Poetry competition CLOSED 18th October 2022 4:41am
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Murder Mystery

Tyrant of Words
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Poetry Contest

Who? What? Where? When? Why?
One man  dead. Did he fall on the knife?  Somebody helped, planting it in his back first?  Was he shot...once? three times?  or his the dead body that of a woman?

Poems, if you like, up to 50 lines or so,
Short stories up to 2,000 words, approx.

Fire of Insight
United Kingdom
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I haven’t got a Cluedo how I got here

Heavy rain washed over the wiper blades
the car juddered to a halt, steam rising
from the radiator like a Roman spa.
As I looked around for any sign of help, lightening
flashed across the silhouette of large
foreboding house set back from the road.

I started the 60-yard dash, coat over my head.
The solid oak of the front door gave a dense thud
as I banged three times. It opened before the fourth
“come in Reverend” said a well-placed butler
“We’ve been expecting you”, I was about to say
you have me mixed up with someone else,
when I saw my reflection in a large ornate mirror,
I run my finger inside the white collar
that had appeared around my neck.

I was ushered into the Library
sat down on an old chesterfield.
“May I take your coat” asked the butler
exchanging if for a large silver dagger.
“My cars broke down” I said in a distant voice
looking at my reflection in the blade.
“Can I introduce you to Mrs. Peacock”
he said as he left the room.

She strutted in, all her finery and
feathers interlaced with her dress,
“hello reverend how lovely to meet you again”,
I saw the candlestick behind her back,
her eyes burning with a dark madness.
In a flash she lunged towards me,
candlestick high above her head.
I instinctively stood up and raised my arms
causing her to run onto the dagger.
Its sharp blade sliding into her torso,
as the madness drained from her eyes
she tried to tell me something.

I collapsed at the sight of blood
and came-round in thin white room
that smelled like a dusty old envelope
with just the dagger and a sign that said Library.
As I scanned the walls, trying to find a door
I began to panic.
I could hear voices outside
giant footsteps each one called out by its number
I could hear names, rooms and weapons
being listed in different orders.

Then someone mentioned the dagger,
its blade glistened as it spun round
standing on its tip in perfect balance.
Next the Library sign jumped to attention
as if waiting for further instruction.
Then I heard the words “Reverend Green”
the paper-thin walls of the room
fell apart in a blinding white light
and I was stood outside again
back with my car in the pouring rain
blood dripping from my shaking hands.
Written by Razzerleaf
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Tyrant of Words
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Nice.  The mystery goes on.

Mr Karswell
Fire of Insight
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Inspector Pinchbottle to the Rescue

Enter Inspector Pinchbottle...

He walked into the drawing room like he had every right to be there, as if a policeman’s home could ever be as grand as this five-bedroom edifice in Chelsea. The house’s late incumbent, George Cumberland-Smythe, lay dead on the Aubusson carpet in a neat puddle of blood. A smell of almonds hung in the air. Dressed for dinner, George’s trousers were about his ankles and an unspeakable thing had been done to his posterior with a bottle of champagne.

This thing was spoken by Constable Gamadge until Lady Elspeth fainted and Pinchbottle clipped the clod around the ear. The lady was the dead man’s fiancée, and she cowered in a corner of the large drawing room as her dearly departed’s remaining modesty was protected by quick-thinking use of an Oriental screen. ‘Why don’t you take the poor woman somewhere else?’ said Pinchbottle to Gamadge, who promptly guided the shaking woman to the library across the hall.

When Gamadge returned he found his superior still gazing down at the dead man. ‘An obscene humiliation of the corpse...’ the Inspector remarked to himself.


The inspector was stirred from his reverie. ‘Never mind’ he said, striding about the room, observing this and that. ‘Just recalled an old case of my mentor’s, from the late ‘80s. Never solved, that one. Chap did in several women-of-the-night and, ahem, desecrated their remains. To use the Christian phrase.’

The inspector suddenly realised just how many flowers, of various hue, were in this room. Stood up in vases, water jugs, even a couple of repurposed milk bottles. Odd for a gentleman’s lodgings, he thought.

‘Lady Elspeth isn’t normally resident here, is she?’

‘No, sir. The Cumberland-Smythes use it as their house-in-the-city.’

Pinchbottle sniffed. ‘Alright for some’ he said. ‘Well then’ he continued, having gazed a moment at an arrangement of daffodils, quite inappropriate for winter, atop an antique Shakespeare folio. ‘Let’s start with the victim. Dazzle me, Gamadge.’

Gamadge read from his notebook. ‘It appears that the late Hon Cumberland-Smythe had set himself up as an actor on the West End stage. According to our preliminary review, he came back here at about 11:00 PM with Lady Elspeth. The butler had put out champagne-in-a-bucket to celebrate opening night. Lady Gamadge went to powder her nose. Apparently she likes to spend her time in there. When she returned she found him like this. It seems that he was coshed with the bottle and then, well, the rest of it happened. Can’t have taken longer than 5 minutes, all in all.’

‘Who else has been staying here the past week?’

‘Apart from Smythe and Elspeth, there’s Michael Taylor and Georgette Bicknell, sir, also in the library. He’s the dead man’s school chum, operates a posh florist’s with his mother in Mayfair. Bicknell’s a distant cousin of the victim, worked in a hospital dispensary during the Great War and now just sort of wanders about.’


‘Taylor’s been struggling and depends largely on George’s patronage. According to Michael, George feels indebted to him because he saved his life when they were fighting in France.

‘As for Georgeta, it seems that she may have been infatuated with her cousin, as a lot of women are. Lady Elspeth expressed some suspicion, although that could just be female sniping exacerbated by shock and grief, of course. She seems too weak and willowy to have so quickly overcome and killed her cousin in such a violent manner, but one never knows, of course.’

Pinchbottle noticed the smell of almonds again, and followed it to a spray of chrysanthemums guarded by little glass bottles on an end table. He looked at the silver service on which the bucket still stood beside a single upset glass. ‘Let’s head to the library.’

But before we head to the library...


Can YOU work out whodunit?

Was it...

Lady Elspeth, perhaps in a fit of jealous rage?
Michael Taylor, during an argument about money?
or Georgette Bicknell, out of a quasi-incestuous passion?

The clues are all there!


‘How did you know, sir?’ said Constable Gamadge as the guilty party was led into the cold Chelsea night. The policemen’s breaths fogged the air before them.
‘I think you’ll find that the late Cumberland-Smythe died before the bottle ever struck him’ said Pinchbottle. ‘The empty glass by the bucket. I mentioned it in the library because it occurred to me how a killer could dispose of their victim before making the crime seem like something else entirely.

‘Lady Elspeth goes to powder her nose but doesn’t hear her fiancée being attacked with a bottle of champagne, no struggle, nothing?

‘Someone else slipped into the drawing room while she was gone, offered to toast the dead man’s success, and possessed of an actor’s ego, he agreed. The murder would have been highly premeditated. The little bottles on the end table, one of them was used to store a quantity of cyanide, hence the almond smell in that room.

‘Once the butler had departed, the killer laces a glass with cyanide from the bottle and hides it about their person. They produce the glass at an opportune moment, fill it with champagne, and then hand the man the means of his own demise. All else is just theatre.

‘And who among the suspects knows the most about poison, and would require it when killing a man? The weak and willowy one, who worked in a dispensary.’

Georgette glanced back at Gamadge and Pinchbottle as her head was ducked below the ceiling of the paddy-wagon, trying her best to look like a tragic innocent.
Written by Casted_Runes (Mr Karswell)
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Tyrant of Words
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Excellent, my dear Watson.

Faith Elizabeth Brigham
Tyrant of Words
United States
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A Not So Charmed Life

A gathering of wicked witches
Armed with a multitude of heavy switches
Rose expertly to the occasion
Of the most despicable persuasion

Shall we hide the dead man laying
Near the smoldering calderon
Or toss him into the brew
Calckled the ugly old shrew

Murdered he was at the merciless hands
Of such witches who knew
They had beaten him to a bloody pulp
Like only these heartless witches could do

The man had lived a sad life
Filled with poverty and strife
Now here he lay beaten and breathless
Enclosed in one hand a sharp hunting knife
Written by faithmairee (Faith Elizabeth Brigham)
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poet Anonymous

<< post removed >>
Tyrant of Words
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Oh, cruel.  Nicely done.

Twisted Dreamer
United States
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Soul Evil!

Though Nobody Knows Just What in the Name of "God"  
a "Soul" Actually Is      
A Nearly Murder Mystery      
"Most every adult was murdered at his mommy's knee --
or by his Sunday-school teacher."
-- an adult not murdered, in faith having
He fell not on his sword      
his being wisely non-defeatist        
in owning not a crystal ball the future to foresee --      
though high remain the probabilities of murder manifold.      
No, stabbed was he --  
to back get on his feet within a sec --      
by Tinker Bell        
a fairy femme fatale        
of sexy hair extensions      
luscious pumped plump botox lips      
and buttocks tucked seductive --      
the fay a fugitive who straight to New York City flited, flew, and fled      
where privately resides the pixie peccant in a penthouse suite        
with views of Central Park --      
an eerie airy aerie sharing happily with seven children --      
each a Disney "dwarf" --      
along with yet her second husband --
after the divorce of the adulteress from Peter Pan --      
some bearded antic antique dude --
whom possibly you might have met --      
named Jesus.      
a dedication of Respect      
for the Rational  
a revolving helios free verse menippean satire on
leaps untold of faith       
october, 2022 -- merely two thousand years or so and counting      
since a half-god half-dude turned water into wine, walked on water,        
and watersports enjoyed with twelve strict disciplinarians      
Written by Jordan (D.O.C.)
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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Death by Poison

Though it was meant to look death by accidental alcohol poisoning, the lead detective wasn’t quite convinced. After all, how many times does a rich old man leave his much younger wife all his money and leaves everyone in the family out of the will.

When the authorities arrested the young widow for suspicious foul play, the dame was more than cooperative.

The old man had consumed half a bottle of whiskey, enough to knock out a horse for a night, but the autopsy clearly showed he had also been poisoned. She was questioned for several hours at the police station. She was a looker, dark hair, pouty lips, smoking cigarette after cigarette while wearing her black silk gloves, relaxed without a worry to show.

“Something is just not right” one of the detectives said. “Here she is, she doesn’t show any emotion, like she didn’t love him and just wanted his money”, he added behind the doubled sided mirror.

“Where did you get the poison?” another detective asked in the room where she sat at the table. “I didn’t give him any” she responded coldly.

“Bullshit” he said. “The autopsy says otherwise, and you were the only one with him in the house all night!”

“Why don’t you ask one of his other whores” she replied, her face cold.

“Look Ma'am” the detective took of his fedora and placed it on the table. “You need to be straight with me, you knew your husband was a womanizer, and yet you still married him and…”

“I knew what he was” she cut in. “But the son of a bitch didn’t have to cheat on me with my younger sister. Yes, I was mad at him and I also loved him, but I'm not stupid, I wouldn't poison my husband. He was a drunk and he got what he deserved”.

“This doesn’t look good for your Mrs…” the other detective the room said scratching his head, looking at his pocket watch, seeing it was nearly two morning.

Just at the moment, her lawyer walked in, looked at the detectives. “Her bail has been posted detectives, if you have any more questions, you can contact my office. In the meantime my client will no longer be answering any questions.”

The old man’s body lay in the morgue. It was 8am when the lead detective arrived. He asked the medical examiner to see if could look at the body again. The lead detective knew this was a pretty open and shut case. The wife poisoned the man but in checking all the records they could not locate where she had gotten the poison nor found any evidence that would lead them to make that final conclusion and eventually a conviction.

“It was pretty lethal dose” the examiner said. “With the alcohol level he had, he must’ve been dozing off.”

At that moment, another detective arrived with a briefcase.

“What did you get?”

“I tracked everything as far as what this guy did during and after the war. He was an intelligence officer from ‘44 to ‘46. The feds only verified that he’d been working for them up until ’62. I did find many travel logs in his personal files all over the Eastern Bloc. I think the guy was a spy and his past finally caught to him. I don’t think it was the wife.”

“That may be so” the detective replied. “But we still have a body, a motive and a suspect”.

“Here” the mortician interrupted looking at the old man’s mouth. “A broken tooth, it’s a false molar, enough to hold a cyanide pill.”

The detectives looked at each other. “Why would he? This doesn’t make sense”.

The next morning as the widow applies her make up in the vanity mirror by the window, the lawyer wakes up.  “They must’ve found the tooth by now” he said rubbing his eyes with both hands.

“Yes” she replied. “Along with his past” she said removing a second pill from inside her silk glove, walking over to the bathroom and flushing it down the toilet, then walking back to the room and smiling at the lawyer “comrade”.

Tyrant of Words
United States
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Congrats to DeathrRttle on runner up and thank you Robert for the trophy. I've always liked film noir genre so I thought I'd give it a try here.

Tyrant of Words
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Welcome. And well deserved.

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