by Joshua Thomas and Stijn Hommes
Sixty year old Cecil Parker was raking the garden, there were so many leaves to clean up, and Cecil found this very hard as the grass was very long. At this point, his wife Maud came outside with a small mug, "I've made some cocoa, dear!" she said.
"Pardon?" said her husband.
"Cocoa, for you!"
"No, why would I have cocoa on a hot day like this, I asked for Coca Cola, you stupid woman, go back and change it"
Maud threw the cocoa over the daisies angrily, and furiously stomped back into the house. She had no sooner got the Coca Cola out of the fridge, when the phone rang. Maud picked it up and said " Hello, Parker 559062"
"Hello, its Edward Forbes here."
"Yes, you're my husband's colleague in the chemical plant."
"That's right, I'm calling from a science festival in Aberdeen, I want to ask Cecil what the formulae for warm fusion is, if my other colleague, Ben Lucas, had come with me, I could have asked him, but he mysteriously wanted to stay behind!"
"Well, hold on a sec, Eddie, I'll just go and get him!"
Maud put the phone on the table, poured some Coca Cola into a glass and went outside with it. There was Cecil, lying dead and still on the grass, with the rake in his chest. A look of extreme horror upon his face. Maud screamed, dropped the glass and ran frantically inside the house. She grabbed the phone and pressed the receiver button, Suddenly, memories of when her cousin Serena Shale's husband was murdered came flooding back. Terrified, she slowly began dialling a number on the phone with her shaky hand,
"Could...you please...put me through...to....Jonathan Creek......"
Maddy picked up the phone. She had gone to Jonathan's house to get her bra blow-dried (Any excuse). Jonathan was upstairs, trying to make marbles disappear.
"Jonathan, stop playing with your balls and come downstairs. The phone's ringing!"
"If you had half a brain cell you would answer it" came the irritated voice of Jonathan, "One of the marbles has rolled under the floorboards and I've cut myself getting it out!"
"OK," said Maddy, picking the phone up, "Jonathan, it's some old woman, she wants you to go to her house to look at something"
"Oh, very discreet," said Jonathan, coming down the stairs bloodstained, with three teatowels wrapped around his arm.
"Thank you for helping me out."
"Pleasure" came the reply, no idea he was being sarcastic.
"Hello?" asked Jonathan into the mouthpiece. "Oh, Hello," it was someone Jonathan knew.
Jonathan put the phone down after two minutes of speech. "Maud Parker's husband has been murdered, police have been round, didn't find anything, she wants me to go there, investigate."
"Yeah, and like I know who the bloody hell she is."
"Don't you remember, Serena Shale's cousin, used to run the Music Hall when I was young..."
"Well I wouldn't know, I wasn't alive in the 50's."
"Ha, Ha, very funny!"
"Pleasure" said Maddy, who knew he was being sarcastic but was just saying it to be irritating.
At Maud Parker's, Maddy and Maud were in the summer house, which was really just a shed with windows.
"Any moment now, he'll come back and magically tell us how it was done" said Maddy, staring at Jonathan Creek fingering through the bloodied grass.
"32 years, we were married" moaned Maud "32 years..... of complete misery!
I'm sorry to say that we hated each other very much, he cared more about the chemical plant than me, and his stupid colleague, Ben, I hated him."
"Why did you marry him then?" which was the most awkward question to ask at that moment.
"That, my friend, is the biggest mystery ever."
"So you say, you found him here, in this spot" asked Jonathan, pointing.
"Yes, with the rake in his chest, The police whisked it away immediately for analysis. I dropped the Coca Cola, see the broken glass. Cecil loved Coca Cola, he used to buy crates of it, he said it helped him discover "warm fusion", whatever that is. Unfortunately the 'other' colleague, Eddie, who is a bit dopey, couldn't remember the formula when he was at a conference in Aberdeen, and phoned here to ask Cecil, but when I got here, he was... dead!"
"Well," said Maddy, "That scribbles Eddie and Ben off our list, they couldn't have possibly done it if they were in Aberdeen!"
"Oh no," said Maud "Ben didn't go, he mysteriously wanted to stay behind" Maddy's eyes widened,
"Jonathan, did you hear that!" But Jonathan was much more interested in a patch of dead daisies in the middle of the lawn, "What happened to those?" he asked.
"I don't suppose the cocoa did them any good, I threw some over them!"
"Could I have some cocoa, please?" Jonathan asked, adjusting the bandage on his arm.
"Here, have mine" said Maud.
Without pausing, he took the cup of cocoa and chucked it all over another patch of daisies, "JONATHAN" yelled Maddy, moments before she realised what he was doing.
"How long has it been since you found your husband dead, Maud?"
"About two hours," came the timid reply.
"OK, then. Let's wait for two hours and see what happens to the daisies."
They sat down and waited and watched, and after three hours, still nothing had happened, the daisies had stayed exactly the same throughout, not a single petal had fallen.
"Well that IS very strange" exclaimed Maud.
"Maybe it was a different brand" came Maddy's theory.
"No, I always buy Tesco's, We get a reduction there because Cecil's friends with the boss."
"Hmm" came the sound which represented Jonathan Creek's brain at work. "There must have been something extra in the first cupful."
"What?..." said Maddy, knowing by his voice this was going to be a very exciting mystery.
"I don't know, it must have been something powerful, because it killed an entire patch of daises in less than two hours. Yes, something very powerful, something that only chemists, like your husband, would have had have access to......."
Maud was stunned. "You mean someone tried to poison Cecil and then put a rake in him when that didn't work?" "That is exactly what I mean. Can I see the package of cocoa?" Jonathan and Maddy followed Maud through the hallway into a little cosy kitchen at the back of the house with a door to the garden. Maud opened a cupboard and pulled out the cocoa she used to make Cecil's drink. Jonathan took over the package and took a sniff. It smelled like any other package that was still in the supermarket. Maddy was examining the door. It was locked. "Any way someone could have come in here?" asked Maddy. "That would be quite hard. Neither me nor Cecil had a key to it." Jonathan started to examine the windows, they were all locked from the inside and there was no damage. Jonathan started to doze of in a state of total concentration. He knew something was wrong, but he couldn't put his finger on it quite yet. He told Maud that they were going to the plant.
At the plant the front gate guard stopped them. After a total examination of the car they were allowed to pass through. They parked the car and got out. Chatting about some tricks Adam was going to perform later that week they proceeded to the main building. When they opened the door they bumped into Ben Lucas. Jonathan knew immediately because of his nametag on is lab coat. "Hello, I'm Jonathan Creek", said Jonathan introducing Maddy shortly after that. "We would like to talk to you about Cecil Parker."
Ben was agitated. "What about him?"
"He is dead," replied Maddy. Ben stood silently for second visibly touched by the terrible news. After a while he pulled himself together. He invited both Jonathan and Maddy to go with him to the parking lot, so he could take a cigarette. "It is to dangerous to do that inside you see, to many flammable chemicals."
Jonathan asked him what he knew about the warm fusion. "That is supposed to be secret. Who told you that?"
"That doesn't matter. The secret is safe with us."
"No, can't talk about that." Before anyone could say another word a police car entered the parking lot. Detective Rogers came out and came toward Jonathan, Maddy and Ben.
"Do you know where Ben Lucas is?" Ben introduced himself and was immediately handcuffed by Rogers. "You're under arrest for the murder of Cecil Parker." Maddy was shocked, but Jonathan determined to find out who did it himself, took her by her arm and went inside to see the supervisor of the plant. "I'm not sure, but I think someone is framing Ben."
Jimmy Waters sat in a big comfy chair on the other side of the immense desk. "We would like to ask you some questions," started Maddy. "Edward Forbes is in Aberdeen at some festival isn't that right?" "That's correct. I don't even know why he went there. He has nothing to show the other scientists, he hates travelling, he never even met any other scientists apart from the ones in the plant." Jonathan scrubbed his nose. "That's interesting," Maddy replied "any idea why Lucas didn't go?"
"Said something about family matters." Suddenly Jonathan spoke. "Just out of curiosity, what is Forbes's phone number?"
"Let's see," Waters said, "That would be 06-46535428."
"Was there anything stolen lately?" asked Jonathan.
"Now that you mention it, in the storage room for dangerous chemicals some potassium cyanide has disappeared last week. We haven't found it yet." But all employees could have taken that stuff."
"Isn't there a guard at the front gate?"
"Yes, but he surely can't find everything, he is only human." Suddenly everything fell into place. Maddy knew the look on his face.
"Are you gonna tell me or what?"
"Consider the daisies, the kitchen and the phone number, that should be enough to crack it." Once again he drove Maddy crazy with his riddles. He called Maud to tell her he cracked the case. All was to be revealed tonight at the police station.
Detective Rogers was in a crummy mood. Probably because someone else cracked the case. Everyone was in the room. Maud Rogers, Ben Lucas, Jimmy Waters, Jonathan, Maddy, and Edward Forbes, who just arrived from the airport. "This case had me puzzled for a while, but my short conversation with Jimmy here cleared the whole case up. Of course both the police and Maddy and me were set up to believe something which hadn't happened at all. Let's go back to the daisies. A highly toxic substance in the cocoa killed them. But since there was no way of entering the kitchen, an outside killer couldn't have put it in there. There was no sign of damage on the windows, and the door was impossible to go through so you were the one trying to poison Cecil. Jonathan turned to Maud. You were terrified when you thought I thought the poisoner and the killer were the same. Luckily for you, you won't be charged with murder, that would be... Edward Forbes. Actually you pulled off a classic murder. You committed a murder while having an alibi supported by hundreds of people, which are miles away from the place where you committed the crime."
"You must be joking," yelled Edward.
"You send someone else to Aberdeen. Since Ben didn't come no one would have noticed that. In the mean while you call Maud away on your cellular phone. As soon as she goes to get Cecil, you kill him with the first weapon you could find and disappear. The only thing you've got to fill in is the motive."
"OK, I did it. He was the only one who knew the formula for warm fusion. I just said Ben knew to incriminate him. Actually, he wasn't allowed to talk about top secret projects, he knew nothing about. That is why he probably evaded that question from you."
The guilty party was arrested and Maddy and Jonathan went to a nice restaurant to celebrate a new case brilliantly solved by Jonathan Creek.