And so it ends. The final part of ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Nerd’, and the reveal of the murderer. If you’re casually clicking on this page, best to scroll back to part one and read from there.
This is the bit that I wanted to ‘live-tweet’ from the stage, but in the event I had to do it from a bus stop down the road, because of the lack of signal. It was so patchy that one of the last tweets failed to send, and because the others went out, I couldn’t tweet it retro-spectively. Thank goodness it wasn’t an important plot point. I’ve inserted it back in here – it was a line about D.I.Wells looking pleased, if you’re interested.
Twenty-odd days and thousands of tweets later, was it worth it? Well I enjoyed it. The white hot flurry of words begat several ideas that I would never have thought of otherwise. Panic is a very underrated creative force. I did think the duelling twitter feeds was cool, and Jennifer and her sinister nephew was great fun (inspired in part by my own Nan, and her glowering mono-syllabic son (My Uncle Adrian) who lived with her until he was well into his forties).
It was certainly a good exercise, if a little over-ambitious; not for me, but for the reader, many of whom found it clogging up their twitter feed and had to bow out. Perhaps twitter isn’t built for such a major commitment.
Nonetheless, I did scoop up a few die-hard fans, who come up to me from time to time and tell me that this was why they bought the books; one of them transcribed what you read here and kept it, otherwise it would have been completely lost in the ether, and we’d be trying to piece it together with a restoration team. Thanks again to Mike Bell for doing that.
If you liked this and want to buy the books and the new audio CD, they’re available from all over the place, but mainly from here:
It’s all over.
The hall has been cleared.
I told the audience the events of the last month. They start shifting uncomfortably; I think they want me to talk about old television…
But I pressed on regardless. I talked about the seemingly meaningless murders -Alistair bludgeoned with his own Perspex block…
Craig strangled with his own ‘communicator’, Dermot stabbed with his own neutron rapier…
‘The last murder was odd,’ I said. ‘It was slightly different. Dermot wasn’t left where he was killed like the others.’
‘He was driven several miles back to his shop. Why?’
No one had an answer for me. I didn’t expect them to have one. I already had a shrewd idea.
‘Then there’s the big question. Why? Is it a crime of passion? Three shop owners? Or was it really about some insane collector who didn’t get what he wanted? A collector who asks for an item, doesn’t get the item, and uses the item to kill the owner?’
‘So why didn’t the murderer just kill the owner and take the item?’
‘Are we supposed to accept that a mad collector is let loose in a shop of memorabilia, and yet doesn’t steal a thing?’
‘But then I realised. The murders were just smokescreens; designed to cover up a very clever series of thefts.’
I produced the Perspex brick from my satchel. I held it up close to Jennifer McLaird’s face. In his front row seat, Gus looked aghast.
Then the murderer makes his move.
I can see there’s a gun in his hand. It looks like it’s fitted with a silencer.
I suppose it’s the only thing he can do: shoot me and make a grab for the Perspex brick in the confusion.
And then slip away quietly before anyone realises what’s happened.
But the Cyberman is ready for him.
He grabs the murderer from behind and wrestles him to the ground, scattering fans like skittles.
Good old D I Wells. I hope the costume wasn’t too hot. It’s no fun in this weather.
The commotion passes; no-one knows what’s happening, so no-one does anything. We are in England, after all.
I carry on. Why not?
‘Is this your autograph ‘Gertie’?’ I said. ‘Gertie’ looked slightly intimidated. ‘Erm…yes, that’s mine.’
‘Really?’ I said. Then I produced the hammer.
I set down the Perspex brick and brought the hammer down, smashing it into tiny pieces.
There was a gasp from the audience. The Guffin family gave a howl of outrage.
I picked up the autograph from the debris. ‘You said the stray apostrophe on this autograph was caused by a squashed fruit-fly.’
I handed it to her. ‘Can you tell me what that apostrophe is made of?’
She scraped it with her finger, and looked at me in astonishment, as if I had performed a magic trick. ‘It’s pen. It’s a wee pen mark.’
‘This isna my autograph.’
‘It’s a forgery.’
‘Exactly. It’s a forgery. Someone substituted the real thing for a forgery.’
‘Go back to that night. Alistair needed some to produce a pair of fake Chelsea boots quickly. Somewhat unwisely, he contacts a forger.’
‘I say unwisely, because it’s the same person who has been ringing up demanding your ‘Gertie’ autograph.’
‘So Alistair drugs me, to stall things until the forger arrives with the boots. The forger arrives, but I think the forger still wants the autograph. There’s an argument and Alistair is killed with the Perspex brick. The murderer considers taking his prize but then thinks… Why bother? It’s going to be delivered straight to him anyway.’
‘He can make a copy at his leisure, hand the copy back to the Guffins, and keep the original to gloat over in secret.’
‘And when he realises this, he can’t stop. He commits more murders using the objects he wants. Knowing he’ll be allowed to take them away.’
‘And no-one need ever know.’
‘And who takes them away? Clive the evidence man, of course.’
By the way, my twitter followers…
I lied to you. Sorry, I had to. Clive wouldn’t have hung around if he knew D I Wells believed my story, and stayed in the hotel.
Like me, he was puzzled by Dermot getting moved back to London to get murdered.
He’d actually had his own suspicions for some time.
Why do that, unless the murderer wanted the same investigative team to collect the evidence from the scene of the crime?
I leave the convention. Clive is being forced into a police car, spitting and swearing as the door is slammed shut.
Di Wells looks awfully chuffed.
It’s the third murderer he’s caught this year.
Another one to add to his collection.