ForumsThe TavernMini-Mystery 2. Status: Re-Opened

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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.


Italian Ice


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.

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