âThere are some slight ties to the Italian Mafia, but nothing severeâ. He scowled. The crime scene was sickening.
Angel sighed. He reached over and lifted a magazine from the desk. It was printed in Italian. âSounds more like a hit than a suicideâ.
âNoâ, Mendoza objected. âIt was definitely suicide. The note confirms itâ.
There was indeed a note. The dead man was slumped over the desk, a single bullet in his right temple. The revolver was hanging loosely in his right hand, and the other hand covered a sheet of paper. Judging from the position of the objects, and the manâs body, Giovanni had simply written the note with an ink pen, which was lying on the desk nearby, lifted the gun to his head and fired. Angel examined it with a small LED flashlight. There were clear prints on the grip and trigger that matched Vespacciâs. The pistol had been loaded with a single bullet. Still wearing the glove, Angel released the cylinder and dropped the shell on the table. It had been recently fired.
And then he picked up the note.
The message, printed by hand in English, read âI can no longer live with myself. I have nothing, am nothing, and will never amount to anything. No longer can I bear the burden of my life of crime. I must carry the secrets of my past to the grave. God forgive me!â
Mendoza smirked. âIt certainly makes enough sense, wouldnât you say?â
âIâd say that the gun definitely didnât belong to himâ, Angel replied.
The officer frowned. âYou think he had someone else steal it for him? Who would have done that? He didnât have any friends here in the Statesâ.
âExactlyâ, Angel said. âThis man was assassinated. Two things in particular prove itâ.
HOW DID ANGEL KNOW? AND WHAT WERE THE TWO CLUES?

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IAgreeWithYou
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Bullet was in his right temple. Gun was in his right hand. A .38 would do much more damage then that if he really did fire it.

Also, the message was in english.

Hin?

fireangle
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I think Iagree is right.

If the gun was in his right hand then the bullet would had been in his left temple meaning that who ever shot him had planted the gun to make it look like a he shot him self to anyone who wasn't paying attention. His magazine was in Italian suggesting that he doesn't speak english yet let alone write a suicide note in english.

pangtongshu
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If the gun was in his right hand then the bullet would had been in his left temple meaning that who ever shot him had planted the gun to make it look like a he shot him self to anyone who wasn't paying attention.


Usually when detectives/police state that a bullet was in the right temple..they are more of just saying that is where it entered/that is what killed him. I could be wrong..but that was my initial assumption when reading it. Though with that IAgree said..a .38 wouldn't have just left a hole...well...not a small hole...or a medium one..

His magazine was in Italian suggesting that he doesn't speak english yet let alone write a suicide note in english.


That doesn't prove he can't speak English though. He was from Italy..it only makes sense that he would prefer to read something in Italian as that is the language he is accustomed to...as for the note..he is in American. Where the primary language is English..so him writing it in English is a complete possibility

---

One thing I think would be a clue would be him still holding on to the gun. When one dies..their muscles completely relax..and with a suicide with gun, this most of the time results in the gun being dropped as there is no more hold on it by the person. Notice during a movie when a person murders someone and takes some time to go through their drop and then places the gun near the person (not in hand)..that is with reason. They are trying to figure out an estimate on the arm's path and how hard it hit the ground..then, using this, try to estimate where the gun would end up

Another thing..he shot himself in his right temple...but fell forward? That is just silly.

Another...and I quote..In a study of genuine suicide notes versus simulated ones, the genuine notes are much more specific about giving directives concerning property distribution and insurance policies and more concerned with the pain and suffering of others. They are more likely to express psychological pain and more likely to use âloveâ in their texts. The simulated notes give greater details about the motives of suicide, mention the act of suicide itself, and more often use euphemistic phrases for death and suicide
soccerdude2
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I was never very good at getting those Encyclopedia Browns...

Tactical_Fish
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Didn't read any other posts, but if he had shot himself in the right temple, he would not have been slumped over the desk. He would be sagging to the right. Someone shot him with the gun, put it in his hand, and slumped him over the desk. That's one detail anyway.

Tactical_Fish
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He would be sagging to the right.
Sorry for the double post, but he would be sagging to the LEFT.
Tactical_Fish
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Oh! Oh! I know the rest!

There were clear prints on the grip and trigger that matched Vespacciâs.
No prints on the hammer or cylinder? Hmmmmmmm.... If he had shot himself there would be prints there too, not just on the trigger and grip.
Case=closed.
fireangle
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fireangle
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Usually when detectives/police state that a bullet was in the right temple..they are more of just saying that is where it entered/that is what killed him. I could be wrong..but that was my initial assumption when reading it.

I'm not sure. You could be right.

xeano321
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Hmmm... Judging from careful examination of the evidence at hand, this is my deduction as to how the crime took place:

1. The window to the hotel room was facing the rear of the building. It doesn't state that the room was on an upper floor in the hotel, thus meaning the room is on the ground floor, making it relatively easy for one to enter or exit the room.

2. While a precise time is not given as to when the murder took place, I will assume that Vespacci was reading his magazine, thus accounting for the magazine's position on the desk.

3. The magazine was in Italian, while the note was in English. Being an immigrant from Italy, he would undoubtedly not know enough English to write the suicide note.

4. The only money he had available was Euros, not Dollars. He apparently did not have the money to purchase a gun. Being new to the US, I doubt if he had the knowledge, or the information required to steal a gun. (This is an assumption.)

Crime progression:

(The evidence states nothing about the door, and only mentions a window in the rear of the hotel room. I consider this to be a likely entry point in the crime.)

Vespacci (to be acknowledged as victim from this point on) was in his hotel room reading his magazine at the table, while sitting in the chair. While reading, he fell asleep, with the left side of his head on the table, and his right hand side facing up. After he had fallen asleep, the murderer (to be acknowledged as suspect from this point on) entered the room through the window (which is at the rear of the hotel, thus making entry more discreet.) The suspect then loaded the gun with one round, cocked the hammer, and then murdered the victim. Upon the death of the victim, the suspect then wrote a suicide note, intended to be interpreted as written by the victim. The suspect then placed the note and pen used on the desk to appear as being used by the victim. The suspect then wiped his fingerprints (or he was wearing gloves) off the weapon used, then placed the weapon in the victims hand, making sure to allow victims fingerprints to become visible and apparent on the weapon's handle and trigger. Suspect then left the hotel room by use of the window he had entered.

Have to admit, I worded that rather nicely. =D

IAgreeWithYou
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Xeano, although I am pretty sure that is exactly what happened. What were the two clues. You didn't state them explicitly.

xeano321
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Xeano, although I am pretty sure that is exactly what happened. What were the two clues. You didn't state them explicitly.


Pretty sure if you read the whole paragraph I wrote, the two clues are included in there, they just aren't completely obvious. I don't know which two clues are the ones that dissolve the suicide factor, since I stated a few which already provide sufficient doubt as to self-killing.

In short, I think I stated all possible clues to discredit suicide. The two are included in there somewhere, unless I missed something.
nichodemus
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Wait, he had a wallet filled with 50 Euro notes?

Don't know. None of the books were opened, so I guess that's a clue that he doesn't speak English?

MattEmAngel
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Case closed.

xeano321 has provided an almost perfect answer. In fact, it is nearly identical to the solution I wrote. The only thing (itâs a tiny thing, so Iâll overlook it) is that you didnât guess the Two Clues. The point was for you to guess the Two Clues, then wait for conformation. Instead, you wrote four clues and a near flawless record of the event.

However, you missed one very important clue! How do you know he was assassinated and not just murdered by a burglar?

Here is the official solution, with all of the clues (including a few tiny ones you guys missed, which means I'm way, way cooler than everyone. hah).

The two clues were the note and the gun.
The note proved that it was not suicide. The man was a poor immigrant from Italy. He had no family and no friends in the US, and still had nothing on him but European money. There was a magazine in the room, but it was printed in Italian. The only other books he had access to were a few novels and a Bible, but they had ânever been openedâ. The note was written in perfect English.

The gun proved that it was assassination. Had he been simply murdered, his watch and money would have been stolen. Plus, the gun was presumed stolen, but âthe only fingerprints on it were hisâ. Not only that, but it was âwell-polishedâ. Itâs unlikely a man would stop to clean the exterior of a gun before shooting himself with it. The S&W in particular, when polished, retains oil perfectly. Fingerprints stick to the surface easily, and they would have been extremely easy to see. But Angel only spotted prints on the pistolâs grip and trigger. Being a revolver, there should have been a clean thumbprint on the cocking hammer. The gun was too clean.

From the missing, and present, evidence, Angel deduced that a hitman had been contacted by the Italian Mafia to kill Giovanni. An informant leaving the country could have had information that they didnât want leaked. The assassin was wearing gloves. He entered the room, shot Giovanni, and then wrapped the dead manâs hand around the gun so his fingerprints were planted. Knowing that he didnât have much time, the assassin grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen from the desk and jotted down a suicide note, leaving it under Giovanniâs other hand and the pen on the desk. Angel narrowed the field even more by realizing the assassin was from America and not Italy. An Italian assassin would have known that Giovanni did not know English.

MattEmAngel
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Two other clues for you that I just caught:

There would have been a thumbprint on the cylinder release. He had to drop the cylinder to load it.

Also, for anyone who can't figure out how he got into a hotel with nothing but Euros, we will assume that he had stolen a credit card and used it. The assassin reposessed it. Not sure why, though. Let me know if you think of a reason.

xeano321
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I solved the whole deal? Wow... Must be watching too much Dragnet.

I wasn't 100% positive about which two clues could credit assassination. I didn't consider it wasn't a burglar, since his cheap valuables were not stolen. (It didn't really occur to me, considering Euros aren't legal tender in the states, and his watch was cheap, so, yeah.)

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