Sunday, June 10, 2012

RAMANUGEM CHRONICLES – MURDER AT SUNDARAM VILLA - FINALE


*I completely understand how difficult and agonizing it is to be not able to read a murder mystery in one go! So my apologies for the wait! 


“There is, my friend. There is! A very important clue!” Ramanujam took a moment to relish their awestruck faces. “Then stop fooling around and come out with it. What the hell did your brain just uncover? ”, shouted Alex.

 “The bullet! The clue is in the bullet! It was found on the floor, not in Raghavan’s body. There was a scratch on the floor which you had missed. If the killer had shot him from the gate or garden, wouldn’t it have pierced his body and hit the door? But there is no mark on the door to support that. Instead there is a strong scratch mark on the floor!” 

“What are you getting at, Saar?” Martin was all ears.

“He was shot from above. From the terrace!” Ramanujam had a wry smile in his lips.

“Damn... I should have figured that out. How stupid of me!” Alex took out another cigarette.

“Nicotine deficiency may be!” Ramanujam smiled at Martin who was too scared to say anything.

“But that doesn’t make sense. If you are shooting from the terrace, the bullet would have blown his head off. But the bullet hit his back!” Alex still couldn’t get his head around this one.

Ramanujam started pacing. “True. But what if he was bending down?”

“Why would he come to his door step and bend down instead of ringing the door bell?” Martin was equally confused.

Ramanujam was seeing it clearly in his head. “What if he found something on the floor? And if that something was his cell phone? What if it had been placed a few paces ahead of the door step just for Raghavan to bend and pick it up? Right here! See the architecture. That way you get a clear shot from the terrace! The phone must have started ringing at that very moment he came to the door. Karthik told us that Raghavan had forgotten his cell phone at home that day. Do you have his cell phone with you now?”

“Yes, I do Saar. Why?” Martin took out the phone. “Check if there was any call around 10:30.” Ramanujam and Alex were anxiously waiting as Martin fumbled through the call listing. “Oh my God. Yes Saar. A call from an unknown number at 10:24! Let me go run a check on this number.”

Ramanujam stopped him. “Wait. Hold on. I don’t think that would be of much use. What is the duration of the call?” “25 seconds. You are absolutely right Saar! It was all set up perfectly.” Martin’s eyes were staring at Alex who still looked perplexed while Ramanujam was fixing the jigsaw puzzle in his head. “Well... I think I know who the killer is. Time for some drama! Let us call a family meeting to confirm. And then we head to Martin’s house. Martin, I hope you are well stocked.” Martin gave a wry smile. “Of course Saar. Any time!”

The entire family was gathered in the living room. Everyone was anxious and confused as to what was going to transpire. There were nervous glances as Alex started off. “We are very sorry for your loss. We understand how tough it must be for all of you to go through the enquiry at this time. But I am sure it will be as painful for all of you to know that the killer is in this very room at this very moment.”

There was a terrifying silence in the room followed by an outburst. It was Sunita. “How dare you? We all loved him. This is absurd... This is…” Words escaped her as she sulked on the floor. Mr.Sundaram took her in his arms. “Don’t make baseless allegations. Do you understand what you are saying?” He was furious.

“Unfortunately we do Saar!” Alex glanced at Ramanujam hinting him to take the lead.

“Who is it? Who the hell did it?” shouted an irate Chander.

“Calm down Chander. I am getting to that. Well, Jeniffer. Since I hadn’t talked to you before, I have a couple of questions for you?” Ramanujam turned to Jeniffer who looked petrified.

“Tell me something Jeniffer. How did you know Raghavan was killed?”

“I heard Ponniah scream and came down.”

“Really! You were upstairs and must have been in your room. It was raining so heavily. How did you hear him?”

“Well... I was near the stairs and was about to come down anyways!” Sunita was now looking at her suspiciously.

“It was pouring, right! Did you bring an umbrella?” Ramanujam glanced at the wet umbrella as if leading her to it.

“Oh.. Yes yes. I did. I did!” Her nervousness was very evident to everyone now.

“Then why is it that Sunita’s umbrella was wet and not yours?” Ramanujam was in his element now.

“Well.. well.. I.. I.. I was in a hurry.. I…” All eyes were on her now.

“She couldn’t have killed Raghavan. She didn’t do that.” Chander’s scream echoed round the house.

“And how would you be so confident, Mr.Chander?” Alex was circling Chander whose head was clearly spinning.

“Because Jeniffer was with Chander in his room when Raghavan was killed.” Ramanujam’s sensational observation stunned everyone, including Alex. A cadaverous silence ensued!

“You see. If Jeniffer had been in her room and came down in a hurry on hearing the scream, she would not have been prompt enough to switch off the lights in her room. She must have been in Chander’s room since evening I am guessing. But for fear of getting caught, Chander came out first and then when everyone else had gathered, Jeniffer came out so that no one noticed. And she never brought any umbrella!”

“Then who did it? Enough of your suspense! Who is the killer?” Alex was out of control.

“Alex, even by your standards, you should have guessed that now. Mr.Sundaram! Who else?” Ramanujam looked at Mr.Sundaram who stood there motionless and emotionless. Sunita burst out into tears.

“Mr.Sundaram had his plan well laid out. He had secretly taken Raghavan’s phone in the morning while he was too busy to notice. In the evening, Sunita was out, Ponniah was sleeping and Jeniffer and Chander were busy romancing. So it was quite easy for him to quietly place the phone at the door step. He quietly went upstairs and positioned himself in the balcony and waited for Raghavan. Now came the first problem: Rain! In a hurry he came down and picked up Sunita’s umbrella! First mistake right there. Not a big one but big enough for me!

By now, you should know that Raghavan’s pistol was in Mr.Sundaram’s safe custody. Everything else went as planned. Now he cannot keep the murder weapon with him, nor did he have enough time to plan its disposal. So he threw the pistol to the dust bin on the road. His basket ball skills came in handy here. It wouldn't matter if we found it out anyways. Then he quickly came down. The chaos had already begun and Ponniah and Chander were near the body. Mr.Sundaram slipped in and calmly joined them. No one would suspect for coming late as his was the last room. 

But now why kill Raghavan? I guess that is not too difficult to guess either. Mr.Sundaram had lot of faith in Raghavan. So much faith that he had entrusted his empire in his hands considering the best interests of the family and his business! He had thought that this would bring Chander in line too. But instead, Raghavan didn’t turn out to be the saint he pretended to be. I am sure for a man of Mr.Sundaram’s caliber; it wouldn’t have taken too long to figure out the real colors of Raghavan. But it was too late. He was in total control: of his daughter, his family, his business and his wealth. Mr.Sundaram had no other option but to kill Raghavan to regain all that he had lost due to one bad decision. And he was so angry that he wanted to probably kill Raghavan himself. Raghavan was an industrialist plus a womanizer. Mr.Sundaram hoped that we would go fishing for his enemies. But that was not to be!

Well, that sums up the case. Mr.Sundaram! I am really sorry. I completely understand your position but I don’t approve of your solution!” Ramanujam offered his condolences to Sunita and Chander as they accompanied their father who was taken away by Alex’s men.

“Whoa Gem! That was fast. You have made short work of it. Bravo my man!” Alex patted him on the back.

“But Alex. I guess you still have a lot of work ahead of you. There is still no strong evidence for your case to hold in a court. So better get on it!”

“Well, we will look into it. But right now, we have a more important agenda. Don’t we Martin?” Alex was all smiles. “I will get Mr.Sundaram to the police station and join you guys in an hour. Does that work?”

“I don’t know. Offer open only till stocks last!” Ramanujam and Martin burst out into laughter. 

                                                                                                                              - A SHORT STORY BY RAJ.

53 comments:

  1. Bravo! One of the shortest murder mysteries I've read till date. :P

    The hero - Ramanujam. Was he a PI?

    This was like a desi Sherlock Holmes, in fast-forward mode..Enjoyable. :)

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    1. A very warm welcome to you here. :) I am glad you liked the mystery. And thank you for the lovely comparison to Sherlock. That means a lot. Yeah.. he is a PI. :)

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  2. Now tell me Raj what do I praise more :D the detective in you or the :D criminal in you :D?
    I would rather go gaga over the excellent Arthur conan doyle in you :D Awesome Raj, Could really not guess the ending awesomest it is:)

    Keep them coming :D loved it

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    1. Thank you so much Ramya for all the out of the world compliments. You really made my day (and the next day as well ;)) Really means a lot and is a great motivation for me to write more. :)

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  3. Absolutely brilliant. Had me guessing till the very end, was so eagerly waiting for the finale and I wasn't disappointed. You should definitely write a book on this genre. :)

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    1. Thank you soo much Akshay. I am soo glad that the finale didn't disappoint you. And do let me know any critiques you have as well. ;) Thank you for the encouragement. I surely have plans of writing a book and your words just strengthen the resolve. :)

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  4. I jsut got this email about ur new post like , 10 seconds back and there are already three people commenting .. oh my god SIR.. you are great...

    I am more inclined in the criminal part he he he I have played enough detective in my real job so its nice ot know the other side to tooooo :)

    brilliant and you kept it all secret tooo well done

    Bikram's

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    1. and it was WORTH the wait sir ...

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    2. Thank you so much Bikram for the lovely lovely comment. :) I am really glad that you liked the story so much. :) I can see a detective at work in the way you think. Looking to know more about the mind of the criminal. :) I am sure some of your experiences should be very fascinating to hear. :)

      And do let me know any critiques you have about the story too. ;)

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  5. Well Narrated Raj, you had me guessing till the end. Looking for more such detective stories.

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    1. Thank you so much Krupaa. I am so glad the story was gripping enough. Sure, your encouragement is a great motivation for me to write more. :)

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  6. A fitting end to a taut series! Absolutely loved your style. And I still insist, your detective is wicked! I wouldn't mind him solving more cases though. 5/5!

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    1. woww.. Thank you so much Umashankar for the out of the world comment. :) A 5/5! That just had me over the moon. :) Such kind words from a great story-teller himself. Am mighty pleased. :) And do let me know any critiques you have too. ;)

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  7. Bravo Raj. I think it's your creative genius which kept us hooked till now. Most people don't get readers if they post in parts. You should write such stuff more. I am sucker for mysteries.

    Standing ovation for this masterpiece.:)

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    1. omg Saru. Your comment made me ecstatic. Thank you so much for such kind words. And that coming from such a wonderful writer like you makes it a double delight. :) I am so glad you found the story and narrative gripping enough. I loved writing this one and I am glad it made a good read. This is great motivation for me to pursue this genre more. :)

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  8. What an amazing work!! I agree with Sri, Rj bears a delightful resemblance to Holmes.. Awesome Raj! Hope we get to read more such impressive work from you! :)

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    1. Thank you so much Rohu for the wonderful wonderful comment. The delightful comparison to Holmes just made my day. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I will for sure write more. :)

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  9. Brilliant job Raj! Absolutely brilliant! Gripping right till the point the suspense comes out, which is by no means is ordinary! Looking forward to many more!

    My world, my thoughts, my musings...

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    1. Thank you so much Upasana. I am so glad you found the suspense intriguing. Means so much to me as someone who is exploring this genre. Thank you so much for the encouragement. :)

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  10. Cool. Nice ending :) Good that you kept the suspense till the end. Hmm..now, am relieved to go and do my chores...and you can keep writing :P

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    1. Thank you so much. :) Looks like you are heaving a sigh of relief that it is over. ;) Was it just the suspense or is the story too bad? :P Just kidding. Thank you for the lovely compliments. :)

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    1. Thank you so much Machiii.. :)

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  12. Brilliant ending! Wonderful naration, and well kept suspense. Please do write some more of these master pices. Totally hooked to your blog. Your new follower :-)

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    1. Thank you so much Jenny. :) I am so glad to hear your wonderful wonderful compliments. Thank you so much for your encouragement. It is surely motivation enough for me to write more such stories.

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  13. I read the whole story once again,to enjoy it better.No doubt you are a master at this genre.I am looking forward to your next one.

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    1. Thank you so much Indu. :) That was a really humbling compliment. Was a great encouragement indeed. Will surely write more of such stories. :)

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  14. And then the drama turned out to be a point-to-be noted. You must assign more cases to this Gem chap. Quite a gem he is. :) Great job, Raj. This end was totally unexpected.

    I didn't know that the last part was out. Good for me that I decided to come by again. Thank you for posting it so quick. Yeah...it's cruel to keep us waiting. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I am glad you liked the Gem. :) And trust me.. he is onto more cases. ;) And sorry for the wait.. I tried my best to get it out quickly. Will do a better job the next time around. Gem would be instructed to solve cases faster. ;)

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  15. Awesome story and brilliantly portrayed. You had me going with all the wrong suspects and the element of surprise was timely.
    Good work Raj. :)

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    1. Thank you so much Neha. I am humbled by your lovely comment. :) Thank you so much for the encouragement. Am so glad you liked the surprises in the plot. :)

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  16. It was really exciting, Raj !!! I read all the three parts in one go, so it was more interesting for me. I am a fan of mysterious and detective stories, Sherlock Holmes being my favorite.
    All the twists were amazing. First thought Chander or Sunita as the culprit, then thought it was Karhik. But it was so difficult to guess Sundaram as the killer!!
    You are very good at writing stories in this genre. Write more and keep the suspense :)

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    1. Thank you so much Abhinav. Your wonderful compliments made me so happy. I am really humbled. I am so glad you liked the twists and turns and the climax.

      I totally agree.. it is difficult to read a mystery in parts or wait for it. It is always exciting to read it all in one go. :)

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  17. Finally, I know. Ok. Relieved:) Yes, it was gripping. I loved that he was S. Indian detective. Liked the reality piece--often men do use daughters of the house to weave themselves into money. I would love another murder mystery-- but only in two parts! Three parts is tooooooo much of a wait!!!

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    1. Thank you so much Bhavana for all the lovely compliments. Really means a lot. And yes.. will definitely write another one. And I am sorry.. I tried to cut this one as short as possible.. but couldnt get it down to 2. I will certainly try that in the next one. :)

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  18. I told you , I told you the cellphone had a link :) Anyways the killer was something I did not even get close to guessing...Good job!! :)

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    1. Thank you so much Jayashree. I tell you, you are awesome. :) You found out the link accurately. I am glad you were solving the puzzle along the way, that means I did a decent job in keeping you hooked. :) And plzz do let me know any critiques you have as well. :)

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  19. Super! A fitting end. And you add helpfully that this will not hold up in court, and they better get stronger evidence :). Good storyline, well narrated!

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    1. Thank you so much Rachna. I am glad you liked the plot and the narration. :) yeah.. I guess Gem had to slip in his little disclaimer. ;)

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  20. Awesome :D as always, love reading mysteries!

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    1. Thank you so much Ash. Really glad that you loved this mystery. Feels very encouraging!

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  21. this is amazing work Raj. brilliant!! a well-planned, well-organized post. it was not supposed to be read for free :)

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    1. Thank you Deb for the out of the world comment. :) You really made my day. :)

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  22. Oh.. I wonder how did I miss reading this.. Well, I totally feel it was worth waiting Raj.. Excellent job.. Looking forward for more such stories:)

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    1. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment Sonia. I am so glad you liked the story and are looking forward for more. Mr.Gem sure is listening. :P

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  23. Very well narrated, Raj! This was read in one go:)

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    1. Thank you very much Rahul Sir. Great you liked it. :) That would certainly motivate me to write more of these.

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  24. Wow. A nice plot, meticulously planned to the detail, with suspense and never giving the reader an edge about the actual murderer. Really nice Story Raj. you should write more of them. I enjoyed the series Thoroughly! :-)

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    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment. This will really inspire to write more. :)

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  25. Whoa! You write like a pro. Raj, you are not just good, you are brilliant!!

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    1. Purba.. your comment just made my day. An absolutely unbelievable compliment. :)

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  26. Lovely story Raj...I read it from the starting and I must say, from the starting and till the end I was hooked...Feeling good and refresh after reading it. Keep up the good work:)

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    1. Thank you so much Mithilash. A warm very welcome to you here. Really glad to hear that you liked the story so much. :)

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