Doing this project was an exercise in discovery. I’ve long said that, ‘if you can imagine it, it’s already on the web.’ And indeed it is. While checking various stock photo agencies I thought, there must be a website with pics licensed under Creative Commons, and indeed there was. Pixabay was by far the best. Though sometimes I had to search a bit, I was able to find 99% of the images I needed here. Only 2, the body outline at the bottom of the stairs and the earring shot, needed further Photoshopping. I used a couple other photo repositories but often came up short: Pexels & Unsplash



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The outline of a body in masking tape is added to a royalty-free shot of a staircase in Hearst Castle. Click to zoom.

One of the hardest things to come up with when writing is names for people and places and companies and streets and on and on…. You can get stuck for hours, days even, on choosing just the right name for a character. Not any more. I used the Name Generator to generate names for Pets, People and Places as needed.

When faking evidence like an autopsy report or police report, plain vanilla Google Images are fine for coughing up models to follow but getting your lawyers, forensic scientists and coroners to sign off requires a Fake Signature Generator which I found at Fontmeme.

Making fake newspapers was also possible but online generators or MS Word templates tended to be too limited or clunky so I just ended up doing it myself in LibreOffice Writer, part of an excellent Open Source office suite.

From Photofunia

However, for generating pics of fake newspapers I took a visit to Photofunia where I could fake all kinds of evidence. In fact, the kinds of output available here dictated the story line of Whodunnit to some degree. The evidence pic of Valentines Day chocolate was enough to suggest a context and the romantic interest part of the story.

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My go-to audio editor forever has been the Open Source Audacity. Beyond fine-tuning some of the machine-generated utterances, Audacity is a great tool also for inserting Sound FX like doors creaking open or footsteps receding. Those you can find at Freesound.

By far, the biggest challenge with implementing Whodunnit was finding machine-generated voices that didn’t sound [too much] like machine-generated voices. I spent 100s of hours searching, testing, and trying to figure out some of the more advanced technologies in a field that is very much still emerging. A lot of the biggest companies like Amazon [Polly or Alexa] or IBM [Watson] or Google or Microsoft [SAPI5] have highly arcane implementations directed at software engineers. Often they lack the capability of switching voices on the fly even though the <voice> tag is at the core of the Simulated Speech Mark-up Language [SSML].

The best Text-To-Speech editor I could find was a downloadable freeware program called Balabolka. Unfortunately, accessing Microsoft’s SAPI5 voices is a nightmare. The voices are in place, by default, but arcane settings on Win 10 make accessing all the SAPI5 voices virtually impossible. The voices are pretty good but not great so I finally gave up on that line of inquiry.
I eventually found a solution in the MAC world. I found a pretty good editor called Ghostreader. It doesn’t support the entire suite of SSML tags but changing voices on the fly couldn’t have been easier. Their native voices sucked but I found out that I could use third party voices from Proloquo4Text, a maker of assistive technologies. The demo voices were plentiful and accurate. Going this route would have required a significant outlay of cash for the editor and 7 or 8 additional voices and it would have limited me to working in the MacOS environment, something I’m not overly fond of anyway. So to make an even longer odyssey, shorter, I eventually went back to the Windows options and chose NaturalReader Commercial. Their editor is decent for small jobs though what I’d really appreciate is the ability to Find & Replace voice tags rather than clicking an endless succession of drop-down boxes which seems to be the industry norm. Their voices are quite good out of the box and utterances are editable right down to the phonemic level. The results, not too shabby…

So, Text2Speech may finally be ready for the big-time. Everyone in the biz is going for the customer service market or the book reader market [a complete waste of time IMHO] or learning deficit support, small markets, way-over supplied. What nobody seems to have figured out is that there’s a massive market in educational applications, and I don’t just mean apps. There is some significant potential for classroom use that no one seems to be aware of yet. It’s a field that’s wide open for any company that is willing to take the blinkers off and restructure their tools.
For example, a teacher of literature in high school could activate student interest in Shakespeare by tasking the class to create an audio play of a key scene from Hamlet or some such work. In order to convey the meaning and nuance, students will need to understand it first and foremost. SSML provides the tools to tweak individual utterances with emphasis or length or volume, exactly what’s needed for a dramatic performance. Chances are, many students who would normally be snoozing at the back of the class would suddenly be motivated to work on Hamlet after class or at home, coming to appreciate the meaning as a by-product. It doesn’t matter how we get them there, it just matters that we do.

There is perhaps no drier subject than linguistics. Text2Speech could be used by students to discover – not read about – the significance of things like pitch, intonation, linking, pauses, etc. by using SSML to finely sculpt utterances.
ESL students could likewise be tasked to explore and discover the features that make up accurate, native-like speech, by comparing their own utterances with a natural, native model and then engaging with T2S bots to tweak the features of robotic output to approach the model, learning what features they may personally need to tweak in order to achieve more native-like speech in the process.

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Whodunnit Forensics Lab

There are a variety of ways that Whodunnit: Murder at Armstrong Manor can be deployed in the classroom depending on class size, make-up, level and, of course, whether it’s being taught in the flesh or online. It would be possible for a single student to work through the evidence alone, and some will, even in group a setting, but a collaborative approach will wring more learning and a wider range of skills out of the process. For that reason, a project-based attack is advised. Groups of five, with students themselves deciding how to divvy up the content is fairly efficient. Using a print-out of the Evidence Notebook or their own note-taking solution, individuals or pairs can assess a given piece of evidence then report back to the group at a predetermined time, sharing their findings through oral discussion, in English only, of course. A motivated group of 5 could probably motor through the task in 3 hours of classroom time. The bigger the group, however, the more likely some students will slack off and let their peers do all the detective work.

A group of three will stretch out the exercise significantly and tend to make students more accountable. Each student will be directly exposed to more content and will have more face time during sharing sessions. A presentation phase could be added with each group taking turns briefly presenting on one piece of evidence or interview to the whole class. This will have the effect of reviewing the events and vocabulary for all, while ensuring that comprehension levels and pacing are similar, across all groups. The presentation phase is also a good way to find out if any groups have misunderstood instructions.


A flipped classroom approach lends itself well to online learning with students chomping through the rote work of listening or reading and taking notes then coming to class prepared for forensic discussion in breakout rooms. If expectations are clearly established at the beginning of the semester most students will be motivated to do their part honestly. To keep the honesty quotient up, instructors can pop in and out of discussion rooms on a random basis to assist while keeping tabs on who’s contributing and who isn’t. Students should be aware in advance, or at least believe, that points are being awarded for active participation. See the Participation Tracking Print-Out below for a tool to help with that.

What level is Whodunnit for?

Remember that old adage: target the task, not the content. Since the content is designed to be ‘authentic,’ lower level students will require more scaffolding. Towards that end, at the bottom of the page, you’ll find a PowerPoint presentation that can be used to introduce the project and a list of phrasal verbs that can be pretaught. Other vocabulary is glossed in-context but instructors may want to pick out specific items to highlight for the entire class. With that in mind, Whodunnit should be deployable for motivated False Beginners or Lower Intermediate students and up.

Show, Don’t Tell

Before tasking lower level students to assess the evidence, choose a single interview and elicit salient details, building them up on the board in point form. Repeat the exercise with one of the pictures of evidence, getting students to examine it closely, articulating the detail and speculating on what it could mean in a criminal investigation. The last picture on the page, that of the victim’s father would be good for this exercise.

Part way through the project, pause in the group work and elicit descriptions of each of the characters along with an impromptu discussion of their personalities. The PowerPoint presentation below can anchor this review phase. The instructor or an assistant can build up the appropriate adjectives on the whiteboard, analogue or digital. Again this will help establish a baseline of knowledge for all participants.

Four Skills – Collaborative Learning

I have always tried to emphasize oral output, whether teaching conversation, a listening class, a writing class or indeed, content courses like American Literature or British & American Culture or Pedagogy courses. Of the four skills, speaking is the one which students need most yet have the fewest opportunities to garner whether in class or out; whether in an EFL or an ESL situation. Even in the latter, there’s a tendency of students to hang together in their linguistic and cultural groups for a myriad of reasons. There are ample opportunities for students to listen on their own. Even those who are motivated to do very little else will listen to English-based music or watch an endless parade of YouTube videos, television programs and movies in English, with or without the support of subtitles. Reading is a declining skill worldwide, among both language learners and the general population but sufficiently motivated students can easily find things of interest to read and require no feedback from the process in order to improve. The productive skills are quite different. Though some students will do writing on their own — keeping a diary, for instance — most are reluctant without some form of feedback even though there is proven value to writing in a vacuum. Speaking has it’s own, built-in feedback but, by its very nature, requires a minimum of two people, something hard to come by outside of the classroom.

Passive Skills Productive Skills
Listening Reading Speaking Writing
There are 8 suspect/witness interviews, each less than 5 minutes in length. There are also three very short radio news clips without transcripts.

The 8 interviews are accompanied by transcripts. Upper level students can be encouraged to get their info aurally only. A workable deployment could be listen as a class first, discuss then follow up by listening and reading simultaneously, then discussing and note-taking with instructor fielding questions as they arise.
Participants will also be required to read a number of documents
and news clippings related to the investigation.

Ideally, each step should be followed up with a brief discussion period to squeeze as much spoken language out of the process as possible. It should go without saying that students should be using English only at all times. To achieve this, students must be trained from the first day of classes. Letting this slide is an abdication of your responsibilities as a teacher. No need to be a Nazi about it. Firm reminders are usually enough. When all is said and done, students appreciate the effort. The point of the class is NOT to figure out a detective mystery. The point of the class is to master English.
The printable Evidence Notebook provides opportunities for note-taking and writing up a formal theory. If anyone wants I can provide the Word file so students can fill out the notebook while working online and upload it to an EMS [think Moodle] for assessment.

Supplementary Activities

You may want to undertake some of the interview sections as a class and discuss to promote a deeper sense of the story. With higher level students listen only then debrief and discuss. With intermediate level students, listen first, then read, debrief and discuss. Lower level students will be most comfortable reading and listening at the same time, followed by a few comprehension questions and a solo rereading before addressing vocabulary as a class followed by a directed discussion.

Interviews Discussion
Mrs Padma Forste Discuss Mrs Forste’s lost inheritance in the back story. Was it fair? Could you keep working for someone who so boldly robbed you of a fortune? Why do you think Russell Armstrong left his fortune to his housekeeper and not his son? Are there any parallels in the story? Why did Armstrong keep Mrs Forste on as a hosekeeper?
Christian Green Discuss the role of environmentalists in society. Why do some environmentalists become overzealous? What is an environmental cause that you personally believe in?
Damian Pierpoint Imagine a scenario in which Damian and his wife are the murderers. Do this early on to help students start thinking like a detective. Be sure to cover Means, Motive and Opportunity.
Miyuki Miura Why would ‘Yuki’ be interested in someone who, by all accounts, was a pretty nasty guy? Was it love? Was she a ‘gold digger’ as Detective ‘Huck’ suggested?
Rusty Hall Business Discussion: given what you know about Zodiaq, do you think the death of the controlling shareholder will affect business generally and the price of the company shares in the short term and the longer term. What kind of company is Zodiaq? Is Zodiaq an ethical company? Ideally, how should such a company behave from a social standpoint.
Bruno Wolfe Is ‘trophy hunting’ a sport? Do you agree with Detective ‘Huck’, that trophy hunting is just bullying? What do you think of ‘food hunting?’ How about food fishing? Industrial fishing? Whaling?
Fabian Wood Fabian is happy-go-lucky. What do you think of his hapless lifestyle? Could you live like him?
Reynard Armstrong
What kind of man was he? Contrast him with what we know of his father. Why were they so different?
Investigating the Crime Scene What do you think are the most important pieces of evidence? Based on just the evidence presented at the crime scene suggest a theory of how the crime took place. Discuss in pairs and then write it out on the last page of the Evidence Notebook.
Documents Discuss the will and have students write out their own will. Discuss inheritance tax. Why did Armstrong dispose of his fortune in the way that he did? Why not just leave everything to Fabian, as everyone expected?
 Debrief; How did the case turn out? In light of the will, were there any surprises. Follow the money: speculate on how the inheritance was distributed in the end. Characters: speculate on what became of other key characters outside of the realm of the evidence.


Participation Tracking Print-Out

Download and print to keep records on who’s taking part in discussions and who’s just faking it. You don’t need to even use the results but a clipboard and whole lot of jotting can have a miraculous effect on participation. Give praise where warranted and let the slouches know that you must have missed their moment in the limelight.

Whodunnit Intro on PowerPoint

Download a PowerPoint presentation that can be used to briefly introduce Whodunnit to your students.

Evidence Notebook

Download a note taking aid for your students.

Phrasal Verbs

[In Development]

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Protected: Case Solved!

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Crime Scene Notes

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Detective Vera Todd
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Detective Jin Hyuk Lee AKA ‘Huck’

Accents: US English
Time: 03:59
Transcription Below

Date: Monday, February, 15th
Location: Armstrong Manor

Detective Todd: [Making Voice Notes] It’s 10:30 on the morning of Monday, February, 15th. We’re at Armstrong Manor investigating the death of Reynard Armstrong. The victim’s body was discovered by his housekeeper shortly after 10 AM this morning upon arrival at work.
The victim is laying face down on the landing at the bottom of the main staircase. Head, resting at the base of a statue. There’s blood and hair on the base. The photographer is taking pictures with Huck assisting. [Calling out] Hey Huck, when the snapshots are finished have someone tape around the victim then flip him over for frontal snapsSnapshots; photos.
Detective Lee: You bet. [Sneezes]
Detective Todd: The staircase looks normal. There’s no sign of a struggleFight. here. What’s this? An earring, on the second-from-the-top stair, tucked into a corner. [Calling out] Hey Huck, take a look at this…
Detective Lee: What is it?
Detective Todd: There’s an earring here. Quite a large one. It looks like an antique….
Detective Lee: Let’s see… Wow! Now THAT is very telling. Hang on, I’ll get the photographer to take a few shots in situLatin; a term meaning “in place” or “in location” before we examine it more closely.
Detective Todd: Good idea. Let’s get it dusted for prints too.
Detective Lee: Okay.
Detective Todd: There’s some hair around here too. Looks like hair from that cat. Can you bag a sample? I guess Mrs Forste hasn’t done the stairs for a while.
Detective Lee: According to her, she would have vacuumed the stairs on Friday. [Sneezes] She mentioned that Arse… the cat Arsenio, shedslose hair naturally a lot.
Detective Todd: Noted. Oh, there’s cat hair over here too. Quite a bit. Oh look at this, there’s a few strands of human hair too. Could I borrow your tweezers? I need to get all of this.
Detective Lee: Here you go…
Detective Todd: Now this is interesting. This whole area is matted and wet like it was recently cleaned. We need to tape off the whole staircase including the top landing and have it processed. We need a sample of this wet carpet then check walls and floor with LuminolA spray used to detect blood. and UVUltraviolet light.. Finish with a forensic vacuuming. Let’s bag each stair and the landings separately, it could give us a sense of the progression of events.
Detective Lee: What do you think? It’s like a fight broke out here [Sneezes] and somehow Armstrong was pushed down the stairs?
Detective Todd: That’s certainly what it’s looking like. I wonder why the floor was cleaned.
Detective Lee: Yeah, me too. I’ll see how they are doing in the den.
[Muffled footsteps receding; sneezing]
Detective Lee: Vera, Sergeant Stadanko just called. He found something of interest in the basement. [Sneezes]
Detective Todd: What is it?
Detective Lee: It sounds important. Let’s go check it out.
[Footsteps walking]
Detective Todd: Are you coming down with a cold?
Detective Lee: No, it’s that damned cat. I’m allergic. [Sneezes] Oh, look at this….
Detective Todd: I see. That’s interesting. Thank you Sergeant. Get someone to tape this area off. [Recording] Freshly broken glass on basement door. Could have been used to gain entry. Glass mostly on the inside. Huck, we’re gonna want pictures and prints.
Detective Lee: On it!
[Door Opening]
Detective Todd: Oh, look at this boot print. That’s a thing of beauty. [Recording] Single boot print in flower bed next to door. Very clear impression. Looks fresh. Huck… Where’s Huck? [Sneezes] Oh there he is. Huck, look here….
Detective Lee: Nice. I’ll get forensics to make a cast after we get pics. [Sneezes]
Detective Todd: I thought you were going to call Animal Control.
Detective Lee: I did. They haven’t come yet. Look at my pants, they’re covered with cat hair. [Sneezes] He keeps rubbing up against my legs. And then he runs away, like he wants to play or something.
Detective Todd: They always do that. Put him in the bathroom ‘til Animal Control arrives.
Detective Lee: We tried. He just runs away. Thinks… [Sneezes] Thinks we’re playing. He’s contaminating the crime scene. Mrs Forste was right, there’s cat hair everywhere.
Detective Todd: Let me try. I’m pretty good with cats.
Detective Lee: Knock yourself out…. [Sneezes]

Home | Interviews

Fabian Wood

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Accents: US English
Time: 07:23
Transcription Below

Relationship: Nephew
Date: Tuesday, February, 23rd
Location: Police Interrogation Room #1

Detective Todd: Wolfe lawyered upTalked to a lawyer. I just got a call from his legal team. They’re refusing to submit to a lie detector or supply DNA without a court order.
Detective Lee: That wasn’t unexpected. Did you read the lab report?
Detective Todd: I just looked it over. I would have bet that was blood at the top of the stairs. I’ll be honest, I’m a little disappointed.
Detective Lee: I know what you mean.
Detective Todd: And what’s the deal with all the hair on the stairs. Didn’t the housekeeper vacuum the stairs? Remind me to call her.
Detective Lee: Okay. I think they were having a party on the stairs, if you know what I mean….
[Door opens; chairs scraping]
Detective Todd: Thanks for coming down, Mr Wood. You’re a hard guy to get ahold of.
Witness: I know. It’s intentionalOn purpose.
Detective Lee: Any reason in particular?
Witness: Being related to someone like Uncle Rey has its downsideNegative points, believe me.
Detective Lee: How so?
Witness: My Uncle Rey wasn’t Mr Popular, or hadn’t you noticed?
Detective Todd: Yes, he didn’t seem to have a lot of fans. How about you, did you get along with your uncle?
Witness: Get along? I never saw him. I bet I’ve only seen him half a dozen times in the 15 years since my mother died.
Detective Lee: Why is that?
Witness: He didn’t like my sister… or me by extension. You see, she had me out of wedlockWithout being married. He thought that brought shame on the family. He was right about one thing, though…
Detective Todd: What’s that?
Witness: My dad was a bounderUK English; a bad guy; unreliable; a jerk. He ran off a few months after I was born leaving my mom holding the bagAbandon someone and force them to bear the responsibility or blame.. I shouldn’t be so hard on old Rey. He stepped up, made sure she was provided for, just barely…. When she died, he put me in boarding school, a very good one, and made sure I got into one of the better universities. After that, I was on my own. I think his objective was to make me self-reliant.
Detective Lee: Did it?
Witness: I suppose.
Detective Todd: Couldn’t you get a position with Zodiaq?
Witness: He wouldn’t dream of it. Neither would I, for that matter. I had no desire to work anywhere near him. I suppose he knew that. Anyway, my major wouldn’t have been much use to him.
Detective Lee: What did you study?
Witness: Philosophy. Can you imagine trying to apply moral reasoning to a completely amoral company like Zodiaq?
Detective Lee: Did you ever ask him for a job?
Witness: No way.
Detective Todd: Your sister never married, yet your name is Wood, not Armstrong…
Witness: Yeah, I had it changed. Like I said, there’s a downside to being related to THAT Armstrong. I got tired of explaining….
Detective Lee: So what have you been doing since your uncle cut you off?
Witness: I joined the navy for a while. That was a rookie mistake. I opened a cafe at one point. Sold it for a pretty good profit too. Other than that, mostly just kicking aroundIdiom; to lead a life without direction or purpose.
Detective Lee: What do you do for money?
Witness: I don’t know, money always seems to find me one way or another.
Detective Todd: Do you think it will find you when your uncle’s will is read?
Witness: I imagine so. I mean he didn’t have anyone else.
Detective Lee: What will you do with the riches?
Witness: I don’t know exactly. I’ve thought about it. I’ll probably sell his interest in the company. I have no desire to be involved in Zodiaq. And I couldn’t live in that horrid old house so I’ll probably sell that too. I’ll keep the car though. Awesome car. Have you seen it?
Detective Todd: No.
Witness: A jag. It’s a total babe magnetAttractive to women.
Detective Lee: And then what?
Witness: Just lay aboutDo nothing.. I have no ambition whatsoever. I guess I take afterFollow; resemble either physically or in personality. my dad in that way.
Detective Todd: Have you been in the house recently?
Witness: Gawd no. I was probably ten the last time I visited there.
Detective Lee: Do you know Mrs Forste, the housekeeper?
Witness: Mrs Forst? Is she still around? You know my uncle cheated her out of the whole inheritance back when my grandfather died?
Detective Lee: We heard about that. What else do you know about her?
Witness: Not much. I know my grandfather was very fond of her. She was his housekeeper when he lived in India. That’s why she was included in the will that way. She was apparently very fastidiousNeat; Tidy; Clean in her younger days. I expect she must be slipping a bit in her old age. She must be like a hundred years old by now.
Detective Todd: Into her 80s, I think. Do you know if she carried a grudgeResentment. against your uncle?
Witness: I expect so. Hey, maybe she killed him. Out of revenge. That was a mean thing to do. I’ll make sure she’s provided for.
Detective Todd: Maybe she did.
Witness: I was just kiddingMaking a joke.. Old Mrs Forste couldn’t kill my uncle. That’s just silly. She was half his size when I saw her last.
Detective Lee: Some might call the inheritance a motive for murder.
Witness: You mean her or me?
Detective Lee: Either way….
Witness:  For sure, it’s a lot of money.
Detective Lee: Do you have an alibi for last Sunday evening?
Witness: Not really. As you know, I live off the grid. I don’t have a phone. Or a computer for that matter. I live on a sailboat.
Detective Todd: It sounds pretty carefree.
Witness: I hope the money doesn’t change that. Come to think of it, for the last couple weeks I have been sailing around the coast. If I remember correctly, I was in Nemeta Beach last weekend, Monday too. I believe I stopped at an internet cafe to check e-mail. They would probably remember me. I tried chatting up the clerk. They might have me on video getting shot downSlang; be rejected, especially in romance..
Detective Todd: We’ll check it out.
Detective Lee: Do you remember the cafe name?
Witness: No, I don’t. But I can’t imagine they have more than one in that little village. Oh, yeah, I used a cash machine too.
Detective Todd: On Sunday?
Witness: More like Saturday. But it puts me there.
Detective Todd: We’ll check that out too.
Detective Lee: What time were you in the cafe?
Witness: In the afternoon to early evening. They roll up the sidewalks pretty early in Nemeta.
Detective Todd: You don’t seem very distraught at your uncle’s death.
Witness: He was nothing to me, a benefactorSomeone who helps another financially. at one point but nothing more. The only surprise is somebody didn’t offSlang; kill. him a long time ago. He was a really nasty guy.
Detective Todd: Well, I think that’s all the questions for now. Will you be in Newoma long?
Witness: I’m staying for the will readingLast Will & Testament; a document directing the disposal of property after death. on Friday then I’ll probably make my way down to my home port at Woocum Island.
Detective Lee: How can we contact you?
Witness: E-mail me. I usually check in every couple days.
Detective Todd: Okay. Thanks for coming in. We’ll be in touch.
[Chairs scraping]
Witness: Good luck cracking the case….
Detective Lee: By the way, do you know anyone who could take your uncle’s pet cat?
Witness: No, sorry, I don’t. Where’s the cat now?
Detective Lee: In the poundShort for ‘impound;’ where unwanted animals are kept, often being put to death if no one claims them.. Nobody would take him.
Witness: Oh, that’s not good…

[Door closing]
Detective Todd: What do you think?
Detective Lee: He’s a little too cool. Unless I missed something, his uncle sounds quite generous.
Detective Todd: I suspect there was something else going on between Wood and his uncle, something he isn’t sharing.
Detective Lee: By all accounts, Armstrong was a jerk. Still, Armstrong was his uncle and the way he died should have had some impact.

Home | Interviews

Bruno Wolfe

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Accents: US English
Time: 03:19
Transcription Below

Relationship: Business Associate

Date: Friday, February, 19th
Location: Zodiaq Industrial Group Boardroom

Detective Lee:
I did some checking. It seems his wife made a complaint in September about domestic violence but then withdrew the complaint some days later.
Detective Todd: So, this guy has a temperGets angry easily. [Door Opens and closes] Oh, here he comes. Thank you for agreeing to meet with us on such short notice, Mr Wolfe.
Witness: Like I had a choice? Can I send for a coffee or something? What’s on your mind?
Detective Lee: I’m good. We won’t take up much of your time.
Detective Todd: No thanks. I see you haven’t moved into the CEO’s office yet.
Witness: Ah, that’s why you’re here. Good news travels fast.
Detective Lee: Is it ‘good news’ that your partner was killed?
Witness: No, of course not. What I meant was we can begin moving away from all these damned controversies though I daresay the damage is done already.
Detective Todd: For the record, where were you on Monday evening?
Witness: Nowhere. I was at home. I’m going away hunting in the north country in a couple of weeks and I was getting organized.
Detective Lee: Can anybody corroborateProve something with evidence that?
Witness: I don’t think so. I live alone. My wife cleaned me out and took off with her tennis instructor.
Detective Todd: I’m sorry to hear that. When was that?
Witness: That all happened over Christmas. Frankly, it’s good to be rid of her.
Detective Lee: How did the break up make you feel?
Witness: How do you think? Don’t worry, she’ll be back when her boy toy dropsDump; end a relationship her because the money ran out. What has this got to do with Reynard’s murder?
Detective Todd: How did you and Mr. Reynard get along?
Witness: Not at all. Everyone knew that. I disagreed with the direction he was taking the company and he refused to listen to common sense. No secret there.
Detective Todd: Have you ever been to Armstrong Manor?
Witness: Of course, many times. Especially in the early days. We often used to meet there for discussions or just socializing, hanging around the pool, backyard barbecues. We used to play golf a lot too. He was a good golfer but you had to watch him. He would cheat if you gave him a chance.
Detective Lee: When was the last time you were there?
Witness: Some time in the fall. Mid-October, I think. I can check with my secretary.
Detective Lee: Please do.
Detective Todd: What did you talk about?
Witness: Hazardous wasteGarbage which is extremely poisonous., as always. The money was too good for him to pass up. I thought it was dirty money, that it would cripple our ability to compete on more conventionalUsual or typical. waste management. He wouldn’t hear any of it.
Detective Todd: Mr Wolfe, would you be willing to submit to a lie detector test and supply us with a sample of your DNA?
Witness: So I’m a suspect. I think I can do that but I want to run it by my lawyers first.
Detective Todd: Thanks again for meeting with us.
Detective Lee: Please have your secretary confirm when you were last at Armstrong Manor.
Witness: Certainly.
Detective Todd: By the way, what kind of hunting will you be doing?
Witness: We’re going for grizzGrizzly bear; AKA Brown Bear.
[Elevator sounds]
Detective Todd: If he was going to kill someone, wouldn’t he make sure he had an alibi?
Detective Lee: Unless it was an accident, an argument that got out of hand. You know, I don’t trust hunters, especially trophy hunters. It’s just a form of bullying and bragging.
Detective Todd: It’s not my favourite sport either…
Detective Lee: By the way, I haven’t found anything linking Green to any kind of violence. He’s a pussycatGentle person., it seems.
Detective Todd: His lawyers will make a big deal out of that.
Detective Lee: He protests a lot but always in a non-violent way.
Detective Todd: That doesn’t mean he didn’t do it.
Detective Lee: It just makes it harder to prove.

Home | Interviews

Rusty Hall

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Accents: US English; Australian English
Time: 03:11
Transcription Below

Relationship: CFO Zodiaq Industrial Group; Minor Shareholder

Date: Friday, February, 19th
Location: Police Interrogation Room #2

Detective Todd: Thanks for coming down here today, Mr Hall. I know you must be busy given recent events.
Witness: It’s the least I could do. I’m happy to help with this awful turn of events in any way I can.
Detective Todd: Sorry, we have to ask, where were you last Sunday.
Witness: I was in San Dominico all weekend long, working on financingTrying to arrange for a loan for this East Newoma expansion.
Detective Todd: That’s the one that sparked all the protests last summer, isn’t it?
Witness: Yes, that’s right.
Detective Lee: Did you stay overnight or return to Newoma on Sunday?
Witness: I got back pretty late on Sunday. I like that drive less every time I do it.
Detective Lee: What time exactly?
Witness: It must have been after 11.
Detective Todd: And your negotiationsDiscussions; often about legal contracts went well?
Witness: Quite well, in fact. We’re nowhere near being finished but we’re definitely moving in the right direction.
Detective Todd: At the firm, what were relations like between Mr Armstrong and his employees.
Witness: Reynard was a hard man to like. There was always a certain amount of tension when he was around. As far as it goes, I think he treated people fairly, if a little coldly perhaps. He rewarded excellence and loyalty well. He is… I mean, was, pretty brutal with those who screw up. Completely unforgiving. You only got one chance.
Detective Todd: Any disgruntledUnhappy. employees that stand out?
Witness: A few, I suppose. Though the biggest rift was between Reynard and Bruno, Bruno Wolfe. They did not agree at all on the expansion. Bruno did not believe that Reynard was taking Zodiaq in the right direction.
Detective Lee: Oh, why not?
Witness: As you have seen, hazardous waste is just too controversial. He believed it damaged the brand, made it hard to bid on the easy money, municipal waste and recycling projects.
Detective Todd: Mr Armstrong was the majority shareholder, wasn’t he?
Witness: Well, that’s interesting. Yes, he was but on his death, his preferred shares reverted to common shares. Whoever inherits those shares will not have a controlling interest in the company.
Detective Todd: Oh, how’s that?
Witness: When we formed the company we put in a shotgun clause. Upon the death of any of us founders, preferred shares immediately revert to non-voting common shares. The idea was to protect the founders. [Laughing] I’m sure Reynard thought he was exempt from death, that’s why he insisted on it.
Detective Lee: So how has that upset the apple cart?
Witness: It’s too early to say but my 10 percent is now worth 30 percent. It also puts Bruno in control now. I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire East Newoma project is cancelled.
Detective Todd: That is a very interesting development. Well, I think we don’t have any further questions at this time. How about you, Huck?
Detective Lee: No, I’m good for the moment.
Witness: We have an emergency board meeting next Wednesday. I can give you an update after that.
Detective Todd: Perfect. I’ll definitely be calling you.
Detective Lee: Thanks for coming in Mr. Hall.
Witness: Not at all. I hope we can put this unpleasantness behind us quickly.
[Chairs scraping; door closing]
Detective Lee: What do you think?
Detective Todd: There’s a lot there. Your business partner and friend dies, would you call that ‘unpleasantness’. I think I’d be looking for a stronger word.
Detective Lee: I found that a bit odd too. We need to talk to this Bruno sooner than later.
Detective Todd: See if you can set up an appointment for this afternoon. You know what they say, ‘Follow the Money!’
Detective Lee: On it….

Home | Interviews

Miyuki Miura

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Accents: US English; Indian English
Time: 05:16
Transcription Below

Relationship: Former Girlfriend
Date: Thursday, February, 18th
Location: Police Interrogation Room #3

Detective Todd: Thanks for coming in, Ms Mai… Maiyura… Did I say that right?
Witness: No, but I’m used to it. Just call me Yuki. It’s easier.
Detective Todd: Yuki. Okay Yuki, you work as a fashion model, is that correct?
Witness: And actress.
Detective Todd: It’s a hard business, isn’t it?
Witness: Yes, competitive. I have a good agent though. I get enough work here and there.
Detective Todd: And you and Reynard Armstrong were in a relationship, is that correct?
Witness: We’re just friends now… I mean, we were just friends. I used to think it might be going somewhere…
Detective Lee: Where?
Witness: It seemed pretty serious at one point. Then it all changed….
Detective Lee: How come?How come?Why?
Witness: I’m not really sure. He just seemed to have a change of heart all of a sudden. After 3 years he said he didn’t think it would work out.
Detective Todd: Did he say why?
Witness: No, I pressed him on it but that’s all he said. Some of my friends said he was a racistSomeone who hates people of a different race or colour.
Detective Lee: And yet you stuck around….
Witness: I know Raymond wasn’t very well-liked but there was another side to him, a gentle side…. Did you know he was crazy about cats? He had a cat and just doted on him.
Detective Todd: We met him. Friendly guy, that’s for sure.
Detective Lee: We know. Too friendly for my liking. Ah… something…. starts with an ‘A.’
Witness: Arsenio. Yes, a very friendly cat. And very fond of Raymond. If a cat approves of someone then he must be a good guy. Cats are very good judges of character, you know.
Detective Todd: He didn’t like you, Huck.
Detective Lee: I hate cats. They’re evil!
Witness: He could sense that then.
Detective Todd: When did you break up, exactly?
Witness: Last March. Almost a year ago.
Detective Lee: Usually when people break up, that’s it… I mean, that was a year ago.
Witness: There are no rules. I valued our friendship. So did he, I think.
Detective Lee: You met on Sunday. What time was that?
Witness: It was Valentine’s Day. I dropped off some chocolate and a card.
Detective Lee: And a photo.
Witness: Yes, one of my promo pics. In Japan, the Valentine’s culture is a bit different. Usually, young women give chocolate to men in their lives as a show of respect. Like for bosses or teachers or that kind of thing. It’s called ‘giri-choco.’
Detective Todd: Giving promo pics too?
Witness: Well….
Detective Todd: So you gave him some chocolates. Did he give you anything?
Witness: No, we just had tea…
Detective Todd: Anything else?
Witness: We, um… spent some quiet time together, that’s all…
Detective Todd: I see.
Detective Lee: The card has some writing on it. What does it say?
Witness: Just ‘Happy Valentines Day’ in Japanese. Am I a suspect?
Detective Todd: You were probably the last person to see Reynard Armstrong alive.
Witness: Oh…
Detective Lee: By the way, I heard you call him ‘Raymond’ a couple times. Why is that?
Witness: I don’t know, I always called him ‘Raymond.’ He hated it. It really annoyed him. I think that’s why I did it.
Detective Todd: So exactly how long were you there?
Witness: I don’t know exactly. I got there around 2, I think and it must have been around 8 when I left.
Detective Lee: That’s a lot of ‘quiet time.’
Witness: Yeah, I suppose it is.
Detective Todd: Did you fight?
Witness: No. Well, maybe a little. I wanted him to take me to the Valentine’s gala but he didn’t want to. He was so selfish that way.
Detective Lee: What way?
Witness: I mean, he would never do anything for someone just to be nice. It was always a calculation.
Detective Todd: When you left at around 8, where did you go?
Witness: I went home and got cleaned up and changed for the gala. I decided I’d go solo anyway.
Detective Todd: And how was it?
Witness: It was fun. But when Raymond didn’t show I wondered why. As Newoma’s most eligibleAvailable; bachelorUnmarried, single man., he was supposed to make a speech. I called a couple times but he didn’t answer.
Detective Lee: Yeah, we saw the phone records. You didn’t leave any messages.
Witness: No….
Detective Todd: Do you recognize this?
Witness: Oh, my earring? Where did you find it?
Detective Todd: On the stairs, near the top.
Witness: Oh! I’m glad you found it. They were a gift from Raymond… Reynard. He said they had belonged to his mother.
Detective Lee: How did you lose it?
Witness: It must have fallen out. They were a little too big and gaudyShowy; cheap-looking; flashy for my taste but I wore them, well… for the occasion. That’s one of the reasons I called Raymond, to see if he had found it. Can I get it back?
Detective Todd: Right now it’s evidence but, yeah, eventually you should be able to.
Detective Lee: You’ll have to apply at police headquarters, after the case is settled.
Witness: I see. They’re special, you know.
Detective Todd: Of course. Well, Ms…. um… Yuki, that’s all the questions today. You are a suspect. We’ll probably have a few more questions in a day or two. You may want to talk to a lawyer in the meantime.
Detective Lee: Thanks for coming in.
Witness: Oh! Okay….
[Chairs scraping; door closing]
Detective Lee: Gold diggerSomeone who is romantically involved for moneyor personal gain.?
Detective Todd: It’s hard to say. She seemed to be sincere in her feelings for Mr Armstrong.
Detective Lee: She lied about the card. It says ‘I Love You’ not ‘Happy Valentines Day’. I can read that much Japanese.
Detective Todd: I wonder why…. The phone calls bother me. Could she have been trying to establish an alibiProof of innocence?
Detective Lee: It’s possible. There were certainly plenty of witnesses at the gala. I checked out her hands. There were no signs of violence. One fingernail was broken though.
Detective Todd: Armstrong was a big guy. It would have been pretty hard for her to throw him down the stairs.
Detective Lee: Unless she caught him by surprise. Then that’s premeditation. Did you notice she blushedFace turns red due to embarrassment. when you mentioned where you found the earring? Detective Todd: Yeah, I caught that. She dropped her eyes for a second. She’s hiding something…
Detective Lee: That’s exactly what I thought.

Home | Interviews

Damian Pierpoint

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Accents: US English; UK English
Time: 03:39
Transcription Below

Relationship: Neighbour; Actor/Director
Date: Thursday, February, 18th
Location: Neighbour’s House

Detective Todd: Do you mind if I record this?
Witness: Not at all….
Detective Todd: How long have you known Reynard Armstrong?
Witness: Oh, a long time. We moved in 15 years ago. We didn’t know him well though. He was pretty aloof,Distant; not friendly you know.
Detective Todd: What kind of neighbour was he?
Witness: Well, quiet, I guess. Not so neighbourly. We used to chat over the fence from time to time. Once he took me for a ride in that JagJaguar; a luxury, high-performance sports car of his. Isn’t she a beauty?
Detective Lee: This past Sunday, did you hear anything strange coming from Armstrong Manor.
Witness: Well, yes. Or at least my dog may have. I didn’t think much of it at the time. She sometimes starts howling and barking for no reason.
Detective Todd: And, this Sunday she was carrying on?
Witness: Yeah, quite a bit.
Detective Todd: Did you look out?
Witness: I did. Couldn’t see anything though. None of my lights had activated.
Detective Lee: How about over at the Armstrong place?
Witness: We can’t really see much from that window. There’s a big hedge in the way.
Detective Lee: What time was this?
Witness: I’m not too sure. I didn’t look at the clock. My wife might remember. Anyway I’m pretty sure it was after 9. [Yelling] Honey, could you come here a sec?
Witness’ Wife: What’s up?
Witness: Do you remember when Prince started barking and growling on Sunday?
Witness’ Wife: I do. Is this about poor Mister Armstrong next door?
Witness: Yeah. What time was that?
Witness’ Wife: I think it was around 10. Remember, we were watching the Revorg Nairb Show.
Witness: That’s it then. Thanks Honey. So about 10 PM. Is there anything else we can help you with?
Detective Lee: What can you tell us about the housekeeper, Mrs Forste?
Witness: My wife knows her quite well….
Witness’ Wife: Yes, she’s very nice. I know her from the theatre, we’re both active in amateur theatre.
Detective Lee: Any idea if there was any tension between her and Mr Armstrong?
Witness’ Wife: No, I mean, I have no idea but I can’t imagine why they would. She was known as a top notch housekeeper.
Witness: She’s a real clean freak, apparently. We talked about trying to steal her away from Armstrong but never had a chance to bring it up. Armstrong was always a bit intimidatingScary, you know….
Detective Lee: That should be it for questions at this time.
Detective Todd: Yeah, I think we’re good. Thanks a lot.
Detective Lee: Here, take my card, in case you think of anything else that might be useful.
Witness: Okay. Good luck in finding the murderer. Reynard wasn’t the nicest guy around but nobody deserves getting murdered in their own home like that.
[Door Closing, Walking]
Detective Lee: Well, that was useful. If the dog was barking because of the break-in, that verifies what Christian Green said, that he was in the house at around 10 PM.
Detective Todd: Did you see the autopsy report, I put a copy on your desk this morning?
Detective Lee: No, I didn’t. Anything stand out?
[Car doors opening, slamming, car starts, driving sounds]
Detective Todd: The coroner put the time of incident at just after midnight at around 12:15. Death occurred at about 1 AM. That means, if Green is our guy, he was in the house for more than 2 hours.
Detective Lee: Hiding out in the basement, waiting for Armstrong to leave or go to bed?
Detective Todd: Could be… or Green was discovered early on, they discussed for a long time, discussion got heated, turned to argument, the argument became threatening then violent.
Detective Lee: There’s no evidence of a fight anywhere in the house except on the stairs. A jury won’t buy that they argued on the stairs for more than 2 hours.
Detective Todd: How about this, the argument became threatening, so Armstrong retreated up the stairs, perhaps to call emergency services. Green knew he’d be arrested for violating his restraining order, he chased after Armstrong, catching him on the stairs. A fight broke out and Armstrong was pushed down the stairs, possibly by accident, hitting his head on the statue.
Detective Lee: That works.
Detective Todd: I’m just not convinced that Green has it in him.
Detective Lee: I’ll do some checking to see if he has a history of violence. If so, we can make the case.

Home | Interviews

Witness & Suspect Interviews

Listen to the recorded interviews with

Mrs Padma Forste, housekeeper to the victim, Reynard Armstrong.


Christian Green, environmental protester; had previously threatened the victim, Reynard Armstrong. 


Damian Pierpoint, actor/director; lived next door to the victim, Reynard Armstrong.


Miyuki Miura; friend/romantic interest of the victim, Reynard Armstrong.


Rusty Hall; CFO and junior shareholder at Zodiaq Industrial Group.


Bruno Wolfe; senior shareholder in Zodiaq Industrial Group; in a power struggle with the victim, Reynard Armstrong.


Fabian Wood; nephew of the victim, Reynard Armstrong.


Investigating the Crime Scene


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Christian Green

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Accents: US English
Time: 02:46
Transcription Below

Relationship: Enviro-Radical; Blames the victim’s company for polluting; Under a restraining order.
Date: Wednesday, February, 17th
Location: Police Interrogation Room #3

Detective Todd: Good Morning, Mr Green. You know why you are here?
Witness: I imagine you think I had something to do with the death of Reynard Armstrong from Zodiaq. It’s all over the news. I hear you’re calling it a murder.
Detective Todd: Not quite yet. That’s what we’re here to find out.
Witness: It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy….
Detective Lee: Interesting… Where were you on the night of the murder?
Witness: At my girlfriend’s house.
Detective Todd: She’ll verify that?
Witness: Of course….
Detective Lee: And what were you doing?
Witness: SnugglingBeing romantic. [Laughter]….
Detective Todd: Does she know that impedingBlocking or preventing. an investigation is a serious crime?
Detective Lee: She could do jail time.
Witness: What are you talking about?
Detective Todd: We have evidenceProof….
Detective Lee: …that puts you at the scene of the crime.
Witness: That’s not possible.
Detective Todd: The basement window at Armstrong Manor was smashed.
Detective Lee: We believe that’s how you gained entry.
Witness: That’s… That’s just speculationGuessing.
Detective Todd: Then how come we pulled your fingerprint off of a piece of broken glass?
Detective Lee: Explain that.
Witness: I… I… I didn’t murder anyone.
Detective Lee: But you were there. We found a very clear footprint in the garden. I bet it matches the boots you have on right now.
Witness: Okay. Okay! I’ll admit to breaking in….
Detective Todd: Because?
Witness: I knew Armstrong would be going to the Newoma First Citizens’ Gala. He was a keynote speaker.
Detective Todd: So?
Witness: I was hoping I could find evidence linking Zodiaq with groundwater pollution in East Newoma.
Detective Lee: And did you?
Witness: No. I mean… I didn’t look. I came across the body on the stairs and I got the hell out of there.
Detective Todd: What time was that?
Witness: After 10. Around 10:20 PM, I suppose. I didn’t look at my watch.
Detective Lee: Did you touch the body.
Witness: No. I checked to see if he was breathing. He wasn’t. And there was blood all over the landing. Like I said, I just got out of there as fast as possible.
Detective Todd: Here’s what we think. We think you broke in and were surprised to find Mr Armstrong home.
Detective Lee: You got in a fight at the top of the stairs and pushed him down…
Detective Todd: He fell over and cracked his skull open on the base of the statue.
Witness: No, that is not correct. As I said, I beat itIdiom: run away quickly. when I saw the body.
Detective Lee: What happened to your hand?
Witness: I cut it on the window.
Detective Lee: We have you on breaking and entering and violation of your restraining ordercourt order to prevent some action like stalking.
Detective Todd: We think you’re good for the murder as well. It’s all just too coincidental.
Witness: I’m… I’m not a murderer.
Detective Todd: Right now you’re just a suspect. We are arresting you on those other charges.
Detective Lee: We’ll be testing those boots of yours and we’ll be getting an order to test your DNA proving, without a doubt, that you were on the scene.
Witness: I already admit to being there. But I didn’t kill anyone.
Detective Todd: Book ‘im, Dano.

Detective Todd: I actually believe him. I don’t think he’s capable of murder.
Detective Lee: Well, accidents happen….
Detective Todd: That’s for sure.


Home | Interviews

Mrs Padma Forste

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Accents: US English; Indian English
Time: 04:07
Transcription Below

Relationship: Housekeeper

Date: Monday, February, 15th
Location: Armstrong Manor

Detective Todd: Hello, Mrs Forste. I’m Detective Vera Todd and this is my partner Jin Hyuk Lee.
Detective Lee: Just call me ‘Huck,’ Ma’am. Like Huckleberry Finn.
Detective Todd: You must be pretty shocked right now but we’d like to ask you a few questions while the events are fresh in your mind.
Detective Lee: Just go over everything in detail from the time you arrived this morning.
Witness: Okay. I arrived at 10 o’clock. As always. Mr Armstrong likes to have the house to himself in the mornings.
Detective Todd: You have a key?
Witness: Yes.
Detective Lee: The door looked normal when you arrived.
Witness: The same as usual.
Detective Todd: You arrived at 10….
Witness: I put the coffee pot on. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I vacuum the whole house. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I clean the bathrooms. So I went in the back to get the vacuum. I was crossing the foyerhallway or open space near the front door when I saw Mr Armstrong laying there on the landinga wide, flat part of a staircase; often used for changing direction..
Detective Lee: What did you do then?
Witness: Well, I suppose I screamed. I ran over to look at him lying there then I went to call 911.
Detective Todd: Did you touch the body in any way?
Witness: Not at all. I stayed in the kitchen until the police arrived.
Detective Todd: You’re shaking. Please sit down.
Witness: I’ll be alright. It’s just, as you say, quite a shock to see all that.
Detective Todd: Up until the time you discovered the body, did you see or hear anything out of the ordinary.
Witness: No, it started out as a typical day.
Detective Todd: I see.
Detective Lee: Mrs. Forste, how long have you known Mr Armstrong?
Witness: Oh, a very long time. I originally was hired by his father, Russell Armstrong. He was a sweet man. Did you know, he left his entire fortune to me in his willa legal document expressing a person’s wishes after death?
Detective Todd: Really?
Detective Lee: What happened?
Witness: That son of his, Reynard, contested the will. And he won.
Detective Todd: You must have been upset.
Witness: Oh, I suppose. That was a long time ago.
Detective Lee: But you kept working here at the manor.
Witness: I had nowhere else to go. My own husband had died a few years before Mr Armstrong. Senior Mr Armstrong, I mean.
Detective Todd: Wasn’t it difficult?
Witness: Of course. I think he kept me on out of spite, not pity. He, I mean Reynard, had a mean streak. I think he was delighted to see me toilingWorking hard here year in and year out. Especially after robbing me of the inheritancesomething received from someone after their death. To me it was a job, just a job. He always paid well, that’s one thing.
Detective Todd: You don’t live here at the Manor.
Witness: No, have a cottage in town. I sometimes stay over to babysit the cat when Mr Armstrong has… um… had business out of town. There’s a room in the back, off the kitchen. Servant’s quarters from back when it was built.
Detective Lee: Did he pay extra when you stayed over?
Witness: Oh, yes, very well too. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. I’m not overly fond of cats, you see. This one has evil eyes. He’s friendly enough, I just don’t like him. Where is that devil, anyway? I expect he’s making a pest of himself with your boys. He’s always underfoot. Annoying animal! Gets in the way when I’m cleaning. He’s not even afraid of the vacuum.
Detective Todd: Where will the cat go now? Will you take him?
Witness: Lord, no! I can’t keep a cat. I can barely keep up as it is. That brute is always shedding. There’s cat hair everywhere. I wouldn’t want that in my home.
Detective Lee: I’ll call animal control. They’ll know what to do. There he is. What’s his name?
Witness: Arsenio, the cat. Mr Armstrong usually called him ‘Arse’. He thought that was funny. Mr Armstrong always fed the cat himself unless he was out of town. I take care of the litter boxa toilet for cats of course but he took care of the food. And spared no expense, either.
Detective Todd: That’s all the questions we have for now. Would you like me to get an officer to drop you off at home?
Witness: No, I’m fine now. The walk will do me good.

[Footsteps receding; door closing]

Detective Todd: I hope she’s okay. So what do you think?
Detective Lee: I’d be pretty angry if someone cheated me out of an inheritance like that.
Detective Todd: Angry enough to kill? Decades later?
Detective Lee: I don’t know. Or is she even capable?

Home | Interviews

Whodunnit: Photo Evidence

Photos taken at the scene of the crime:

Click photos to zoom in.

The victim in situ The victim, Reynard Armstrong, as he was found on the landing of the main staircase by housekeeper Mrs Padma Forste at approximately 10:15 AM on Monday, February 15th. Photo taken at 11:07 AM on Monday, February 15th.
Body Position Location of the body from the top of the staircase. Photo taken at 12:22 PM on Monday, February 15th.
Fingerprints-Miura Fingerprints lifted from the banisterHandrail. of the staircase. Fingerprints appear to be fresh but smudgedNot perfectly clear. from movement. Further investigation revealed that the fingerprints belong to Miyuki Miura, former girlfriend of the victim. Ms Miura allowed a sample of her fingerprints to be taken without consulting a lawyer. No other fingerprints were found on the banister. Under questioning, Ms Miura admitted to being on the staircase “at some time in the afternoon.” She stated that she and the victim had spent “some quiet time” together in his bedroom but declined to provide exact details. Photo taken at 1:39 PM on Monday, February 15th.
Lost Earring Earring found on stairs, 7th stair from the top. Photo taken at 4:03 PM on Monday, February 15th.
Blood Spatter Suspected blood splatter on carpet; taken from the top of the stairs at Armstrong Manor; as seen under ultra violet light. Photo taken at 1:47 PM on Monday, February 15th.
Broken Window A window in the basement door on the back side of Armstrong Mansion. Christian Green admits to smashing the window to gain access to the house at approximately 10 PM on Sunday, February 14th. Though he admits to breaking in and admits to finding the body already deceasedDead, he denies killing Reynard Armstrong. Photo taken at 2:12 PM on Monday, February 15th.
Bootprint A footprint left in the garden by Christian Green while breaking into Armstrong Mansion. VerifiedProven to be true. to have come from Green’s boots through soil analysis and comparison of print cast. Green admits to “probably” leaving the print at approximately 10 PM on Sunday, February 14th. Photo taken at 1:52 PM on Monday, February 15th.
Valentines gift Photo of chocolates, card and promotional picture of Miyuki Miura found on the coffee table in the living room at Armstrong Mansion. Ms Miura states that these were a Valentines Day gift for the victim left when she “dropped by” at approximately 2 PM on Sunday, February 14th. None of the chocolates have been eaten. Chemical analysis indicates that chocolates were not doctoredSecretly changed; poisoned in any way. Photo taken at 11:37 AM on Monday, February 15th.
Victim's father Pictures of the victim’s father, Russel Armstrong, discovered on the desk in the denA small office at home. of Armstrong Manor. Photo taken at 11:32 AM on Monday, February 15th.

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Whodunnit News

Zodiaq Murder Media Coverage

Listen and read the news surrounding this strange case and add details to your investigation notes.

KWAV Radio News;
Tuesday, February 16th
KWAV Radio News;
Thursday, February 18th
KWAV Radio News;
Friday, February 26th
Newoma News;
Monday, February 15th
Newspaper Article Newoma News
Seaside Sentinel;
Thursday, February 18th
Newspaper Article Seaside Sentinel

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Whodunnit: Murder at Armstrong Manor for ESL

There has been a murder in Newoma Bay and the police are frankly, stumpedStuck; cannot solve the crime.. They have asked your ESL team to review the evidence. With fresh eyes you might just might break the case wide open.

Scene of the crime, Armstrong Manor, belonging to the late Reynard Armstrong

ESL Students: Review the Evidence

Pen & Notebook


Download and print this handout, one per ESL group, to help organize the information in this grisly case. Alternatively, keep notes in digital form. Evidence Notebook


News Coverage

Review news of the crime here.

Police Line Tape: Crime Scene

Photo Evidence

Review photos taken at the crime scene here.

Witness & Suspect Interviews

Listen to and read transcribed interviews here. ESL groups may want to share the tasks and discuss to save time.

Key Documents

Read things like the victim’s last will & testament and the autopsy report here.

Answer Vault

Answer Vault

The answer vault is locked. The password is the name of the murderer. Unlock this crime here. Be sure to use the suspect’s full name and make sure you use proper caseUPPER CASE & lower case. So if the murderer is Revorg Nairb you need to type exactly that. Typing revorg nairb will get you nowhere.

The Forensics Lab

Teaching Resources to help with deploying Whodunnit for a variety of ESL student levels.


Some of the resources used in the making of Whodunnit.

Speekeezy Publication Workshop