By Frampton Jones
Who could have killed Christopher Miles? There are so many people with motives that I fear we shall never know the truth. It could have been any of us, so let me be first to say… but of course it was not me…
Currency here on the island has always been a simple business. The number on the coin is generally taken to indicate the worth of the coin. Exceptions may be made if the substance of the coin is deemed more valuable than the number suggests, but we’ve always been able to settle that in traditional ways. Bargaining, pleading, shouting, punching, threatening and so forth. On the whole, our systems worked very well.
Then Christopher Miles shipwrecked here, with his notions of exchange rates, relative values, currency fluctuations, market prices and a thousand other terms that were as impressive as they were impenetrable.
As is always the way of it, there are always ears open to ideas here. Always people ready to break with custom for the sake of personal advantage. But none of us really knew what we were doing and so it came down to Christopher himself to determine the relative value of coins, and settle disputes. It was only natural that anyone on the wrong end of his judgements would hold him personally responsible for the consequences. There were so many of us with grudges.
But now he has dead, and we can stop hitting each other with blunt objects and settle back down to using the numbers on the coins to measure their worth again, and we can all have pies, and pints, and hairy coffee and all the simple joys that make life bearable. And you can all go back to paying what you used to pay for copies of The Hopeless Vendetta, thank you very much.
Doc Willoughby said to me, “Much as I hate to ever accuse anyone of murder, there were an awful lot of stab wounds, more than a chap might do to himself in despair. It’s hard to stab yourself in the back, although you’d be surprised about how many people do that to themselves. I have no idea who did it of course. I never met any of them. I wasn’t there. Someone else might have seen it, but I most certainly did not, he was dead long before I saw his body.”
And for once, I find myself in absolute concurrence with the wisdom of our good Doctor.