Sherlock Miller Investigates Man in Elevator Pt 1

Sherlock Miller confidently walked into the hotel’s lobby, but confused as to why he got the call. A strange amount of tension fills the air. Everyone seemed to be about their tasks in a mechanical manner. Ignoring the uniform officer standing next to the elevator with an out-of-order sign. The other elevator deposits guests with concerned looks on their faces.

Sherlock hesitantly approaches the officer. He asks, “I’ve received a call from Detective Miller. He said to come here.”

“Who might you be?” the officer asks.

“Sherlock Miller.”

“You are to take the stairs up to the second floor.”

“What is this all about?” Sherlock asks. Sherlock feels a coldness coming from the officer.

“All I know is that you are to take the stairs and not the elevator.”

Sherlock sees the stairs several feet away. He takes a deep breath and heads toward them.

Sherlock never liked stairs when he could ride in an elevator. Sherlock put his left foot on the first run and then put his right foot on the second run, while sliding his hand along the rail. He repeated the process until reaching the top. Left foot on odd numbered run and right foot on even numbered run.

At the top of the stairs, Sherlock comes in contact with another uniform officer. Behind him a seven-foot wall of opaque plastic material held up by half inch metal tubing.

“This portion of the hotel is temporarily off limits. You will need to go in that direction.” The officers said, pointing Sherlock to the hallway behind him.

“I am here looking for Detective Miller. He called me here.”

The officer turns toward the partition and yells. “Detective Miller, there is someone here looking for you.”

From behind the partition steps Detective Mike Miller, dressed in his usual expensive suit and tie. Mike Miller donned a light blue gray suit with a tie patterned with shades of red, white, and blue.

“I see it didn’t take you long to get here.” Detective Miller said.

“What’s up? You usually want me to stay away from your crime scenes.” Sherlock asks.

“This is one time I can put your talents and skills to the test. Follow me.”

Sherlock follows his brother behind the partition. Sherlock notes two men from the coroner’s office and another uniform officer. Another opaque partition separates the two elevator doors.

Detective Mike Miller points to the open elevator door. Sherlock stops at the edge of the open elevator. He kneels to get a closer look at the man propped against the back wall. Sherlock takes a mental note of the man’s black business suit, recent haircut, and shave. His dress shoes needed a shine. Seeing the man’s white socks causes Sherlock to tilt his head with a questioning look.

Upon closer examination, Sherlock notes the hole in the center of the man’s tie about where his heart should be. A dark powder circles the hole. Taking a pen from his pocket, Sherlock moves back the man’s suit jacket. He notes a puncture wound on the right side in the liver’s location.

Turning to his brother. “Okay Mikey, what was the liver temperature and when did the medical examiner take it?”

Mike Miller stiffens. He takes a deep breath. “If you want to help me with my cases, you need to remember to call me Mike or Detective Miller. Don’t use Mikey when we are in public.”

“Sorry, Mikey, excuse me, Detective Miller. I have trouble picturing you other than my older brother. So, what was the liver temp and when did your medical examiner take it?”

“He took the liver temperature thirty minutes ago. He logged the temperature at 94.5 degrees.”

“Okay, 97.8 minus 94.5 equals 3.3. That puts his time of death roughly three hours ago.” Sherlock notes the current time on his watch. “That places the time of death as around eight this morning.”

Sherlock looks at his watch. “When was the body discovered?”

“One hour ago.”

“What’s the mystery you want me to solve?”

“One, this is a public elevator. Guests use it when going for breakfast and checking out. No one reports the dead guy until for at least two whole hours. Two: This guy is not registered in the hotel. Three: he has no ID on him.”

“And the only thing you know for sure is he is dead and in an elevator.”

“That’s right. I know how you like mystery. I convinced the corner to wait until you got here before taking the body away. If you come up with the answer to my three questions by five o’clock. I can convince the captain to pay you a consulting fee.”

“What about finding the killer or killers?”

“If you can answer the three questions I give you, I am sure I can find the one who killed this man.”

“I suspect this man does not stay at this hotel.”

“Why?” Mike asks.

“This man is homeless. He was dressed up for some reason unknown to me at this moment.”

“Come on, Sherlock. Look at that suit and shoes. Those are high end clothes. I would even have trouble affording them.”

“That is your problem, Mikey. Oops excuse me Mike. You’re hung up on what people wear. You have the habit of stopping there.”

“Okay, Sherlock continue.”

“This man, I hazard to guess, is homeless. Someone dressed him up to look like a successful businessperson. Look closely at his chin. See the faint cut? This man usually sports a beard. Someone has put makeup on his to the tan line from the beard. Look closely at his hair. It’s cut short, but definitely done by a novice.”

“Why would someone stage a homeless dead man in this elevator?”

“On what floor was the elevator open, and the body discovered?”

“This floor. The hotel manager didn’t want us investigating a murder in the hotel lobby. So, he locked the elevator on this floor and called 911. The responding officers put up these partitions and called me.”

“Where is the individual who discovered the body?”

“It was a couple visiting from out of town. They had to catch a plane back home. We checked it out. Their story seemed real, so I let them go.”

“That couple, did they stay on this floor?”


“Were you the one who checked them out?”

“No, it was the officer you passed at the top of the stairs.”

Sherlock walked over to the officer. “Detective Miller said you verified the couple’s story, who found the body?”

“Yes, I did.”

“What room did they stay in?”

A blank look came over the officer’s face. “I will have to check with the desk clerk.”

“Did you ask them their room number?”

“I did. I remember it was room 222. They were downstair with their baggage when I showed up. I took their statement and let them go.”

“Did you verify their statement with the desk clerk?”

“Ah, no, sir. The wife appeared so shaken up from opening the elevator and finding a dead body. Their ID’s checked out. I let them go so they could catch their flight back home.”

“Did you get what airline and what city they consider being home?”

“Yes, I even called the airline to verify the flight number and time of departure. At first, I thought it funny for a couple living in San Francisco would fly into Portland to get home. The husband said our airport has not direct flights to San Francisco, they had to go through Portland.”

Mike Miller followed Sherlock Miller down the stairs to the hotel lobby. Sherlock heads straight for the desk clerk and asks. “The couple who found the body in the elevator. What room did they stay in?”

The desk clerk fumbled through the hotel registry. Stopping at one page, he looks at Sherlock and says, “The Harper’s were staying in room 302.”

“What were their names?”

“Richard and Jane Harper.”

Sherlock turns to his brother. “Book me on the next flight to Portland. Call Detective Rice at Portland PD. Tell her what time my flight will be landing.”

“Wait a minute Sherlock. What about the body upstairs?”

“When you run his figure prints, you will find he was a homeless man with a history of mental illness. I will hazard to guess he was originally from Portland. Your officers require better education. Our airport has four flights each day going directly to San Francisco on different airlines.”

“What does Portland have to do with his murder?”

“Don’t you know who Dick and Jane Harper are?”

“No, should I?”

“That is why I am going to Portland. Book me on the next flight, and call Detective Rice. I’m going home to grab my go bag. I shouldn’t be gone more than a couple of days.”

“What shall I tell Detective Rice?”

“Tell her the real-life Dick and Jane are in her city. Only these two are serial killers.”

“Should I know something about Dick and Jane?”

“Call Detective Rice and go watch the movie ‘Fun with Dick and Jane’.”