“Ah, Inspector, just in time. I’ve finished my examination and have the cause and time of death. Good news, inspector, this is one of the easy ones,” the medical examiner related.
“I was delayed by traffic. So, what can you tell me about how this chap met his end, eh?” the Inspector replied.
Bending down and pointing, the medical examiner explained, “Mr. Dexter here had a rare blood disorder. He was being kept alive by this little device that’s attached to this belt. It’s an infusion pump and every thirty minutes, like clockwork, it injects a small amount of medicine directly into his bloodstream. Without it, he would have been dead months ago.”
“So, what happened,” the Inspector asked.
“Well, the pump is still functioning and there’s plenty of medicine in the tank. So I called the pump manufacturer and they told me there has never been a failure of any of these machines, ever. They hinted that it might have been a bad batch of medicine, so I called the pharmacy where Mr. Dexter got his medicine. They said there has never been a case of a bad dose of the medicine.” The medical examiner let that sink in and then continued, “But the pharmacist told me that the only restriction on Mr. Dexter was that he couldn’t get an x-ray or go through a body scanner or anything that emitted radiation. That would neutralize his medicine and he’d die very quickly as a result.”
“Right. So, time of death?” the Inspector asked, looking around.
“Mrs. Dexter put it at exactly one-thirty-two. She came home from the vet with their cat and within a very few minutes, he was dead.”
“Okay,” the Inspector replied, “Thanks.” Turning to his assistant, he asked, “What have you found out about the Dexters from their next door neighbors?”
Flipping through his notebook, his assistant explained, “They fought and argued a lot. She’s a drinker and he was a bit of a bully. They slept in separate rooms and the only thing they agreed on was that cat over there, the sick one. They both loved it, but it’s dying of cancer, apparently. Here’s the name of the vet if you want to verify where Mrs. Dexter was today.”
“Oh, she was at the vet, I’m sure of that. But I have to check just one thing with this Dr. Vincent. Can I borrow your phone?” the Inspector asked. “The battery is almost dead on mine.”
Handing over his phone to the Inspector, the assistant tried to think of what was going through the Inspector’s mind. Why would he be calling the vet if he already knew that Mrs. Dexter had just come from there. As he continued to be vexed by what the Inspector was up to, he heard this conversation over the speaker phone:
“Hello, Dr. Vincent, this is Inspector Royce from the local police. I just want to verify the type of treatment that Mrs. Dexter’s cat had this morning before you released it to her. Can you give me some details for my report?”
“Of course, Inspector. Mrs. Dexter’s cat is dying of leukemia. The cat means everything to her and she insisted, against my advice, that I administer a radiation treatment to the cat this morning. I told her that it would probably only prolong the cat’s life by a few days, a week at the most, but she was insistent. So, I gave the animal a large dosage, much larger than I would for an animal with a chance of recovery. And that’s about it, I suppose,” the vet replied.
“Fine. Now, did you give Mrs. Dexter any instructions about how to handle the cat when she got home?” the Inspector wondered. “Anything specific?”
“Oh, yes, Inspector. Due to the large dosage of radiation we administered, I told Mrs. Dexter to not let the cat sit in anybody’s lap for a few days. Absolutely no laps, Inspector!”
Without hanging up, the Inspector looked over at the assistant with a wry smile on his face and tilted his head towards Mrs. Dexter. His assistant smiled in return, retrieved his handcuffs, and slowly turned and walked towards the cat’s owner.