The Perfect Murder: A Cosy Crime Story from our archives

The Perfect Murder feature image

By Suzanne Jones

Bethany’s colleague was pushing her to her limits, but what could she do?

The best way to murder someone is to push them over a cliff.

Bethany shivered as she read the first line of the article. Taking another person’s life was as serious as it got. Yet she read on.

This method of disposal will leave a distinct lack of evidence that will make a prosecution difficult.

Despite her distaste at the subject matter, she could grudgingly see the logic. If she was ever of a mind to kill anyone, shoving them off a cliff would be as good an idea as any.

I think I know how to do my job

“What do you think you’re doing? Have you got those figures ready yet?” Kate’s indignant whine had Bethany nearly jumping out of her skin. She stuffed the magazine into her desk drawer and resumed her work.

“Nearly done,” she replied mildly.

“Well, hurry up about it.”

Hard to believe Kate had only worked here for two months. From day one, she’d strutted around issuing orders like there was no tomorrow. Also hard to believe she and Bethany were of equal seniority.

Bethany liked a quiet life, but even so, she decided to speak up.

“I’ve been here five years – I think I know how to do my job.”

She shuddered as she saw the angry gleam in Kate’s eyes.

The other woman dumped an armful of files on Bethany’s desk as she passed by. “Take these down to archiving.”

Mild-mannered Bethany was goaded into make a second comment.

“But that’s your job – and, besides, I’m still trying to get these figures in order.”

Kate’s eyes narrowed.

“Do I really need to mention to management that you have time to read a  magazine when you should be working?”

With a sigh, Bethany got to her feet and gathered up the files.

Kate got you doing her dirty work again?

The lift wasn’t working again. Ithad been sticking all week, but she decided to wait rather than walk down the five flights to archiving. And Bethany was pleased that the extra time allowed her to cool down.

“Kate got you doing her dirty work again?” Amy from archiving gave a loud tut as she took the files from Bethany. “We should really do something about that woman.”

Bethany smiled. She might have private thoughts about Kate, but she wasn’t about to share them. Bethany didn’t like to gossip.

Besides, it was still early days and she hadn’t given up hope that Kate might realise the way forward was to work with her colleagues, not against them.

It seemed the miracle had indeed come to pass. By the time Bethany returned, Kate was smiling. Actually smiling. At Bethany.

Bethany was immediately on her guard. Something wasn’t right.

“I’ve finished those figures and emailed them through to the Managing Director for you.”

Kate’s smile was so sickly sweet by now, it made Bethany want to be ill.

And she realised immediately what had happened -Kate had sent her downstairs so that she could take the credit for Bethany’s hard work.

Her lips pursed. She wasn’t going to start an argument. But the article she’d hidden in her desk was calling out to her. Suddenly, the prospect of a clifftop walk had never seemed more attractive.

It was the final straw

She was still seething as she waited for the lift that evening.

Kate turned up just as the doors opened and made to elbow in front of her, determined to get in first. Bethany had a bad feeling; the doors never opened this quickly. And she was right, she realised as she stared into the abyss.

She tried to warn Kate – but the other woman turned to sneer.

“You’re just a loser, Bethany – you’ll still be here in another five years, when I’ve climbed to the top.”

Bethany took a deep breath. This was the final straw.

I tried to warn her

She just stepped in,” Bethany sobbed afterwards. “I tried to warn her, but she pushed in front of me …”

“Don’t upset yourself, Bethany,” Amy from archiving comforted. “It wasn’t your fault. She wouldn’t listen to anyone, that one – serves her right, if you ask me.”

As Amy offered a supportive hug, Bethany wondered whether the magazine might be interested in an anonymous follow-up article explaining that, in the absence of a cliff, an empty lift shaft would do just as well.


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Karen Byrom

My coffee mug says "professional bookworm" which sums me up really! As commissioning fiction editor on the magazine, I love sharing my reading experience of the latest books, debut authors and more with you all, and would like to hear from you about your favourite books and authors! Email me