Website Mystery Challenge - The Resolution

We're finally at the end of our Website Mystery Challenge! Did you solve the clues and discover the identity of the killer? How about that cryptogram - did you figure it out and decipher the extra clues? Now it's time to find out how you did.

The Resolution:

Detective Collins saw Mrs. Butler eavesdropping on his conversation. He followed her into the kitchen and confronted her with the information he had learned from Raul: that she was Sandra’s birth mother. She admitted it, and said Mr. and Mrs. Wolverton (the original) had hired her to act as surrogate. In return, she was given a position for life, and she got to see her child grow up. She had taken an active part in raising Sandra, and was happy with things as they were. But then Mr. Wolverton had married Maryanne, and everything changed. He was besotted. Sandra had fallen in love with Brent Bollinger, and Mrs. Butler spent a long time talking to the young man. He’d made mistakes in his past, but had paid his dues and she thought he was a nice young man with a lot of potential. The biggest black mark against him was the fact that he was Maryanne’s younger brother, but she couldn’t hold that against him. A person couldn’t help what family he was born into, could he?

Detective Collins pressed, and revealed that Maryanne had hired Raul to investigate Mrs. Butler’s past, and the fact that Maryanne was planning to pack Mrs. Butler off to a retirement home and hire a replacement, even if it meant she would continue to pay the woman for life, as Mr. Wolverton specified in his will. Visibly shaken by that news, Mrs. Butler broke down. She confessed that she had been enraged by Maryanne’s shameless philandering with that young hunk, and the impending loss of Sandra’s family estate. She did everything she could to provoke Maryanne, including serving all the dishes she hated. The night of her death, they argued, and Mrs. Butler strangled her with a tie she had taken from the laundry room.

The crime solved, Collins congratulated himself on a job well done. Mrs. Butler was led away in handcuffs to go to trial. Sandra vowed to hire the best attorney in the land to defend her – right after she and Brent returned from their honeymoon cruise. Before Sandra left, she showed her appreciation to Raul for his faithful (if questionable) service to the family, and gave him a cash gift. Raul set up a private investigation office, and worked with Collins on many future cases. In hard times when business was slow, he offered to maintain the pool for Maryanne Wolverton’s country club friends.

CRYPTOGRAM KEY: Every letter has a corresponding number, starting with 2 and progressing in increments of 2. For instance, a=2, b=4, c=6, d=8, etc.

THANK YOU for playing my mystery game! I hope you enjoyed solving the clues as much as I enjoyed developing them!