A Lockdown Murder Mystery

It’s not a question of how, but who

Saptak Choudhury Published Apr 15, 2020 00:00:00 IST
A Lockdown Murder Mystery Image used for representative purposes only. (Picture: Needpix)

Note: User discretion is advised. Any resemblance to reality, which is sometimes stranger than fiction, is purely coincidental.

If we were living in a fictional world caught in the grips of a corona lockdown, the situation would probably be a familiar one for crime-fiction fans. Confined inside the four walls of our homes, this is a perfect set-up for the closed-circle scenario, in which the instigator or perpetrator behind the main mysterious occurrence(s) is always one among a select, closely-knit cast of characters, without outside influence.

The current lockdown provides a perfect opportunity for dastardly crimes to unveil under the guise of family dramas, where even the most mundane objects can turn into agents of crime. Every home has a knife—that embodiment of vengeance and bloodthirst. Then there’s the medicine box—a cleverly-disguised overdose of pills, or substituting one for a potentially fatal one, should do the trick. Besides, there’s all those heavy objects with which you can smash your unsuspecting victim—the flower pot, utensils, glass tumbler among many others. Nearly every corner of the house can be a death trap if you have a particularly wily nemesis in close quarters baying for your blood.

crime_041420085518.jpgIt's not the 'how' that matters as much as the 'who', be it perpetrator or victim. (Image used for representative purposes only)

The question therefore is, who should be your victim in this fictional world? Should it be your annoying neighbour who starts his guitar practice every night, just when you are about to fall asleep? Or should it be your sister’s cat, who polishes off your snacks, under her very adoring eye? Or maybe, you should devise a way to get rid of ALL the occupants of the apartment building you are living in, to ensure that you are not infected with the coronavirus? There is a whole heap of potential victims with entirely valid motives at your disposal at this time.

But, how will you dispose of the corpse? With a lockdown in full force—and with CCTV cameras, nosy neighbours, patrolling cops—there’s no guarantee you won’t be seen if you choose to take the body outside, however hard you try to disguise it. Or would you rather you were trapped in your apartment with the corpse? The overwhelming stench could soon make it easy to pinpoint the location. What about walling up corpses ala Edgar Allan Poe, then? The noise of breaking down the walls of your place will obviously alert people. As they say, no crime is truly foolproof at the end of day.

The even more pertinent question is if you will be able to live by your lonesome self through a pandemic—with a corpse, or their haunting memory—for company! Hiding a crime behind a closed apartment will no doubt require you to entirely put a stop to your social interactions, for fear of discovery.

Ultimately, even in the world of fiction, committing a murder in the times of the lockdown will only ensure that the final victim is you, the perpetrator. Perhaps it is better, then, to avoid the fate of being that character. Instead spin a fanciful yarn out of it and, in the process, craft a potential bestseller.

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