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: 70600 Published: August 06, 2012 Updated: August 06, 2012
Chapter 2 by Kathryn Ramage
After he left Melilot's room, Frodo found Thain Paladin and Adelard Took in Adelard's study, which opened onto the garden at the back of the smial. Merry was waiting impatiently with them.

"Well?" asked Merry.

"I can't believe she's guilty of this crime," Frodo answered, then turned to the two elder hobbits. "Call it prejudice on my part, Uncles, but it seems unlikely to me that she's capable of committing such a brutal act." He looked from one to the other. "Surely you don't think she is?"

"I don't like to," Adelard admitted with a note of apology. "Melly is as dear to me as my own daughters. She's the mother of one of my grandsons! But my son is dead and, while it doesn't seem possible that anybody could do such a terrible thing..." He shook his head. "She was there at the time Shirriff Thornbreak thinks it must have happened."

"It has to be considered, Frodo," Thain Paladin added. He also sounded apologetic about it, but remained firm. "She's not under arrest--I could do that much for her--but there's enough against her that I must agree with Sherriff Thornbreak. We ought to keep close watch over her until this matter is cleared up."

"You say she isn't under arrest. Then she isn't officially kept prisoner here?" asked Merry.

"No, lad," said Adelard. "The door to her room isn't locked. Melly has agreed to remain inside this house."

"Must she keep to her room?" asked Frodo.

"No, but she prefers it."

"No small wonder," huffed Merry, "if all the Tooks feel as you do."

Paladin and Adelard looked astonished and even a little hurt, not so much by the statement itself as by Merry's contentious attitude. He was their nephew and they'd known him from infancy. He had always been affectionate, courteous, and deferential toward them as his uncles and elders, until now. Fighting for Melly was obviously more important to him than upholding social niceties.

Frodo felt the same indignation as Merry did over this treatment of their cousin, but he kept his temper better. Merry had called on him specifically to help her by finding the true murderer of Everard and Tibby. If he was to do that, then he would have to work with the Tooks and the local chief shirriff. The Mayor had named him Detective Inspector General for the Shire while he was investigating the stranglings of four women in Hobbiton and Bywater last year; he still had the authority to investigate these murders without Thain's permission, but he would much rather have Paladin's goodwill and cooperation, as well as Adelard's and their families. No good would come of open enmity.

"May I see the cottage please, Uncle Paladin?" he requested politely. "I'd also like to begin my investigation by having a word with Chief Thornbreak to learn what evidence he has against Melly."

Paladin seemed relieved that Frodo wasn't being as hostile toward him as Merry was. "Certainly," he agreed. "I'll send for Chief Shirriff Thornbreak, and he can escort you to the cottage himself."
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