The Body in the Billiard Room Investigation Sheet
Round 1 of the prestigious Skylark Billiard Tournament has come to an end. To honor the final eight contestants, Sir Richard Skylark has hosted his annual ball at his home, the Skylark Mansion. Over 200 guests enjoyed dinner, dancing, chatting, and the annual midnight toast. Nothing seemed amiss. Around 4:00 a.m. the next morning the cleaning staff discovered a body in the Billiards Room. Mr. Nathan Masters, one of the finalists, was dead.
The Victim - Mr. Nathan Masters
Nathan Masters was a champion billiards player. Some people believe that he was the best in the world. He won seven of the previous ten tournaments that he entered. He was also very wealthy. Although he won most of his money from tournaments, he also earned a lot from his billiards book contracts and from magazine articles in which he made cruel remarks about other players. His newest book, Trick Shots, is scheduled to be released in two months and will make someone very rich.
- Gregory Backwell, a fellow billiards player and Nathan’s best and oldest friend.
Opportunity: He and his wife ate supper and conversed with three other couples. After the toast, Gregory disappeared for over half an hour.
Motive: Though a long-time billiards player, Gregory almost never won a tournament. He announced a week before that he would retire. During Round 1, Gregory publicly accused Nathan of sabotag- ing his chance to win this, his last tournament. Gregory claims that he apologized to Nathan before the supper on the night of the ball. No one heard his apology.
- Delia Jones, Nathan Masters’ fiancée and fashion model
Opportunity: She stayed by Master’s side during the recognition ceremony and was very visible throughout most of the night. After the midnight toast, a friend noticed that Delia was very upset as she left the room. Around 1:00 a.m. Delia told several friends that she had a headache and was going to go to bed. Although her hotel was only 30 minutes away from the mansion, the doorman saw her walk into the hotel at 2:30 a.m. She says that she went to a convenience store to buy medicine, but the clerk does not remember seeing her that night.
Motive: The rumor throughout the tournament had been that Nathan was going to break up with Delia. Nathan told Gregory that Delia only loved his money. Delia’s friends also heard Delia say to herself around 12:45 that night that she could not “believe this was happen- ing.” Many people expected “fireworks” from the overly emotional Delia when Nathan broke off the engagement.
- Kayla Masters, Nathan Masters’ ex-wife and tournament manager
Opportunity: Although she was very visible throughout the night, guests commented that they noticed her looking around as if search- ing for someone and then leaving the ballroom and returning about ten to fifteen minutes later. This happened at least twice, once around 8:45 and again around 9:30. Kayla explained that she was “powdering her nose” or “brushing her hair.”
Motive: Kayla was very angry with Nathan. She had enjoyed her wealthy lifestyle and her circle of friends when she was married to Nathan. Kayla is still the beneficiary of Nathan’s life insurance poli- cies and will be until he remarries. Kayla will get over $3,000,000 in book rights and insurance since Nathan is now dead. Many billiards players believe that Kayla actually wrote Trick Shots and other books for which Nathan took credit.
- Ellen Smart, a competitive young billiards player and avid gardener
Opportunity: Although she spoke to several people across the course of the evening, no one can remember seeing her between 8:30 and 9:30. She says that she took a walk to admire Lady Skylark’s prize- winning roses.
Motive: Ellen has competed for the past three years. She is younger than most billiards players in this circle and feels no one takes her seriously. Nathan had written in one of his articles that she was “too young to be good yet, and too stubborn to learn from true experts.” She was furious about this comment. The only person who seemed able to beat Ellen, though, was Nathan Masters. During the ball, Ellen complained that Nathan was the only thing that stood in her way.