"Jives-san," gasped Ran staring at the butler's corps.
Said corps was hanging from a light fixture on the wall (the kind use to hold torches) by the collar of his suit, there was a large blood stain on his chest.
Kudo (being very used to this sort of thing) darted in ahead of us over to the dead butler and grabbed his wrist. After holding it for a few seconds he glanced back and shook his head.
Hakuba pulled out his pocket watch, "Three forty-five, and thirty six seconds, the time of discovered and confirmed death."
"From the stiffness of his wrist I'd say he's only been dead for only one to two hours," Kudo called over to us.
With that confirmation I took charge I took charge, "Neechan, you'd better get the kids (except for Ku-Conan-kun) out of here, take them back to the dinning hall. Callihan-chan call the police, then wait in the dinning hall with the others. Hiraita-chan see if you can round everyone else up and meet them there. Get everyone's alibis while your at it."
The three girls nodded and hurried out of the room with the kiddy crew in tow.
Those of us remaining moved in to examine the crime scene. Kudo already had a head start on the rest of us examining the wall. "From the blood splatters on the wall I'd say he was standing on that balcony before what ever killed him knocked him over the edge, then he got caught on the the torch holder." He said gesturing to an indoor balcony from a floor above of us.
Drew-chan glanced at Kudo in surprise, "You're pretty observant little boy."
That caused Kudo to go into his usual panic at his intelligence being noticed. "I-I learned a lot from Heiji-niisan," he stammered glancing a me in desperation, "Ne, Heiji-niisan."
I bit back a laugh and nodded, "Yeah, the kid's like my assistant, I taught him everything he knows." I said scruffing his hair a little bit. I had to hold back another laugh as Kudo glowered at me unamused.
Hakuba chose that moment to ruin it for me, "That poor boy, being taught be such an incompetent hot-head."
I turned to him "What did you say," I growled.
Frank-san quickly stepped between us, "Lets get back to the matter at hand, in case you've forgotten there's been a murder here."
I shot one last glare at Hakuba then asked, "Does anyone have a camera."
The three Americans were a bit thrown by this comment, "What?" asked Drew-chan.
"We will need to take pictures of the crime scene before we move the body or touch anything," answered Kudo.
Joe-san blinked in surprise, "You want us too move the body?"
"Haven't you ever dealt with a murder before?" I asked.
Joe-san looked uncomfortable, "Yes, but we usually leave messing with the body to the police."
Hakuba rolled his eyes, "I'm sure you remember how long it took to drive up the mountain to get here. By the time the police arrive the murder might get away, or destroy all evidence linking the him (or her) to the crime. It would be best to begin the investigation immediately"
Drew-chan held out her cell-phone, "My phone has a camera on it, will that work."
While Drew-chan took pictures the rest of us removed the body from where it was hanging and began a makeshift autopsy.
"The cause of death seems to be from a bullet, judging from the hole in his chest, It apparently went straight through and is most likely now embedded in the wall up there " said Hakuba, as he wrote everything down in his little note book.
I glanced up, "Then we'd better check the balcony."
After searching the room a bit Kudo and I were able to find a staircase that led to the balcony.
There wasn't much up there, just a door and a bookcase against the the wall opposite the veranda. I tried the door (locked) while Kudo examined the bookcase.
"Oi Hattori, I found the murder weapon," called Kudo.
I went and stood beside him and saw what he was talking about. Slipped between the books was a gun, further examination showed that the gun was set to a timer that would pull the trigger once time ran out. I pulled on a glove and carefully set the gun to safety so it wouldn't go off again on accident. Kudo and I then went back down to rejoin the other.
Kudo immediately put on his 'I'm-just-a-kid' face as I explained what we'd found. "That means we won't be able to determine the murder by their alibi at the time of death, the timer could have been set at any time by anyone who knew what time Jives-san would be up there."
"I wonder what he was doing up there anyway," muttered Drew-chan.
Frank-san shrugged "I assume he was there to see who would solve the riddle first."
Hakuba turned and began heading out the way we came in, "In any case we had better question our suspects, we should see who knew Jives-san would be here."
The rest of us glanced at each other than followed him.
'I knew this would happen.' That was all I could think when Mori-chan Callihan-chan and Tantei-diva announced that the butler was dead.
A few minutes ago the three girls along with Tantei-kun's little friends had come running in through the front door. Mori-chan had hurried the kids (most of whom were crying) into the dining hall, while Callihan-chan went running off after practically screaming at me to tell her where the phone was. Tantei-diva on the other hand came marching in and demanding everyone in the building to go into the dining hall and remain there until further notice, everyone did so willingly after watching her physically throw the Three Investigators in when they had refused (The Alden Kids were still shooting her terrified looks).
"Well at least no one can say the butler did it," muttered Arthur Drake-kun dryly after the initial shock of the news had worn off. Though that comment earned him several glares and an elbow in the ribs from his girlfriend.
I rolled my eyes, 'And like I said I knew something like this would happen. One tantei alone attracts enough bad luck, throw together a bunch of them and you have a recipe for blood and chaos. Why did I tag along with these guys again?' I sighed, even though a roomful of detectives is about as lucky an a footless rabbit it also meant there was a strong likelihood that killer would be caught in record time.
I was cut off from my mental rant when my three favorite tantei along with the Hardy brothers and Drew-chan entered the dining hall. It's show time.
End Chapter 6
A/N I have all new respect for Gosho Aoyama and all other murder mystery writers, I had no idea that it was so hard to come up with a way to kill someone. Again sorry that this story has been coming along at a snail's pase I'll try to speed up.