It was a cold and foggy early January afternoon. There were dark clouds in the sky and yet to us the day was far from dreary. There was intrigue in the air and we were out in the city aiming a closer re-look at the murder scene.
‘I wonder why the killer left the surly looking iron rod right next to the victim?’ I asked Specky, my wife and my analytical half during such vital missions.
Specky answered without even pausing to think, ‘The killer did not want the crime to be a suspected suicide. She wanted the world to know and understand that here was a cold blooded deliberate murder…’
‘She? How can you be so sure that the killer was a woman?’
Specky simply pointed to the peculiar foot marks that had a circular compression after every mark that appeared as if someone was tip-toeing around. ‘Stilettoes,’ said Specky, ‘She is a woman who has fashion brushing along with her. She obviously didn’t want to carry this short scowling rod with her as it would have made her look ridiculous.’ She paused for a while before going on, ‘She is fussy about how she dresses and how she wants the world to perceive her.’
I protested, ‘Isn’t this too early in the investigation to even reach such a conclusion? We know that the murdered one was a woman and to say that the killer too is a woman is going to make the entire case a trifle confusing.’
‘Look at the other clues, my spymaster,’ purred Specky, ‘I know this isn’t my job, but then the Delhi police pay you to do their critical thinking. So let’s think fast and clear before these tell-tale clues disappear or fade away.’
The body of the victim had been lying in an isolated asbestos-covered spot near the middle circle of Connaught Place in New Delhi. This was where the civic agencies had been doing a lot of digging and work had been stopped for a couple of days as it was too cold. The body was discovered accidently by the lone chowkidar there who just happened to be strolling in the area looking for a few cigarette butts that he could then use. This shelter was used by the engineers on duty to sit during the day and had a couple of tables, a few chairs, and even one mirror.
The crime scene had not been disturbed and would remain so until a few hours later when the official forensic team would come and place every discovered clue in neat plastic bags or containers only to forget about them. It was thus crucial for us to do our thoughtful investigation as soon as possible.
Specky went up to the mirror and picking up a cute looking razor from the floor, said, ‘Take a closer look at this ladies razor. This one is Venus’s newest razor, the 5-blade Venus Embrace. You see this Protective Ribbon of Moisture?’ Specky pointed out the intimate details of that razor to me, and then continued, ‘This provides a smoother, more comfortable shave and gives the sublime results of a dramatically smooth skin.’ Now this was surely my turn to be completely awed by Specky. There were so many cases we had investigated together, but this one seemed to be technically hijacked by my wife.
Specky then smiled and continued with her lecture on the intricacies of a great shave, ‘I know all this because this is what I use. I know that each blade individually adjusts to stay in contact with the skin, even around such tricky shaving areas as the knees and the ankles.’
Not wanting to be left behind, I ventured, ‘I can also notice that the razor has a soft grip gel handle.’
‘Yes,’ answered Specky, ‘this increases shave control when wet. But what you should be noticing is the fact that the razor is lying there virtually unused, except for this tuft of hair and some gelled blood.’
I finally asked, ‘How will all this information be connected to the case?’
‘Elementary,’ said Specky, ‘the murdered woman was a suave socialite who was here to shave her hairy legs before finally going wherever they were planning to go.’ Specky was silent for a while as she re-enacted the crime in her mind, and then after a pause, continued, ‘They were both hairy ones and were fighting to get to shave before the other. There was a short scuffle to get the razor.’
I jumped in, and said, ‘I get it. The razor accidently brushed against…’ I paused as I wasn’t that good in visualising scenes where there were two ladies fighting.
Specky took over and went on, ‘The razor brushed against the murderer’s cropped hair at a crucial spot that may alter looks. I guess it was around the ear and a razor cut here would surely dis-figure the hair style.’
‘How can you be sure that the tuft of hair sticking to the razor is from the murderer’s mane?’ I asked.
Specky murmured, ‘She was a brunette and this murdered babe has black hair. The razor cut enraged the other woman who picked up the nearest object lying near her to blindly hit out. The hit just happened to be at the right angle and with the right force on front of the neck. This caused a tracheal blockade and ultimate asphyxiation to death.’
The nearest object obviously happened to be that short scowling iron rod that was simply flung away in sheer fearful disgust by the other woman. The other woman was no professional killer and seeing the lifeless body of her friend, panicked and ran away.
The phone suddenly rang and Specky immediately took out the mobile phone from the purse of the murdered woman and answered, ‘Yes?’
‘Oh! Thank God you’re alive, Sufiani,’ spoke that voice, ‘I was worried I had accidently killed you.’
‘You have,’ said Specky, putting the phone on its speaker mode, ‘I am not Sufiani.’
‘I wish she had opted for her hair removal that morning. I wish I too had opted for my hair removal,’ she sobbed. We were silent and in this reverberating silence we heard her sobs getting fainter.
15 January 2013