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Lord Laudmoore: The Solution

by Hans Bluedorn

Last time, if you will remember, Constable Blakely was just showing Constable Dobson a dinner jacket he had found in the bushes . . . it had a bullet hole in it.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for Constable Dobson?

“Check the dinner jacket for fingerprints to determine who it belonged to.”--David Daudelin, Logic Loop reader

CONSTABLE BLAKELY: I don’t believe that will be necessary. As you can see, this is a tailor made dinner jacket. The laundry label says: “D. McLure.”

In the Last Logic Loop, I asked you to give me your theory for what happened, as well as your suggestion for what Constable Dobson should do next.

“I think that McLure and Laudmoore were trying to shoot each other. First of all, there was a dinner jacket with bullet holes found in the bushes. Also, they might have gotten into an argument because the Lord wanted to buy McLure's figurine, but McLure did not want to sell it to him. Bullets were found from different revolvers. The Constable should find out if McLure owns a gun.”--Curt Hayashida

Good advice. Constable Dobson then went to talk to David McLure again.

CONSTABLE DOBSON: It was you who shot Lord Laudmoore last night, wasn’t it?

DAVID McLURE: Yes, I suppose it’s useless to hide it anymore. I shot him. But it was in self defense. You see, if I had not shot the Lord last night, I feel sure that I would be dead now, instead of him. The man was about to kill me.

CONSTABLE DOBSON: You will have to tell me what happened.

DAVID McLURE: Yes, I will tell you everything that happened.

The Story of David McLure

My story starts last week when I was at an art auction. Lately I have been collecting small figurines, and I went there to further my collection. That is where I met Lord Laudmoore. When he heard that I had some small figurines, he offered to show me his collection, which he said was at his house. He also sounded most interested in seeing one particular object that I had: a figurine called “Pinocchio.” So I drove up to his country house for this purpose. That was yesterday evening.

There was another man there, a Dr. Radcliff. I do not know his first name. Upon arriving, we had dinner, and afterwards, Lord Laudmoore asked to see the figurine I had brought.

I unwrapped it from a cloth and set it upon the table.

Dr. Radcliff, a large man with a rather brooding look about him, sat in his chair and smoked his cigar. He didn’t seem interested. Lord Laudmoore, on the other hand, became most agitated. He walked around the table to see it more closely. I could tell by his manner that he was excited.

Lord Laudmoore said, “I will pay you a lot of money for this.” He offered me several times what I had paid for it myself.

As you may know, a collector buys, but never sells. And so I had no intention of bargaining with him. And besides, the whole situation seemed a bit funny to me. Lord Laudmoore had said he was also a collector, but he seemed to have no interest in the artistic qualities of my Pinocchio figurine. He just wanted it. So I refused to sell.

After that, he sat in his chair for a moment, with a moody look. I now know he was hatching a plan. He rose and went into the kitchen, then returned and abruptly told Dr. Radcliff that it was about time he left. Dr. Radcliff was taken aback a bit, but seemed to take this rudeness fairly well.

After the departure of Dr. Radcliff, Lord Laudmoore commenced showing me about the house. His collection of figurines wasn’t very large, nor impressive. Everything was very dirty, and there were many broken figurines lying about. The whole situation seemed strange. He talked a long while about each figurine he had, mostly at random and repeating himself often. It seemed as though he was trying to waste time. While talking, he would frequently go over and glance out the window. Once he even excused himself and left the room for a minute. I don’t know what he did.

After perhaps a couple hours of this, he became more insistent that I sell the figurine to him. He even left and returned from his study with a large quantity of bills, offering them to me in exchange for the figurine.

It was then that I perceived that the whole situation wasn’t what it seemed to be. I resolved to not part with the figurine for any sum. “Sir,” I said, “I have no intention of selling this.”

“Ah, yes,” he said, “just come upstairs with me and I will show you something. That may change your mind.”

I carried the Pinocchio figurine with me as I followed him up to his study, which was upstairs and on the other side of the house.

It seemed to me that he had taken me up to this room for some purpose, and I was wary. My thoughts were confirmed when, after entering, he calmly went to his desk and withdrew a revolver.

“I’m afraid, Mr. McLure, that the time for bargains is past. I mean to have what is in your hand.”

This seemed to me to be carrying the thing a bit far, so I handed over the Pinocchio into his hand, it not being of that much worth to me. I asked him if I could leave now. But he said, “No Mr. McLure, you must stay there for a moment.” There was something in the way he said it which told me that he meant to kill me.

Whenever I venture anywhere, I keep a revolver inside my waistband,. This I took out, meaning to defend myself.

I believe both our shots went off at the same time. I do not know where Lord Laudmoore’s went, but mine when through the Pinocchio figurine and straight into the Lord.

So there he lay on the floor, with fragments of the Pinocchio all over him.

The first thought I had was to escape the house. I admit my thinking wasn’t clear. I had hoped the police would see the Lord lying there, next to his own gun, and conclude he had used his own gun on himself. The only thing connecting me to the scene was the shattered Pinocchio.

I picked up the fragments and put them on the mantelpiece. There was another figurine there, a cheap one, but much like the Pinocchio, and I took that. My hope, at the time, was to remove every trace of the Pinocchio, it being a link to me and the scene. I hoped the maid would conclude that it had been broken before my arrival. Then I went downstairs, and went out the back door, locking it behind me.

It was then I noticed that I had not come away unscathed: There was a bullet hole in the side of my jacket. I had escaped being wounded by a fraction of an inch, the bullet going through my jacket but not through me. In a panic, I took the jacket off and put it deep in the bushes behind the house. . .foolish of me.

After that I left. I suppose, if I had been thinking more clearly, I would have come straight to the police.

CONSTABLE DOBSON: This is a very interesting story. If this is a case of self defense, I do not believe there will be any charges filed. Do you have any idea why Lord Laudmoore wanted the figurine so badly?

DAVID McLURE: Perhaps he didn’t want the figurine itself, but what could be found inside it.

CONSTABLE DOBSON: I don’t follow you.

DAVID McLURE: If you are done questioning me, I think I will go now.

The End

If you have any comments or questions about "The Mysterious Death of Lord Laudmoore" send me an email.

Copyright January 25, 2005, all rights reserved. 4408 views

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