Murder at the Hotel Paradise
Murder at Hotel Paradise
(from an idea of Harry Putter)
Detective Pauline Clucas and Lieutenant Linda Albion ducked under the crime scene tape blocking access to room 410 at the Hotel Paradise. The women circled the body on the bed. Detective Clucas took series of pictures on her cell and began typing on her cell phone. Lt. Albion pulled out a legal pad and in short hand wrote a few paragraphs in her own eclectic style. Albion underlined January 7, 2019 --- 3:00 p.m. and turned to Detective Clucas. “Do we know who discovered the body?”
Near the door Sgt. Echo read from a note pad of his own. “The Vic was discovered by Sylvia Quan, a maid at the hotel.”
“The Vic? I thought this was supposed to be a suicide.” Detective Clucas said. “Who decided this was a murder scene, Sgt. Echo?”
Echo gave a sheepish look, “I called you and Lt. Albion in because too many things don’t add up…” Echo paused and looked at the women. “And you’ve helped me before…”
“Okay, please get to it.” Detective Clucas motioned.
“Right… Supposedly, Alvin Barre rented this room yesterday over the phone. Used his credit card.” Echo referred to his notes again. “But the maid said the room wasn’t used last night. She said she came in this afternoon and found him lying on the bed. Fully dressed. She saw the hypodermic needle on the end table then beat it down to the front desk and the manger called us.”
“And you called us?” Detective Clucas asked.
“You don’t think this is a suicide?” Asked Lt. Albion.
“It may be. But a couple of things…” with a pair of tweezers Echo held a piece of paper at arms-length. “The suicide note.” Both women leaned in and read:
Jan 04/2019 4:10
My loved ones,
Jenna, Sis, John, I can’t tell you how sorry I am. Blame God for why died today. Don’t blame Him. Seek Him if you want to know why I
did leave you. Do not mourn my death. Please move on.
Echo pointed to the date. “January 4th. That was three days ago.”
“Predated suicides notes are unusual, but not unheard of.” Detective Clucas said.
“Sometimes people write the note and wait for a while before attempting the act.“ Lt. Albion offered.
“Others write the note and never go through with the act.” Detective Clucas offered as she pointed to the body, “I admit this is a very convenient suicide. An empty hypodermic needle inches from a puncture wound. Echo has good instincts.” She turned to Lt. Albion, “Let’s do a little detective work Lieutenant.” Pauline rubbed her palms. “Since this is a quote ‘suicide’ let’s keep it out of the office for now. Thirty-six hours and we’ll meet at the Elbow Room.”
At four the following afternoon, Sgt. Thomas Echo pushed through the levered doors of the Elbow Room, a popular police officer’s hangout near Golden Gate Park. Detective Pauline Clucas sat at a far corner of the bar nursing a Manhattan. Sgt. Echo headed in her direction simultaneously motioning to the bartender and owner of the establishment Renne Paturzo. Paturzo was the former Captain of the Mission Precinct and still would be if he hadn’t been shot three times by an irate wife in a marital dispute he’d tried to alleviate. He’d taken a disability retirement and bought the Elbow Room. Though a skilled mixologist his passion was police work. The more difficult the case the better. Without being asked he pulled out a Heineken, popped the top and laid it in Sgt. Echo’s out stretched hand.
Detective Clucas nodded to a booth near the rear exit. “Let’s make that our office.” Sgt. Echo nodded. “Hey Captain,” she gestured to Paturzo to make a second Manhattan, “Can I have a final, final? And would you join us on Echo’s new one. It’s either a murder or a suicide.”
Minutes later, Detective Clucas sat in a rear booth Sgt. Echo at her left and Captain Paturzo, still wearing a slightly stained bartender apron, on her right. “Where’s Lt. Albion?” Paturzo asked.
“Just got a text. She’ll be here momentarily. Let’s get this going. Echo, what do you have on the personals?”
Echo took a sip of Heineken and began. “Alvin Barre was twenty-seven years old. He opened ‘Paws, Claws and Wagging Tails’ five years ago. It’s become a popular pet store. Four employees and a gross of over $250,000 last year.
He, taught Sunday School at Latter Day Christian where his brother John’s the Minister…”
“Ah, that explains the John, in the suicide note,” Lt. Albion said as she slid a chair up to the table, laid an Old Fashion cocktail on a coaster and greeted everyone. “Go ahead, Echo. Sorry, to interrupt.”
Echo smiled, “No problem. Here’s a kicker he was planning to marry Jennifer Cooper on Valentine’s Day.”
“Sounds like he had everything going for him.” Paturzo offered.
“He did,” Echo said.
“Hardly a reason to commit suicide,” added Lt. Albion.
“Agreed,” Detective Clucas said. “Let’s take this from the top. Mr. Bare leaves his pet shop, heads home, but decides to stop three miles from home and spend the night in a hotel room he rented a day before. Why would a man do that? ”
“My original thought too. But he was fully clothed. Other than the hypodermic, no drugs, alcohol, kinky toys …. I think we can rule out sex.”
“A meeting? A time out? Just peace and quiet?” Asked Echo.
“Or maybe he wanted a place to end it all. Clean and neat. No exhaust fumes, head in the oven or brains blown all over hell.” Paturzo suggested.
“Let’s tackle the suicide note again.” Detective Clucas spread the letter on the table. “Captain will you read it word by word, aloud.” Clucas and Echo read the note upside down. Lt. Albion leaned over Paturzo’s shoulder as he read it for the first time.
Jan 04/2019 4:10
My loved ones,
nna, Sis, John, I can’t tell you how sorry I am. Blame God for why died today. Don’t blame Him. Seek Him if you want to know why I did leave you. Do not mourn my death. Please move on.
A moment of silence washed around the booth before Detective Clucas asked, “Albion, did you come up with anything?”
“He had no reason to kill himself. Other than the maid no one at the hotel noticed anything suspicious. Mr. Barre’s employees loved him. So did his brother and the members of their congregation. ” Albion paused, took a sip of her Old Fashion and continued. “I spoke with some of his Sunday School kids. They adored him. Said he made the bible stories come alive. I didn’t tell them he’d passed. I can tell you they are going to miss him. And will probably need some counseling. ”
“How about money?” Paturzo asked. “Did he owe anyone?”
Albion, Clucas and Echo shook their heads no. “Actually, at twenty-seven, Mr. Barre was doing quite well. He had great credit. He had plenty in the bank and was planning to franchise ‘Paws, Claws and Wagging Tails.’ He’d recently added a veterinarian wing to his pet store.”
Lt. Albion clunked her glasses on the table. “Bingo! I bet that explains the pentobarbital in our victim. Vets use pentobarbital for euthanasia. It shuts down the heart and brain functions within a few minutes. And it’s almost always delivered by injection.”
“Coincidence? But again why commit suicide when he had so much going for him?"
“I guessing here. But how was his health?” Paturzo asked. “Mr. Barre was about to be married. Right? Suppose he was diagnosed with……… I don’t. Something awful. And decides to end it all.”
Clucas placed a sheet of paper on the table. “Doctor’s report. Premarital examination. Barre could have run a marathon.”
“So if it’s murder and we all believe it’s murder, our main suspects are
his sister, Hannah, who was very close with the victim and who often assisted him while he taught at the local church; his brother, John, a popular minister and who was to be his best man at the up-coming wedding and Jennifer.” Paturzo paused. “Then…”
“Jennifer!” Clucas cried out. She maneuvered out of the booth and started for the door. “Got to go to church. Be right back.”
Ten minutes later Detective Clucas returned and carrying a Bible. She smiled at the assembly and said. “The answers were staring us right in the face all the time. Alvin was telling us he was murdered. And who murdered him. Hell he even gave us the motive.
Okay fellow mystery lovers. Can you solve this on your own. Below are a few more clues.
Why was he murdered in the Hotel Paradise?
Why did Alvin book room 410
Why didn’t Alvin mention his sister’s name in the suicide note?
How murdered Alvin?
What was the motive?