It began when the downstairs tenants complained of water dripping from the ceiling in their parlor. Fearing a burst pipe, the landlord was summoned. Arriving without delay he informed them there was no plumbing within that part of their ceiling; meaning the water would have to be coming from the penthouse above. Assuring them they wouldn’t be held responsible for damages and would be compensated for any to their possessions, he went upstairs to investigate.   

When knocking failed to produce results he used his master key to enter the penthouse suite with trepidation. A month earlier the tenant had gone through a messy divorce. Leaving the man with the empty apartment and memories, she had taken literally everything, including her husband’s will to live ­— he had said as much during frugal attempts to console him. Now the landlord feared finding a drowned body in a running tub as he stepped into the penthouse’s lavish kitchen.

Completely vacant of furnishings and appliances, he noted a large open crate in the middle of the kitchen floor; the lid and a crowbar laid nearby. He had seen it arrive the other day but had expressed no curiosity — his tenants paid well for privacy. Stepping into the next room, which was just as empty, he noted that the carpet was heavily saturated. He flipped on the light switch to assess the damage. There was a flash, an audible “POP” — the bulb blew out; looking up… that’s when he found the body.

Fifteen minutes later two homicide detectives arrived. Jones, the younger of the two went immediately to the scene, producing a tape-measure and assessed the situation mathematically. The 14 x 14 room was devoid of furnishing, with bare walls and light yellow wallpaper. A stylish chandelier hung in the room’s center, approximately one foot down from ceiling’s twelve foot apex. A three foot length of arborist’s rope dangled between one end, which is secured to said fixture, and the other, which is secured around the “victim’s” neck. Victim is approximately between 5’8” and 5’10” tall, placing his feet roughly two feet above the floor. He estimated that the body had been hanging in its current state for a little over twenty-four hours, had expired from asphyxiation and was murdered.

Murry, (the seasoned detective) shook his head in disagreement; pointing out a message printed in a steady hand on the wall in black marker. It read: “Diana my first, my only, my last love, the warmth of your endearment had given me life, thus it is only fitting that life should end in your cold empty embrace.” He cited this as a potential suicide note. Then pointed out the fact that the carpet and padding in the room was soaked through from wall to wall.

Jones shook his head in response. The guy was reasonably depressed, his marriage had ended, who wouldn’t be, and the plumbing’s bad or the roof had leaked. It was irrelevant because in an empty room, there was no way this man could have gotten in this position, suspended above the floor on his own. This was clearly murder, or at the very least, assisted suicide. He asked the landlord if there were security cameras. Yes, there were two, one at the elevator and one in the hall that gave a clear view of the apartment’s only entrance (the windows were barred). He wanted to see the footage of the last 72 hours to search for possible suspects. He left Murry to secure the scene.

Jones returned at a loss. The last time the penthouse’s door had opened was by the tenant himself when he had brought in the tall crate two days ago. Murry was waiting for him in the kitchen. He informed Jones that it was murder and it wasn’t assisted, then handed him a packing slip to prove his point.    

Was it murder? What was in that crate? Who done it and how? Tune in next week for the answers to these questions and less.

 I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected]. Hope to here from ya, until then try and stay focused. See ya.