Detective Shay looked around the lobby room. Everything looked just fine in it's own place, save for the elder Steiner's corpse. They'd gotten a call on it not hours before from the maid. What made him wonder, was how she hadn't noticed it until then. Shay wasn't any doc, but he knew when a body looked fresh. This stiff looked about as fresh as a stale pastry.

"Stickler, what're the details."

"He died at around four in the afternoon yesterday. There's bruises on the neck that may have been inflicted by hanging but… no rope present anywhere. Either someone moved the body, or this was very poorly framed as a suicide. Also, upon further inspection" The chestnut haired coroner felt at the bodies neck with a gloved hand. "There appears to be some form of very light makeup on his neck and face-"

"I don't care about cosmetics, but neither did Steiner. The guy was about as manly as you could get, so sure that's strange. Doesn't get us any closer to figuring out who'dunn'it." Shay lit a cigarette and took a drag. Already this case was stranger than his past ones. Usually when someone was trying to make a murder look like a suicide, they weren't this bad at trying to play it as that. He made his way up the stairs, looking around. Despite the german surname, the manor was very british in its structure and furnishings. He wasn't fond of anything victorian era, whether it looked good or not.

Shay entered the study of the late Mr. Steiner. One of the drawers was left slightly open. Noticing this, he pulled it all the way out. Inside laid books and papers, but on top of it all was what looked to be an incomplete letter. Shay grabbed it and read it over.

My sweet,

I regret to inform you that things may not work out well. My brother has caught wind of our time together. If he were to find out of it for sure, it would break his heart. I have a plan that will make things work out for all of us. Come here tomorrow at noon. Be sure that no one sees you, Claudya. I-

Then the letter ended. Where more of it would have been written, a trailing line of ink went down the rest of the page.

"It suggests that someone interrupted him writing it. Maybe the brother chose to take action and got him from behind. From there…" He stood behind the chair and played the scene out in his mind. He placed the letter on the desk in front of him. "The suspect would have seen the letter and hit it. Maybe they used a noose from behind,but that doesn't make sense. The bruises suggest hanging from above, when the optimal angle for a sneak attack would have been from right behind."

Shay took out his phone and dialed in a number. It took a minute for the call to go through.



"There've been a few scandals on the Steiner family in the past. I know he had two brothers, Hans and George. Was there every any mention of a woman named Claudya though?"

"No. Why do you ask, think some woman under an alias has somethin' to do with this?"

"Maybe. A lot of things about this case seem suspicious. I just wanted to figure something, thought it might get a lead." Shay hung up and slid the phone into his pocket.

The more he thought about it, the less sense it made. All of this seemed set up, yet poorly done. Perhaps it was all on purpose, but for what reason? Shay folded the letter and slid it in his pocket. He exited the study. As he turned, he found himself an inch away from the barrel of a pistol. On the other end of the gun stood Mr. Steiner, alive and well.