V. A week later.
“I am tremendously sorry to have to tell you that you are arrested on suspicion of murder, m´lord.” Visibly uncomfortable, Sir Gruesome cleared his throat while he crossed the threshold of Lord Snowflake´s beautiful country house. “It is really too bad, old chum, but you know, Gung Ho and all that. Did the blasted woman try to blackmail you? Was that it?”
“No, not really. She caught me red-handed, of course. Or red-shod, to be exact. She was gloating when she told me she would turn me in. Told me how much she loved reporting delinquents. The self-righteous little bitch. Said she loved doing good little deeds. A car park attendant indeed! I just couldn´t bear it.” Lord Snowflake lowered his snow white hair in shame. “But those shoes … I was so envious of the person who could put her feet into those feminine and attractive shoes. I just had to put them on.”
Once he had started, the words just poured out of him. “But first I ran into that wretched Selina Crazy-woman and had to cajole her down to the bar. Hours later I stole upstairs again, more than half-drunk, I am afraid, and when I finally managed to send the old bird off to bed it was very late. I was feeling a bit groggy by then so I slipped into Ms Flake´s room with the shoes instead of my own. So silly of me. Of course I woke her up. Scared the scarecrow a bit, I dare say.” He laughed excitedly, beginning to enjoy his own confession.
“But I kept my sagacious old head calm and told her we must be able to sort things out somehow. I offered her a sip of one of my very best specimen, a vintage hipflask which belonged to Jack the Hipper himself. Strychnine, will you believe it? At first she protested a bit, but I …” He made a suggestive movement with his hand, and Gruesome remembered the bruises around Ms Flake´s mouth.
“And later I even remembered to switch the shoes again.” The murderer sent Sir Gruesome a proud smile, then sagged a little in his worn, old armchair.
“Ehm, I suppose I could turn my back for a sec if you´d prefer the honorable way out.” With an exaggerated movement of his head, Sir Gruesome squinted meaningfully towards the first floor windows.
“Oh no, I suffer from the most dreadful fear of heights, and unfortunately I just ran out of poison. How did your folks get on to me, by the way? I am absolutely certain I didn´t leave any fingerprints in her room. “
“Of course you didn´t.” Gruesome hesitated. No need to tell the old buffer that the technicians had had a field day. Saliva, hair, semen, regular pools of blood … you name it. But not a single fingerprint. “You left a little toe, though – one of those you cut off to be able to squeeze into her dainty little shoes.”