The Red Widow Murders Chapter-by-Chapter – C. 6-10

Chapter 6 – Interviews.   What were Isabel and Guy up to?  Sitting in the sitting room from 10:30 until midnight.   Now everyone has an alibi.   Inspector Masters interviews Miss Isabel in the creepy room.   She’s very nervous.   While questioning her, it is revealed that 1) the shutters are solid and rusted shut, you would need a blowtorch to get in that way, 2) the woman who died in the room was going to marry a jeweler named Bettison who was ruined after she died, 3) there is a box that looks exactly like the Caliogstro poisoning box HM has dealt with before.   This one does not have the same mechanism the other does (which does not mean it has no mechanism), but it was in a drawer and you’d be a complete idiot to go mucking about with it if you were Bender.  It was designed, it seems, by Martin Longueval in the late 18th century.   Longueval was Ravelle’s great-great-great uncle.   So the French connection to the room goes all the way back.

Chapter 7 – Going along, tickety-boo.   Progress will slow when I’m back at work tomorrow.   We now meet Guy.   Carr doing his best to make almost everyone seem possibly mad.   He had a conniption when they were playing around with the box.  Some of the furniture was made by Longueval, but Guy doesn’t know what.   Neither Guy nor Judith realized who Bender was, though they maybe should have as he appears not to have been subtle in his questioning.   Judith seems solid and sensible except she doesn’t bat an eye when Guy reveals her dog was killed, which she allegedly did not know.   I have now moved my money to Judith.   No, she couldn’t have done it, but she does seem least likely.  We know Guy is smart because he beats HM to the conclusion that Bender deliberately stole the ace earlier to make sure it was he who entered the room.  Presumably because he thought he could outfox the murderer.  He was wrong.

All of this somehow goes back to the French Revolution. The room is named for Mme. Guillotine, the red widow.

Chapter 8 – So theories are being offered up and shot down.   The Inspector thinks the bit of parchment could have come out of Bender’s pocket as the card did, but somehow landed on him as he hid the notebook.  Judith thinks this is silly, but Guy is not so sure.  HM takes them to Mantling’s study, presumably to look at the darts, but the police took them away after Isabel made a ruckus about them.  HM springs the question of putty on them which Guy had mention earlier.  Guy is unfazed, but Ravelle has a shock and then pretends not to know the word.  Guy is about to tell them all something when he (accidentally-on-purpose?) reveals a ventriloquist’s dummy and adds that Mantling is an expert.

Chapter 9 – Long family history of the first victim’s youth in France and his wife whose family were chief executioners to the King and then during the Revolution.   They had a weird relationship which was sometimes okay and sometimes full of hate.   Probably there is a vital clue or two in this, but I don’t know what it is.

Chapter 10 – Blowpipes.   Well, one blowpipe.   Missing.   3 darts covered in curare.   Missing.    What would the murderer have done if they hadn’t been?   Can one tell without lab equipment?   Maybe they were tested on the pets?   Seems to me you’d only need to test one.   Mantling makes it clear that ventriloquism could’ve made it seem like Bender was still alive.   I can see how you might use a blowpipe through the shutters, and you could maybe blow the parchment into the room, too, but I don’t see how you abstract the notebook and the dart.   Being first in the room and palming the dart seems pretty risky and downright impossible with a largish notebook.

The more I read the more likely it is I won’t think much of the solution .   But being halfway through I can now read Pt. 1 of Brad’s GADzooks! Chapter-by-Chapter Extravaganza.


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