“Welcome to the first murder of the season,” thinks Nicky Saint, the white haired, black suited, Bostonian private detective as he stands over the body of Miss Juliann Partridge, a beautiful blond bombshell bludgeoned to death on Christmas day in front of the cozy fireplace of her small apartment on Pear Tree Lane.
The present she had just opened now lay empty beside her. Nicky had a hunch that it once contained the murder weapon.
“Killers like these are poetic,” Nicky explains to the beat cop left behind to guard the crime scene after the “official investigators” had trampled over everything. “These fellas have style. Look at her lipstick, just slightly smudged. She was probably giving some lucky schmuck a kiss under the mistletoe when… BLAM!” Nicky slams his hand down across the imaginary back of her head. “He wasn’t just sending a message to her, he was broadcasting it for all of us to hear.”
“You think she was killed by her lover?” the beat cop asks.
“Lover? You mean lovers. Don’t you recognize this broad?” the reporter says. “She’s in the society pages twice a week, always hanging on some millionaire’s arm. More likely a jealous lover’s wife.”
“Plausible,” Nicky says relighting his pipe. “But which one?”
“Gotta a phone book?” the reporter laughs.
“See those smudges on the edge of the carpet?” Nicky says pointing towards the fireplace. “They look like footprints, coming from that direction…” he traces the steps back towards the smoldering embers.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” the reporter says with wide, exaggerated hand gestures as if to wipe away the idea formulating in everyone’s mind. “You ain’t proposing that the killer entered the room through the fireplace like… like…”
“Santa?” the cop says bursting into laughter. The reporter joins him, laughing hard enough to slap his own knees.
“In that case, the suspect should be easy to apprehend,” the cop says with a grin. “He should be back up to the North Pole by now.” The cop opens up the apartment door for Nicky.
“Well, it’s a place to start,” says Nicky Saint, throwing his scarf around his neck, burrowing his hands deep into his pockets, and heading out into the cold winter air.