Mini-Mystery: The Case of the Missing Ruby
In the spirit of our March mystery, Rehearsal for Murder, we present to you a mini-mystery! Bring out your inner Hercule Poirot or Jessica Fletcher, and test your sleuthing skills. Comment your answers below, and we will post the solution in a few days' time.
"Rehearsal for Murder," adapted by D.D. Brooke and directed by our own Lee Spilberg, plays at the Historic Rodgers Theatre in Poplar Bluff, MO on March 15, 16, 22, & 23 @ 7:30pm, and on March 24 @ 3:00pm. Tickets can be purchased at the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce, or on Eventbrite.
The Case of the Missing Ruby
Lord Upton looked quite relaxed in the large armchair in his Upton Castle library. If Lee hadn’t looked carefully, he might not even have noticed the crossbow bolt protruding from Lord Upton’s chest.
Receiving an invitation to perform A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas at Upton Castle in Derbyshire was just one of many honors that had come to The Stage Company, but it was a particularly welcome one, as the English countryside was a refreshing change from Southeast Missouri in December. Lord Upton was a renowned patron of the arts, and he took every opportunity to bring great performances to his aristocratic corner of the world.
The cast and crew of A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas was enjoying a few days of luxury as guests of Lord Upton before having to perform for the community. The castle was filled with beautiful objects, and as worldly as the members of The Stage Company were from their professional travels, they couldn’t help but be impressed with what they saw.
Of all Lord Upton’s collected treasures, the one of which he was most proud was the Keeler Ruby, a red gem whose size, clarity, and storied past made it world famous. When he showed it to Hilary, Tracy, Angie, and Lee after dinner one evening, they were all enchanted by its beauty, and chilled by Lord Upton’s recounting of the fates of all its previous owners.
“Aren’t you afraid to be next?” asked Tracy.
“Nonsense!” harrumphed Lord Upton. “Superstition and bad luck. I wouldn’t be without the Keeler Ruby!”
“Do you still receive offers for it?” wondered Hilary.
“Oh, all the time. But even if someone could really afford to buy it, I have no interest in parting with it.”
“Where do you store it for safekeeping?” queried Angie.
“An absolutely unbreakable safe in a hidden location. I’ve taken it out to show you tonight, but once it is back in the safe, no one on Earth can get to it!” boasted Lord Upton.
After a few more stories about the ruby, everyone said good night and went their separate ways. Lord Upton announced he was headed for the library before bed. The ladies headed for their rooms, and Lee ran into Lane, the butler, with whom he got into a lengthy discussion about pocket square folding methods. As they genially debated the perceptible advantages of the puff method, they heard a loud popping sound, followed by a groan.
They raced in the direction of the sounds, which took them to the library, where they found Lord Upton in his armchair. Lee checked for a pulse, which was an excessively optimistic endeavor. Lane, ever more practical, picked up the small jewel box next to Lord Upton, which a short time earlier had housed the Keeler Ruby. It was, of course, empty.
“Let’s leave everything as we found it, and go call the police,” suggested Lee. “If you seal the room, I can guard it while you make the call.”
As they emerged from the library and shut the door, Angie, Hilary, and Tracy came rushing toward them from three different directions.
“What happened?” asked Tracy, breathlessly.
“Lord Upton has been killed,” Lee answered quietly.
“And whoever shot him also took the Keeler Ruby,” added Lane.
“But who could have done it?” Angie asked of no one in particular.
“We all knew he had the ruby,” acknowledged Tracy.
“We had all seen the crossbow on the wall,” admitted Hilary.
“We all heard him say he was going to the library,” allowed Angie.
“I must call the police at once,” said Lane.
“Yes,” Lee agreed. “And tell them we now know who killed Lord Upton and took the ruby.”
WHO DID IT? AND HOW DID LEE KNOW?