Who killed Balasubramanium?

Padmalakshmi sits there in the interrogation room, facing the famous detective Kondaswamy. she adjusts her saree’s pallu strategically enough to let some cleavage slip out. The table fan to Padmalakshmi’s right gorges on anything remotely cool in the room like a bulimic, only to throw it up in hot, stifling blasts that barely touch the sweat streaming down Padmalakshmi’s ample sideburns.

“Madame”, Detective Kondaswamy says, as his eyes stare not into Padmalakshmi’s big black, kohl smeared one, but right at her heaving chest. “So, you say that you were taking a bath when you heard a commotion and came running down to discover his body?”

“Yes Sir.” she sniffles for effect and he hands her a murky handkerchief from his pocket. “Have you found out who did it? Who mercilessly bashed my dear Balasubramaniam’s head like a pulp?”

“Madame Padmalakshmi” Kondaswamy says, unbuttoning his first two buttons, shaking his collar and gulping down the lukewarm cola in front of him.

“We have sent your husband’s body for autopsy. Until then please answer my questions.”

“Sir… my husband is dead.” As if on cue, Padmalakshmi’s eyes water and rivulets run down her cheeks mingling with salty sweat. “What will I do? How will I eat? How will I survive?”

Kondaswamy shakes his head and continues. “Madame please, who else was in the house except you?”

Through tears Padmalakshmi pulls up her pallu, that was on the verge of threatening to expose more cleavage, and says, “That wretched Mahalakshmi. She was there in the house when it happened.”

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Kondaswamy mutters in disgust, as if disappointed at the game of tease that Padmalakshmi’s pallu has been playing with him. He brings his diary out and writes Mahalakshmi in capital letters. “Do you know of any enemies that Balasubramanium had? Anyone who wanted to hurt him?

“Oh sir” Padmalakshmi sprawls her torso on the table and this time her pallu finally falls off to reveal her sweaty breasts trapped between her and the unvarnished surface of old teakwood.

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Nina

Nina was found buried in the crook of a Wych elm deep into the forest. or perhaps what would have been deep into the forest before Sobha builders decided to make a home away from the city, in the lap of nature, eco apartments that were only five minutes from fairy falls, only fifteen kilometers away from the nearest school, hospital or office space; and only twenty minutes away from NICE road.

It was barricaded to the public; only Sobha resident joggers eroded it every morning and practically turned it into a freeway to the waterfall.

It was a dog that found her hand dangling like a T-Rex’s arm from the rotted core of the elm; one of those furry golden ones. I saw them often with the joggers, trotting along, burying their nose where it didn’t belong.

Devoid of skin, tissue or even rot, Nina’s arm had been licked clean to the bones. I was surprised that the foxes hadn’t ground the bones into a powdery puff, yet.

Nina - Wych elm

I stood among the few joggers, as the police pulled Nina out from the dark hole, one limb after another. Her torso came last and a small man was sent inside to fetch her head.

It was almost thirty minutes later that a head popped out, not Nina’s, but the man who was sent after it. He climbed out, panting and repeating, “Kuch nahee hai, Saab. There is no head.”

The Chief Inspector who looked like mosquitoes had made half a meal out of him, stomped his foot and shouted, “Where the hell is the head, then?”

“Kamraj sir…” said his deputy, smiling like a patient grandmother, “Where will the head go? It will be around somewhere. Mil jayega.”

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Detective Phansy and the case of too many women…

Detective Phansy knocked thrice on the gargoyle knocker and we waited for the massive oak doors to swing open. In five years with the murder squad, not many things intimidated me, I had seen it all, or I thought I had. But the three-mile drive inside the estate and finally parking my mini wagon among rows of Ferraris, Rolls Royce and Lamborghinis had ensured that I stand smaller than my five feet eight inch, in front of whoever opened that door.

“The Kains are wealthier than I imagined, Sir.” I spoke, tapping my feet.

“Of course they are, McLane. You Irish don’t know the meaning of true wealth now, do you?” Phansy said, roaming his disdainful gaze from my mop of waist long red hair down to my freckled face and a body that worked out, but did not say no to baguettes.

“Sir, we got wealthy people in Ireland, what are you talking about?” my voice took a high-pitched whine, the kind that appeared whenever I felt defensive.

“Not like the English do, McLane, not like the English.”

Just when my voice was about to reach a pitch higher than earlier, the door swung open and a stately woman of about fifty opened the door, and said, “Yes?”

Phansy jumped in to educate the woman of the house, “Oh Mrs. Kain, I am Detective Phansy, with a ‘Ph’. I know this would be terrible inconvenience but we have some questions regarding your husband’s unfortunate demise yesterday. I do hope you can give us ten minutes of your precious time.”

Detective Phansy

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Murder is easy – A Sherlock Holmes mystery

“Murder is easy, as long as you don’t make it look like a murder.” He said. Using his left hand to scratch his crotch fervently, in a dog like frenzy when it’s trying to bury a bone.

“So, you mean that it’s easy to commit a murder as long as you make it look like an accident, suicide or illness.” I spoke, seriously concerned about his hygiene while he ardently moved on to scratch his butt cheeks now, a look of relief stole his face as his lips parted slightly in bliss. He then cleared his throat and spoke, “Took you long enough to catch up, detective.” He looked at me from head to toe, his expression, disdainful. As if his East London lodging was any better than my Irish accent.

“In that case, Mr. Holmes, if the death of Dr. Watson is not an accident; I’d be loathe to tell you this, but you would be considered the primary suspect. Because you were the last person to see him.” I said.

“Also, I am loathe to tell you, Detective, while I might be your primary suspect, I am also your greatest ally, because I am after all ‘the Sherlock Holmes’.” He said that while tipping his hat and awkwardly itching his long beard with his right hand. He coughed up something awful, a ball of mucus with traces of red and removed his tell tale hat that looked like it had tiny holes burrowed by very hungry mice.

“You see Detective….” he continued, looking at me and murmuring about my Irish origins. His scraggly beard more grey than black, moved with a life of its own, as though it housed its own eco system right there.

“Boyle…I am Detective Boyle.” I offered.

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“Yes Detective Boyle…A common Irish ancestry, I presume. You see Dr. Watson here had invited me over for tea this evening, while his wife Mary and their son has been visiting some old crone of an aunt in Watford. We had an hour-long tete-a-tete about this and that, in which he mentioned that just last week he had cleaned his shotgun. Therefore, I honestly don’t think he would feel the need to clean it again.”

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