Rhapsody poured herself a generous glass of cold water in the kitchen. She had come home from the party rather late, and after all that eggnog she felt slightly out of sorts.
What was that? Miss Brown´s little Pekinese darted up and down the pavement outside her semi, yapping furiously. And Miss Brown´s front door stood wide open. Something must be wrong.
“Psally. Psally, where are you?” Rhapsody showed her sister the open door and the agitated dog.
“Something must be wrong,” Psalmonella declared while she put on her coat. “Perhaps Miss Brown is ill. All that eggnog.”
They crossed the street and ran towards the new development of ugly, semidetached houses. Tweedledee bared his teeth and tried to look thrice his size, but in a no-nonsense movement Psalmonella grabbed his collar and told him to sit.
Rhapsody threw one glance into the living room and stepped back. “This is a case for the police,” she informed her sister. “I´ll call Archie immediately.”
Constable Archibald Primrose was Rhapsody´s fiancé. He arrived on his bicycle a few minutes later, all ready to cordon off Miss Brown´s house and garden with his yellow tape.
Someone had killed the old woman in the most horrible fashion and left the axe behind. Rhapsody and Psalmonella told Primrose what they knew while he was waiting for reinforcement.
Back in the kitchen Rhapsody put the kettle on. “Do you remember she claimed she was a famous writer?”
“Of course I do. Poor woman.”
“Her house was full of paperbacks. Hundreds, or probably thousands of romances.”
“Surely you don´t believe it´s true?” Psalmonella wasn´t inclined to fantasize and made short thrift with anyone who did.
“No, of course not, but… Well, if she was just a harmless, old pensioner, why should anyone kill her?”
Constable Primrose dropped in as soon as possible to tell them what he had learned so far and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. “Weird case. Nothing stolen. It´s not as if she had much to steal, of course, but she had a nice wrist watch and some pearls that look expensive enough.”
“So the motive seems to have been personal?” Rhapsody tried.
“Personal, or perhaps even worse.”
“Worse? What could be worse?”
“A mass…” Primrose glanced at Psalmonella and shook his head. “No, is far too early to say yet. But he left something. Or we think he did.”
“What? Please tell me!” Rhapsody urged.
“A postcard. It only says ´Santa was here´ on it, and it hasn´t been delivered by the postman because there is no address or stamp on it.”
“A Christmas card.” Rhapsody couldn´t help feeling disappointed. Anyone could have put a Christmas card through Toffee Brown´s letterbox, and though the police had no clue, she might have known who ´Santa´ was.
“No, not really. It´s not a Christmassy motive but an ordinary postcard from Stockholm.” He took a gulp of his coffee. “It reminds me of something I have read in a novel recently, but I can´t for the life of me remember which one.”
(If you, dear reader, have an idea what Primrose might have read, don´t hesitate to spill the beans – before I publish the ending tomorrow).