So to you, the jury, dear reader, I ask this: who killed Anna?
Anna was found, still, grey and dead, on the staircase, crushed under her basket of washing. It was the thin gash across her throat that hinted at murder. Blood seeped quietly out of her to trickle down the staircase, staining the wooden boards which she polished religiously once a week a dark, sticky colour like treacle. It dripped, in macabre fashion, off the bottom step and into a large, growing pool of blood across the hallway, a steady yet tiny noise of passing life in the empty hall. Just above her body, the grandfather clock in the hallway struck quarter to five, the only witness to her passing.
The body was almost neatly arranged in the way it sprawled across the stairs, arms still clutching the large basket of Jack's socks and other miscellaneous clothes which she had spent the morning washing, as if she would rather anything than that her work be undone at the last. A few pairs of lacy, lime green underwear scattered around her head like a final halo. The washing basket was a sturdy old thing, and had withstood the shock well; apart from the bloodstain sinuously twining around the bottom as the spike of wood buried at one end of the slit across Anna's throat soaked up blood, there was nothing wrong with it, even though the trail of clothing behind showed quite clearly that Anna had slid down several stairs as she went.
Later, the police would confirm what Jack and Jem already knew; the weight of the basket had literally squashed her, and the lack of oxygen combined with the bump on her head would have knocked her into unconsciousness, probably instantaneously. She would have felt no pain as through her slit throat blood and life drained away from the hapless soul. It was, at least, a merciful end.
Indeed, there was every chance that the murderer, whoever they were, would have had no need to slit the throat and give away their motives, the police said afterwards. The internal damage was such that it would have been difficult to say if she would have survived anyhow – the weight of looking after the Maynards, personified into having to carry their entire extended wardrobes around the house, had, in the end, almost literally killed her. It was only in making sure that she was dead, in the most splendidly old-fashioned of notions, that the authorities knew that there was guilt to be attached to anyone.
And thus the investigation was started, with the police trying to answer one simple question, a question that you, too, dear reader, may wish to try and answer: who killed Anna?
Just a little idea which tickled me; over the next eight days, I'll post an update a night, each with a little more information from two people who were at Freudesheim on the day that Anna died. All that is left for you to do is to work out who killed her.
There is an answer and it is guessable. I've checked my timeline four or five times, and even drawn myself a little diagram, so I am as confident as I can be that it all works perfectly, but if you spot anything that you think is obviously a mistake, please point it out!
I haven't given it a mature rating - this first update is a little more gory than I realised when I wrote it, but otherwise there's nothing in it to shock or offend (unless the word 'breasts' titillates you as much as it does one of the characters)
So, I hope that you enjoy my game!