The Opera Mystery

August 24, 2010
By , princeton junction, NJ
It was past midnight. Mrs. Brown was trying to doze off in her comfortable, long, wooden chair. Mrs. Brown was an old lady, around eighty years old. Her hair was all grey. She had wrinkles all over her face. She had two squinted brown eyes, a chubby nose and dark red lips. She was a gorgeous girl during her teenage years, but her beauty had withered away like the desert sand as she grew old. She lived alone in her the ‘Opera Apartments.’ The Apartments belongs to a huge, profit-making law firm called ‘Opera’. The Apartments were the homes of the lawyers, paralegal and secretaries of the firm. Mrs. Brown had retired, but she still lived in the Opera. She lived on the ground floor. She had been a faithful and a diligent paralegal for the firm for over twenty years. She lived on her pension and the money that she had saved in the past years. Mr. Brown, her husband had died long ago in a mysterious car crash. Neither did the police find her husband’s body nor did they investigate the incident. From that day onwards, Mrs. Brown had lost all trust in the police.

Mrs. Brown was insomniac; she could not sleep at night. She couldn’t see well even with her grandma-like glasses perched at the end of her chubby nose. Mrs. Brown was always anxious about something. Nobody knew what it was. She would never share her feelings with anybody, so no one knew what was wrong with her all the time. She always had dreams that someone might murder her or rob her.

Ah! Ah! Ah! Why are you doing this to me? Help! Help! Someone was shrieking in the apartment above her.
“What is it? Who must be shouting in the middle of the night?” wondered Mrs. Brown.
“Oh! Never mind. It must be my dream, but I think I heard someone shrieking. Shall I call the police? Oh! No! Never mind. What if turns out to be nothing? Someone is playing a prank or something. I shall be embarrassed, then. It must be my dream,” thought Mrs. Brown and dozed off to sleep in her chair, as if nothing had happened.
- - - - -

The next morning Mrs. Brown woke up to the sound of police sirens and alarm bells ringing at her door. She wondered what it might be. She opened her window and much to her surprise, she saw that her house was surrounded by police vans. She quickly changed into something new and frantically rushed out of her door. She saw some police officers rushing up and down the stairs. People rushed hither and thither, either searching for someone or something.

Mrs. Brown went up to a police officer. “What is going on? Is anything wrong?” questioned Mrs. Brown in a very puzzled voice.
“Ma’am, Ms. Aisha Freeman was murdered last night. This is the third murder in the Opera Apartments. We have got to find out who it is,” said the police officer in a stern voice.
“Well, last night I heard someone shriek. I thought it was just my dream. I should have called the police.”
“Well lady, then you’d better talk to Inspector Peterson. He’ll here any minute,” said the police officer and rushed off.

“What! I need to talk to the Inspector. I don’t want to. I hate police officers. Why do I have to talk to them? I haven’t done anything,” mumbled Mrs. Brown to herself.
- - - - -

An hour later Inspector Peterson arrived at the crime scene. He was accompanied with his secretary, Mr. Todd. Inspector Peterson was a tall man, about six feet, with black hair neatly combed on one side. He had a pair of cunning brown eyes that looked as if they were always searching for a mystery. He had a sharp nose and thin, pink lips. He wore a long, black coat and pants with a blue tie, having a geometric design. His black shoes were always neatly polished and sparkled like the stars in a dark night. He never forgot to wear his black hat. He had once said that his black hat helped him solve any case, no matter how difficult it was. He could not sleep at night without solving his case. He was an honest person.

Mr. Todd led Inspector Peterson directly to the crime scene. The room where the crime had taken place was pretty large, with a queen bed in the center. On one end of the room was a huge wooden cupboard and just near the cupboard was the bathroom. Just near the bed was a small, round, night table on which lay an alarm clock, a lamp and a golden bracelet. The bed was covered with a blue mattress, all stained with Ms. Freeman’s blood.
“What have you got?” questioned the Inspector.
“Well, the victim is Ms. Aisha Freeman, a forty-nine year old lady. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and red lips. Pretty lady! I must say. She has been living in the Opera Apartments since eight years. She worked as a paralegal for Mr. McIvor, the senior partner of the Opera Law Firm. She has been living alone until yesterday. Her niece, Miss. Jasmine Freeman came to live with her. She is a child, only ten years old.”
“Well, that sounds quite interesting. I would like to know more about that little girl,” said the Inspector.
“Jasmine was orphaned at the age of five. Her parents had died in a plane crash. Later her aunt, Amy adopted her and sent her to a school in New Jersey. Her teachers say she was quite a loquacious and an aggressive child. Ms. Aisha Freeman was very fond of that girl, so she visited her often. Jasmine came here yesterday to visit Ms. Freeman because it was vacation time.”
“If she came here just yesterday, then she must know something about the murder. I would like to meet her,” said the Inspector in a determined voice.
“Sir, the girl is not responding. She says that she doesn’t know anything about the murder,” said Mr. Todd in a churlish voice.

The Inspector gave a fierce look at Mr. Todd. This meant that he wanted to meet Jasmine anyhow. “Where is the girl, Todd?” questioned the Inspector in a poignant voice. Mr. Todd looked quite frightened. He led the Inspector into the room next door where Jasmine was sitting with her hands held together, her head down.
“Hello Jasmine! My name is Inspector Peterson Roy. I want to ask you some questions. I know how sad you must be at the loss of your cousin, but at the same time you must co-operate with us. We need to find out who it is. We will punish him. Justice will be done. Now, will you please answer my questions?” asked the Inspector in an amiable way.
Jasmine just nodded her head. “Good girl!” said the Inspector sympathetically. “Did you see or hear anything at the time of the murder?”
“I don’t remember anything. I just want to forget about it,” said Jasmine reluctantly.
“Please tell us something. Look, this is the third murder in Opera Apartments. We need to find out what’s going on here. We need your help, Jasmine.”
“I don’t ………want to help anybody,” said Jasmine and rushed out of the room.

“Why is she not co-operating?” wondered the Inspector.
“I think she did it,” said Mr. Todd with a grimaced look on his face. “She is guilty. She has committed the murder.”
“We’d better not jump to solutions. We need to look for clues. Did we find any?”
“Yes sir, we found blood. The blood belongs to two people, Ms. Freeman and someone else. We also figured out the DNA samples. It belongs to a man,” said Dr. Mary who had been working on the samples since morning.
“Did that man commit the murder? I am pretty sure he did it,” said Mr. Todd with a sullen expression.
“Todd, you’d better not jump to solutions. Your duty time is over. I’ll call you tomorrow,” said the Inspector in a mundane voice.
“Inspector, the old lady downstairs wanted to talk to you. She heard something on the night of the murder.” Mr. Todd looked quite exultant. He grabbed his overcoat and rushed down the stairs hurriedly.
“Clark, call the lady downstairs. I want to know what she heard”, said the Inspector. Mrs. Brown was called and led in the room to meet the Inspector. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir,” said Mrs. Brown pleasantly. “Mr. Todd, my secretary told me that you heard something, on the night of Ms. Aisha Freeman’s murder.”
“Well, I don’t like to talk much but I want to help you solve this case. I heard a shriek that night. I remember exactly what Ms. Freeman screamed. She said that why are you doing this to me? She even screamed for help twice or thrice, I guess. I don’t know who it was but I think that it was someone whom Ms. Freeman knew very well, probably worked for him or her,” said Mrs. Brown with a cryptic voice. “Do you remember what time was it when you heard the scream?” questioned the Inspector.
“It was around midnight. I don’t remember exactly.”
“I don’t understand what you mean when you say that it might be someone she knew very well.”
“Well, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I am sorry. I would have told you if I had known,” said Mrs. Brown and stood up to leave. “I have to go. Nice meeting you, Inspector!”

The Inspector looked around the room, with a puzzled look. “There must be something. Murderers always leave a clue.” He began to rummage the room. He didn’t discover something new. He had searched for an hour but he was not at all tired. Just then, he opened the cabinet and quickly examined it. There were a bundle of files, folders and binders. The Inspector began to look at these bundles of paper.
Suddenly he came upon something very attention-grabbing. The file was titled ‘Secret Opera Business’. He quickly opened it and looked at the contents. There were a series of documents all line up in alphabetical order. The top of each paper was labeled with the name of the client of the Opera Law Firm. On the paper were hours that each partner had spent billing that client. At the bottom, Ms. Freeman had indicated that the Opera partners had overbilled their clients. There were many documents just like that one. The Inspector understood the whole case now. He put the file under his arm and decided to carry it along with him as evidence.
He quickly got into his Volkswagen and drove to the Opera Law Firm. He was quite familiar with the firm. It was one of the largest and the most profit-making firms in New York. It had seven partners and many associates, who were recruited every year from the top colleges of the world. The firm boasted of having law offices all over the United States. Mr. McIvor was the oldest partner who had started the firm. Inspector Peterson decided to talk to him. Todd, his secretary had worked in the firm as a paralegal, and he Mr. McIvor very well. He was a cunning man and had lots of secrets.
“I am Inspector Peterson, from NYPD. I would like to see Mr. McIvor,” said the Inspector with a sense of pride in his voice. “Sir, Mr. McIvor is busy with his clients. He would not be able to see you now. I am sorry, sir, but you’ll have to wait. Please sit here,” said Mr. McIvor’s secretary with a wide smile on her lovely face. The Inspector sat down. He was in no hurry to go home. He had waited for about thirty minutes when the same secretary came up to him and said, “Sir, Mr. McIvor would like to meet you in his office. The Inspector got up and was led to Mr. McIvor’s office. Mr. McIvor was an old man, around sixty years old. He had grey hair, a pair of light green eyes, a sharp nose and thin, pink lips. Just like a rich lawyer, he was wearing an expensive suit and a Rolex watch. His shoes were shining like the stars. He had quite a personality that could impress most of his clients.
“Inspector, Nina told me that you wanted to see me. It is such a pleasure to see you. I am so sorry that you had to wait. I was busy with some of my clients. Did I keep you waiting for long?” said the lawyer in pleasing voice. “Oh! No! I have just been waiting for fifteen minutes. It’s not been that long. I am here to talk to you about Ms. Aisha Freeman’s murder. Have you heard about it?” questioned the Inspector.
“Yes. I have heard about it,” replied the lawyer in a slow voice. Mr. McIvor’s face turned all white and pale. It looked as if he might just fall down. “Well, then you must know what this is? Don’t you know about this?” said the Inspector handing the file to Mr. McIvor. “Oh….Yes…. I know what this is. I think I know,” said the Mr. McIvor in a frail voice. “Well, if you knew about the murder of Ms. Aisha Freeman, then you must be very well familiar with this file. This file shows that you and your partners overbilled your clients. I don’t know much about law, but I know that a lawyer who overbills his clients get a prison term for five years.”
“Oh! Inspector, so you know our secret. Now, I would like to ask you a question. How long have you been doing your job in the police?”
“I’ve been doing my job for over fifteen years now. I do my job with honesty and integrity. There has not been a case that I haven’t been able to solve.”
“What has been your salary for doing your job with honesty and integrity?” said the lawyer in a mocking voice. The Inspector understood what Mr. McIvor was trying to say. He was trying to offer him a bribe. “Mr. McIvor, I would like to let you know that I am not one of those police inspectors that take bribes from wealthy lawyers. I am an honest person. I don’t want your bribe. The police are on its way to arrest you and your partners. I have already called them,” said the Inspector. ‘Oh! Please! Please, don’t arrest me. Can you give me time to examine the file?” pleaded the lawyer.

“We are going to see if your DNA samples match with the one on the body of the victim. If they do, then you are the murderer,” said the Inspector looking quite happy that he had solved the case. The police arrived and carried Mr. McIvor and his partners to the police station. Dr. Mary matched the DNA samples of the blood on the victim’s body with the DNA of Mr. McIvor. The DNA matched perfectly and MR. McIvor was proved guilty of the crime.
- - - - -

A few months later, Inspector Peterson discovered that Mr. McIvor had threatened Jasmine that if she would have ever uttered a word about the murder, he would have killed her aunt in New Jersey. Jasmine confessed all of this after Mr. McIvor was in prison. Mr. McIvor’s firm was closed down and all the seven partners were charged for overbilling their clients. Mr. McIvor served his term in prison for fifteen years and came out of the prison penniless. As for the Inspector he was promoted. He was now the Senior Inspector. Jasmine went back to live with her aunt in New Jersey, quite depressed by Ms. Freeman’s murder. Mrs. Brown also shifted to a new house in San Francisco. She was quite happy that she had helped the Inspector solve the case.

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princess171995 said...
Sept. 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm
This is my 1st submission here.
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