Murder in the Winter
breakfast. Well, our first adventure after
we checked the staff’s quarters.
    A search of the staff’s quarters indicated nothing, except
the neatness or messiness of each person. No extra people inhabited any of the
rooms. No bodies were found stuffed in the closet.  I assumed  there  were  no
drugs or poisons. Our hurried search didn’t include squeezing all the
toothpaste out of each tube. Nor did we cut open each mattress.
    A second indoor search after breakfast revealed nothing.
Daylight was upon us, and it was time to wrap up and search outside. But first,
we would tackle the roof.
    As it turned out, what we thought was an upstairs closet
was our pathway to the roof disguised as a closet. Were there other methods of
disguise inhibiting our progress? One at a time we pushed away the clothes
hanging in the pseudo-closet and climbed the stairs. I led the way and took my
time doing so. At the top of the stairs, I encountered a door, which was
locked. I shined my flashlight on the door and discovered that only a hook
prevented me from opening it. I sprung the hook, opened the door, and stepped
out into the icy climate. Before I did so, I noticed that the walkway had been
shoveled clean. No snow. No footprints. No clues.
    I walked at once to the parapet, leaned over and perused
the expansive area. Being up high increased our ability to see over the cliff,
but we were neither high enough nor close enough to the cliff to see all the
way to the bottom. If we hadn’t been in the middle of a murder investigation,
I’d have taken time to enjoy the view. There’s just something beautiful about a
snow-covered world as long as you don’t have to drive through it. But in a
manner of speaking, we did have to drive through this snow-covered world, and
we had a murder to solve. Maybe we could come back in the spring, if no one has
been murdered, to enjoy the view.
    I stepped away from the parapet and led our team. We
walked around lemming style and leaned over the side at intervals of twenty or
so feet. For the most part, we saw nothing, but at one corner of the house we
noticed footprints leading to the edge of the cliff. Only one set of
footprints, but they didn’t return. I hoped our murderer hadn’t committed
suicide. It might be hard to prove. Then, another idea struck me. What if someone 
had  carried  Mrs.  Dukenfield to the edge of the cliff and thrown her over?
But then, if they had, there would’ve been returning footprints. Regardless,
because of some misguided individual, a cornucopia of cops would have to trek
to the edge of the cliff. One man fell in his dinner. Another one dived to the
bottom of a swimming pool. Could it be that a third had plunged to her death?
And if so, was I supposed to be getting a message from this? That reminded me.
Lou and I hadn’t talked about his message of the day. I would find out that
message as soon as I could get him by himself.
    After completing our tour of the roof and finding no
more clues, we rushed to the rooftop door to do something about our blue skin.
But only for a moment. None of us expected the temperature to rocket before we
reached the front door to engage in a tour of the premises.
    Before we toured the grounds, I accosted Longworth and
found out that Manfred had shoveled the snow from the roof on Friday morning,
before we arrived. I asked Longworth why Manfred had done it so quickly. He
responded that it was because there was a large amount of snow, and the snow
had nowhere to go. Heavy snow could cause the roof to collapse. Melted snow
could cause leaks. Longworth said it was better to be safe than sorry.
    I hastily pulled Lou aside and asked him his clue for
the day.
    “ North By Northwest .”
    “What is this? Hitchcock week? First we get something
about the Bates Motel, and now North By Northwest .”
    “I don’t’ make them up. I just repeat what I hear.”
    “So, He’s started to speak to you.”
    “Not out

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