Brad thumbed through the ME's report. Nothing new in there. Primary cause of death: fracture of upper cervical vertebra. Contributory cause: blunt force trauma to cranium. Observations: abrasions and bruising on limbs and torso, lividity of face and upper torso, lacerations on hands, advanced atherosclerosis. Other than the knock on the head, everything was consistent with a face-first fall down the stairs. There had been a smashed coffee cup under her, which likely accounted for the lacerations on her hands. The brass locomotive was nearby. Was it a murder weapon or did she land on it?
Time of death: 2300 (approximately).
That was different. According to the neighbours, shouting had been heard around 8.30. That must have been the time the dinner party was finally breaking up but not directly related to the death.
Brad still hadn't spoken to Mike. Apparently Mike couldn't be disturbed while he was writing; there was nothing new in this, but he was refusing to see or speak to anyone until the obituary was finished. It was supposed to be in the Sunday paper and still nothing had appeared.
He leaned back in his chair and contemplated the various interviews he'd conducted over the weekend. Was there a motive? Was there an opportunity? Was it just an accident? The house was a mess. What if she'd just tripped over something? But what about the locomotive? And why did some people immediately assume murder?
Claire – the missing sibling had an inconsistency in her story, neglecting to mention joining sister and brother-in-law for a drink. Deliberate or accidental? She did confirm that she moved the train.
John – claimed to be at the sports bar near the arena. His daughter said he was at the Empire Hotel.
Elizabeth – claimed to have seen father with young girl at Empire Hotel, says she had too much to drink and spent the night at Caine household.
Anthony – claimed that he and wife stayed at Empire Hotel. Allegedly went for a long walk, saw his father driving quickly away from Lynn Lane area.
April – confirmed that train was in kitchen and moved it onto the table. Alibi of watching movie with Eva Abuya checks out.
Fiona – claimed to have been in her pool hall all evening, but has not provided names of alibis.
Gavin – grudge against John, seems convinced death was murder, became agitated when asked to explain whereabouts
Clarice – confirms that husband went out, no further details
Mira – knows what time shouting was heard, speaking to neighbours, provides alibi for daughter
Paul – No alibi, but no apparent motive.
Connie - apparently called Elly a Judas during dinner
Brad drummed his fingers on the file folder from the ME. Still nothing pointed to any conclusion. No sense wasting more time. There were still more interviews. Time to talk to Mike and Deanna, Connie and the other neighbours. Then to the Empire Hotel.
He wondered who was looking after the dog.