The Case of the Telephone Murder
A Shirley Holmes Fan Fiction

by Fredy G. Bauckhage
Buenos Aires, Argentina

June 25, 2000         17,100 words


Note: This story is dedicated to Damon, Serina, Diablo, HA, Courtney, Boo, Sean, ... well, I don’t want to say all names, I could easily forget someone, so I say it’s for all the Shirley fans out there, especially to the fanfic writers. And of course to Meredith and John. All the characters of this story are my fictions, excepting Shirley, Bo, Robert or any other characters of the show. Please, it’s my first fanfic, and I want to hear your opinions about it; I’ll accept any critics, comments or suggestions. Mail me to pampa@hangar.zzn.com Thanks.


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 1

Brigham Mansion, 21:35
(Telephone rings) Butler: -Hello, Brigham Residence.
- I want to talk to Mr. James Brigham, please.
- Yes, of course. Who’s speaking?
- A friend...
(One minute later)
- Yes, it’s Brigham speaking. Who’s there?
- Remember that you played a dangerous game and you lost. Take your prize...
- What the hell...?
- ...........................................
- AAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!

***
Shirley was sleeping but she suddenly woke up when she heard sirens. Two fire trucks ran along the street, and disappeared in the distance. A few minutes later, another fire truck ran in the same direction. Looking outside the window, Shirley saw a black column of smoke far away.

Next morning, Shirley called Bo and told him about the fire. She was quite excited, something big had happened south of Redington last night, and she couldn’t wait to know about it.
- Do you know what happened?
- No and it won’t be in the newspaper until tomorrow.
- I’m too curious to wait that long. We should go right now to find out what happened!
- It’s Sunday, I’ve nothing better to do, so I’m going with you. Where did you see the smoke last night?
- I think it was a few miles south of Redington, in the forest near the highway.
- There is nothing excepting the Brigham Mansion.
- Let’s go there!
- Hey, give me a few minutes to have breakfast!
- OK, but if you aren’t here at 10:00 I’ll go alone!
- See you later...

Later, Shirley and Bo went down the highway and entered a secondary road that goes through a small forest to the Brigham Mansion. The forest was dark and quiet; they didn’t hear birds, not even a breeze between the trees. The sun broke in through the trees, but the forest itself looked sinister. The road was the only sunny illuminated thing there. Breaking the silence, Shirley asked
- Who’s Mr. Brigham?
- His full name is James C. Brigham. He came to Redington a few years ago. He must be very rich, because he built a big mansion in the center of this small forest. Nobody knows very much about him, he never goes out of the house. I saw the mansion; it’s like a fortress. There are many security guards along the wall and inside in the park. The wall has broken glass along the top and there are hidden cams watching the whole park and outside the wall. I wouldn’t like to live there, very luxurious but it’s like a prison. A golden cage...
- His mansion is like a fortress? Maybe he is afraid of something and tries to protect himself.
- To protect himself or his money. If that is what he wants, he got it! It would be very difficult for anybody to get inside.
- I think...
But Shirley was interrupted by the sound of a car. A police car passed them and disappeared behind a corner of the road. Shirley looked surprised at the car.
- Was that inspector Tremain?
- Yes, I think he was. What is he doing here?
- Maybe we find a mystery to solve...
- Do you think so?
- Tremain is here, that means something happened.
When they turned around a corner, they saw a small watercourse, with a smaller bridge over it. The bridge was broken; a fire truck was stuck in it, with the nose submerged in the water. The windscreen was completely destroyed and there was blood on the seats and the board.

Tremain’s car stopped behind the truck, and they noticed another police car parked on the side of the road. Tremain went with two police officers over an improvised bridge and they followed the road up to the mansion. Shirley and Bo followed them discretely and reached the main entrance of the mansion without being spotted. Or better said, to the mansion’s ruins. Nearly the whole mansion had burnt down; it looked like a black skeleton lying in the forest. There was smoke coming out of it, and the fire was still burning in the very few rooms left. Bo:
- Yeah, something big happened here. It looks like Berlin in 1945.
- That’s incredible!
- What is incredible?
- You were paying attention to Mr. Howie!
- Don’t be ridiculous, I have to make my history qualifications better...
- Let me think...
Shirley thought about the fire. The mansion had burnt down completely because the firemen couldn’t reach it; they got stuck at the bridge, and there isn’t another road to it. And how did they extinguish the fire? Meanwhile, Tremain reached the entrance, where they showed their identifications to a private security guard. The guard checked them and let them pass.
- The guards won’t let us enter. I think we should go around the wall, maybe we find a way to get inside. The guards are still there, but the security cameras must be out of service.
- Oh no, remember that they sent me to Sussex because I did some stupid things like this one. Don’t count on me, please. You are too curious.
They went around following the wall, but there wasn’t anything to see, only the same pattern of bricks. Shirley climbed on a tree, looking inside the park. She saw Tremain interrogating a butler and a gardener. She took her binoculars of her bag and gave them a closer look. The butler looked shocked and uncomfortable; the gardener very upset. She noticed a body, covered with a sheet, behind them. Suddenly they heard the sound of an approaching aircraft. A heavy, four-engine plane of the forest fire squadron appeared flying low over the ruins. It made a precision bombing with water on it, blowing out the remained fire.
- Well, now we know how they did to extinguish the fire, but it must have taken a while to bring that aircraft here.
- Enough time to let the mansion burn down completely. The accident at the bridge was an unfortunate coincidence.
- Are you sure? It could be a planned murder.
- A murder? You don’t know even if someone died.
- Oh, yes, climb on the tree, take these binoculars and tell me what you see.
- You are right. Do you already have a theory about how this happened?
- No, but we should investigate a little about it.
- Maybe it wasn’t a murder. Why do you ever think the worst, Shirley? It could be a combination of unfortunate accidents.
- Maybe..., or maybe not. I think we have already seen enough.
- Good. Let’s get out of here.

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 2

Thatt morning, Shirley noticed the headlines on the newspaper her father was reading. She took the paper from the hands of her surprised father and read. “ Brigham Mansion burns” “Redington police suspects arson attempt” She read the article quickly, trying to find the important information.
“Last night, one of the most famous persons in Redington, James C. Brigham, died under mysterious circumstances...”, “...terrible accident...”, “...firemen couldn’t reach...”, “...police inspector Tremain suspects arson...” and “...following investigation...”, “...nobody knows how the fire started...”. Looking at her father, who was on the other side of the breakfast table:
- What am I going to do now? The police haven’t found anything, and we can’t even get inside to see the crime scene.
- Don’t look at me, you are the detective. But let the police solve this mystery.
- (Sarcasm) Thank you very much dad, how could I live without you?
- (Smiling) Looks like I am a big help for you.
- I’ve got the feeling that we are missing something important, Shirley mutters.

After breakfast, Bo called Shirley:
- Hey, Shirley, do you want information about the Brigham mystery? I think I found a good information source.
- Yes? What source?
- A police officer who owes me a favor was at the crime scene and takes part of the investigation.
- Is he reliable?
- I think he is. I’m blackmailing him.
- What?
- I’ll explain it to you later. Can you see me at the parking, behind the police station?
- Yes, of course. When?
- Right now
- Give me 15 minutes. Bye.

Shirley ran downstairs, took her bag, her hat, kissed her father, her mother; and before they could reply anything she was gone.
When she entered the parking, it seemed to be empty. A few civilian cars were parked near the corner; a police car with broken lights and dented doors was lying on the other side. A few car wreckage’s, stolen and abandoned by thieves, were lying near the wall. The whole place looked dark and sinister. Shirley remembered a phrase she heard somewhere: “Dark places are good for illegal business.” Suddenly, she heard someone whispering her name:
- Shirley, Shirley!
- Bo?
- Yes, come over here
The voice came from behind a truck’s wreckage. When Shirley turned around it, she saw Bo with a policeman who didn’t look old enough to drink beer. He looked worried and nervous. Bo explained
- This is Rudy, our information source.
- But only for this time, don’t forget it. If they discover me I’ll probably lose my job. –Rudy replied.
- OK. Shirley promises, - Nobody will know about this.
- Well, Tremain interrogated the butler, the gardener and the security guards. James Brigham was very reserved, and he had always a similar routine. When the fire broke out, he was in the library. He received a telephone call about 21:30, the butler handed him the phone over and left the room to give him privacy to speak. He says, Brigham always wanted privacy to talk. He heard something that could have been a scream, but the thick walls didn’t let him hear clearly. After a while, he saw smoke coming out of the library doors, and when he opened them, the whole library was already on fire and he couldn’t see Brigham. He ran to the office and tried to call the firemen, but the telephone line was dead. The fire probably cut it off before he got to the phone. Tremain suspects him, but he can’t accuse him because he hasn’t found any evidence. Well, nobody had a cell phone, not even the security guards, but the gardener, who was working in the park, had a truck, which had been used to bring sacks of earth to fill a hole in the back side of the park. He took the truck and drove up the road to the highway. He stopped at the first house he found and called the firemen. He wanted to go back to the mansion, in case that someone must have been taken to a hospital, but in the hurry he made a wrong movement and his truck got stuck in a gutter, on the side of the highway. His truck was found there, and Tremain believes he’s innocent. Later, when the firemen ran through the road to the mansion, the first truck got stuck at the bridge, which didn’t resist the weight of the truck. The driver got serious wounds; he was taken to the hospital and he’s out of danger. The other two trucks couldn’t pass it, there was no other way to get to the mansion, and someone had the brilliant idea to call the forest fire squadron. They sent a plane that made a precision bombing over the fire and extinguished most of it, but of course, until the plane arrived, most of the mansion had already burnt down. There are still many black points in this investigation. Was it a murder? If it was a murder; why? And how did he/she/they light on the fire? It wasn’t a gas explosion, there was no fireplace and Birgham didn’t smoke. How did they get inside the mansion? And who called Brigham before he died? Brighams body was found, but it’s very deformed by the fire. They know it’s him because he’s the only person who was left in the mansion, the butler, the guards, all the servitude got out. They will do an autopsy with DNA tests and all, but we are sure that it’s Brigham’s body.
- Was there another car, excepting the gardener’s truck?
- Yes, Brigham had a Cadillac in his garage, but nobody knew where the keys were, and when they tried to get to it, the fire had already reached the garage door.
- And nobody had a cell phone?
- Brigham had one, they say, he used it frequently, but he had it in the library.
- You seem to know a lot about it.
- I have to.
- Does Tremain suspect someone else?
- No, he believes the butler is guilty, he was the only person near Brigham when he died. And no one got into the mansion, even into the park. The security cameras would have detected any intruder; they cover 85% of the park.
- And what about the other 15%?
- It’s the main entrance, the front of the mansion, and the swimming pool. But there were guards, and at night they release dogs, Dobermans, I think. The swimming pool hasn’t cameras watching it, but the places around it have. There is no way for anybody to get inside or outside without being discovered. And all the mansion windows had strong bars.
Shirley was sunk in thoughts. She analyzed any other possibilities, but Rudy was right. There doesn’t seem to be any way to get into the mansion, kill a man, and get outside without being discovered. And she realized that maybe the intruder had died in the house.
- Have you found another body?
- No, Brigham is the only one who died, and I know they revised the ruins.
- Well, thank you very much, I think it’s enough for the moment.
- Honestly, I think you seem to be smarter than Tremain. Maybe you can solve this mystery, but they will wonder where you got all this info from.
- I’ll not mention your name, I promise. And thanks again.
Rudy stood up, looked around but there wasn’t anybody in sight. He goes to a secondary door and entered. When he was gone, Shirley asked:
- How are you blackmailing him? It must be something very strong to force a policeman to talk that much.
- I’ll tell you later. For the moment, let’s get out of here; if someone discovers us here they’ll start making questions.

Back at home, Shirley thought about what Rudy said. She recorded the whole conversation with a hidden recorder and repeated the tape continuously. “Something doesn’t fit, I can feel it. But what?” she thought.
- Why do I still have the feeling I’m missing something important?

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 3

Shirley went back to the crime scene, and this time she went alone. She reached the bridge, which had already been replaced. She remembered the fire truck lying in the water, a broken bridge, blood everywhere... Something doesn’t fit... She reached the main entrance at the wall, but the guards didn’t look surprised. Many curious and onlookers had been there during the past days, like vultures around carrion. One of them said:
- Don’t waste your time girl, there is nothing to see here.
- Really?
- Yes, and you had better go home.
- Thanks, I’ll follow that advice.
But far of obeying, she walked back until they couldn’t see her, went off the road and got to the wall, hidden in the forest. She followed the wall again, climbed on trees to look inside, looked for holes in the wall, hidden doors, anything that could have given a chance for anyone to get inside. Nothing. “This is frustrating”, she thought. Something doesn’t fit... Yes, I already know that. But what? She sat down and thought. “I have to solve this mystery, it’s a really good one”. After a while, she felt she wasn’t getting to anything. She climbed on a tree to look inside again, but... a branch didn’t resist her weight and broke. She fells down a short distance, and the grass muffled most of the impact. She wasn’t hurt, but she suddenly had an idea. The branch didn’t resist her weight... She hurried back home, but stopping a moment at the bridge. The new bridge was very similar to the previous one, 10 meters long and 5 meters wide. The water was about 1 meter deep. Back at home, she called to the firemen station and asked something. Then she called to the police station, talked to Rudy, and then she searched some information in Internet. When she was ready, she called Bo.
- Hi, Bo?
- Yes, it’s me. What’s going on now?
- I found evidence! The accident at the bridge wasn’t a coincidence, it was sabotage.
- What? Explain yourself...
- Remember that when we got to the mansion for first time, we saw the fire truck at the bridge.
- Yes. And what?
- I noticed that it wasn’t carrying water, it had no water tank, and it was a supply unit. It’s quite smaller and lighter than the other ones. But Rudy said, and this is a proven fact, the gardener passed with a truck over it and the truck was filled with sacks of earth. I asked Rudy about it, it carried about 300 sack of 20 kg each one. That makes about 6000 kg, six tons, plus the weight of the truck itself. But the fire truck at the bridge was quite lighter than that. Do you understand what I mean? Between the gardener and the first truck was a gap of about 15 minutes, enough time to do something to the bridge. And the police haven’t considered that possibility, so no one checked the bridge.
- Good. You solved one point. Are you sure?
- Yes, I checked all. I don’t know the weight of the fire truck, but I asked the firemen about it, and they are sure it’s lighter than 6 tons. The gardener’s truck was 8 tons heavy minimum. Do you know where the remains of the other bridge are now?
- No. But, do you know how they killed Brigham?
- No.
- You see, you have no evidence to prove a crime. Only an anomaly in the story; it doesn’t prove too much, excepting maybe that the bridge was sabotaged.
- I’m sure it was a murder.
- But to be sure isn’t enough. Remember Shirl, you need evidence.
- I’ll go back there one more time.
- I’m going with you.
- OK, see you there in half an hour.

Evening, near the mansion, Shirley and Bo were looking for anything that could have helped them to continue their investigation. They went following the wall again, still looking for something they could have missed. The shadows got larger and larger, making their search really difficult; they couldn’t see the sun, which was setting behind the trees.

- What do you expect to find here? Hey, Shirley... Shirley? Where are you?
- I’m here, Bo.
- I said, what do you expect to find here. Did we miss something the first time?
- Probably. We won’t know it until we find what we are looking for, and I don’t know exactly what we are looking for, but I’ll know it when I find it.
- It sounds confusing.
- Keep your eyes open, we’ll have to go back soon, we have only a while of daylight.
- I think we should...- But Bo couldn’t finish his sentence; his feet got caught in something lying between the grasses and fell down. When he looked at his feet, he saw something like a long, black thread. It looked like burnt, it was made of plastic, but the plastic seemed to be melted.
- What’s that?
- Looks like a cable. But the fire must have reached it, it’s burnt.
- Are you sure? Look at it, we are far away from the house. The fire didn’t reach even the wall.
- And? What do you deduce of it?
- Well, I don’t know, but it doesn’t make sense. A cable burnt, but there is no sign of fire near. There are about 300 meters between us and the place where the mansion was.
- Maybe it burnt somewhere else and someone dropped it here. Look, there are posts for electric lines. Someone probably had to repair something there and dropped an old cable here.
- If you give a closer look to the posts, you’ll notice that there is no cable there, the cable fell down, probably cut by the fire.
- But you said the fire didn’t reach this sector.
- Strange, isn’t it? Let’s follow the line. We know, it comes from somewhere to the mansion, this place can’t be seen from the main entrance, and the fire didn’t reach this part.

They followed the line through the dark forest. In some places it was still on the posts, but most of it was lying on the ground. And something curious, it looked burnt in its full length, but the forest itself was intact. After about 400 meters, they reached the end of the forest. Everything was illuminated with red and orange tones, looking west they saw the sunset. About 100 meters away, they saw a road, behind the road were wheat plantations. One of the last posts had a small, black box on it’s top. And there was another line of posts the side following the road; the line Bo and Shirley were following seemed to end there. Bo looked at the lines, and said
- Hey, Shirley, do you know what this is?
- No. What?
- It’s Brigham’s telephone line. It starts here and goes to the mansion. Looks like it was easier to lead it directly from here through the forest than following the road. Maybe they were short of posts.
- And why does it seem burnt?
- I don’t know...
- It’s strange; the cable is burnt or melted in its whole length.
- And what’s this? –Said Bo, pointing out a small, yellow thing that was lying between the grasses.
- It’s a photo film. It’s used, but not developed; I’m going to take it. Let’s go home.

When they were about to leave, Shirley looked up and saw... high voltage lines. Everything made sense then. Looking to the forest again, she noticed a small building, nearly hidden between two trees, under one of the cable towers, 50 meters north of the telephone lines. They were close enough to see the warnings painted on the door. CAUTION. HIGH VOLTAGE. N 10.000 VOLT
- Shirl? Let’s go.
- Wait, look at this. Everything makes sense now. Nobody got into the mansion to kill Brigham; they killed him from here, with a very unusual method.
- How?
- Look at the telephone cable. You still don’t get it?
- No...
- With a telephone call. Someone called him, and when he touched the phone, the murder connected 10 000 volt to the telephone line.

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 4

What? I can’t believe it. Do you really think someone sent Brigham 10.000 volt through the telephone line?
- Makes sense. Look at the cable; we already know this is, or better was, the telephone line. It’s near to the high voltage cables. It’s a way to kill him without entering the mansion and passing the security systems.
- But telephones are made with plastic, they don’t lead electricity.
- If our physics teacher could hear you, he’d kill you. All the materials can lead electricity, some better than others, but every material can lead at least a little; imagine it especially at high voltages. The murderer must have known that the phone in the library wasn’t wireless. He connected the telephone line with the high voltage cables in the exact moment Brigham touched the phone. The electricity ran through the cable for a few seconds, and killed Brigham. The small telephone cables can’t resist high voltages for a long while, after those few seconds it melted, but it was enough to kill a man.
- And how do you explain the fire?
- Good question... No, it’s simple. Brigham was in the library when they killed him. The telephone must have released sparks that caught fire on the papers of his desktop, later the carpet and the books caught fire.
- Good explanation. Do you think the police will believe you? You found the method, but you still have to find a suspect and a motive.
- I can’t do all the same day! It’s a beginning...
- Let’s go home now.

Shirley and Bo couldn’t know that someone was watching them, and that the same person followed them discretely to their houses. The man was in his early thirties, medium height, and had a sinister look.
- I’ll have to watch them closer, they could be dangerous, especially the girl. , He said to himself.
He turned away and went to his car, and old, rusty Chevrolet and left. The police hadn’t discovered how he did to kill Brigham yet. “Good”, he thought, “Maybe I’ll have to use it again.”


Shirley spent most of the morning reading in her bed. “I love holidays.” she thought. But that summer wasn’t very much to do, excepting Bo most of her friends had been away: Alicia, with her grandparents in British Columbia, Stink was visiting her mother, who had moved to Quebec, Bart had been invited to a scientific meeting about..., well, something that had a strange name, but Shirley couldn’t remember it. And the person she hated most, Molly Hardy, had been to New York. Even Peggy was out, climbing in South America. Which mountain was she climbing now? Shirley tried to remember the name. “What is the name of that mountain?” she thought, “I think it was the Aconcagua. In which country is it?” She couldn’t remember it, so she got back to the book, but she couldn’t really concentrate on it; her mind went back to the mystery of the telephone murder again. And suddenly she remembered the photo film. “Bo should already have taken it to develop.”, she thought . She called Bo, but no one answered. Then she tried calling to his parent’s fish market.
- No, he’s not here. He went home two hours ago.
- Thanks, I’ll try there.
“Bo isn’t at home yet?”
She looked at her watch; it was 11:24. Something was wrong. She was about to call him again, when her cell phone rang.
- Shirley?
- Yes, it’s me. Bo?
- I developed the film, you won’t believe this. I’m going there right now, sorry for the delay, but I made some questions and discovered something very interesting.
- OK, I’m waiting for you.
Bo arrived 20 minutes later, he was holding an envelope with pictures size 18x24. When she saw the pictures, she knew that Bo was right: she couldn’t believe it. Most of the pictures were in normal size of 10x15, and showed pictures of birds, but Bo enlarged the last ones. These ones showed a man putting a black device on one of the posts. Shirley remembered that the black box was still there. The man wore worn away jeans and a black T-shirt, and they saw the electricity building with its high voltage advertisements in the background. The pictures showed him putting the black device of the size of a shoebox, on the post, connecting cables to it. But all the pictures showed him turned away; they couldn’t see his face.
- Incredible, isn’t it? This is the man who murdered Brigham. You were right, Shirley, look at the cables he’s connecting. There is one coming out of the high voltage building, and connected to the black box with the telephone cables. And the telephone cable isn’t burnt yet.
- He must be an expert with electrical devices; maybe he built that black box himself.
- But we can’t see his face. Look, here I see part of a blue car, looks like a Chevrolet, but the license plate isn’t shown.
- Bo... - Shirley muttered.
- What? Do you recognize him from somewhere?
- No. But whoever took these pictures is a professional, look at the previous pictures. He/she was taking pictures of birds, and he/she took two or three times the same one. This is characteristically of someone who has experience in taking photos, always take two or three of each one, for the case something goes wrong with the first one you won’t lose the image.
- Do you know about photography?
- Just a little. I deduce that it was someone who likes nature photos, and he/she surprised the murder in fraganti. He/she must have been well hidden, probably because he/she was taking pictures of birds, and had a large zoom. This person saw a man doing something, he/she couldn’t know that he was preparing a murder but assumed the man was doing something illegal, and took pictures. Maybe he/she took them just to practice or to have fun.
- Yes, but he/she ran out of film before the murderer connected the 10.000 volt, and without showing us the murderer’s face.
- Another thing, characteristic of professional photographers is that they always take two or three films. Our photographer ran out of film and replaced it, but he did something wrong and lost the film between the high grasses without knowing it. With the new film, he/she must have continued taking pics.
- How do you know he replaced the film?
- Would you take the film out of the camera if it weren’t be necessary to put another one there?
- OK, OK, so you think the photographer continued taking pictures. We have to find him or her. But why hasn’t he handed over the pictures to the police?
- Maybe he/she’s afraid, or maybe he/she doesn’t know about what happened that night.
- And I have another question: you can see in the pictures that it was at day, by the angle of the shadows about 3 or 4 PM I think. But Brigham was killed between 21:30 and 21:45.
- He was obviously preparing it, but he had to wait until it was dark, maybe to avoid anyone who could have seen him in the exact moment he connected the cables.
- Well, I think, as first we should try to find our mysterious photographer. Am I right?
- Yes, you’ll ask in the photo labs around here, but I’ll try at the rent-a-car offices.
- Why?
- Would you use your own car when you were about to commit a crime? I wouldn’t. If the murderer was smart enough to plan this murder I assume he won’t make a stupid mistake like this. And don’t forget he could have come by plane from another city or country, he would have to hire a car.
- Let’s go.

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 5

Excuse me please, I’m looking for someone who can make good nature pictures. Do you know someone who can help me? Do you know someone who develops that kind of pictures here?
- Why do you don’t put an announcement in the newspaper? -The man, of about 40 years looked surprised. It was evening; the shop was empty, and he was bored.
- I already put one two weeks ago, but looks like no one reads that section.
- Well, I know someone who could help you. Her name is Jennifer, she’s 14 years old, and she regularly develops her films here, and she makes really good pictures, especially of birds.
- Birds? –After visiting 5 photo shops without success, a light went on in his head. Most of the film we found were pictures of birds!
- Yes, she won a few prizes; she’s really talented.
- Where can I find her?
- Oh, I can’t tell you that. But leave her a message if you want.
- I’ll leave her my phone number. Does she come frequently?
- At least once each week, maybe two, but I haven’t seen her since last Tuesday, so it shouldn’t take too long.
- Thanks.
Bo took a notepad, wrote his phone number down and went home. He was sure he had found what he wanted.

Shirley entered a dark rent-a-car office. Everything seemed to be dirty there.
- What do you want girl?
- Eeehmm..., my father forgot his cell phone in one of your cars, I think. It was in the blue Chevrolet.
- Well, you are at the wrong number, we haven’t blue Chevrolets.
The fat man behind the desk laughed, his paunch jumped up and down.
- No?
- No, we have a red one and two grey ones. Sorry.
- Well, thanks anyway
Shirley felt disappointed; it was the fourth rent-a-car agency she visited. And there weren’t any other ones in that part of Redington. She went home asking herself if the murder had been stupid enough to use his own car.

Back at home, Bo told Shirley about Jennifer:
- I think she’s the person we are looking for. She takes pictures of birds, and remember that most of the pictures on the film were of birds.
- Do you know where she lives?
- No, but I left my phone number saying I need someone to do a job.
- Well done! I haven’t found anything. The only blue Chevrolet in a rent-a-car agency near here has been out of order for the last three weeks, due to a problem with the engine. I saw the car, but it’s not the one we are looking for, it was too new. I think the only thing we can do now is wait until Jennifer calls you.
- Well, see you later
- Wait a second. The black box! I remember it’s still there, we should go and take it immediately; it’s important evidence.

Outside, in front of Shirley’s house, the man was sitting in a green Volkswagen, he had to change his blue Chevrolet when he saw that Shirley had been to the rent-a-car agencies. Ironically, he hired the Volkswagen in the same agency of the fat man, the last one where Shirley had been to. He listened to the hidden microphone he had put in Shirley’s bag last night. When he heard they were talking about the black box, he hurried back to recover it.

When Shirley and Bo arrived, the box was gone. Shirley stared at the place where it was, still not believing it. They could clearly see the nails on the top of the post, and they had checked all the other posts too.
- Well Shirley, looks like we are late; someone has already taken the black box.
- I don’t understand it. The box has been hanging there for five days and now it disappears. It’s strange... We lost the evidence, what can we do now. Any suggestions?
- No. I think maybe the murderer has been watching us or something, and after we came here he recovered his black box. Ah, Shirley, since last night I have another question: If it was a planned murder, why was the bridge sabotaged after he made the call? It would be easier to sabot it first, and call him later. He made the call, and then he went to sabot the bridge, when he was short of time, and under high risk of being discovered.
- Good question. Maybe he couldn’t make it before, or saw the bridge when he was leaving and saw a possibility of making time, to let the mansion, or at least the room burn with the body. He must have counted with the fire, and then... –Shirley interrupts in the middle of her sentence.
- Then what?
- Bo, the murderer must have known that Birgham was in the library, and that the desk was full of papers, and that the telephone in the library wasn’t wireless. It must have been someone who was there, someone who knew Brigham’s routine, and someone who knew that most of the things in the library were easy to light in fire. He was counting with the fire to hide the crime, or at least to difficult the investigation.
- And who could it be?
- I don’t know. We should find out who has visited Brigham at his mansion in the last time.
- We could ask Rudy.
- Good idea.

Near them, between the trees, the man smiled listening to the hidden microphone. “Looks like I’ll have to do another job tonight”. It was a cruel smile.

Back at home, Bo was about to have dinner when the phone rang, his father answered. He turned to Bo and said:
- It’s for you, a girl.
Bo took the phone and went out of the kitchen.
- Shirley?
- Who’s Shirley? No, I’m Jennifer Mack. Are you Bo Sawchuck?
- Yes, it’s me.
- They told me you were looking for a photographer. Do you have a job for me?
- Em, yes, yes, I need a few pictures of..., of..., of birds.
- I’ve done a lot of bird pictures. Which bird do you need?
- Emm, do you have a good picture of a... well, there are many different species I want. I’d like to see some of your pics, just to have an idea of the quality of your images.
- Ah. – Her voice sounded offended.
- The man in the photo shop said you make really good pictures, and I believe him, but it’s something important and I’ll have to check it.
- Well, I’ll give you my address and my phone number. If you want to meet me, I’ll be at home the whole day tomorrow.
- OK, thank you very much. Ah, will I have to pay anything?
- It depends. If I like you, they’ll be free, but if I don’t like you, you’ll have to pay for each one. Bye.

Bo heard her laugh when she hung up. ”Sounds like a nice girl”, he thought. ”And Shirley will be proud of me.”

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 6

Next morning, Bo called to the police station, but they told him Rudy wasn’t there. “Strange.”, he thought. He called him home, but he heard a machine’s voice: “The solicited number does not exist or is out of service, for more information call 110”. Bo dialed 110; an operator attended him.

- A friend of mine changed his number, could you give me the new one please.
- Yes, of course. What’s his/her name?
- Rudy, Rudy Sommers.
- There must be a mistake; Mr. Sommers hasn’t changed his number.
- Maybe you got the wrong Sommers. Try his old number, it was...
- No, it’s the same one.
- What?
- Mr. Sommers hasn’t changed his number.
- But I called him and it says the “solicited number does not exist...”
- Maybe he disconnected the phone. Sorry, we can’t help you.
- Thanks anyway.

Feeling something was wrong, he called Shirley, but Robert answered and said she was having a shower at the moment. “Knowing Shirley”, he thought, “and at this point she’s like all the girls I know, it will take a long while until she’s ready. I’ll have to go alone.” He took his bike and went to Rudy’s house. Rudy wasn’t a friend, in truth, he hated him for something he had done, something he used to extort him. Rudy was living alone in a small house in the suburbs of Redington, in the dirty area of the city. The house was old and gray, the grass was at least 30 cm high, but it didn’t look abandoned. Bo pushed the doorbell button many times, but nobody opened the door. “Come on Rudy, wake up, we have to talk” he thought. He started considering the possibility that Rudy could have gone, maybe he... He went around the house and looked through a window into the garage, to see if Rudy’s car was still there. The car was. He knocked the door, but no one answered. He tried to open the back door, but it was closed too. “Should I risk to break a window”, he thought. Looking through the window, he saw... “What’s that?” It seemed to be a telephone, but it was lying on the kitchen floor and... “Burnt?” And behind the telephone, in the dark room, appearing from behind the half-opened door he saw... a pair of shoes, evidently part of a body. “No, no, it’s not possible. I couldn’t be the same person, he couldn’t know that he was... but he must have known. Yes, he had been helping Tremain with the investigation; maybe the murderer is trying to intimidate him. Nothing leads to Shirley and me, nothing really,... He went back to the front and looked up to the cable connections. The telephone cable was burnt, but the black box wasn’t there.

- What? –Shirley couldn’t believe it.
- Yes, Rudy is dead! I saw it with my own eyes, he’s dead!
- Bo, are you sure?
- Yes, I’m sure. I’ve been there many times; I couldn’t have mistaken the house. And the telephone cable was burnt, but the black box wasn’t there. It was the Telephone Murderer.
- OK, OK, let me think. Do you think we could be in danger? It could be an intimidation for Tremain.
- I don’t know, I thought that too. –Two tears started their run from his eyes, he shook his head and sat down. Shirley was shocked too, but she forced herself to find the right words.
- Well, nothing leads to us and we aren’t responsible for what happened. Do you notified the police?
- No, they would have started making dumb questions. What are we going to do now?
- We’ll follow our investigation.
- But what about Rudy?
- We can’t help him now; we can only help to put the murderer in jail!
- You are right, Shirley. I have Jennifer’s address, she said she would be at home the whole day. Should we go now?
- Yes, we’ll go right now.
- Em, Shirley, em... maybe... I think...
- What? –Shirley was asking herself why Bo was doubting now.
- I think I’d like to go alone. –In truth, Bo had noticed that Shirley usually acted strange when he was with other girls and wanted to prevent it this time. “Jealousy?” he thought “Is she jealous because she thinks I’d have better friends than her? Well, it could be something more than that, but he tried to not think about it... And there was another reason: he had found Jennifer and felt she was... let’s say, she was the prize for his job.
- Well, you can go alone if you want. –Shirley’s voice sounded a little bit sad. - Try to get the pictures, but don’t involve her in our investigation. After what happened to Rudy I think this is becoming dangerous. But we’ll continue!
- Thanks. See you later.

Jennifer Mack was sitting on her bed, choosing her best photos to show them to the guy who asked for her. She was beautiful, and she knew it, but she had no boyfriend and was feeling lonely. Her passion for photography didn’t let her very much time for friends. Now she felt excited, someone was coming to see her, to see her job. She was alone, she lived with her mother, who was divorced and had to work; her father had moved to the US a few years ago. The doorbell rang; she ran downstairs and looked through the window. There he was. She felt like... she liked him.
Bo was outside looking to another direction, feeling nervous. He was thinking how to tell the girl that they weren’t interested in innocent bird photos, but they were investigating two murders and she saw (and with a bit of luck she would have taken pictures too) the murderer. Jennifer opened the door and smiled.
- Hi. Are you Bo Sawchuck?
- Yes, it’s me. I’m the one who’s looking for your pictures, and I wanted to see some ones before.
- Yes of course, come in. What kind of pictures do you want?
- I’ll tell you in a moment. Is someone else here, just to say hi...
- No, I’m alone at the moment... –Jennifer suddenly felt she shouldn’t have said that, but she didn’t know why.
- Well, show me your photos. As first, I need some pictures of, of, you know, that kind of bird. I don’t know how it’s called; it’s a strange one. I know they saw some of those, em... in this forest, you know, south of Redington.
- I’ve been there a few days ago, let me see, I made many pictures of birds.
- You were there? When?
- A week ago. Why?
Bo breathed deep and tried to bring the words over his lips
- Well, I have to confess you something, Jennifer.
- What? –Jennifer was confused.
- Do you now what happened to the Brigham Mansion a week ago?
- Yes, everybody knows; it was on the headlines of every paper of Redington. A fire broke out and destroyed it, killing Mr. Brigham.
- Well, the truth is that James Brigham was murdered, and we are investigating this case. We have evidence that proves it was a murder, evidence the police hasn’t seen. The police believes it was a murder too, but they are suspecting the wrong person. And we know you were there the day they killed him, taking pictures, and you saw a man working on a telephone post. This man was the murderer. And we also know yuo took pictures of him, replaced the film in your camera when it ran out, but lost the first film. We assume you continued taking pictures of the man, and we need those pictures to recognize him. –Bo stopped for a moment, trying to decide if he should tell her this- And, well, let me tell you this is a dangerous man, he killed a second person between yesterday evening and today; a policeman who was working with us. It will be on the newspaper in at least two days.
Jennifer was trying to think clearly; all this was so confuse. A murder, a dangerous man, the lost film, and this guy she never met before seemed to know everything about her.
- Who do you mean with “we”?
- A friend and me. Everything I said is truth, and you were there, right?
- How do you know I was there?
- We found the film you lost. Most of the pictures were birds, but the last four or five pictures showed a man working on a telephone post, and we know he’s the murderer. I started asking in the photo labs about bird pictures, and finally found you. Where are the pictures?
- Please? Who said I’m going to give them to you? –Jennifer was angry now, because Bo had lied her and she actually liked him. She felt like betrayed.
- You don’t want to put a dangerous murderer in prison? He’s already responsible for two deaths, and if he discovers us before we discover him, his murder list will grow!
Now Jennifer was really scared, she felt cold although in was sunny outside. She heard some children playing outside; a car went down the street... everything seemed unreal. Bo was staring at her, waiting for an answer, but she couldn’t say anything. Bo asked smoothly again:
- Where are the pictures?

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 7

Jennifer went upstairs slowly, feeling like she was carrying a heavy weight. Jennifer had been there the day Brigham was killed, taking pictures of nature and birds as she usually did. She had saw a man working on a telephone post and thought he was doing something illegal when she saw him breaking the lock of the electricity building. She replaced the film in the camera and took photos of everything the man had done. Just like Bo said she did. Later, she hadn’t related it to what happened at the Brigham Mansion, although it was less than a half-kilometer away. Now he had told her the man was a dangerous murderer.
Bo followed her in silence, asking himself if he had done well telling her that. “I had to do it”, he thought, “You can’t hide her that this is dangerous. You don’t even know her really well; imagine she’s like Shirley and starts making questions without knowing it. Rudy is dead, the Telephone Murderer killed him, and if he does the same with us?
Jennifer leaded him to her room. Bo saw a bed, a wardrobe, a desk, a library, noticing that most of the books were fantasy and science fiction. There were two teddy bears on the bed; an open book was lying on the red carpet. Outside the window, he saw the street; a green Volkswagen was parked on the other side of the street... After four years of friendship with Shirley he felt he was finally getting her observation abilities. Jennifer handed him a yellow envelope over. He opened it and gave a quick look at them.
- Here are the photos you want. Sorry, I couldn’t know this was that important.
- Don’t worry, we just need the pictures to recognize him. I’ve to say, you are a really big help for us, without you we would have got stuck.
- Thanks.
- Well, I shouldn’t involve you in this case; I already told you it’s dangerous and we’re not sure, but I think the murderer knows someone is following him. If he is following me, I’ve been here for just one time, and if I don’t come again he won’t relate you to our investigation, so you are out of danger for the moment. He has no reason to suspect you, and he won’t kill anybody without a reason.

Shirley was at home thinking about Rudy’s death. Was it really an intimidation for Tremain? Or did she lead the murderer to him? No, that wasn’t possible. She wanted to hear the recorded conversation again, but when she put her hand in the bag to take the recorder, her fingers touched something metallic in the pocket. She wondered what this could be, but couldn’t take it off; it was sewn to the cloth. She gave it a closer look and discovered it was a hidden microphone.

Bo went back home, the sun was setting. His mother told him the dinner would be ready in 15 minutes. He went up to his room and opened the yellow envelope. He had taken it under his clothes all the way home, he was still suspecting someone was following him although he hadn’t seen anybody. The pictures showed the same man again. This time he could see his face, but of course he didn’t recognize him. “We should give this to the police; they could easily find out who’s the man. But Shirley won’t agree; I know her. She’ll probably try to finish this alone without the police. And she wants anonymity. And then he noticed something important the previous pictures hadn’t shown. The license plate of the car: 660 WLD.

Shirley was in her attic trying to decide what to do with the microphone. She had already checked it for fingerprints, but she only found her own ones. Now she had two options: She could destroy the microphone, but the murderer would know he had been discovered; or she could use it to make him hear whatever she wanted. “But when did he put this here, for the beginning?” I had my bag with me nearly all the time. And why in my bag? No, the answer is simple; it scares me but it’s the only possibility: He has been following us, he saw me, and not only one or two times, many times enough to know I always take my bag with me. Bo was right, he’s following us. And that’s not all; if he opened my bag to put the microphone there (And I know he must have done it), then he must have seem my detective equipment. Now he must know I’m detective and I’m investigating this case. He must know Bo is in this too, and maybe ha has been listening to our telephonic conversations. He could easily interfere our telephone conversations and listen to every word we say each other. And how could Shirley know that there weren’t any other microphones in her room or her house? A long time ago, she had bought a device for hidden microphone tracking, but had never used it. Now she took it and checked all possible frequencies for active radio sources, but the only one she located was the microphone she had already found. She repeated the process in all the rooms of the house, and sighed alleviated when she didn’t locate any other ones. The sun was setting; she began switching on the lights and noticed she was alone. Of course, if Peggy was climbing in South America and Robert and Joanna were out that evening, and they wouldn’t arrive until midnight. But she hadn’t noticed it before... Now she felt afraid, wishing Bo were with her... “Bo?” she thought. She started analyzing her mind. Why had she thought that? But she had no time for it now. What was she going to do with the microphone? She had to take a decision, quickly... She put the microphone back in her bag, put the bag near the TV and put the first video she found in the video recorder. Dracula? This version is three hours long; it’s enough. She turned the volume control loud enough to block any other sounds she could do, then she took her microphone device and went out through the back door, sunk in the darkness. No one saw her. She had left a note for her parents, in case they came back earlier, saying she had been out with Bo. It was the best she could imagine at the moment.

Bo was going out of the shower, He went to his room and was about to put the towel off when he saw Shirley hidden under his desk. Both of them were surprised and embarrassed, and Bo was about to shout something but she put a finger on her lips. Shirley had tracked the room for microphones and had found one under his telephone, but left it where it was. In silence she stood up and whispered the words “microphone” and “hidden” in his ear. He understood and pointed to the door. Shirley went out in silence to the bathroom and checked it for microphones. Clean. She opened the water anyway. Two minutes later Bo came in:
- Shirley, are you crazy or what? What were you doing in my room? And how do you entered?
- I’m so sorry, really, but I couldn’t do it other way. I entered through the window, your parent’s doesn’t know I’m here. You were right, the murderer knows we’re following him. He put a hidden microphone in my bag, I checked your room and there is one under your telephone.
- How do you know where the microphones are?
- With this. –Shirley showed him her detector. – He must have been watching us, he knows I always take my bag with me.
- But why don’t you destroy it!
- The murderer will know we discovered him. I put my microphone near the TV and put a tape in the video recorder. He must believe I’m home. I went out through the back door. I’m sorry... -Shirley tried to bring the words over her lips, knowing this would hit him- ...but now I think we lead the murderer to Rudy.
This hurt Bo, but not as hard as expected; Shirley noticed that. Bo stayed a few moments in silence.
- Well, he may have it deserved.
- What? –Shirley couldn’t believe what Bo was saying. –I thought he was your friend...
- I haven’t told you all about him. He was a police officer, but he was dealing drugs. I discovered him some time ago, when I was in the gang. When I was in the gang, some of them took drugs; I knew what it could do to me, and tried to persuade the others to not take them. Rudy sold them the drugs; he was still dealing with it before the Telephone Murderer killed him. That’s what I used to force him to tell us anything about the murder of Brigham. One night, one of my friends took too much of that shit and died. I hated him since then, but never accused him.
- Why?
- Because he had made many friends dealing drugs, and they would have killed me if I did.
- You never told me that... –Shirley’s voice was nearly a whisper now.
- It was... let’s say part of my “previous life”, before they put me in Sussex, before I met you. I was in the wrong way, now I know it, and when they sent me to Sussex I started again. And you helped me a lot with it, but I tried to hide most of what I had done in the gang, as it would have never existed. Now Rudy is dead, and I feel responsible in part, but he belonged to the “bad ones”, and we didn’t kill him. Now I’m worried about Jennifer. Do you think he’ll do something to her?
- I don’t know. Does he know you were there? Does he know something about her?
- She only talked to me one time at the phone, and we spoke about photos and birds. She gave me her address; the Murderer could have followed me. I only saw her one time; I think she’s out of danger if we don’t meet again, and I told her that. The murderer has no way to know if she is involved in the investigation.
- Excepting the microphones... –Shirley muttered.

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 8

It was about 10 o’clock in the night when Shirley and Bo arrived to Jennifer’s house. The lights were still on. Bo had said “goodnight” to his parents, locked his room and turned the stereo on; not as loud as to not let sleep his parents but loud enough to block the sounds he and Shirley made when they got out through the window. They had been hidden in the darkness most of the way, and they checked their clothes for tracking devices, but nobody followed them. Shirley had realized that between Jennifer’s first call, when she gave him the address, and Bo’s visit was enough time to put another hidden microphone there. Bo told Shirley:
- Her room is upstairs. How do you want to get there?
- I don’t know, but we have to check it now, maybe she’s in danger.
- We’ll have to check the lobby too. How can we check two or more rooms tonight without being discovered?
- You told her everything about our investigation? –Shirley didn’t like it, but how could Bo have gotten the pictures without having to answer too much questions.
- Only the necessary. She knows it’s dangerous and that she shouldn’t know too much.
- If she’s still awake, should we just ring, lead her outside and tell her?
- I think it’s the best we could do.

Bo breathed deep and pushed the doorbell button for second time that day. No one answered. He pushed a second time. This time they heard steps approaching the door. The door opened a few centimeters and Jennifer’s face appeared in the opening. When she recognized Bo she opened the door completely. She was about to say something but both Shirley and Bo put their fingers on their lips at the same time. They leaded her outside and Shirley whispered a few words in her ear. While Bo watched the street outside, Shirley entered with Jennifer. After Shirley checked the lobby and the living room, she talked loud:
- Are your parents at home?
- No, they are divorced; my father lives in the US and my mother went out tonight. She’s probably in a bar or a casino. –Jennifer said with a sad mind. Shirley felt compassion for her.
- Well, we just have to check your room for hidden microphones. If it’s clean, you’ll have nothing to worry about. I checked the rooms here, now I’ll go upstairs to check the rest of the rooms.
Shirley went upstairs with her detector, leaving Bo and Jennifer alone.
- Bo, I wish I could know you better... I mean, I know you only since today and don’t know even if you are telling me the truth...
- Sorry, maybe when all this is over. Please, stay out of this. –He felt he would like to invite her to the cinema or something, but he knew it was better if she was away... for the moment at least.

In Jennifer’s room, Shirley was tracking active radio sources, but there was no microphone there. The whole house was clean, so Jennifer was out of danger while she didn’t contact Shirley or Bo again. Back downstairs, she told Jennifer:
- You have nothing to worry about now; the house is clean. Don’t talk about this to anybody. Don’t mention it loud or something, your house is free of microphones now, but it doesn’t mean they couldn’t put one tomorrow or something. You understand?
- Yes, thanks.
- And please try to not contact us again, it will put you in danger. Here is the number of my cell phone in case you need to tell us something important. Bye.

Before Jennifer could reply anything, they turned away and disappeared in the darkness.

The man was sitting in his green Volkswagen, listening to Shirley’s microphone, but only heard the sound of some movie in the TV. He thought about that girl Boris had visited that day. Is she involved in it? If she is, I’ll have to silence her too... Maybe another microphone could help me. Because it looked like nothing important was going on at the Holmes house, he drove to Jennifer’s house, but the lights were still on. Feeling it was enough for that day, he went home. He would have to do some jobs soon... Everything gets complicated now. Brigham, you son of a... the wheels screamed when he made a close turn But you got what you had deserved.

After breakfast, Shirley was trying to decide what to do. She could try to find the Chevrolet (now they had the license plate number), or she could try to fond out who had visited Brigham in the last time. It must have been someone who spent some time in the mansion and knew about electricity. She had searched a lot of information about James Brigham.

James C. Brigham was born in Plymouth, in 1956; his father was from Southampton, and had been in the Second World War where he got a Distinguished Service Order; his mother was from Redington. His family wasn’t rich but they had enough money to send him to the best schools. James got a title in archeology, specialized in meso-American cultures, and he published many articles about his excavations in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and the north of Chile and Argentina, where he had been investigating the Inca culture. His work was well appreciated by the scientific society, and he made plenty of money with it. In 1990 he was suspected of selling historic Inca pieces illegally; but they couldn’t prove it, and he declared himself as innocent. The scandal was enough to ruin his brilliant career, although he continued publishing minor articles until 1992, when he moved to Redington, where he built his mansion south of the city. Nobody knew him well, he was very introverted, and he nearly never got out of his mansion. After a while the people forgot him, more interested for movie stars and politicians... until last weekend, when his name appeared on the headlines again.

Shirley leaned back analyzing the information. She had taken it all from the newspapers and from Internet. “There isn’t very much about his personal life, but the person who killed him must have known him very well”. Shirley tries to remember who could give him information about Brigham’s last visits. Had the police checked that? But it would be difficult to get any information of them; Rudy had been a special case. Who else could know? The butler. It was obvious, and she hadn’t thought about him before. “Why don’t you just give the pictures and all to the police, and let them finish it? You are putting you and Bo in danger, while the police could easily identify him.” she thought. “I’ll certainly do that, but not until I discover the murderer myself”, she replied herself. “Just because it’s your whim are you putting yourself, Bo and Jennifer in danger? No, it’s not a whim, the police failed and I’m doing the case because they can’t”. Shirley was having serious problems with her mind now. She felt compelled to hand the case over to the police, and keep herself and her friends safe; but she wanted to do it without the help of them, like she had done it before. Which way would she choose?

The microphone was still in her bag, and Shirley had put it in front of the radio. Shirley went downstairs to take the pictures of the murderer; the butler would probably remember if the man of the picture had been there. When she reached the desk, she looked up for a moment and saw the window’s lock broken. She opened the drawer but it was empty. The pictures were gone.

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 9

William Baxter had been Brigham’s butler since 1992, when the mansion was built in Redington. All what happened the last week in Redington was too much for him; he had a quiet and peaceful routine until his workplace burnt down. Now, he had supported five interrogatories and many journalists in seven days, the police was suspecting him of killing his boss, and he had to find a new job... something really difficult for someone who has the police following him like the own shadow. He was sitting in the kitchen in his sister’s house, where he was living since he lost his room at the mansion. He walked slowly to the living room and looked through the window, and saw a dark car parked on the other side of the street. Inside there were two detectives watching the house. William felt pursued.

Shirley and Bo spent most of the day trying to find a way to talk to the butler avoiding the police surveillance. They decided to get into the house at night, in his sister’s car, when she came back from work. Shirley assumed that William would collaborate to save himself; the only problem was the sister. How could they get into the car? What would she say if she discovers them, either in the car or at home? And how could they get out of the house without being seen?
- I think we should go to her workplace and find a way to enter the car while she’s working. Later she’ll drive home and we’ll go out in the garage. I know how to open locked cars, Shirley.
- But she’ll probably see us when she enters the car.
- We have to take the risk; there is no other way to enter the house.
- As last resource we could appeal to her love for her brother.
- Good thought, Shirley! Where does she work?
- She’s teacher in the public school of Redington.
- But it’s summer! No one is in school now, not even teachers!
- I already searched some information about her, and she’ll be there tonight. There is a meeting about the budget assignment or something like that, and all the teachers must be there. She’ll go too.
- How do you know that much?
- I have my sources... –Shirley replied mysteriously.

Many cars filled the dark parking at the public school of Redington. It was already night, 8:30pm. Shirley and Bo were there, dressed in black clothes. They saw the illuminated windows of the conference room, where the meeting was going on, and they were alone in the parking.
- Shirley, I think we forgot something important. Which car is it?
- Ehmm, I only know it’s a green one.
- Great; we’ve three green cars here. –Bo muttered. –What are we going to do now?
- We have two choices: The meeting will finish in half an hour, we have time to open all three cars and try to find out which on is hers. Or we can wait here, be honest and ask her. But I prefer the first one.
- OK, we’ll do that –Bo said with a worried face.

The first car was an old Ford; he could easily open it. Inside they found a newspaper, two beer bottles, an empty package of cigarettes and a Playboy magazine. Realizing that the ford car belonged to a man, Shirley and Bo centered their attention on the other two green cars there. The second one was a Landrover Discovery; Bo opened it after a few minutes and inside they found a package of Kleenex, a cell phone, two tickets for “The Canterville Ghost”, in the Redington Theater, but they couldn’t determine if the car belonged a man or a woman. The last green car was a brand-new Mercedes. And when Bo tried to open it... AN ALARM STARTED RINGING. A window was opened, a voice shouted:
- THIEVES! DON’T MOVE!
But far of obeying, Shirley and Bo ran away, jumped over a line of bushes and disappeared in the darkness of the night... They were lucky; no one had seen their faces very well. They stopped to take breath.
- Do you have a plan B, Shirley?
- We’ll go back.
- What?
- They think we’re thieves; if we were thieves, go back would be the last thing we’d do. We’ll stay hidden in the darkness and we’ll be able to know whose car it is. And we’ll know which one belongs to William’s sister. –Not too far away, the alarm stopped ringing.

They went back and watched the scene. The people had run to the parking and were around the green Mercedes now. They were talking, but they couldn’t hear what they were saying. But when they left, Shirley saw a man closing and locking the car’s door. “Bingo!” she thought. “The car we were looking for is the green Landrover”.
When the parking was empty again, Bo unlocked the Landrover’s doors and they sat down behind the seats. Shirley locked the doors from inside again, and they waited for what would come next.

Sheila Baxter was nearly getting asleep in the meeting; the discussion about the school budget was long and boring. There were teachers who wanted new computers and more inversion in the technical area, others wanted to repair things at the building itself, and somebody wanted to enlarge the schoolyards... “This is frustrating”, she thought, “I’d like to go home, right now”. Two teachers started shouting each other.

The meeting finally ended; she hurried to the parking and entered her Landrover. She didn’t notice two dark figures in the car, behind her. She drove slowly through the nearly empty streets and passed the police car in front of her house looking bothersome at it. She parked the car in the garage, locked it and went to the kitchen to eat something, and she was so tired that she didn’t notice Shirley and Bo behind the seats. When she was gone, Shirley unlocked the car from inside and opened a door quietly; Bo followed her. Shirley took the microphone-tracking device and searched microphones in the garage: clean. They went slowly to the kitchen, while Shirley checked all possible radio frequencies all the way. When the device finished checking, Shirley entered the kitchen and said with a soft voice:
- Good evening. Can I have a little conversation with you?
Sheila looked surprised at the unexpected guests.
- How the hell did you enter my house? And what do you want?
- We need to talk to your brother William. We know the police are suspecting him of James Brigham murder, but we know he’s innocent and we want to help him. He just has to answer some questions.
- Who are you? You are too young to be in the police.
- We’re private detectives.
- You shouldn’t involve yourself in criminal investigation, the police it there to do that. I’m sure they’ll find out who the murderer is, and I’m sure William will be proved innocent. He doesn’t need to answer any of your questions. Go away before I call the real police!
Shirley was about to reply something, but Bo intervened:
- Now listen to me! We are already in this; you can’t stop us. The police still believes your brother is guilty, we are more advanced in the investigation than them, we are quite close to the murderer, but the murderer already knows who we are and why we’re following him.
- But...
- The only thing we can do is getting him before he gets us! It’s only a matter of time until he decides we’re too dangerous for him and decides to eliminate us! And if he thinks your brother is dangerous too, he’ll kill him too. William could have the answer of one of our most important questions, if he tells us what we want we could put the murderer in jail and your brother will be out of it.
- No, get out of here, I don’t believe you, and I...
- BUT I BELIEVE THEM!

They turned around and saw William standing in the doorway.

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 10

William looked like he hadn’t slept for a week, with wrinkled clothes and dark rings around his eyes. He looked dejectedly at Bo and Shirley, and then turned slowly to his sister:
- I think they know more than what they are saying. Let them speak, I’ll decide if I answer their questions or not.

He sat down, while Sheila opened the freezer and served them a Coke. Shirley and Bo sat down too; Shirley spoke first.
- In fact, we have pictures of the murderer, the license plate number of his car, the method he used to kill Brigham, but we know he’s pursuing us. We know it was someone who must have been in the mansion before, someone who knows who Brigham’s routine was, and that’s what we want to ask you.
- Well, let me think for a moment. Brigham received a few visits in the last six months, but I don’t know if I can remember them all.
- It mus;t have been someone who knew Brigham’s routine. The murderer was counting with the fire in the library, and he knew the phone in the library wasn’t wireless. Do you know if anyone of them is and expert in electricity or something like that?
- No, I don’t know that. The first person I remember who visited Brigham was an old colleague, as far as I know someone who was with him in his excavations in Peru. He stayed for a night, they talked about each other’s work, anecdotes of their adventures in South America, new Inca founds; most of what they talked about was archeological stuff. He came here about one before Mr. Brigham was killed; his name was professor Grimshaw. A few days after Grimshaw, one of Brigham’s very few friends, Bob Roberts, visited him for a few hours, but I don’t know what they did. Bob left very angry the mansion, shouting “you are a traitor and a liar!!!”
- Traitor?
- Yes, I know Bob has financial problems and I guess he asked Brigham for some money. But Brigham refused, although he could swim in money if he wanted. Then he received a man named Sam Atkinson, one of his friends he made in South America, son of a British couple, but I can’t remember in which country he was born. Sam stayed five days in the mansion, they talked about the political and economical situation down there, of his new job in a travel agency, more anecdotes from the excavations, this time in Ecuador, and Brigham seemed to be really happy during Sam’s visit. Sam said he would go to Spain to visit some relatives who live somewhere near Sevilla, I think. Two days after Sam, an important businessman from Vancouver, Richard Flanders, visited him for a few hours; they discussed about something but they made it in privacy in the library; I couldn’t hear anything. Richard left him very angry, saying “you’ll be sorry for this, Brigham you stupid sucker, son of ...!” And three days before he was killed his teacher from the university, Jonas Krapf came from Germany for a scientific meeting in Ottawa, and by the way he visited his old student. Brigham was really happy about this unexpected visit, and the professor stayed the whole day. That’s all I can remember; there weren’t any other visits in the last time. Four visits in the last month are something very unusual for Brigham; he usually received just one visit each six or seven months.
- Thanks. You know a lot about what happened in the mansion, I wonder how do you remember so many details.
- It was a boring job there, well paid but boring, so we can pay special attention to everything.
- How was Brigham’s routine?
- Always the same. He got up at about 9 o’clock in the morning, had breakfast, went to read the newspaper in the library at 9:30, worked there until 11 o’clock, had lunch, then he went out to walk in the park, had a “siesta”, sleeping until 3 PM, watched TV in the living room, had dinner at 8 PM, went to work again between 9 PM and 10:30 PM, read a book and went to sleep at 11:30 PM. Very boring, I think; always the same in the same places. He sometimes changed his routine, when there was a special event or something, but only a very few times. And he nearly never left his mansion, although he had a brand-new Cadillac in his garage. He bought it but never used it. Sometimes I think he felt like a prisoner in a golden cage.

Bo remembered that he had said the same thing to Shirley a week ago: the prisoner in the golden cage. Shirley felt is was enough, she was nearly sure of which of those persons had murdered James Brigham, but she needed to check only one more thing to prove it. Whose car had a license plate numbered 660 WLD?
- Do you saw the cars of the visitors?
- Yes, but I can only remember two of them: Richard Flanders, who had a long black limousine and Sam drove a grey Nissan. Ah, and Bob Roberts had a yellow Beetle.
- Do you remember their license plates?
- No, sorry.
- It doesn’t matter, we know the murderer drove a blue, rusty Chevrolet, none of the cars your described us was...
- But that means that professor Grimshaw murdered him!
- Oh, don’t think too fast, the murderer could have hired his car. No, I think he’s innocent. I’ll tell you the murderer’s name as soon as we are sure it’s him. Now we only need one more favor from you, or better said from your sister.
- What?
- Would you please convince her to drive us out of here?

Sheila Baxter loved her brother, and she would have done anything to help him. She left Shirley and Bo in the underground parking, near Bo’s parent’s fish market. They separated and went home on their own ways. Back at home, Shirley saw the microphone; she had put on the radio when she left. Robert wasn’t back yet, he was still working in the embassy, and Joanna was watching TV
- Hey Shirley, where do you come from? It’s late.
- Eeeehmm, I’ve been with Bo to... to the cinema.
- Why do I not believe you? –Shirley’s mother sounded a little bit sarcastic.
- Its true, mom. –Shirley was trying to convince her that she had been doing something innocent
- Shirley... –Joanna.
- Please mom; I haven’t done anything bad.
- OK, OK, go to your room, it’s time to sleep.
- I’m not eight anymore! –Shirley said offended.
- No, but it’s already 11 PM. Goodnight.
- Goodnight
Shirley kissed her mother and went upstairs. She was proud of herself; she had been following a quite dangerous murderer and was about to solve the Telephone Murder mystery. She got asleep after a while. Outside, the moon was shining, and a black-dressed man was putting something on one of the cable posts...

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 11

When Bo got home, his parents were already asleep. He had told them the same story about the cinema, and they hadn’t waited him awake. He took a piece of pizza from the freezer, warmed it up... Later, in his room, he surprised himself thinking about Jennifer again. Maybe when all this is over I can invite her to... leaving his thought incomplete, he fell into his bed and was instantly asleep.

Jennifer was lying in her bed, thinking about Bo and what he said the day before. She wanted to know him better, she liked him, and she felt it was unfair... She forced herself to stop thinking about it. She couldn’t sleep the whole night.

Outside Jennifer’s house, a well-know dark figure was on the posts, working on the telephone cables. The Telephone Murderer was preparing everything for the last move. He would do it quickly and in silence. “I really like my method, not only because I invented it, this is an easy way to kill without leaving too many evidences for the police.” he thought, “It would be difficult to discover me, but this stupid girl and her friends are getting closer to me than I thought. I have to erase them from the map.”

Next morning Shirley woke up and immediately started revising all she had done in the case, since Brigham’s murder until the day before. She made a list in chronological order of what the murderer had done. As first, he had killed Brigham the night of the Saturday, then she started investigating, got information from Rudy. She discovered the sabotage of the bridge, then they discovered the murderer’s method, the pictures, Rudy was killed, the microphones, Jennifer, more photos... She made a summary of the whole case and prepared her final move. The pictures were stolen, she knew it must have been the murderer, and that meant he was closer to them than expected. This knowledge was far of being soothing. She was suspecting one of the last four persons who visited Brigham before he died. She only had to check where they were the night when the murder was committed, and that was difficult but not impossible.

- I’d like to talk to Bob Roberts please.
- Sorry, you can’t, he’s in New York now. Do you want to leave a message for him?
- He is in New York? What a nuisance! They told me he would be at home!
- Sorry again, but he has been there for two weeks now.
- Well, a friend told me he wanted to sell his car, am I right?
- I didn’t knew Bob would sell the car...
- They told me it’s a Chevrolet, blue; a little old, but I want to see if I can afford the car.
- Bob hasn’t any blue Chevrolet; he drives a yellow brand-new Beetle.
- Sorry then, it’s not the person I’m looking for.

Shirley hung up without waiting the reply. She had a notepad where she had written down the names and numbers of three of the four suspects; Sam had been to Spain and she couldn’t reach him. “If Bob has been two weeks in New York, he can’t be the murderer. Maybe his wife was lying, or she doesn’t know. But if he drives a yellow Beetle, he’d have to hire the blue Chevrolet, and we know the rent-a-car agencies here haven’t blue Chevrolets.
Shirley was trying to decide how to check professor Grimshaw when she suddenly had an idea. “I don’t need to do this.” Jennifer must have kept the films; they would only need to print the pictures again, and James will recognize him!

Jennifer was in her room when the doorbell rang. She went downstairs and looked through the window, and saw Shirley and Bo in front of the door. She opened the door, and Shirley entered in silence tracking for hidden microphones. The lobby was clean, so they could speak loud. Bo spoke first:
- Jennifer, we need the films of the photos you gave us last time.
- Why?
- The photos were stolen; we have to make new ones.
- Oh, yes, I have them in my room. Follow me please.

She went upstairs followed by Bo and Shirley, Shirley tracked microphones all the way, and the device emitted a soft “beep” when it detected the microphone in her room.
- Jennifer. –She whispered.
- What?
- There is a hidden microphone in your room. Take the pictures without saying any word. We’ll wait downstairs.
- Ok.

Shirley and Bo waited downstairs; Jennifer gave them the films.
- Don’t forget, Jennifer, act “normal”; don’t say anything about this, try to appear as if nothing happened. Now we’ll be able to put the murderer in jail in less than three days.
- Ok, thanks.
Shirley went out without saying “bye”, but Bo turned to Jennifer. He wanted to say something, but he felt stupid.
- Ehmm... Jennifer, oh... if... if you... I mean, when all this is over, would you like to... to go... well I’d like to invite you to the cinema. –He felt like the biggest idiot of the world, but Jennifer didn’t notice it.
- Well, yes...
- Bo, are you coming or not? –Outside Shirley was waiting impatiently. She felt the same flash of jealousy as every time Bo was with another girl.
- I’ll call you when we’re ready. Bye. –Bo muttered and went out. That was the last time he saw Jennifer.

Shirley ran to the photo shop with the films in her hand; Bo went home slowly. Shirley was only thinking about developing the pictures; Bo was thinking about Jennifer again. Shirley entered the first photo shop she found, and they told her the pictures would be ready the next day. “I think I can wait another 24 hours,” she thought. “I’m about to reveal the murderer’s identity. Then I’ll give it to inspector Tremain and then we’ll be finally safe. And we don’t need to find the car anymore”

Bo reached his room and sat down on his bed. The hidden microphone was hearing the radio again. He definitively liked Jennifer, and the only thing he wanted was to finish the case as soon as possible. “Is the murderer still listening at this microphones?” he thought. “Maybe he’s already away, in other country, maybe in Central or South America, or Middle East, or in Africa, or somewhere else far away, and maybe we’re chasing a shadow. This shadow scares us, but we have really no idea if there is something behind the shadow.” But he wasn’t sure. For first time he noticed how dangerous this case was; the murderer could kill him in any moment if he decided to erase Bo. Or Shirley. Or William. Or Jennifer...

But the Telephone Murderer wasn’t far away; he was the criminal mind behind the shadow Shirley and Bo were pursuing. He was still listening to the microphones. “Something is wrong here,” he thought. “I haven’t heard too much with the microphones, although the first days a I heard a lot. Did they discover the microphones? If they get closer, just a little bit closer, I’ll silence them all.”

Late evening, Jennifer was in her room, reading, but still thinking about what Bo said. “This is really stupid,” she thought. “I finally found a guy I think I’m crazy for, and ironically I can’t start a relationship because of a quite strange story he’s involved in. It’s unfair!” She left the book on the desk and lied down on her bed. Her mother wasn’t at home again, probably playing in a casino or somewhere else. Jennifer had no brothers or sisters, so she felt terribly lonely... and now scared. The danger of the Telephone Murderer was like the dirt under the carpet; she could forget it, or just think it’s not there, but it is. It exists. The murderer was there, she couldn’t deny it, hidden somewhere but still dangerous. Dangerous... A word which had been repeated many times since the first time she met Bo. “Now I need my parents, but they aren’t there. I haven’t seen my father for years; he probably forgot me; my mother is always out.” Jennifer started crying in silence, and hugged her teddy bear... and felt something small, cold, metallic, sewn on the neck of the bear, and hidden under the bear’s chin. She cut it off and discovered it was a small microphone, in the size of a fingernail. She remembered what Shirley said, but in that moment she saw her pain represented in that small device. She didn’t think about what she was doing, she just put the microphone on the desk, took the first thing she saw –a metallic paperweight– and she squashed the microphone as if it was an undesirable insect...

Then she made a fatal mistake: she took the phone and dialed Shirley’s cell phone number; Shirley answered, but she could only say “It’s me, Jennifer...” then a black box outside did it’s job. And it did it successful.

When the communication was interrupted, Shirley dialed Jennifer’s number suspecting something terrible. What she heard was like a confirmation: “The solicited number does not exist or is out of service, for more information please dial...”


***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Chapter 12

The cell phone fell on the bed, still repeating “The solicited number...” Shirley stared at it, still not believing it was happening. She knew what that message meant, Bo had told her about it when Rudy was killed. Her mind was blank; she could only look at the cell phone repeating the same message. She didn’t know what to do...

Bo was in his room when the telephone rang. The sun was setting; he had switched the lights off, and the room was dark. He went to his desk and took the phone thinking it was Shirley but he heard a man’s voice:
- Are you Boris Sawchuck?
- Yes, it’s me. Who are you?
- You’ll know who I am...
- What...
He looked through the window and noticed a green Volkswagen on the other side of the street. It looked quite similar to...
The black box on the top of the post was activated. The man in the Volkswagen looked at Bo’s window and saw a flash of brightness. A few moments later a grey smoke started coming out of the window. “Boris has been silenced too. Now there is only the Holmes girl left”. He climbed quickly on the post and disconnected his black box. He didn’t need it, he had a few but he didn’t want to leave any evidence behind him. He went back to his car and drove to the Holme’s house. It was already night.

Shirley stayed a while without knowing what to do; then she decided to call Bo to warn him. It was nearly night. She took the cell phone and quickly dialed Bo’s number, but doing it that fast that she dialed wrong two times. She breathed deep and forced herself to dial slowly. This time she was sure she had dialed the right number. But she heard a well-known message; it was like a notification: “The solicited number...” She stared at the phone; two tears started running from her eyes. She dialed again and again, but the message was still the same, repeating itself every time. The cell phone fell on the floor; its pieces flew in all directions. Shirley didn’t notice it; her mind was centered in one fact: It was too late. Her best friend, one of the persons she most loved in the world, was dead. “And I dragged him into this case. I’m responsible,” she thought. She fell to the floor and cried. Robert and Joanna had been out (they went out frequently since Shirley’s mother was back), and nobody heard her sobs. She forgot all about the investigation, the suspects, the evidences, the microphones, everything. Bo and Jennifer were dead, and that wasn’t a case to solve; it wasn’t something she could fix. “I should have left the case to the police. Why didn’t I... WHY DIDN’T I!” She cried a long while, until the sunset sank the house in darkness.

Shirley didn’t notice the shadows getting longer and longer, until they disappeared. The whole house was dark now. Shirley got up and went downstairs slowly, switching the lights on her way on. When she reached the kitchen she felt weak, and fell on the floor again. The world seemed unreal for her, and she wasn’t able to think clearly. “You lost him, you are responsible for this. You dragged him into this case, you refused to give the evidences you had to the police, you are GUILTY.” Her mind repeated it all the time; it was like a torture. “GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!”. She felt too weak to get up of the floor, so she lied down and closed her eyes. “I wish this would be only a nightmare.” But it wasn’t a nightmare. It was the hard truth. Shirley fell asleep.

Shirley was still half-asleep when she heard something like a ringing doorbell. She opened her eyes, but she couldn’t remember where she was. She discovered herself lying on the kitchen floor, and it was night. The doorbell rang again. She slowly started remembering everything. When she heard the ringer again, she noticed it came from the wall in front of her: the phone. Still not knowing well what she was doing, she got up. The phone persisted ringing, and she nearly automatically answered. She heard a man’s voice asking:
- Are you Shirley Holmes?
- Yes... –she felt she was doing something she shouldn’t be doing, but she didn’t know why; her mind was confused.
- You almost caught me... ALMOST!
Suddenly Shirley knew who was on the other end of the line, and she dropped the phone half a second before it exploded with a rain of sparks. Shirley jumped back, tripped with a chair and fell down. The plastic started burning.

Outside, in his green Volkswagen, the Telephone Murderer was watching Shirley with a pair of binoculars, through the kitchen window. “That sucks, I failed. I’ll have to do it by myself” he thought. He threw the remote control of the black box on the seat and put his gloves on. Then he took a wrench and went to the back door. “I’ll do it quick and quietly”.

Shirley was staring shocked at the burning phone; she had escaped from death for less than a second. Then she heard a hard knock on the door; somebody was trying to get into the house. She heard another knock, this time louder. Shirley knew who was behind the door. She hurried upstairs, and when she was reached the bookcase she heard the door’s lock breaking. She opened the secret passage, closed it again; from behind the bookcase she heard heavy steps going upstairs; the Telephone Murderer was trying to find her. She went to her room quietly; her first thought was to call the police, but then she noticed that the high voltages had ruined every phone in the house. And the cell phone was lying in pieces on the floor. She had to think fast, whoever was out there would kill her if he found her. She looked around, looking for anything she could use as a weapon. And suddenly she saw a rope hanging in a corner of the room; she had forgotten it was there. Shirley tied it to a beam and threw it through the window, and started climbing down on the side of the house. But then she made something wrong; she ended hanging in front of a window. The room behind the window was dark, but she saw a pale face, illuminated by the lights outside, the same face she had seen on Jennifer’s pictures, and only thirty centimeters behind the glass. The man saw her. She nearly loosed the rope, but continued climbing down faster; over her head the window broke and hundreds of tiny glass pieces fell on her. The man caught the rope too, and started climbing down behind Shirley, only a few meters over he head. Shirley saw a wrench in his belt, and tried to not think what he would do with it if he caught her. Three meters over the ground she jumped, and she ran to the street. She heard the man running behind her, each time closer. She looked back for a moment and saw him running with the wrench in his hand. They were only fifty meters away from the house when they heard two shots, and Shirley heard a pain scream behind her. She stopped running. The man had dropped the wrench and was limping away to a green car. She looked around to see where the shots came from and saw a person standing behind a white Ford Mustang, holding a gun in his hand... “BO?”

Bo was alive. When he answered the murderer’s call, he heard his mother calling him, turned to the door to shout something, tripping with the carpet, and losing the phone when he fell down. The lights in his room were off, the room was dark, and the murderer didn’t see him fall. Then Bo saw him taking the black box; he took his father’s gun and ran outside to stop him, but only saw him driving away in a green car. Realizing the Murderer was going to kill Shirley, he stopped the first car he saw –a white Ford Mustang– menaced the driver with the gun, took the car and followed him. He arrived in the exact moment Shirley started running, but waited to be sure who was who. And then he shot.

The Telephone Murderer reached his car and started driving away, but Bo continued shooting. He shot about ten times, hit the windscreen, the lights, the left front gear, the mirror and the left doors, and then he ran out of bullets. The murderer escaped, disappearing in the night.
Windows were opened, lights were switched on, people went out to the street, everybody had heard the shots. Bo dropped the gun and hugged Shirley; they had thought they had lost each other. Shirley couldn’t say anything, but Bo looked to her eyes and asked:
- Could I call the police now? –He smiled
- The phones are ruined. –Shirley felt stupid, but she didn’t know what else she could have said.
- Then we’ll have to ask you neighbors. I just wonder who the murderer was.
- Sam. –Shirley muttered.
- What?
- Sam Atkinson, Brigham’s friend, who was supposed to be in Spain.
- And how did you discover it?
- Well, he stayed five days in the mansion, so he knew how Brigham’s routine was. I checked the passenger lists of all the flights from here to Spain in the last two weeks, via Internet. Nobody named Atkinson had bought a flight to Spain in any airline; not here neither in the rest of the country. And that’s not all. I accidentally saw an announcement in an old newspaper; somebody was selling a blue Chevrolet, which is nearly thirty years old. I called the owner, who told me he had already sold the car, three days before Brigham was killed and he didn’t reveal the buyer’s identity. But the car’s number was 660 WLD. I guess he abandoned the Chevrolet somewhere. And also someone named Atkinson bought a flight to Ecuador, in two weeks time. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence. –Shirley explained with a soft voice, she was too tired. And alleviated.
- Ok. We’ll have to explain the same to Tremain now. Anyway, we’re safe now.

***


The Case of the Telephone Murder : Epilogue

Jennifer’s death would have hurt Bo harder if he could have known her better. Now they know Jennifer is responsible for her own death, because she destroyed the microphone although Shirley had warned her, and also because she had called Shirley. But her work with the photos was an important contribution for the case, so her name appeared in every newspaper, and five hundred people were in the burial. Jennifer died as a famous person. Her mother left Redington.

Shirley and Bo handed all their information over to inspector Tremain, who was angry first, but grateful later. To not ridiculing to the police demonstrating that they had been overcome by a couple of teenagers, he allowed them to keep their anonymity, and Shirley allowed him to take most of the credits for the investigation. And she also promised she would let the police solve the crimes in the future, although Tremain knew she wouldn’t keep that. Tremain said to the journalists, the two teenagers Sam tried to kill were Jennifer’s friends, who were with her when she took the murderer’s pictures, and that their identities were kept in secret for legal reasons. That’s the version they gave to their parents too.

Sam Atkinson was caught, or better said found, a few kilometers west of Redington. They found him unconscious in his car; he had crashed a tree. He wasn’t driving fast, so he didn’t die in the crash, but he had got unconscious due to his wounds; he had got bullets in his left leg and arm. Although he had serious wounds, he survived and confessed he had murdered James Brigham, Rudy Sommers and Jennifer Mack, and that he also tried to kill Boris Sawchuck and Shirley Holmes. He and Brigham had planned the theft of the Inca antiques of 1990 together, but when they sold them, Brigham took the money and accused him to the police. Sam stayed eight years in prison, and when he got out he planned his revenge. When he visited Brigham, he had told him he had already forgiven him, but in truth he was planning his murder. He said he’d keep Shirley’s and Bo’s anonymity because they had deserved it. He’s a murder, but he keeps his promises. His trial will begin in two months.

William Baxter was proved innocent and forgotten. He never knew the names of the teenagers who saved him of prison.

***

Two months later.

The phone rang. Since they made the case of the Telephone Murder, Bo felt nervous each time he answered the phone.
- Bo? It’s me, Shirley. Do you read the news?
- Yes, I did, but...
- Do you read about the last car accidents in Redington?
- Yes, but...
- I was there and noticed something strange in the last accident scene. Please, could you meet me there now?
Bo sighed; he knew this would happen.
- Ok, Ok, I’ll see you there. Bye!

Bo took his keys, went downstairs, kissed his mother and went out. “Here we go again...,” he thought. “What’s going to happen this time?”