Every story has a Beginning, a Middle and an End. Every mystery has an Investigator, a Killer and a Victim. Three points of view. Without one, the story is incomplete.
For a Mystery, the story does not come in that order. The murder is the End of the Story for the Victim, the Middle of the Story for the Killer, and the Beginning of the Story for the Investigator.
Someone somewhere finds a dead body. Half of the Police Department shows up, giving the Scene of the Crime a very thorough once over. It’s the darndest thing. It looks like the Victim had a comb and a large hair brush. But the Victim was bald. Turns out that the corpus delicti was not the owner of the apartment.
So the cops do what cops always do? They go in search of back story. They ask questions. Why was said Victim spreadeagled on the bed and pumped full of chicken feathers? Just whose apartment was this anyway? And that question that always comes up when there’s a dead body: “Did So-and-so have any enemies?
So what do the cops do now? It’s as the Carpenters used to sing, ‘It’s only just begun.” They keep asking questions.
The Victim had friends. They had a mom and a dad. They had co-workers and business associates. They had a wife or a husband. And they are all saying the same darned thing, “Everybody loved him. He was the gentlest of souls.”
It’s enough for the police to say, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.” Of course, the corpse had enemies. And more than likely it’s going to be someone who had a grudge against So-and-so for years.
Perhaps the deceased man stole the Killer’s homework in the sixth grade. She’s been carrying a grudge for years. That F she received from the male teacher for the missing homework ruined her life. The police won’t know this until they bring in a therapist to tell them. The therapist will discover that the murderer has a deep psychological grudge against men. That incident forced her to never trust a man again.
Recently the Killer worked for an online website that provides research papers to students to turn in as homework. One of those assignments had triggered her unconscious obsession to get even with the victim.
And the Killer will spend the rest of the story trying to send the police on a wild goose chase of misdirection.
That homework theft led the Victim to a lifetime of cheating. Cheating on his taxes. Cheating on his wife. Cheating his business associates and embezzling money from the business. By the time the cops get through, the Victim won’t have a friend in the world. And it’s possible that the Killer will get off scot-free. Unless.
Or the Killer may have been traumatized by the simplest of things. Like not getting that cookie her mother promised. Or not receiving a valentine from her sweetie. Or it could be something much more traumatic.
So what was the Victim doing, sleeping in somebody else’s apartment? He was staying at an AirBnb while his house was being tented for termites. The owner of the apartment was off in Spain, playing footsey with the Victim’s wife. And the murder was a case of mistaken identity. The Killer thought the Victim was the owner of the apartment.
It only goes to show you there may not be any justice by the end of the story. There may only be a crime solved.