|Seen|| 8 Footsteps|
Manual for Murder
|Status||Criminal (at large)|
Appearances and Mentions
- As a hotel detective, Ralph Fellows has a bit of a professional jealousy that he doesn’t hide very well, especially towards the celebrated Detective Murdoch who gets all the high profile cases.
- When an electro-plated body is discovered in the lobby of the Windsor House Hotel, it is Ralph Fellows who recognizes it as such. As it is featured in Chapter One of Solving Murder, Julia and Murdoch asks if he has read their book to which he replies, "It may astonish the two of you that the world doesn't revolve around just you. The case was in the newspapers." Which begs the question: is the killer copying the newspapers or their book?
- When the connections to all four victims lead to Ralph Fellows, Murdoch interviews him at the Station House, "Then how do you explain the connections, Mr. Fellows?" Slorach was promoted ahead of him; Fellows may have eventually made detective, but a botched surgery rendered him unfit for service, performed by Dr. Morley; He worked with Robert Brown at the Pinkerton's, the body of the woman that was found in the lobby was his daughter; And Rebecca Collins, her maiden name was Winters. Each of the victims harmed Fellows in a way that forever denied his ambition to become a detective.
- Astonishingly, a somewhat contrite Ralph Fellows admits that, as a child, "I used to play detective. I uncovered all my sister's crimes," and adds being blessed as a child, everything had gone his way – his father was a pathetic drunk and was out of his life by the time he was 7..."My sister got lumped with him. I got to live with my mother in Canada." He was her favourite and her new husband just happened to have a brother who worked in Scotland Yard. When Ralph Fellows came of age he applied, knowing he would be accepted. Murdoch points out that he never heard back from them, because Miss Winters hid his letter of acceptance for a friend convinced Becky that she would lose him. "The irony is, I would have married Becky and taken her with me. That's the day my luck turned."
- Then Ralph Fellows questions Murdoch, "You're a Catholic. You must believe in God's hand? Surely you must have felt it on your back when you got your perfect job, your perfect wife, your best-selling book?" Murdoch states that he believes in His grace.
- Cleverly, Ralph Fellows retorts than Murdoch must allow for the opposite denial of grace: malevolent fortune, "At every juncture, the fates conspired against my ambitions, my happiness," and gives his explanation, "There is a killer out there using your book to kill people randomly." It's just his bad luck they all happen to be people he has motive to kill, "Or do you consider me stupid enough to leave a correspondence trail that links me to every victim? Just my luck." This explanation stops the interview.
- Murdoch takes the hotel detective's point: would he have left such a trail of evidence? Is he that stupid? The Inspector asks him who else would have the motive to kill these people?
- Further investigation reveals Evelyn Matthews' birth name to be Catharine Evelyn Fellows and is connected to each of the murder victims in the case. Murdoch believes she deliberately set out to destroy Mr. Fellows' life, and for the "coup de grace", sets him up for murder and was prepared to watch him hang for it. Detective Murdoch charges Evelyn Mathews.
- When Ralph Fellows is informed that his sister will most likely hang as she will not confess to the crimes, he tells the Detective, "You gave me back my life."
- Indeed. In the middle of the night, Murdoch asks himself why did Fellows tell him of uncovering "all my sister's crimes"? If he had never told Murdoch of his sister, the Detective would not have put it all together. Over late night tea, Murdoch and Ogden deduce that Ralph Fellows had used their book to set up his sister and gets revenge on them when they have an innocent woman hang. To conceive of such a revenge and carry it out, would take a genius who has made precautions not to get caught in the end.
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