Story Contest 2020 #2 Highly Commended »

Highly Commended Story - The Father’s Crime

“The Father’s Crime” by Sophie Lee Tsz Yan, Marymount Primary School, Hong Kong, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the second biannual Short Story Contest 2020.

Sophie is a student at Marymount Primary School and the Hong Kong Academy of Gifted Education. She loves writing and drawing. She enjoys writing English fiction and likes reading both modern fiction such as ‘Percy Jackson’ and ‘Harry Potter’ and classics such as ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘Les Miserables’. Her favorite classic is ‘Anne of Green Gables’ because she can relate to Anne's personality. She also loves art, especially drawing illustrations and fashion designs. She would like to become an architect, writer or lawyer one day, where she can put her artistic or literary talents to good use.

The Father’s Crime

It was a bright day in London. I and the famed detective Katie Rogers, cousin of Hercule Poirotwere sitting in velvet chairs, sipping our coffee. She was talking with me when a knock came from the door. I answered it. A woman around fifty stood in the doorway. “Where is Ms. Rogers?” The detective looked up.

The woman introduced herself as Josephine Hughes, married to a man who was a magnate in Britain’s coal industry. After she settled down, Hughes explained the case. She told us that she had a daughter named Jaqueline, who was found dead on their mansion’s front porch. Rogers grabbed the newspaper sitting on the table and pointed to the headline. “This one?” Hughes nodded.

The headline read: Young woman found dead. Apparently, Jaqueline was discovered dead on the front porch of her house. The police stated that she committed suicide, as they found a bottle of poison on her room desk with her fingerprints.

Rogers accepted the case. After the woman left, the detective asked, “If you were in my shoes, what would you do?” I replied, “I’d check out the crime scene.” So, we boarded a carriage and raced towards it.

We went up to the stairs. A couple of police were standing in the doorway. They wore blue uniforms and elaborate golden brooches. One glared and muttered “Pathetic.” The other gave him a disapproving look and addressed us.

The officer let us investigate the house for a while. The icy constable tried to stop us, arguing with his colleague before finally letting us in. Rogers only stayed in the front porch for a while, as she decided that either the murderer moved Jaqueline there or she went there herself. We then went in her room, a huge space where a fancy bed lay, along with other luxury objects. Rogers took out her investigation tools and was checking everything when another two men dashed in. One was the icy officer. The other walked over to Rogers. The detective spoke with him, then passed a folder to Rogers. The icy officer tried to persuade us to leave, though we didn’t fall for it. On our way out, we saw him again, mumbling something about his hate of gangsters.

“Any clues?” I asked Rogers the following morning. She replied “The police told me some important points. Firstly, he told me that the bottle had Jaqueline’s fingerprints. Second, a shattered teacup was found in the bin. The shards looked clean, although they had the smell of tea and something like an almond scent. Also, a tiny shard of metal was embedded in her arm. But I’m positive she was murdered.” Rogers took a deep breath. “Why?” I asked. The detective explained to me that Jaqueline was supposed to go to university this fall. She had been awaiting that time for so long. She was telling her friends just a week ago.

“The last thing he told me,” Rogers said, “Her father, John Hughes, had actually once been a part of a criminal gang. His original name was Norman Stevens and later changed it to Hughes. Anyways, the gang was into the drug dealing business. He used the money to build his empire.”

The following day, I was just sipping my coffee as usual, as the detective was off at the police station. Suddenly, the door practically flew off its hinges. Rogers burst in. “Solved it!” I snatched my coat and hat, then sprinted down the stairs and towards the stone building. As we were running, she explained her suspicion. Apparently, the icy officer’s (whose name was Williams) father had been killed by Hughes. Williams had hated him since. He’d love to take revenge on Hughes himself, but he was overseas, so the officer targeted his daughter instead. That night, Jaqueline had made a cup of tea and left it by the window. Williams, who was hiding outside, poured a little cyanide in the cup. After she’d died, the officer crept in, put on some rubber gloves so he wouldn’t leave fingerprints, and put the bottle into her hand for fingerprints, taking care to wipe away his own. Then, he rinsed out the cup and threw it in the bin. He lugged Jaqueline’s body out onto the front porch afterwards, but when he knelt to get the body, his brooch caught the corpse’s arm and a little piece came off. After that, he dumped the gloves and went home. “But how do you know about William’s father?” Rogers informed me that he told the friendly officer a year ago, but he’d just remembered when I asked him.

A man was waiting for us at the entrance. He waved us over. Upon closer inspection, he was the same officer Rogers talked to earlier. He led us through a hallway, then unlocked a steel door and motioned for us to walk in.

I saw a bare room, with a single grey table and two rickety chairs on either side. The suspect seat was already occupied by Williams. The officer who took us here stood to a side, while a sergeant took the interrogator seat. The questioning began.

The sergeant began asking Williams some questions. He tried to turn away. Two burly securities held him back. He grumbled some more. “Officer, you have to answer.” Finally, he relented and confessed. It was exactly the same as Rogers suspected.

After a few days, the officer was charged with murder. The detective reported back to Josephine Hughes, who was still sorrowful but glad that the case was solved. Rogers gazed up at the ceiling, thinking of the innocent girl, died because of something her father did. She knew that Mr. Hughes had left Britain in search of a new place to start over his life. But before that, his daughter was killed. “Pity,” she murmured.

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