Manual for Murder
Kill Thy Neighbour
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 would get his revenge on them when they have an innocent woman hang,"...to conceive of such a revenge, let alone carry it out, would take a genius".
- Later, at the Station House, Murdoch answers a telephone call – from Fellows, who acknowledges that the Detective has "won for now", then reveals that he is not in Germany (a red herring) but "...heading down to the Staten Island ferry".
- At the office of Private Investigations, Inc., Inspector Brackenreid arrests Ralph Fellows for the murders he tried to set up his own sister with the previous year, using Murdoch and Ogden's police manual Solving Murder.
- Without the hard evidence that Mr. Fellows committed the murders a year ago and with no evidence he murdered Mr. Huckabee, the Crown Attorney Allen Templeton orders his release. When Fellows asks Detective Watts, “The Detective isn't going to walk me out himself?”, Watts assures him that, “He will most definitely be in touch,” returning his briefcase to him. In return, Fellows gives him a file which proves his whereabouts at the time of Huckabee’s murder — complete with his staking-out photo of a man leaving a bawdy house.
- Immediately after his release from Station House No. 4, Fellows seeks out Miss Louise Cherry from the Toronto Telegraph to give her an exclusive on the Huckabee case revealing the murderer is none other than Detective Murdoch. Miss Cherry finds this very hard to believe but Fellows states that he has proof. The next edition of the Telegraph reports that Murdoch is both suspect and sleuth according to Mr. Ralph Fellows, a private investigator who has intimate knowledge of the case. This news story has the impact Fellows seeks…public pressure to have the famous sleuth arrested.
- Upon the arrest of Detective William Murdoch by the Crown Attorney, Toronto reporters question Mr. Fellows in front of the Station House; Having worked with the great Detective before, Fellows informs them that if Murdoch committed the heinous crime, he was driven to it as men of genius are prone to obsession, “It's obvious, Detective Murdoch fell into the grip of an obsession with Mr. Huckabee, leading to tragic consequences. Good day.”
- Later, Mr. Fellows is invited to Inspector Brackenreid’s office whereupon an apology is given him with a drink. The Inspector informs Fellows that the Constabulary has reason to believe that, “Goldie Huckabee, was using you in a plot of her own”. Her hired Private Detective listens in confusion and disbelief as Brackenreid explains, “It seems she moved to Toronto this year — to flee suspicion in a double murder… and we've been able to deduce that clay dust was planted to obscure Murdoch's alibi, and it came from a potter located near the house where Mrs. Huckabee was staying last week…Goldie Huckabee is the criminal mastermind we've been looking for all along. And it seems all of us, you included sir, have been played for dupes. Bottoms up.”
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