Summary: A murder mystery, set in Buckland. When Merry is suspected of murdering a Brandybuck cousin, Frodo conducts his own investigation (with Sam's assistance) to clear Merry's name and find the guilty party.
Categories: FPS, FPS > Frodo/Sam, FPS > Merry/Pippin, FPS > Pippin/Merry, FPS > Sam/Frodo Characters: Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Sam
Series: Frodo Investigates!
Chapters: 25 Completed: Yes
Word count: 35872 Read: 159721
Published: March 22, 2008 Updated: March 22, 2008
Chapter 12 by Kathryn Ramage
When Frodo went to his room for his nap, he found Sam placing his clothes for the funeral over the back of a chair. Frodo sat down on the bed and told Sam about his latest conversation with his uncle as he took off his coat and waistcoat.
"You think Master Saradoc'll come around after all?" Sam asked as he took the cast-off garments and put them in the wardrobe.
"I don't know yet, but I've given him something to think about." Frodo slipped his braces off his shoulders and lay down. "Uncle Saradoc isn't so bad, usually. He's not the warmest-hearted hobbit in the Shire, but he's always had a strong sense of family honor. His behavior of late hasn't been the best, but that's only because he's so proud. You know how rare it is for any family of hobbits to have only one child--when one of the great families produces a single heir, it's a cause for alarm! Even though Merry's only just come of age, Uncle Saradoc's put it all on him to carry on the precious Brandybuck line, but for the same reason, he wouldn't set his only son aside. It'd be too great a wound to his pride. He'll threaten Merry with disinheritance, but he says now that he never really meant to put Berilac in Merry's place. I wonder if Berilac knew that, or if he thought Uncle Saradoc actually meant to do it..." He sighed. "Well, I won't give up my investigation, even if my uncle relents. There are too many questions left unanswered." He looked up as Sam came to stand beside the bed. "Did you get any answers to my questions in the servants' hall?"
"There wasn't a proper luncheon today, as they had the funeral to get ready for and most of the maids were out in the yard with the laundry," Sam reported. "But while I was having a bite to eat in the kitchen, I got on good terms with some of the older servants. That's mostly due to you, Frodo."
"The ones that remember when you were a boy here have naught but good things to say of you." Then Sam added, "Old Bramblebanks hears tell you've gone a mite peculiar since you went off to live with Mr. Bilbo, but he's sure you've kept a sound head in spite of it."
"If I wanted stories about what you were like as a little lad growing up," said Sam, "I could get more'n enough to suit. They'll tell me anything about the Brandybucks if I ask."
"Have they told you anything?"
"I heard a bit more about Mr. Berry's carryings-on. I asked 'em about Mrs. Celandine. She ran a bit wild, they say, when she was still a miss. She was out with Mr. Berry from time to time, and other lads from Bucklebury. Them in the servants' hall had it that she was to marry Mr. Berry once she was of an age, but she chose Mr. Merimas instead and the family approved, him being so steady-like. After that, Mr. Berry started courting one of his other cousins."
"Mentha," guessed Frodo. Upon reflection, it seemed obvious: Mentha had been too upset to come down to dinner last night, and why else would Aunt Esme invite her in particular to speak over Berry unless there was a special connection between them? "Is there more?"
"Not yet, but I'll be going to the boathouse while you're out at the funeral, and I want to talk to the maids when they come in. They'll know the most about the family's comings and goings."
"Is that what you're going to do next?"
"Just as soon as I see you resting." Sam drew the curtains over the window, then leaned down to give Frodo a kiss on the cheek. "Go to sleep."
Frodo was glad to comply. He did feel very tired, almost as if it were an effort to keep his eyes open. He shut them.
Just before he dropped off, he heard a light tap on the door, then Sam spoke softly: "Can you come back later, Daffy? Mr. Frodo's sleeping and mustn't be disturbed. Wait, I've got a question for you..." and Sam went out into the hallway.
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