Sharp Knives by Kathryn Ramage
Summary: A Frodo Investigates! mystery. When a very dear cousin of Frodo's is accused of murdering her husband and his lover, Frodo takes drastic steps to protect her while he hunts for the true murderer.
Categories: FPS > Pippin/Merry, FPS, FPS > Frodo/Sam, FPS > Sam/Frodo, FPS > Merry/Pippin Characters: Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Sam
Type: None
Warning: Het Content
Challenges: None
Series: Frodo Investigates!
Chapters: 35 Completed: Yes Word count: 53958 Read: 70609 Published: August 06, 2012 Updated: August 06, 2012
Story Notes:
June 2012

This story takes place in June of 1427 (S.R.).

The earlier Frodo Investigates! mystery in which Toby Clover was murdered and Everard Took and Melilot Brandybuck were married was Too Many Tooks.

Special thanks, as always, to Susan for her beta-reading and comments while this work was in progress.
Chapter 1 by Kathryn Ramage
Melilot Took smiled wanly at her cousin Frodo Baggins. "You've believed me capable of murder before, Frodo. Twice, in fact. Now it looks as if it may be proved of me at last."

"It can't be," said Frodo. "Not unless you actually did it. You didn't murder Ev and Tibby, did you?"

"No."

"Then your case isn't a hopeless one. Merry and I will do everything in our power to aid you." Frodo had come to Tuckborough as quickly as he could once he'd received Merry's urgent summons. Merry had met him at the Green Hill Inn, five miles away, and they'd ridden together to the Thain's Hall to come to their cousin's rescue. "Merry's talking with Uncle Paladin right now about granting you your freedom," he told her. "You shan't be shut up here in your room any longer. They've already agreed that I am to investigate these murders and find the true culprit." Frodo took a chair near the bed his cousin was sitting on. They were in a pleasant little bedroom in Adelard Took's house--the same room Melly had stayed in during the months before her marriage to Adelard's son, Everard--but now it seemed to Frodo like a prisoner's cell in spite of the flowery print furniture coverings and the late-morning sunlight gleaming through the window's lacy curtains. "If I'm to do that, you must help me, Melly. Tell me about the last time you saw Everard."

"I saw Ev, and Tibby too, the afternoon it happened," she answered. "I went to their cottage. Did you know?"

"Yes. I understood that was why Sherriff Thornbreak thinks you killed them."

Melly nodded. "When Evvy returned to Tuckborough, everyone seemed to think I ought to give him a chance to come back to me. I didn't want him back and he had no desire for a reconciliation either--I knew that even before I spoke to him. But we were still husband and wife, bound together as one until our deaths." She stopped there, and Frodo thought that she might cry, but no tears appeared. "Evvy wrote me at Brandy Hall. He said that his father had given him a place to stay. The Tooks wouldn't have Tibby as a guest here, so they'd set up house for themselves in that little cottage--the same cottage where we had our honeymoon. It's only a few miles from Tuckborough, but far enough away that they wouldn't be seen as a public disgrace. That's how Evvy put it. He asked me to go there and see him. And so I did."

"What did you talk about?"

"Addy. That was why Ev wanted to talk to me. Addy was only a baby the last time Ev saw him. He's grown so big since then, Ev wouldn't know him. Evvy was very sad about that. He wanted to see his son and asked if I would bring Addy to visit him. I agreed that I would. You remember what I once said--no matter what was wrong between Evvy and me, he was still Addy's father and he had a right to see him if he wanted to. I didn't like the idea of my baby being near that Tibby, but I didn't intend to stand in Everard's way where our little boy was concerned."

"Where is Addy now?" asked Frodo. "Did you bring him to Tuckborough with you?"

"He's in the nursery with Pearl's little boys. She's looking after him while..." Melly's face twisted again as if she might begin to cry. "I left them alive, Frodo. Tibby left Ev and me alone in the sitting room so that we could talk privately, but after awhile he came back and said that it was getting close to tea time. He asked if I meant to stay and join them, but it was obvious I wasn't welcome. I don't mean that he literally pushed me out the door, but he made it clear that Ev belonged to him and not to e and I was only there at his sufferance. Ev didn't say otherwise. I didn't want to stay in any case. Everard showed me to the door, and Tibby stood a bit down the hallway to watch me go out. I promised I would bring Addy to the cottage the next day. We said goodbye and Evvy shut the door behind me. That was the last I saw of them."

"Did you see any sign that either of them was frightened or nervous? I know that the Tooks didn't approve of them returning here to live. They wanted Everard to break with Tibby even if he didn't reconcile with you. Do you know if they'd received threats or warnings, or perhaps nasty notes? Did they feel in danger in any way?"

"No, nothing of the sort. I'm sure that Ev felt the weight of his family's disapproval, but if he and Tibby had received any threats or nasty letters, he didn't mention them to me."

"Who do you think killed them, Melly? Do you have any idea?"

"I first thought that they'd done it themselves," Melly answered after a moment. "Oh, Frodo, you should've seen them. They were so pathetic. They'd done a foolish thing by running away together and they both knew it. Evvy tried to put up a brave show when I spoke to him, but he realized that he'd ruined his life. He wasn't in love with Tibby. It was always Toby Clover, Tibby's brother, whom Ev had truly loved. Well, you know how Toby was killed after Ev threw him over to marry me. Everard felt responsible for Toby's death. It ate at the heart of our marriage from the beginning and it destroyed it in the end. I'm sure that he took up with Toby's brother to try and get Toby back, only Tibby wasn't like his brother at all except for the way they looked. Ev had finally realized that, but he felt he couldn't abandon Tibby after all they'd been through together. As for Tibby, I don't believe he cared for Ev at all. He only wanted his revenge on the Tooks for what had happened to his brother. He meant to cling to Ev out of spite, if nothing else. They were stuck with each other. When I heard that they were both dead, I thought they'd decided that the best way out of an impossible situation was to kill themselves together. I've learned since that that isn't possible."

"What about the knife that killed them?" Frodo pointed out. "That wasn't found at hand, was it?"

"No, one of the shirriffs found it in the bushes outside the cottage. I didn't learn about that until later either, when Chief Shirriff Thornbreak came to ask me to account for it."

"Where did it come from?"

Melly shook her head. "I couldn't say. The shirriff showed it to me. It looked like the sort of ordinary pocket knife anyone might carry."

"It wasn't at all remarkable, like Uncle Adelard's wood-carving knives?"

"Oh, no. I couldn't even tell whether or not I'd seen it before. Shirriff Thornbreak seems to think I'd brought it with me when I called on Ev and used it to stab him, then Tibby, and then threw it aside as I left the cottage. He insists that I must've quarreled with Everard about Tibby, but I didn't. He doesn't believe anything I say about the last time I saw them. No one does."

Frodo put his hand over hers. "I do, Melly," he told her. And he meant it.
This story archived at http://www.libraryofmoria.com/a/viewstory.php?sid=3098