Murder at 10, unleash your inner Detective to find the killer

This is a completely fictional murder mystery or whodunnit detective puzzle. Plot of this murder puzzle is based in the year 1980. There will be no Call Details Record (CDR) or DNA sort of things.

You will have to play the role of a detective and will have to rely on your wit and reasoning to solve the murder mystery of this whodunit. So, let us study the intriguing case Murder at 10. 

You are private detective X and having a chat with your assistant cum friend Mr. Y while enjoying a cup of hot coffee in a bright and nice day of mid October 1980. Interrupting your conversation an old lady stepped in your room. She was looking pale and anxious to your investigative eyes. 

The old lady burst into tears and said, please save my son, he is innocent, I swear.

Your friend Y politely asked the lady to sit down and then explain her problem. 

The lady complied and said, my name is Hema Devi Choudhary. I am an unfortunate mother whose son has been booked by the police on the accusation of murdering my brother Vijay Narayan Choudhary. Please trust me, my son didn't commit the murder. 

The police must have found some evidences, you said, --- you will have to disclose the entire case to me, if you try to hide things, I won't be able to help you. 

I will tell you everything, Hema Devi replied wiping her tears. Her story in a nutshell is like this:-

The incident occurred in Rampur village which is situated on the outskirts of Bombay. Late Vijay Narayan Choudhary was a known and influential person of the locality who had gathered sufficient properties in his active days. Members of the family includes his two sons Ram Narayan and Hari Narayan, Ram Narayan's wife and a thirteen years old daughter Ratna, cousin Hema Devi and her son Ashish. Hema Devi started to live in her deceased brother's house after losing her husband. There are also maid Bindu and a few more servants.

Vijay Narayan was a rheumatoid and took bed a long time ago, he could not even leave his bed without taking assistance from others. The main head of the family is his eldest son Ram Narayan. Ram is a vary cautious man and is responsible for  maintaining every requirement of the family. He also keeps accounts of every expenditure. 

But, recently the family was seeing some problems. Vijay Narayan was growing restless day by day due to his never-ending illness and seemed to lament all the time lying on his bed. He also had developed disputes with almost all members of his family. 

You the detective interfered in her speech and asked, who had the worst relation with the deceased i.e. Vijay Narayan?

-- everyone, his two sons, daughter in law, granddaughter, me, my son and even with the maids, Hema Devi said.

By the by, Y asked, what does your son Ashish do?

-- my son is as unfortunate as me, he could not arrange a job yet. 

-- So, Ashish is dependable on his deceased uncle, now tell us, why and how did Ashish commit the murder?

-- he is innocent, believe me, he can't even kill an ant, Hema Devi said with tears.

-- then why the police have arrested your son?

-- this must be a conspiracy to implicate my son, I don't know who is behind the conspiracy but my son can't do this. 

-- all right, now tell us about the murder, how did it happen?

-- the incident took place on last Friday at 10 pm. I was preparing dinner in my room at the ground floor when suddenly I heard a  scream coming out from the first floor. I immediately rushed to the room of Vijay Narayan at first floor and was shocked to find him lying on bed with a knife pierced through his chest. He was bleeding profusely. By this time everyone else of the family have also reached the room. Eldest son Ram Narayan had arranged to inform the cops. The police came at the murder spot and they discovered that my son Ashish is the owner of the knife. My son genuinely confessed that he owned the knife but it was stolen a few days ago. 

-- did the police find any other incriminating evidence against Ashish? Your assistant Y threw the question.

-- yes, the police have found my son's fingerprint on the knife. Besides this, the house maid Bindu witnessed before the police that Ashish was seen having an argument with Vijay Narayan a few minutes before commission of the crime. The police have taken him into custody. Still, I would say my son is innocent. 

-- the case has knocked you, you said, ok we will visit Rampur village tomorrow. I have a good rapport with the Station Head of Rampur Police Station, Inspector Z. If your son is really innocent, then do not worry, I will do my best to save your son. 

Inspector Z knows you well, having learned that you are interested in this murder, he said, it's really good that a smart man like you are going to help us. He further added, prima facie Ashish Choudhary is the culprit and the result of our preliminary investigation is also pointing towards him. The murder took place at 10 pm. A few minutes before the murder Ashish was seen entering the room of Vijay Narayan and he was also seen having an argument with the deceased. So, we had sufficient evidence to book him under section 302 of the IPC.

-- but can someone kill another person only because they had some argument? You asked. 

-- the knife which was used as the murder weapon is owned by Ashish, Inspector Z said. 

-- but Ashish has maintained that the knife was stolen from his room a few days ago.

-- then whom do you suspect for this murder? Inspector Z asked.

-- it is to be investigated, we must find a reasonable motive behind the murder of Vijay Narayan. Right this moment, I am not convinced that Ashish had a strong motive. Can you please tell me who is or are going to be benefitted most consequent to this murder. 

-- it's two of the sons Ram Narayan and Hari Narayan. They are the only legal heir and so they will inherit all properties left by Vijay Narayan.

-- has the deceased left any will? You asked.

-- yes, there is a will and as per the will all properties will be divided between the two sons. Hema Devi the cousin of Late Vijay Narayan will get some monthly allowance till her son Ashish stands on his feet. 

-- so, it is evident that Ashish is not at all benefitted as a consequence of the murder. Rather, the death of Vijay Narayan has brought uncertainty in the life of Ashish. 

-- your reasoning has probably attracted Inspector Z's mind. He said, then whom do you suspect?

-- in order to say this, I would like to visit the crime spot once. 

-- all right then, let us go.

The house of the Choudhary's in Rampur village is a big one. It's not hard to guess that the Chaudhary's family was once wealthy. You and Y entered into the house along with Inspector Z. Mr. Z has introduced you with all the family members. You first entered into the room where the murder was committed. 

The room was locked and on instruction of Z, one police constable unlocked the door. 

You located a king size bed on one side of the room where the dead body was found. There are two windows and one door in the room. There is also an attached toilet which has a separate door for sweeper and a spiral shaped iron staircase which goes down to the garden. 

There was an antique grandfather clock which drew your attention. All daily activities of the house is carried out as per this clock. When Vijay Narayan was active, he used to wind the clock in every week, when he became inactive his two sons took the responsibility of winding the clock. 

You have cross-examined each member of the family. The main question was who was where at the time of commission of the murder. 

One thing is common in the statements made by all family members, that the murder took place exactly at 10 pm. The moment Vijay Narayan's scream became weaker the grandfather clock began to ring for 10. 

At the time of the incident Ram Narayan was busy playing rummy in one of the neighbor's house. Madhab Sharma's house is located near the Choudhary's and each evening Ram Narayan visits there for playing cards. On the day of the murder when Ram Narayan was about to leave for home someone told it was 10 passed 5 minutes. This was heard by Madhab Sharma and he too out of natural reflex checked his wrist watch and found that it was indeed 10 passed 5 minutes. So, as per witness of Madhab Sharma and other card players, Ram Narayan was not present in his home at the time of murder and instead he was in Madhab Sharma's house. 

On the same day, one of Hari Narayan's friend came in the morning who was to return by a train scheduled for departure at 10:05 pm. The station is not too far, so Hari Narayan went to drop his friend at the station 5 minutes before 10 pm. 

-- did you see the train at the correct time? You asked directly to Hari Narayan.

-- no, the train was late for some 10-15 minutes. 

-- was it 10 or 15 minutes? be specific.

-- actually both me and my friend didn't had wrist watch, so I made an assumption that the train was late for 10-15 minutes.

-- who else in the house have wrist watch? You began to see hither and thither putting up the question. Then you saw a cute teenage girl who was appearing to be hesitant to talk. 

-- what is your name? You asked the girl.

-- my name is Ratna, she replied coming forward. 

-- don't you have a wrist watch?

-- yes, I have, but the watch sometime becomes fast. My father has promised to buy me a good watch. 

-- let me see your watch once.

Ratna being encouraged with your words rushed to her room to bring the wrist watch. It was a cheap wrist watch and easily available.

You inspected the watch and said, nice watch, when was it bought?

-- just in the last month.

You noticed that the watch was showing correct time.

Having finished your cross-examination, you then went to the garden at the back side of the house. Reaching the spiral iron staircase which came down from the toilet door of Vijay Narayan, you saw something on the ground. It was a handkerchief having some blood like stains. You kept this possible evidence in your pocket without bringing it into the notice of anybody else. 

After some time you left the house with your friend Y. 

Right after 2 days, you went to see Inspector Z and said, -- ask all members of the Choudhary's family to assemble at the main hall in the evening. Hopefully, you will be able to arrest the real murderer from there.

-- what are you saying X? So, Ashish is not the real murderer? An astonished Z replied.

-- certainly no, it's not Ashish.

-- then who murdered Vijay Narayan?

-- you will get to know in the evening, have patience.

It is now evening and every resident of the Chaudhary's house have assembled in the main hall. Deceased Vijay Narayan's 2 sons, Ram Narayan's wife and daughter Ratna, cousin Hema Devi and the servants all are there. 

Everybody is curious to know what the famous private detective X has under his sleeve. By this time, you have stated that Ashish has been wrongly accused and he isn't the actual murderer.

-- then who is the murderer? They asked together.

-- before telling this we would like to know what evidences the police has against Ashish, you said dramatically.

-- the most vital evidence is that the knife which was used as the murder weapon was actually owned by Ashish. The murder weapon also had fingerprints of Ashish. 

-- but Ashish didn't change his stand that his knife was stolen a few days before the day of the murder. Still, it is natural that the knife would contain Ashish's fingerprint. The actual murderer must have weared gloves while stealing the knife from Ashish's room and also while committing the crime. He stole the knife with a plan to kill Vijay Narayan. 

-- the next evidence against Ashish is he was seen having an argument with Vijay Narayan a few minutes before commission of the murder. Inspector Z said.

-- police may treat this as an evidence, but there is vast difference between "before the incident" and "at the time of the incident". Moreover, Ashish does not have a strong motive to kill Vijay Narayan. Perhaps, as soon as Ashish left Vijay Narayan's room the murderer who used the spiral staircase to enter through the toilet door killed Vijay Narayan and then escaped through the same route. 

Your revelation has created quite a lot buzz in the room. Ram Narayan's wife said, -- who is behind this?

-- why don't you think yourself? Killing your father-in-law who will be benefitted most?

-- who? asked Hari Narayan, the younger son.

-- you and your elder brother will be benefitted most, isn't it? Having a glance at all the faces you said, now tell me the truth, where were you all at the time of the murder?

-- they already have said this, Inspector Z said. 

-- the murder happened exactly at 10 pm. That time Ram Narayan was playing cards in Madhab Sharma's house. And Hari Narayan went to railway station to drop his friend. 

-- Mr. Hari Narayan, you said earlier that the train was late for 10-15 minutes. I have checked records with the station, on that day the train had arrived and departed Rampur Station at correct time without any delay. You said in a serious voice.

-- what do you mean Mr. X? Does it prove that I committed the murder? Hari Narayan said excitedly. 

-- relax Mr. Hari, don't get excited. Yes, it doesn't establish you as the murderer but it at least proves that the statement given by you is not correct. And actually, none of you have provided the correct information. The murder didn't happen at 10 pm, it actually happened a few minutes later.

-- what it means? We don't get it.

-- well, it means that the grandfather clock was running slow on that day for whatever reason and the murderer took advantage of this. 

-- Hema Devi shouted, then tell me who killed my brother? Who?

Even we have the same question too. Who killed Vijay Narayan Choudhary and how? 

You are advised to stop reading here and think for sometime to find the killer. All the clues and evidences are there in this whodunit. Remember, you are private detective X.

If you can not find the killer then feel free to read the solution by clicking the below button.

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