CIPC #366: The inspector Alleyn mysteries S1 E3, The nursing home murder

If you want suspense in your murder mystery, you have essentially two options: either you make the victim widely hated, so that you have many possible suspects, or you make him universally beloved, so you have no suspects at all. The director of today’s episode decided on the first option. The victim is a prominent member of parliament and adulterer who is hated by a host of political enemies as well his wife, his mistress, and her admirer. So when he dies of poisoning during a more or less standard medical procedure, there is a wide range of plausible perpetrators.

One of the minor ones, a nurse who was present during the surgery, can be seen close to the end of the episode sitting at a chessboard, staring at the black king she’s holding. She’s not exactly a picture of exuberant happiness.1 In fact, I think she’s rather unhappy about something. Perhaps it’s that one of her patients was murdered under her very hands.

Or perhaps it’s her position. Like last week, I found it quite hard to reconstruct black’s king’s side. But it seems,this is what we’re looking at:2

There should obviously be a black king, too, somewhere, but the nurse is fondling it so I don’t know where it belongs. I suspect f8. Or perhaps in the hands of a nurse, if it’s very sick. But in that case, it is rather disturbing to see that nurse hammer it back down on the board with no apparent care.

It may well be another nursing home murder.

Realism: 3/5 All the pieces seem to be in more or less reasonable positions, although I’m side-eyeing that king on f1 and I have some doubts about the hanging knight.3

Probable winner: There is too much uncertainty about the position to say anything for certain, but white seems to have better chances.

1. [Despite being at a chessboard! This has got to be serious.]
2. [Just a nice, blue link.]
3. [Was it murder or suicide?]