BUT WAS IT MURDER by alicejenny


Jania Barrell


Before Reading

1   Look at the back page of your book.
    Why is Inspector Rod Eliot not sure Alex Forley‟s death was murder?

2   Look at page 5, Contents. The title of Chapter 1 is called ‘Missing the Queen’s Head’.
    Guess what is going to happen in Chapter 1, before reading it.
While Reading

Chapter 1    Missing The Queen’s Head

1   How do you know that Detective Inspector Rod Eliot still had a lot of unfinished work to
    do when he wanted to go to the pub?

2   Find and write down 2 sentences from this chapter to show that it was going to take a
    long time to get from New Cross police station to Blackheath.

3   DI Eliot needed a pathologist. What sort of work does a pathologist do?

4   Look at your answer to Question 2, Before Reading.
    A    Did you find the correct answer?
    B    If not, explain the title of this chapter.

5   Why had DI Eliot „half hoped‟ it was his wife when the telephone rang in his office?

Chapter 2    The Colour of Death

1   Think of a reason why switching on the blue light and siren had almost caused two

2   Why would Micky be so excited the next day?

3   DC Jamie Bowen‟s parents were rich and he had been to Cambridge University.
    Why would this have worried DI Eliot at first?

4   What was DC Bowen‟s problem in life?
5   Why do you think PC Drewitt looked pale?

6   Why did „the dark shape on the wall‟ have the same colour as the carpet in the hall?

7   Look at the picture below.
    What did this make DI Eliot think?

8   Why had the pathologist been able to listen to all of Mahler‟s Eighth Symphony?

Chapter 3    Just Friends

1   How did DI Eliot know that Alex Forley lived alone?

2   The pathologist complained „the work is increasing and they‟re cutting the number of
    Explain in English what this means.

3   Write down some differences between Mr and Mrs Crowther‟s outward appearances.

4   What did DI Eliot notice in the Crowthers‟ sitting room?

6   Why did Mrs Crowther say „I can‟t speak of him in the past tense‟?
Chapter 4      The Sound of a Shot

1   Why did DI Eliot feel quite uncomfortable when he visited Forley Antiques many years

2   What does it mean when two houses are „not attached‟?

3   Finish the sentences.
    According to their statements, if there had been a shot

A   Mr Crowther did not hear it because

B   Mrs Crowther did not hear it because

4   What is Amanda Grant to Alex Forley?

Chapter 5      New Cross at Night

1   What does DC Bowen think about the Crowthers‟ marriage?

2   A       What do you think Mr Crowther thought about his wife‟s close friendship with Alex
    B       What do you think Mrs Crowther had wanted to say about the gun?


3   Why, according to DI Eliot, was the silver grey Mercedes standing in the middle of the

4   „The pavements were full of young people waiting outside takeaway restaurants or
    queuing to get into music clubs‟.
    Explain in English:
    A    takeaway restaurant
    B    queuing

5   Why do you think DI Eliot would worry more if he had a daughter?

6   What does DI Eliot call the scene that you see in the picture below?

7   Why did Eliot wake up in sweat?

Chapter 6    Identifying the Body

1   How could a murderer have made Alex Forley‟s death look like suicide?

2   Why did Alex Forley‟s head remain covered when Amanda Grant identified the body?

Chapter 7    Not an Easy Relationship

1   Where had DI Eliot seen Amanda Grant‟s face before?

2   What did Alex Forley and Amanda Grant quarrel about the last time they had seen
    each other?

3   Look at the title of this chapter.
    A    Whose relationship is meant?
    B    Why was this relationship not easy?

4   Why did Alex Forley have some hospital tests a few weeks before his death?

5   A       Who is Philip Wilver?
    B       What do you know about him?


Chapter 8      The Blackheath Bonfire

1   Do you think Alex Forley had died because he was the victim of a robbery?
    Explain your answer.

2   That day workmen were preparing the Blackheath bonfire.

    Below, you can read about Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Plot and Bonfire Night.
    Answer the questions afterwards.

Guy Fawkes

    Guy (Guido) Fawkes led the Gunpowder Plot in 1605. It was a plan was to blow up
    King James I and his government. Guido and his group put 36 barrels of gunpowder in
    cellars under the Houses of Parliament. They got ready to set off a massive explosion.

    What happened?
    One member of the group sent a letter to his friend in Parliament. He warned him to
    stay away on 5 Nov. The King's supporters got hold of the letter and the plot was
    rumbled. Guards broke into the cellars where the gunpowder plotters were waiting.
    They were arrested, tortured and executed.

    Why did they do it?
    The Gunpowder Plot was about religion. England was a Protestant country and the
     plotters were Catholic. The group wanted to return England to the Catholic faith. They
     thought they could do this by killing King James I and his ministers.

Bonfire Night
     On 5 November people across the UK celebrate the anniversary of the failed attempt to
     blow up Parliament. There are small fireworks parties in back gardens and also big
     organised displays. Bonfires are lit to burn the "Guy". This is a dummy that represents
     Guy Fawkes.

     A      What was the gunpowder meant to be used for?
     B      Why did the Gunpowder Plot fail?
     C      True or False? Guy Fawkes and his men died because of what they had done.
     D      Find another English word in the text for religion.
     E      Which of the pictures shows a bonfire, I or II?

                          I                                               II

Chapter 9      Secrets and Lies

1    What can you say about Mrs Crowther‟s latest painting?

2    Who visited Alex Forley on the morning of his death, according to Mrs Crowther?

3     Which two things did DI Eliot find hard to believe when he talked to Mrs Crowther?
      Fill in the missing words.
DI Eliot found it hard to believe that she and Alex were just ……………………………… .
He did not believe the story about the ………….……………. either.

4    Why was Alex Forley especially worried about his headaches?
Chapter 10    Falling in Love Again

1   Why do you think did Mrs Crowther‟s face start to become red?

2   True or False?
    The stories that Mr and Mrs Crowther told the police seemed to be identical.

3   Here you see some objects which you might find on display in an antique shop.
    Which of these 6 objects were in Alex Forley‟s shop windows?
    Circle the correct answers.

              A                            B                               C

          D                                E                                   F

4   What did Alex Forley do in his shop on the Friday morning before his death?

5   Look at the title of this chapter.
    Who is falling in love again and with whom?
Chapter 11   Homes and Families

1   A    What were the three television programmes DI Eliot watched that Saturday?

    B    Look at the pictures and decide the order in which he saw these programmes.

             I                            II                              III

2   How did DS Bowen‟s university education turn out to be useful in this case?

3   Why do you think the young boy was holding on to his father‟s legs?

4   Find and copy the sentence in the text which shows that Philip Wilver thought that the
    hospital tests were not necessary at all.

Chapter 12   One Kind of Marriage

1   A    What had made Sam Wilver cry and
    B    what made him stop crying?


2   Why did Lisa Wilver not like her husband‟s other friends?

3   Why did Dr Wilver visit Alex Forley on the Friday he died?
4   True or False?
    From what Dr Wilver and DI Eliot discussed it can be concluded that Alex Forley was
    alone on Friday afternoon.
    Explain your answer.

5   After talking to people who knew Alex Forley well it became more and more difficult for
    DI Eliot to believe that he was killed. Why?

6   A    True or False?
         DI Eliot thinks that Dr Wilver had told Alex Forley good news about his health.
    B    What did DI Eliot conclude from that?

Chapter 13   Home at Last

1   Why did DI Eliot hope the pathologist would say Alex Forley‟s death was suicide?

2   Suppose it was not suicide, do you, at this point in the story, have any idea
    A   who might have killed Alex Forley and
    B   why he was killed?

Chapter 14   But Was It Murder?

1   Why do you think DI Eliot was in a good mood in spite of the fact that it was Monday?

2   What can be said of the gun? Choose A, B, C, or D.
    A   It is an old one but there are still a lot of them around.
    B   It is an old one and there are not many of them around anymore.
    C   It is an old one and Alex Forley had locked it away in his garage.
    D   It is an old one and belonged to Alex Forley‟s collection of guns.

3   Does the pathologist‟s report make clear if Alex Forley‟s death was suicide or murder?
    Explain your answer.
4    Explain in English what an alibi is.

5    How can fingerprints help solve a murder case?

6    True or False?
     DI Eliot probably always ordered the same drink at The Queen’s Head.
     Explain your answer.

Chapter 15      Uncovering Lies

1    How did DS Bowen find out that Catherine Crowther had been lying about the fact that
     she and Alex Forley had not met for a week?

2    Who might the gun which was found belong to?

3    A       What did DS Bowen find out when he was reading Alex Forley‟s diary?
     B       There was also something that he did not find out. What was that?
     C       Why did he not find this out?



4    Here is a list of DI Eliot‟s suspects.
     All suspects claim to have alibis for the time of Alex Forley‟s death.
     A     After reading this chapter write down these alibis next to their names and
     B     write √ if these alibis were checked by the police.
suspects        Alibis                                                                  √?:
Mr Crowther

Mrs Crowther

Mr Wilver

Mrs Wilver

Miss Grant

Mrs Brook
Chapter 16   Jealousy

1   Alex Forley said he wanted to have the gun valued.
    Explain in English what to have valued means.

2   What was the reason the Crowthers gave for not telling the police they had given the
    gun to Alex Forley?

3   Why were the Crowthers taken to separate rooms at the police station?

4   Who did Catherine Crowther say Alex was secretly having an affair with?

5   Why did Catherine Crowther not have an affair with Alex Crowther, too?

6   How had Catherine Crowther expressed her anger with Alex Forley‟s secret

7   What did DI suddenly realize while talking to Catherine Crowther?

8   Write down two reasons why Catherine Crowther did not tell her husband about Alex
    Forley‟s visit to her on the Wednesday before his death.

9   Who do you think is DI Eliot‟s only remaining suspect at the end of this chapter?

Chapter 17   Putting the Pieces Together

1   A    Which of the two pictures on the next page shows a possible motive for DI Eliot‟s
         last remaining suspect, picture I or II?
    B    Write down the word for this motive underneath the correct picture.
    C    Write down the word for the other motive underneath the remaining picture.
                     I                                            II
B, C

2      For once, DI Eliot had been thankful for all the traffic on the roads.
       Why was that?

3      How did DS Bowen check Amanda Grant‟s story?

4      What had Alex Forley done two weeks before he died?

5      Do you understand why Mickey‟s story had been such a great help in solving the
       If you do, write down why.

Chapter 18      The Truth at Last

1      Have a look at the days of the week Alex Forley died.
       A     What happened according to Dr Wilver?
       B     What happened according to DI Eliot?
       Finish the sentences.
                                 A according to Dr Wilver:             B according to DI Eliot:
                                                                       “The hospital phoned you to
Monday morning       (A)                         xxx
                                  “The hospital phoned me to
Thursday morning (B)                                                                xxx
                                   ………………………………. .”
                                  “I called Alex Forley to ……….        “You called Alex Forley to
Thursday evening (A, B)                                                say
                                  ……………………………….. .”                    ……………………………. .”
                                  “I told Alex to say he was           “You told Alex that he had a
Friday morning (A, B)
                                  ……………………..………… .”                    ……………………………… .”
2   How did Dr Wilver show he was getting nervous during his interview with DI Eliot?
    Write down 2 sentences from the text.

3   Look at your answer to question 1 again.
    Why did Dr Wilver tell Alex this on Friday morning?

4   What was the motive in this case?
    Explain your answer.

5   At the mention of the diary Dr Wilver put his head in his hands.
    Why did he do that?

6   Why was DI Eliot right about Alex Forley being weak?

7   Did Alex Forley‟s death solve Dr Wilver‟s problems?
    Explain your answer.
After Reading

1    Answer the question that was the title of your book, But Was It Murder?
     Explain your answer.

2    DI Eliot and DS Bowen solved the case of Alex Forley‟s death.
     Now be a detective, too, and solve this puzzle to find a well-known English expression,
     reading the letters in the squares in bold print from top to bottom.

     NB: The numbers between brackets show the number of letters you need to fill in.

1    Part of London where DI Eliot‟s police station is situated. (3, 5)
2    Town on the south coast where DI Eliot‟s parents-in-law live. (8)
3    Police rank. (2)
4    Name of DI Eliot‟s son. (6)
5    Town where east meets west. (9)
6    TV sports programme. (5, 2, 3, 3)
7    Serious health problem in Alex Forley‟s family. (5, 6)
8    Part of London where Alex Forley lived. (10)
9    DS Bowen seemed to like her (5, 5)
10   Name of DI Eliot‟s favourite pub (3, 6, 4)
11   What Dr Wilver said he had wanted to sell Alex Forley. (6)
12   4‟s favourite football club. (4, 3)
13   Musical instrument played by Alex Forley. (5)
14   Mrs Brook‟s profession. (7)
15   The Wilvers‟ address (2, 5, 4)

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