Mystère à Paris

Bonjour à Paris!

I am speaking to you from the beautiful city of Paris. I am sorry that I have not been able to respond the last few days; I have been laying low in France as I understand this Hefner – or rather Sherlock Holmes as he now calling himself – is most keen on trying to find and disrupt me. I attempted to send a message to him by ransacking his apartment, but it was he who sent a message to me. How could I have been so stupid?

Yet let us not dwell on the past; with the help of a benefactor (who wishes my silence of him) made arrangements for me to come to the continent and solve a most intriguing mystery.

Comte Pierre de Cavaignac, a well-known French Aristocrat, was found murdered in a – as you say, ‘cocktail party’ (a strange name for these gatherings, for they do not usually serve a chicken’s behind at these sorts of function). He was stabbed in the torso six times and killed almost instantly, but he was found perhaps a surprisingly long time after he died. You see, he was going to make a special announcement and was presumed to enter late and with grand presentation, so when he did not show up people thought little of it. Moreover, the butlers and maids were given strict instructions by the wife Elise de Cavaignac to attend to the guests and not to Comte de Cavaignac. He was found in his study; anyone who slipped away for ten minutes would have had ample time to commit the murder and cover up their deed enough to last through the party. He was only found after the wife got anxious around dinner time that her husband did not show up, and went up to the study to find his body stabbed. Thus the announcement he was going to make that night was never made.

Initially everyone was a suspect in this murder, but I have taken the statements and narrowed down the possibilities. For starters, the maids and butlers were all very well accounted for by each other, so it is unlikely any of them could have done it. Which leaves the guest list of ten people, as well as the wife. I recount their alibis below:

  • Elise de Cavaignac mingled at every minute and hour with the guests like a good hostess and was universally accounted for that night. She could not have gotten away.
  • The advocate of the family, Jean Trudeau, was also invited to the party with his wife, Marie Trudeau; and while Elise was proven incapable of the crime for being social, Jean it might be said was disproven for being too noticeably asocial at every hour of the night – not taking to many people, feeling uncomfortable in conversation with anyone but his wife. They both stood in the corner of the lounge for all the reception, and did not have the time to commit the murder.
  • François Chrétien, an old friend from their college among the Université de Paris consortium – Paris-1, Pantheon de Sorbonne to be exact – who is one of those charismatic aristocrats who are satisfied with their own ability to entertain with their personality. Almost as devout as the wife he was entertaining guests as well.

Some people also did not have an alibi for the entire night but they seemed incapable of the murder as well:

  • Renée de Cavaignac, Pierre’s mother was also attending with her boyfriend Henri Beauregard (Pierre’s father died five years ago) and they both were claimed to wander around the residence. Renée is 75 years old and Henri is 80, and they both seem simply too old and senile to have committed the crime.
  • Finally, for almost six months Comte Pierre de Cavaignac has been working with a writer named Joseph Laval, the former hiring the latter to work on his biography. Joseph Laval works as a reporter and he was recalled to leave the guests for a ten minute period to smoke a cigarette outside. He was not seen for a good amount of time and perhaps he had an opportunity but he only knew Pierre de Cavaignac for a few months – insufficient time to have a motive for murder; besides he was scheduled to get paid in segments for his work with a major bonus after the work was completed, and Joseph was barely halfway through Pierre’s college years. As a half clever man he would have waited for full payment before acting. Not to mention he would have had to climb up to the second floor of the house from the outside in a suit, and – by his report – terrible vertigo.

Therefore there are three people who had the capacity and opportunity to commit the crime, though I cannot necessarily discern the motive:

  • Jacqueline de Geoffrey, his assistant at the company and set to be his successor upon his retirement or death. A very keen and ambitious businesswoman who played the part at the party in her white dress. She has the clearest motive of the three that I can discern.
  • Hugo Vernet, like Francois Chrétien, was also an old friend from college but he more specifically had a harsh disagreement about a girl which ultimately poisoned their friendship; they hadn’t spoken for two years and even then it was only a brief engagement at their school reunion. Obviously their relationship was sour, but it does not seem enough for a murder, particularly as it seemed Pierre was extending a laurel with this invitation.
  • And finally, Valérie du Bois, the girl that was subject of this disagreement, who had a strong passionate affair with Pierre, but it ended as soon as it began. She clearly also had strongly negative feelings about Pierre as a result but her description of it was vague; hers of the three is the most mysterious in terms of motive. She is a relatively famous socialite and very concerned with her image; she was perhaps the great head turner of the party with her red dress and short blonde hair.

I have little to go off of for the murder for it is very clean; the wounds are shallow and caused much of the bleeding to be internal rather than gushing. The knife was left in one of the wounds but had no fingerprints; whoever used it had gloves. And incidentally a pair of fancy brown leather gloves that belonged to Madame de Cavaignac went missing.

There is one piece of evidence that is interesting. First, Comte Pierre de Cavaignac’s desk in his office where he was murdered unusually clean for his reputation, with pens on the table aligned as if for some ceremony that a piece is missing of. Perhaps the murderer took the object of de Cavaignac’s announcement. And second, he had in his pocket a business card of a Swiss investor of some kind with some numbers scribbled on the back of it. What it means I do not know; I will contact this man shortly.


16 Responses to “Mystère à Paris”

  1. Sicon112 Says:

    I don’t know about the last part, but can you confirm the time of death to be DURING, and not before or after the party? Modern technology should be capable of such a thing, and it could prove important. That is my first thought on the matter, anyway. If I see any other interesting fragments, I’ll bring them up and see what you think.

    • saintofdeduction Says:

      I have been told that the mild onset of what they call ‘rigor mortis’ confirmed that Comte de Cavaignac was murdered 3-4 hours before he was examined, which would place his death in the middle of the reception from 19:00 to 22:00, yes. He was seen that night at 18:30, shuffling to the office with what was described as… I suppose you would say, ‘brooding’ expression, as if he was dealing with something of the utmost importance.

      • Sicon112 Says:

        Thank you. I would like one more piece of information, if you can give it to me.

        Could you explain why there is a discrepancy in the number of guests that you covered? You claim that there are “ten people, as well as the wife”. Do you mean the wife is included in that number, or was that a typo? Is there some other reason that one guest has not been accounted for?

      • saintofdeduction Says:

        Ah yes I confess I discovered that I made a mistake in the counting! There were 10 attendants, the wife was among them, and Pierre would have been the 11th; there were only 9 guests.

  2. vicariousshaner Says:

    Poirot, I really can not stress enough how important it is to give us more details on your fictional existence. Can you at least promise to tell us everything you know once we’ve helped you solve this mystery?

    • saintofdeduction Says:

      Fictional existence? What do you mean fictional existence? Yes, I was aware that this time and place understood Hercule Poirot as some famous iconic detective from the past but not as a WORK OF FICTION! I am writing to you now; do you doubt that I am real??

      Oh, now I see; you were coming to me with these mad theories about characters breaking into some sort of wall, not merely because you thought that my talents would suit but further because you thought that I, Hercule Poirot, was a fictional character?

      So let me tell you this; I do not believe that I am fictional, I do not even know what it means for a fictional character to break into the 4th wall; what I know is that I had just completed a river vacation in Egypt and solved the heinous murder of Jacqueline de Bellfort and I was moving on to Jerusalem and Petra in Jordan. The sun was bright and hot and I was feeling quite exhausted, and then my memory seems to have escaped me. But next thing I know I find myself on the edge of Hyde Park in London on a cool autumn day in the year 2012! That is all I know of it, and I cannot explain it – but that is what I saw. But how does that mean that I am a work of fiction anymore than that I am real?

      Do not bother me with this; I am in the middle of a case!

      • vicariousshaner Says:

        Hercule, you are a character from a series of books written by someone named Agatha Christie. Other than those books, which the author has proclaimed to be completely fictional, there is absolutely no proof of your prior existence. You only believe you are real because you were written to believe you were real.

        Was Sherlock Holmes not a fictional character in your world? He is also a character from a series of books, similar to yourself. There has been recent movies about him, and even an interactive movie that came out very recently featured his likeness!

        Even your story of being in the desert and suffering heat stroke is recorded in the book “Death on the Nile.” In that book you were hit by a blinding case of amnesia.

        Please, Poirot. You need to understand that you are technically not real. The most important way you could help us here is if you tried to find other such ficitonal characters. For example, we know of a knight, and a witch that are both in dire need of going back to where they came. If you could help us with them, and other possible leaks, then it would be extremely beneficial to the structure of the universe.

        Poirot, please, give this some thought.

      • saintofdeduction Says:

        You mean to say… that these weren’t some sort of, as you say, adaptations? Some later fictionalizations of some real event that actually occurred but actual truly fabricated pieces of fiction? That… that cannot be. How is that possible? What does it mean to be fictional if I can stand right before you in flesh and blood?

        In truth I called the man Sherlock Holmes but I did not actually think he was Sherlock Holmes, truly! It is easy for a man to call himself Holmes, it is another for him to actually be the man! How could he be, after all? But if you say that I am fictional as well, than that means he…

        I cannot ponder it in great thought now; I am about to go to the boarding school. I need to focus on this case!

  3. yankeewhite Says:

    I know you stated the murder to be very clean with ‘much’, not all, of the bleeding to be internal. This leaves the most definite possibility that some blood got on our murderer. Jacqueline de Geoffrey seems least likely with her white dress. Even the slightest drop of blood would stand out. However Valérie du Bois, with her red dress, well I think you can see where I’m going with that. 🙂 Blood would most likely go unnoticed. Not much I know, just an observation for you to consider.
    Could you share the scribbled numbers from the back of the Swiss investors card? Could there be a hidden message? I so love decoding hidden message and would love to help.

  4. The Wild West Pyri Says:

    Mr. Poirot:

    This is getting very intriguing- people are getting killed left, right, and centre.
    It seems that all the guests have an alibi, or had the motive but were not there- however, try looking at the Swiss Investor card.

    It is possible the man had a vast fortune- and one of the guests wanted to get their hands on it. However, this is just a theory of the motive- I cannot completely guess correctly, only you, the great Hercule Poirot, can solve this mystery, wrapped in an enigma and lovingly sprinkled with intrigue.

    Or, as with a case involving the Orient Express, could all the guests be lying?

    • saintofdeduction Says:

      Monsieur The Wild West Pyri, perhaps I was not clear; Comte Pierre de Cavaignac certainly has a vast fortune, both earned, inherited and invested – it is not ill-conceived to say that he has three vast fortunes! Yet his guests were all mostly well financed; perhaps I shall inquire about whether any of them had befallen hardships. At current the beneficiaries of his will, I have been told by the advocate Monsieur Trudeau, consisted mainly of the wife Elise and his business ventures; however there was a small allocation given to Valerie de Blois which was not described well…

      The clues are pointing to Valerie, but why? Why is the question. Why would a socialite go out of her way to kill an old college friend?

      • Sicon112 Says:

        Something is bothering me about this evidence… I was, at first, very suspicious of her, but I cannot help but think that something is odd here. I know that there is some part of the information I am not accounting for, but I can’t quite figure out what. Yet, anyway. I’ll see what I can come up with.

  5. Dryunya Says:

    I’d like to clarify one more detail, Monsieur Poirot. What pose was Pierre found in? Was he sitting, or standing? Did you notice anything unusual about his pose? I believe it’s important to reconstruct the details.

    • Dryunya Says:

      I’m sorry, I meant “lying”, not “standing”, of course. I’d be surprised to find a standing corpse. 🙂

  6. TheWildWestPyro Says:

    A Socialite would have probably gone out of her way to kill a friend- I think that’s the case if she has been blackmailed by the friend, some incident in the past has upset her or she was forced to.
    These are just a few more motives I have come up with, Monsieur Hercule Poirot.

    Adieu for now,

    The Wild West Pyro, who accidentally spelled Pyro with an i at the end last time.

    • TheWildWestPyro Says:

      And, Monsieur. Poirot, I am very, very, very, sorry about this, but I have to say this.

      We know you from a series of fantastic mystery books written by an author called Agatha Christie.

      I, like many others, did not know you were real- now I do, and I believe that you are real. However- do not try to read the books about you- they will appear blank.

      I am happy that you came into this world- lots of murders are happening. As well as that, I would like to inform you now on another subject- Holmes has realized that you are just another detective, not a murderer, and now has no ill or harmful intentions towards you, so you can breathe a sigh of relief.

      As for the Pieter Van Haeran case- the death reminds me of another one, known in a novel of Christie’s starring you, called The Big Four. A man had his head shoved into the fireplace.

      I hope you can solve that as well.

      And, as I am a Christian- I will say this to you:

      May you be protected from demons, nightmares, disturbing things, and Satan. May the Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ our saviour, and God protect you always. God bless you.


      God bless you, Monsieur Hercule Poirot forever.

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