7 Suspects

3. The Housekeeper

July 14, 2022 ROLFE Episode 3
3. The Housekeeper
7 Suspects
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7 Suspects
3. The Housekeeper
Jul 14, 2022 Episode 3

Liz calls her first suspect: the housekeeper. Isabel recounts how she came to work for Croft, his strange behavior, and who she found snooping around the study later that night.

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, Marisa Urtado, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
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Show Notes Transcript

Liz calls her first suspect: the housekeeper. Isabel recounts how she came to work for Croft, his strange behavior, and who she found snooping around the study later that night.

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, Marisa Urtado, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
Follow us on: 

Isabel: You already ate lunch, you can have a little snack later, okay? Just, uh, hello.

Liz: Um, uh, hi there. My name is Liz Devereaux, I'm looking to speak with Isabel Reyes?

Isabel: Hi this is she, no put that down. Uh, what can I help you with, Miss Devereaux?

Liz: Um, yes. I'm investigating the murder of Aiden Croft. I understand he was an employer of yours? Hello, uh, uh, did the call drop? Hello.

Isabel: Uh, ye- yes, sorry, just a moment. Yeah, you guys go, go watch some TV, okay? Just go watch some TV yeah, that's good.

I'm sorry I, I wasn't expecting your call so soon.

Liz: Is now not a good time?

Isabel: No. No, it's fine. If you would like to know this call couldn't have come soon enough. Ask your questions Miss Devereaux, I'll tell you everything I know.

News Anchor: Today marks five years since the murder of inventor and entrepreneur, Aiden Croft. Seen by many as a visionary pioneer, Mr Croft was responsible for revolutionary innovations in the field of computer science and sustainable energy. Mr Croft's body was discovered in his secluded estate in the Sierra Nevada mountains shortly after midnight. The death was the result of a violent attack. Although several guests were staying at his house at the time of the murder, no arrests were made and no charges were ever filed. To date a primary suspect has yet to be named.


Narrator: Episode three. The Housekeeper.

Isabel: I understand Mrs Croft put you up to this?

Liz: That's right. I hope you don't mind that she gave me your number?

Isabel: Not at all, I want to help however I can.

Liz: Um, I'll try to make this as painless as possible, as much as I can anyway. I heard you were pretty close to Mr Croft?

Isabel: He was a great man. If not for his generosity I don't know where me and my Samuel would be now.

Liz: How did you come to work for him?

Isabel: It was 10 years ago. I was living in Los Angeles. My cousin had arranged a job for me cleaning condos, vacation homes. One of these belonged to the Crofts. Back then I didn't know who he was. During this time my son, my little Samuel was ill, I didn't have the money to pay for the treatments. Can you imagine a mother being unable to help her own child? Do you have children, Miss Devereaux?

Liz: Uh, no. I have a cat who ignores me, I don't think that counts.

Isabel: I didn't know what I would do. One afternoon I just broke down in front of Mr Croft. I told him I was so afraid of losing my son. I thought he would fire me or report me, huh, it was so unprofessional, but instead he offered to help. He insisted on providing the best medical care. When Mr Croft purchased the estate in California he asked me to come, he said that he would see that Samuel was in the best schools. He even made me the head of the household staff.

Liz: That's very generous.

Isabel: I couldn't refuse the opportunity and he was true to his word. He paid extremely well and the property was magnificent.

Liz: It sounds like it was pretty secluded?

Isabel: That's right. Over 200 acres of land.

Liz: Wow. Well, tell me about the house?

Isabel: The house.

Liz: The layout, I mean.

Isabel: Uh, it was an English country style. The main entrance opened into a foyer. On one side was the parlor and further on the library, where I served the guests cocktails that night.

Liz: This was before dinner?

Isabel: That's right, yes. On the other side of the foyer was the dining room, where the guests had dinner. The kitchen was through the second door. The main stairway in the foyer led up to the second floor. The bedrooms where the guests stayed, were on the west wing. The east wing was all for Mr Croft. It contained his lab as well as his private quarters at the far end.

Liz: And where did you stay?

Isabel: Samuel and I lived in the apartments in the lower floor, past the main staircase. There were three servant quarters and Mr Croft had converted the fourth to an office.

Liz: Your son was also at the house?

Isabel: Typically, yes, but that week he was on a school trip. I'm glad of that.

Liz: What can you tell me about that night?

Isabel: It was very strange. Mr Croft normally left the running of the house to me, but that night he had specific instructions. He wanted the rest of the staff to be excused for that weekend, before the quests arrived. I would be the only one who would remain.

Liz: Do you know why?

Isabel: I don't know and I knew it wasn't my place to ask. Mr Croft could be an essentric man.

Liz: Had he ever done anything like that before?

Isabel: No, never.

Liz: Well, what time did the quests arrive?

Isabel: Let's see. Uh, Mr Adams arrived at 5:00 PM. Mr Childress, shortly after. Mr and Mrs Hollister didn't get in until later, because of the snow and Mr Waters was staying at the house already.

Liz: And what about Mrs Croft?

Isabel: Oh, yes. She'd arrived earlier that morning. She said she wanted to speak to Mr Croft about something.

Liz: Really? Did they speak?

Isabel: I'm not certain.

Liz: Huh. And the other guests, anything unusual about their arrivals?

Isabel: Nothing I would've noticed. I showed them each to their rooms, told them there would be cocktails in the library at 6:30. That's exactly what Mr Croft told me to say.

Liz: Yes. I heard Mr Croft didn't greet any of the other guests?

Isabel: No, he didn't. He didn't come to dinner either. Every time I would go to tell him the guests were waiting, he would make an excuse. He'd send me away with messages about how he couldn't be bothered. I did as he asked, but it was awkward for me.

Liz: What was the reaction to these messages?

Isabel: Confusion mostly. A few of them, Mr Hollister and Mr Childress were pretty angry. If it wasn't for the storm I think Mr Childress wouldn't have stayed the night.

Liz: The storm was pretty bad. There were some power outages?

Isabel: Yes, they started right after the Hollisters arrived. That was when the wind picked up. It continued throughout dinner.

Liz: And were all the guests at dinner?

Isabel: Everyone, except Mrs Hollister. Mr Hollister said she wasn't feeling well.

Liz: Oh. And what about Martin Childress? I understand he'd gone upstairs to find Croft?

Isabel: It's possible he stepped away. I, I was back and forth between the kitchen and dining room. We had no cook you see.

Liz: Of course. And what time did dinner end?

Isabel: Uh, let's see. We served dinner at 9 o'clock. The guests excused themselves a little after 10:00, I think. After everyone had left the dining room I cleared the table and cleaned the dishes. At the time I didn't think much of it, but when I put things away I noticed one of the steak knives was missing.

Liz: The murder weapon?

Isabel: Yes.

Liz: What time was this?

Isabel: It couldn't have been any later than 11:00 PM.

Liz: Can you explain something to me? I heard you were the one to discover Croft's body?

Isabel: That's right. Aside from Mr Croft, I was the only one who knew the code to the lab door.

Liz: Uh, right. It's just the time, this was a little after midnight. It seems kind of late. Why were you going to the lab?

Isabel: Miss Devereaux, let's get something straight. I know there are rumors that I was sleeping with Mr Croft and that's why he left me some of his estate. It serves a lot of books and it generates a lot of kicks, but it is not true. I adored Mr Croft, he was good to me and good to my son. I know he wasn't the perfect man, but he was nothing but decent to me. We trusted each other. Well, I trusted him and I'd like to think he trusted me, but he never once laid a finger on me. Is that clear?

Liz: No, uh, absolutely. I'm only trying to fill in the gaps.

Isabel: I came to the lab because I was told to. Mr Croft's final instructions were to come to his lab at 12:10 AM.

Liz: He said that exact time, 12:10?

Isabel: Yes. He didn't say why, but he kept odd hours. I thought he might want to review tomorrow's agenda, so I stayed awake until midnight reading and then went to his lab as instructed and that's, uh, that's when I found him.

Liz: And you screamed. Did you go into the lab?

Isabel: No. No, I didn't dare. I'm squeamish around blood, you see. I get very lightheaded and, oh, but I didn't need to, Mrs Croft arrived and then the others. She was yelling to call 911 and that's when I saw...

Liz: And that's when you saw the missing steak knife?

Isabel: Poor Mr Croft. I won't ever get that image out of my head.

Liz: Thank you for telling me this. Look, I'm still piecing it all together, but every little bit helps. If you remember anything else, please feel free to call me.

Isabel: There is something, one last thing about that night. It's something I told the police. It, it may be nothing, but I want to tell you too.

Liz: Oh. Well, what is it?

Isabel: It was after I was finished cleaning up. I was on my way back to my room when I saw the light on in Mr Croft's office. I thought Mr Croft might need something so I went in, but instead I found Mrs Hollister.

Liz: Ryleigh? What was she up to?

Isabel: Don't know, but I startled her. I asked what she was doing, I don't remember her excuse. She told me to mind my business and left.

Liz: (laughs) Well, I guess she started feeling better?

Isabel: I'll admit, I've never liked Mrs Hollister.

Liz: Had you met her before?

Isabel: I, I don't know how much I should say.

Liz: Now's not the time to hold things back, Isabel. Anything could help.

Isabel: Did you know she calls herself Ryleigh Ray, does that sound like a real name to you? She's actually she's a celebrity, but she's only an internet model. I've seen her posts, it's all pictures of her made-up life, the fantasy if you will. She's in private jets, in bikinis in Dubai, in lingerie in hotel rooms.

Liz: (laughs) I, I think I get the idea.

Isabel: It's, it's smut, Miss Devereaux, but I'm not fool. Sex can tempt even the best of souls. You see, she and Mr Croft had a relationship, I believe.

Liz: They had an affair? Huh. Did Mr Hollister know, or Samantha?

Isabel: I don't know.

Liz: Had she been to the house before?

Isabel: Only once, a year before the murder. She stayed here for a weekend. Mr Croft knew I'd be discreet and I wouldn't be telling you this now, unless I thought it would help.

Liz: I'm glad you did.

Isabel: Are you going to speak with her also?

Liz: Of course.

Isabel: Good. That's good. When you do, ask her about how the refer ended. Ask her what she was doing in his study and ask her why she was playing with the heart of a good man. Will you do that?

Liz: I will. I'll ask her all of that and more.


Narrator: 7 Suspects is written, directed and produced by Jon Rolfe. Miss Devereaux was voiced by Chelsea Krause. Isabel, by Marisa Urtado. The news anchor was Jill Sperling. Sound design and engineering by Randy Greer. The theme music is Cold String by Tiny Music.

Shows like this and other audio drama isn't possible without support from our fans. More than anything we appreciate you listening. If you've been enjoying so far, please take the time to rate the show on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen. This goes a long way to helping us to reach other listeners. If you have a theory about who did it, we'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at 7 Suspect, that's with the number 7. You can also email us at 7Suspectspodcast@gmail.com. Remember it's the number 7. Please be sure to tune in for our next episode, The Rival. Until then, I'm Alex Eller, thank you for listening and goodnight.