“Handsome Harry” Murdered, Charlie Found Guilty
Spring of 1897
Written by Siorus Brynmor
The Tywyn Paper, Issue no. 8
Madoc Richard Baines, a famous detective who was known to public as Harold Murdoch (or “Handsome Harry”, to the young ladies of Tywyn) recently passed away, crushed by maroon bowling balls. All are grieving, especially Miss Maria Cadwalader and her sister Rhonwen, whom Baines was engaged to. But was it truly coincidence that all the bowling balls were maroon, Baines’ least favourite color? Or that they were not marked with the usual BILL’S BOWLING BALLS printing? Or that Baines held a scrap of a page from Moby Dick in his hand before he died?
The fellow inspectors of Baines are currently looking into this mystery at the moment.
I have crossed many parts of Tywyn and my discoveries have been very disturbing. Rhys Pritchard, 28, says he grew up with a certain Madoc Baines. He reports, “Madoc was intrigued by whales and mysteries, always reading Moby Dick, and forming sleuth groups with every interested young man”.
Inspector Jernigan, whose partner-in-detecting was Baines himself, was in charge of searching the crime scene. There has been many scattered clues, several of which were: a thrown-open copy of Moby Dick, fifty or so tacks lying on the ground, a large magnet, and a pen.
Inspector Jernigan and I questioned all witnesses: from Mrs. Muddle to Rachel from the boat shop. This is what we discovered:
Mrs. Muddle, the Pixie Troop, Pete, and the Strollers were doing their business: the Pixie Troop selling ham sandwiches, Pete delivering the paper, and the Strollers taking a walk. The owners of the hardware store were doing their spring cleaning, and Charlie was repairing the telephone in Maria’s restaurant.
We questioned them for a while, but in vain; either none knew, or none would tell. Just then, Inspector Vaughn ran into the office with his hat and suitcase. He had just pieced together the mystery of Baines’ murder.
These are the facts:
Baines was coming back from the library, with the new deluxe edition of Moby Dick in his hand. He dropped his kerchief on the ground in his great hurry. Bill Yates, who was about to deliver bowling balls, picked it up and offered it to him, but Baines repeatedly said, “Mustn’t stop– it’s urgent– ” and did not stop. While Bill ran after Baines, Ethel Gottasnoop laid tacks on the road to flatten the delivery truck’s tires as revenge– weeks ago, Bill had told everyone a whopping rumor concerning the hardware store.
When Master Yates returned, he came with Baines, and was very disgruntled about his job being delayed. Baines, however, was madly writing on the last page of Moby Dick. Master Yates reported not being able to see what he had written.
As Master Yates was starting the truck, Baines was still standing behind it, writing line after line on the book frantically. While talking to Baines, Master Yates had forgotten to close the latch on the truck door and the bowling balls tumbled out, crushing Baines in the process. The detective’s last deed was to tear out the page and clench it tightly in his fist.
This is all Vaughn told us, but there was more. He had brought Rhys Pritchard to the inspecting office for an interview. They had broken it off when Rhys recognized Charlie.
“He went to the same school as Madoc and I,” insisted Rhys. “His name is Alun Saer and he is a criminal detective. He has always been cruel towards Madoc because of a family grudge.”
After being recognized, “Charlie” made a break for it.
He was caught by the police soon thereafter and did not confess anything, no matter how hard they prodded him. Eventually, Rhys pried the truth from him: the maroon bowling balls had been a warning towards Baines that the Saers would have their revenge.
“I didn’t know it would kill him!” protested Saer.
He is now under inspection.
The page from Moby Dick was covered in invisible writing. Inspector Jernigan reports this: “It is filled with Baines’ thoughts on the Saers, his true identity, and his fate. He was well aware of whom Charlie really was, I suppose. Miss Rhonwen Cadwalader is going to bury him in the cemetery next week and there is to be a funeral.”
Madoc Richard Baines will rest in peace in the Tywyn Cemetery. Thus we shall conclude this week’s news. Next week’s paper will have more details.
Inspector S. Brynmor
Further issues of the Tywyn Paper will be uploaded when possible.