Shot Dead – Episode 1

 

Episode 1 
It was a quiet dark night. Detective Chatur Nath sat in the shadows of his home, musing. Although it was half past one, he could not turn his mind away from the strange case assigned to him:

Industrialist Shravan Ram’s wife Sudha was shot dead at her home when he was out of town. He was returning home with a bottle of rum to surprise her when he discovered the body. The Police maintained that it must be suicide. But Shravan was in disbelief. With no death note and no proper reason, he asked, “How could it be suicide?” He was right.

Chatur stood up, walked slowly and tore the calendar date. The thin paper showed ’23-05-1998’. He then started walking around the room. It was a frugal apartment with a simple kitchen and wash. A shelf on the right was stacked with loose papers, newspaper clippings and worn out books, topped with some leftover food. Gazing at the mess, Chatur Nath lapsed into contemplation.

When Chatur Nath went to that house at about 6pm the previous day, Sudha was lying on the floor of the living room in a pool of blood. Her face was pale and her eyes wide open. Her body was contorted strangely. Chatur could clearly see that she hadn’t expected a bullet to penetrate her throat. But he, unlike the police force, remained unaffected by the bullet wound. What bothered him was a cut on her arm just above the elbow.

“Sir” the police inspector called. “We have searched the house. There are no signs of an intruder. This should have been a suicide”

“That’s strange”, Chatur muttered under his breath.

“Nothing strange about this case, sir. Just a disgruntled housewife looking for an easy way out”, breezed the inspector.

“Is that so? Explain the cut on her arm then”

The inspector knelt and took a good look at the cut. It seemed to be recent, like it happened that day, perhaps a couple of hours ago. But why would someone who wanted to commit suicide, cut their arm with a knife instead of shooting themselves in the first place?

Chatur was young, yet intelligent. He was a good observer. He had dealt with a lot of complicated cases where clues were hard to obtain. But he remained cool as ever. He never took success to his head and failure to his heart. He would always tell his mom that he loved his job – solving mysteries. “I want people to die in more mysterious ways” he would joke.

He walked around Sudha’s house. The inspector was right. There were no clues. Everything seemed to be perfect, untouched. The backyard was covered by thorny bushes. Anyone would think twice or more to step into it. Sudha’s house was one of those that look great on the outside, but is in shambles inside.

In front of the house, there was a pair of slippers. The police claimed it to be Sudha’s. But why wasn’t it kept on the shoe rack? She wasn’t dressed like she was going out. Also, the slippers looked old and rugged unlike the sandals on the rack. One of the slippers was checked with Sudha’s foot and it was not matching. Her foot was broad and long while the slipper was small.

He told the inspector to take away all the knives in the house to check for fingerprints. After that, Sudha’s body was sent to the forensic lab. The slippers were the only hunch Chatur obtained. He already started liking this case.

 

You can read the next episode by clicking on the link below :

Episode 2

Shot dead – is an exclusive bilingual crime novel series, jointly written by Swathi Mohan and Anirudh Ramesh (English) and Arun Balaji, Kishore and K.Pavithra (Tamil).