The Case of the Skull Tattoo

Inspector Sid was perplexed.  This tragedy had more questions and very few answers.
Answering a muffled tip they’d rushed to the exclusive neighborhood where the movie icon Rosie aka Reshma resided.  There they found her dead body holding a standard suicide note printed from the internet in her left hand.  At first glance it looked like a suicide.  Yet, Inspector Sid was assailed by many doubts.  Who was the mystery caller and why did the media and public at large know nothing about any problems associated with this popular heart throb of millions.  There were too many ifs and buts.  Sid decided to take help from a close friend, an amateur Sherlock whom everyone called ‘Shokie’.  State elections were barely a month away and hence there was bound to be a hue and cry to solve this case pronto

***

Film star Rosie:
 
Rosie was unspoiled at heart but put on airs as required by her manager and she loved histrionics.  Everyone was happy.  She never forgot her humble origin and that horrific day when her room-mate Lily had been killed.  She had seen the killer’s face and it still haunted her, giving chills.  She drowned herself in work by signing movies right and left.   She only confided in her psychotherapist.
 
***
 
The handsome ACP (Sid) Siddharth Shinde was a glib talker.  He was the police’s public face and a media darling.  Some female reporters courted him openly.  Sid had eyes only for Rosie and both adored each other and made a striking couple.
 
This was Sid’s public persona.  He had a dark side also.  He had arisen in police ranks by covertly helping political bigwigs in undertaking whatever was necessary for their smooth ascent.  He was rewarded by plum posts and offshore transfers.
 
***

Lily ten years ago
 
“Today I am going to tell him the good news about our baby and he’ll want to marry me.  I cannot wait to see the excitement on his face!  We will be so happy!  Am sure!  Dear Reshma has also promised to keep out of the way.”
 
***
 
Reshma/Rosie
 
 
“That awful day ten years ago seems like yesterday.  My beautiful Lily died on the very day she was the happiest!  That devilish face and those grinning skulls are etched in my head haunting me always!  I miss her so much.  Wish the awful nightmares go away”
 
 
Reshma changed her name to Rosie once she landed her first movie in a lead role.
 
“With my new name I am going to perfect my facial features, change hair color and wear grey eye lenses as they are equally cool.  No one will be able to associate the happening movie star Rosie with the old movie extra green-eyed Reshma.”
 
 
  Lily’s Lover
 
 
“Those shocked green eyes framed in a shower cap continue to haunt.  I’ll never be safe until I shut them up for good.  Then only I can sleep in peace!  Cannot believe it’s already ten years since Lily got killed by me accidentally.  My infernal hot temper is going to be the death of me.  Luckily I managed to hush it up.  It pays to have friends in high places.  Lily’s room-mate is the only loose end and my nemesis.  I should try harder to find her.”
 
**
 
Sid
 
“After dinner tonight I’ll propose and give her the diamond ring.” I must share my happiness with Ajay who has been missing lately.  We were the wild ones and did some crazy things together!”   He looked forward to the end of day.
 
***
 
Sid and Rosie
 
After dinner Sid proposed and Rosie accepted loving her diamond ring.  They made plans for the wedding. He got amorous and for the first time she allowed him to come close.  Suddenly her eyes fell on the grinning skulls on his arm as he’d rolled back his sleeves.  Rosie’s heart missed a beat!  She was horrified.  Sid realized something was wrong- she quickly told him “skulls scare me” Sid said “Poor baby! Well my cousin Ajay and I both have the same tattoo. We did some wild things during college days.  I haven’t seen much of him lately.  You will enjoy meeting him.”
 
***
The Lover
 
“Bingo!” He came across a picture attachment of Reshma that Lily had emailed to enable him to let her into the flat in case she was out.  He had missed it.  Now looking closely at the picture she looked awfully familiar.  Not one to give up, he took a color copy to show to a makeup artist who was Lily’s friend and they played around with the photo.  Suddenly staring at them from the screen was the hot movie star Rosie.  He had found his eye witness.  Getting rid of her was a piece of cake and armed with a slow acting non-detectable poison he managed to slip it into her drink on the same night when his cousin Sid had proposed to Rosie.  Fait accompli, he exited incognito.
 
**
The headlines blared Leading actress Rosie murdered in her house.  Devastated fiancé, ACP Sid seeks help from Detective Shokie. Blah! Blah!

**
 
Forensic report squarely declared it as a murder case not suicide and the note in victim’s hand was a red herring.
 
**
Detective Shokie was a brilliant sleuth but no one would’ve guessed it!  He was nondescript with baggy clothes and a mangy cur for a pet.  The dog had been rescued from the garbage can and was flea ridden.  Shokie and the dog adored each other as both seemed like pariahs in public eyes.  This suited them admirably.  It also kept prying eyes off and made them invisible.

Shokie made Sid repeat his activities on that fateful day.  He was looking for clues.  Then Sid mentioned Rosie’s odd reaction at his skull tattoo.  He mentioned that his cousin Ajay too had it.
 
With these gleaned tid bits,  Shokie input Rosie’s fingerprint into the police data base and found a match.  It was associated with an old open and shut accidental death case.  He opened that case file and cross checked all the fingerprints with the police database.  They belonged to Ajay Shinde, Lily Sharma and Reshma Bakshi.  So Reshma and Rosie was same person.  Ajay Shinde was one link that tied in and he had the tattoo that filled Rosie with fear.  Maybe Lily’s death was not an accident after all!  Hence Reshma/Rosie must’ve been the eye witness and got snuffed.  It all fitted in neatly.  His report was ready.

**

Sid was in mourning and when he came to know that his own cousin had killed Reshma he was both angry and grief stricken.  He loved Ajay like a brother.  He decided to have a heart to heart with him.  After all Shinde family honor was at stake.  Their name would be mud.  He put a recorder in his pocket and went over.  After pleasantries were exchanged, he asked him point blank about Lily and Rosie.  Ajay broke down and confessed everything.  Sid said” You should’ve come to me instead of taking matters in your own hands! We would’ve explained it all to Rosie that it was an accident and you would not have had to take this extreme measure.  I loved her dearly and you did not even think about me! You were indeed selfish.”  Ajay blubbered,” Bro please save me! I do not wish to go to jail! You can make it all right.  Rosie’s accusing green eyes haunted day and night.  I have not slept in ten years! Now I can sleep peacefully for the first time!
Sid said: “Ajay now you can sleep peacefully in the lockup!”
 
Sid had no sympathy and handcuffed him.
 
***
 
Detective Shokie had solved the case once again and became a media darling.  A wake was held in the memory of Rosie and the city’s Who’s Who attended in full regalia with great fanfare. 

(picture from internet)