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The Sealed Door

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The daughter had to have done it. She wants her inheritance, why else would a rich kid commit murder? However, her alibi is solid and most importantly, the door was locked from the inside and the victim had the key in his pocket.

 

One of those old Victorian homes that still has the original locks that require a key to get into each room. She says it was to keep the house’s old charm, I just find it annoying. Having to have a key to get into each room is ridiculous.

 

The father died from a bullet to the brain, a classic choice for a suicide, but oddly enough, there are no burn marks on the victim’s head, which states that the gun wasn’t near his head when it went off. That tells me that whoever shot him was at a distance. But that still doesn’t explain how the door was locked from the inside and the key on the victim’s body. The daughter doesn’t have a spare key and as far as I can tell, there are no secret passageways in this mansion. Plus it doesn’t help that the gun was found in the victim’s hand.

 

“If you don’t need me anymore,” she says, “I’d like to leave?”

 

Damn. She can’t leave yet. She can’t get away! Wait a second. I might have an idea.

 

I run to the body and look at the key that was found on the body. I look closely and see a piece of tape on the key. I tell the other officers to search all the trashcans and wastebaskets in the house.

 

Later they return with what I was looking for, a long piece of string. I walk up to the daughter.

 

I invite her into the room where the crime happened.

 

“Would you like a pair of gloves?” I asked.

 

“No. I hate wearing gloves.”

 

I smile and then walk away from her.

 

“Man, have you ever head of the ‘Sealed Door trick?’”

 

She looks at me straight in the eye and says, “no.”

 

“Then let me explain,” I said, “It’s a trick that most people have forgotten, since most doors today don’t need a key to lock. With a door that can be locked only from the inside with a key, someone can easily give the illusion that the person in the room locked the door. All you need is a needle, string and some tape.”

 

“How so?” she says.

 

“First you tape the string to the key. Then you lock the door, keeping the key in the door. Afterwards you move the string across the door and with the needle, loop the string in someone’s pocket, by using the needle to poke through the pocket and keep stringing along until you make it to the door again. Next close the door with the string showing from underneath the door. We now have a locked door with no way of you getting in. You then pull on the string from underneath the door, making the key fall out of the lock and having it being strung across the room until it goes into the victim’s pocket. You then give a good tug, in which you free the string, leaving the key in the victim’s pocket, giving the illusion that they had it the whole time.”

 

She stares blankly at me and says, “My, that’s quite a trick.”

 

“It is, considering that is what you did after you shot your father.”

 

“Detective, I did not kill my father! Even if I did, you have no proof!”

 

“Miss,” I said with a smile, “the tape will have your fingerprints on it.”

 

She looks at me in fear as I begin to approach her.

 

“It’s a shame you hate wearing gloves.”

 

She continues to look at me, like a deer caught in the headlights when I come up to her face to face.

 

“When I check that piece of tape, even if it’s a partial, whose fingerprints will I find?”

 

She looks away in shame as she brings her hands up and holds her arms.

 

“Whose fingerprints will I find?”

 

“Mine,” she finally says.

 

“Thank you for your honesty,” I say as I look up at my men, “Take her away and read her, her rights.

 

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