( This is my first attempt at murder mystery. Hope you all will enjoy it. :))
David adorned black. The cemetery was slowly filling up. Sarah looked peaceful in her open casket , dressed in her best frock, hands clasped close together in death embrace.
“ David , Father is here “ whispered Linda.
He gave a nod of acknowledgment , the whole process of burial flashed fast , he barely knew.
He still couldn’t believe that his wife had left him . All eyes glanced at him with sympathy. He shook hands with a few , most of them promised to keep in touch and advised him to take care.
“ Do you need a ride home ?”
“ Thank you Linda , I’ll be fine . I just need some time alone. I appreciate what you have done for her.”
“ She is my best friend . I don’t know why all this happened . “ she said tears rolling down her puffy eyes.
“ I am going ,Linda. Bye. “
“ Call me if you need anything, David”
She watched as he drove away. A question nagged him all along , it was time he found the answer . He decided to approach Detective Neha Thappar. The police station in Lonavala was at its busy best , crawling with criminals in cells and officers hidden by heaps of files. Officer Neha was at her table and rose to shake hands with him.
“ Hello Sir, I am Neha Thappar. How may I help you?”
“ I am David Dcruz . I am here to request you to look into my wife’s death. She was diagnosed to have died of a heart attack which I don’t believe.”
“ We can help you Sir. Where is the body? ”
“ I just came after burying her body. I don’t have any proof that she was murdered but my wife was healthy until recently, when all the bizarre stuff started happening .”
“ Sir , you have buried the body . Why would you do that?”
“ I don’t want anyone else to know about my plan to report to you.”
“ We need to exhume her body for autopsy . Only then can we confirm if it was indeed a murder . Please give a written consent so that my men can take out the body.”
David readily signed the consent .
“ Sir , you were saying about some bizarre stuff.”
“ Yes , Sarah was a healthy woman as far as I can remember. It was just two months before that she complained of head ache . She had her doubts that it might be cancer , we went to Bernard’s hospital for check up. All the scans turned up negative for any type of cancer . There was no trace. She was better for a while.”
“ Do you think the hospital was responsible for her death?”
“ No , A few days later she suffered from seizures and was hospitalized . There were no neurological symptoms for the disease and the doctors felt suspicious . Dr Rekha gave her Rifampin pills which resulted in her urine turning orange there by conforming her doubt that she is suffering from Munchausens disease.”
“ What is that ?”
“ It’s a mental disorder which causes the patient to induce within themselves diseases intentionally. They consume drugs in high doses to have pathological conditions just to get attention . The doctor said that it is usually present since childhood and has no cure . It can be caused due to lack of attention she had in childhood , maybe after seeing a sick person who is close to the them receiving all the attention. I have known her for a long time . She never had an unhappy childhood and doctor also mentioned that she would carry on doing this for her entire life . It was just two months before since it all began . I don’t believe she had this disease . She was my childhood sweet heart , I know everything about her she did not have any disease Officer , I swear , she was murdered.” He said breaking down .
“ I am sorry for your loss . Let me get the autopsy report and I will contact you with further information.”
“ Thank you Officer.” He said and walked away .
Neha called up her assisting officers. “ Officers, we have a new case. Well technically may have . It all depends on the autopsy. Prakrit will come with me to collect information from her house. Ali and Tarun will go to the cemetery to exhume the body . Prepare it for autopsy , ask Dr Kapoor to be ready.”
“ On it Neha “ replied Tarun
“ Sarah’s husband David approached me with a doubt that his wife’s death was actually a murder. He does not have any proof . He believes the heart attack that killed her might be induced by someone.”
“ A queer case indeed” said Ali
“ Yes, but it is our duty to clear the doubts. Let’s not waste time . Prakrit, come with me to David’s house . And you guys notify me ASAP you prep the body.”
The house was posh , the electronic door opened when the car approached and closed the instant they got inside the compound.
“ Wow! what a place !” exclaimed Prakrit.
“ Indeed “
“ Neha do you think the husband’s responsible ?”
“ Well he seemed genuine , you can’t really say anything these days right”
“ Let’s find out.”
Prakrit rang the door bell. A distraught David opened the door.
“ Officers ,come on in .”
“ This is Officer Prakrit and he is one of my investigation partners”
“ Hello David” he said extending his arm .
They both shook hands .
“ Please take a seat, Officers. Did you find anything?”
“ Officers Tarun and Ali are on their way to exhume the body . We are here to collect more information.” said Neha
“ I am glad to help.”
“ What did she do for a living ?” asked Prakrit
“ She did creative work , she was completing a novel. Before that she used to do online work for companies.”
“ What about you?” asked Neha
“ I am the Manager of Axis Bank at Navy Mumbai branch.”
“ Do you think of anyone who have shown any intention to harm you or your wife?”
“ No Officer Neha , she was good with all.”
“ We need to search the house for evidence” said Prakrit
“ Sure Sir.”
“ While we check around , David get us a list of her acquaintances and their contact information .” said Neha.
“ Prakrit, let’s start.”
“ You take the ground floor and I will check the upper floor .”
“ Right O’ Captain” said Prakrit.
Sarah’s room faced the east . A laptop was on the table. Everything was neat and tidy. A cupboard was near the bed . She opened the door , her clothes were inside and in the middle of the shelves there was a drawer . She saw a file. It contained her medical reports . She decided to take it . A thorough search through out other rooms revealed nothing suspicious.
She went down and saw both Prakrit and David chatting.
“ I see that you hit a bounty, Neha.” Said Prakrit with a smile.
“ I found her medical reports . I think it can shed some light on the case. What about you?’
“ Nada , David has given all her contacts and also her planner.”
“ David I have to ask , did she have any suicidal tendencies?”
“ No Officer Neha , she was happy . She found a publisher and was excited with the prospects coming up. We planned to go on a holiday to Sydney.”
“ Thank you David . We will keep you posted .” said Prakrit
Neha’s phone rang “ Neha , Dr Kapoor is ready for autopsy.” said Tarun.
“ We are on our way Tarun.”
“ Dr Kapoor has reached . She will begin the autopsy.”
“ Neha I will take the wheel.”
“ Sure’” She tossed the key to Prakrit.
Neha got on with examining report.
“ Prakrit ,listen to this a person with Munchausens is denied treatment . “
“ What if that person is really sick ?”
“ That’s what I thought. God what kind of weird diseases , people spend hell of money to stay fit these days and there are a few who pays to gets sick .”
“ World sure is weird.”
Dr Kapoor had just finished the autopsy when they came in . Tarun and Ali were already present.
“ What have we got?” asked Neha.
“ Come on I will show you” Dr Kapoor said.
Sarah’s body was placed on the examination table , covered by white cloth.
“ There are no wounds, stabs or even needle marks its all clean.”
“ So this was a natural heart attack?”
“ Ah don’t jump to such conclusions Neha , that’s why I delved a little deeper. See that bowl that’s her stomach content . It showed high concentration of diclofenac , commonly known as voltaren .”
“ That’s a common pain killer.” said Prakrit.
“ Which if consumed in high doses can result in cardiac arrest” spoke Ali.
“ You are dealing with an intellectual killer .’” said Dr Kapoor
“ What did you get ?” asked Tarun
“ We found her medical reports.” Said Prakrit
“ Dr Kapoor what do you know about Munchausen disease.”
“ Neha it is where the patient actively gets infected with diseases and goes about getting treatment. She/ he may exhibit symptoms of diseases but without causes. They are usually denied treatment . It lasts life long.”
“ So you say that if she has that she would have exhibited this for a long time . “
“ Yes. She may even get check ups under false identities and can even fake reports .”
“ Sarah’s reports don’t show anything that points to the disease except a declaration that she is found to have such a condition.”
“ That’s weird a person with that condition usually hides such stuff .”
“ Exactly Dr Kapoor . So she may be framed to have such a disease so that she can be killed and nobody will ever know .” said Ali
“ Yes, the question is who.” Said Neha
“ I will inform David “ said Ali
“ Tarun check her bank and credit cards to find anything that points to medical bills”
“ Will do Neha.” He replied.
“ Prakrit let’s get on with the interviews.”
Ali returned after informing David.
“ Join us with interviews Ali” said Prakrit
“ Where are we going now ?’” Ali asked
“ To Dr Linda , her best friend.” replied Neha.
Her clinic was not crowded , Linda opened the door to let a patient out.
“ Dr Linda , we are officers investigating the murder of Sarah. I am officer Neha and they are Ali and Prakrit .” she said pointing to them
“ Murder! Officers she died of heart attack. “
“ Her autopsy showed otherwise. We need to ask you a few questions.” Said Ali
“ Of course come on in . I should say this was totally unexpected.”
“You guys were pretty close right?” Neha asked
“ Yes , she was my best friend . We met at school and never parted.”
“ Has she ever talked to you about suicide?” asked Ali
“ Good Lord! no, she was happy. She had Munchausen disease , may be that’s what killed her. It was all a shock she never took a pill unless it was absolutely necessary.”
“ We are looking into it. Was there anything peculiar about her recently? Did she confide to you about any enemies or fight with her husband ?” asked Prakrit
“ No , nothing like that we meet every week . David was the best thing that happened to her.”
“ Dr Linda , that’s all for now . We promise we will find her killer. If you remember anything that might help us with the investigation feel free to call us.” said Neha
“ David said that only Linda and he was her close confident , she was basically a home body. The kind that curls up with books and find nirvana” said Prakrit
“ We will conduct other interviews over the phone , we will hopefully find something out of her bank and credit checks . “ said Neha.
Tarun had got off the phone when they stepped in.
“ Not much spend on medical bills, except for one that stood out.”
“ What was it for ?” asked Prakrit
“ She had a plastic surgery for taking out arm fat. The payment was made to Dr Linda’s clinic.”
“ We just met her , why didn’t she mentioned it ?” asked Ali
“ There is one more person I like to interview Dr Rekha and Tarun check David’s alibi .”
“ Already did , He’s clean and as for that doctor she is sitting in the interrogation room.”
“ Wow Tarun ! , you read my mind.”
“ Prakrit come with me .”
Dr Rekha seemed pale and flustered.
“ Do you think she is hiding something” asked Ali watching from outside.
“ Positive “ replied Tarun
“ Dr Rekha , thanks for coming. We need to ask you certain questions regarding Sarah. She was your patient right?”
“ Yes” she said
“ Our autopsy proved that she did not suffer from Munchausens . What made you jump to such conclusions?”
“ Her lab reports proved so .”
“ Or is it that somebody pressurized you ?” asked Prakrit
“ What!” she told wiping away beads of sweat
“Are you hiding something Ma’am ? There is no point we already know ” said Neha
“ It was not my idea . I was forced to . I just wrote the report . I did not do anything else.” said Rekha
Neha and Prakrit came out followed by Rekha .
“ You can go now , but do not leave the country .You will be called to testify.”
She nodded her head and made a bee line for the elevator.
“ Neha we know who the killer is but we need more proof to put the killer behind bars.”
“I know Prakrit . Even an intellectual killer leaves behind a trail that will lead to them.”
“ Aye Captain , we have found that trail. But this time the trail came to us.” Said Ali
“ What is it?” asked Prakrit excitedly
“ Babu is here to see you. He is Sarah’s car driver.” Tarun replied
“ Bring him in.” said Neha
“ Babu thanks for coming. We promise you that you will receive protection. You are doing a great deed .”
“ Sarah madam and David sir were always good to me . This is the least I can do. On the day before she died , I drove her to Linda Madams house. I waited outside while she went in , after sometime I went to wash my chappal from the tap behind the house when I saw Linda madam mixing something in her drink. I do not know why she could ever do that Sarah madam trusted her. Neha ji promise me that she will get what she deserves .”
“ You have my word . Ali escort Babu back to his house. Prakrith and Ali we have a criminal to catch.” She said grinning.
Linda locked her door and was about to open her car door .
“ Going somewhere, doctor ?” asked Neha
“ Officer, did you catch her killer?” she said startled
“ Yes, in fact I am standing in front of her .”
“ What! You have not found the killer does not mean you can put the blame on someone else. She was my best friend.”
“ I think it is you that needs to be reminded that Sarah was your best friend. We have gathered enough proof. You gave her Isotetrinoin after her fat removal which resulted in her seizure. You forced Dr Rekha to brand her as Munchausen patient there by making everything easier for you. You would have easily escaped if it was not for David and Sarah’s driver who testified against you. “
“ That woman was always happy. She got everything she wished for. I was always the second option . She trusted me blindly, well I had that to my advantage.”
“ The reason she was happy was that she deserved it. Whatever she is she worked to get there, unlike you who never did possess the fire to be anything. Well now you have enough time to contemplate on your flaws. Linda, you are under arrest for the murder of Sarah Dcruz.”
Neha hand cuffed Linda and led her to police car with the satisfaction that once again justice had prevailed.