Nutshell Studies #1: Kitchen

R ead the witness statement below, then scroll over the image to see the evidence.

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Date: April 11, 1944

Deceased: Robin Barnes, housewife

Witness: Fred Barnes, her husband

“I went downtown at four o'clock to run an errand for my wife. After about an hour and a half, I came back and found the outside door to the kitchen locked. It was propped open when I left. I knocked and called but got no answer. I tried the front door but it was also locked. I went to the kitchen window which was closed and locked. I looked in and saw her lying on the floor. I called the police, who forced open the kitchen door.”

A text description of this Nutshell is available.

1. The Body
Check for signs of blunt trauma to the head to determine homicide or suicide. The ice cube tray and temperature of the contents of the refrigerator will help determine time of death.

2. The Stove
There is a pie just out of the oven. Additionally, all the gas jets are on. Her face shows the tell-tale reddish color of death by asphyxiation.

3. The Sink
Mrs. Barnes is clearly in the middle of preparing for something. Is it likely a person will stop in the middle of peeling potatoes to kill herself?

4. The Butcher Block
The lone glass on the block looks out of place. She may have been hit in the head; the police should check the rolling pin for evidence.

5. The Table & Window
The tablecloth is askew in a relatively neat kitchen. If she was murdered, the killer may have left the room through the window.

6. The Iron
The iron is heavy enough to be a weapon. Police should check it for human remains and test it for blood evidence.

7. The Knife
The knife was very likely used to stuff the newspaper in the door, either by the deceased or her killer. Check for knife wounds on the body.

8. The Door
Both doors, including the one by the stove, have been stuffed with paper and are locked from the inside.