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Murder on the Hogwarts Express by Violet Gryfindor

Format: Novella
Chapters: 10
Word Count: 17,570

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Humor, Mystery
Characters: Moody, Tonks, Bill, Charlie, OC

First Published: 04/23/2005
Last Chapter: 04/26/2018
Last Updated: 04/26/2018


Sometimes going back to school can be murder. Nymphadora Tonks and Charlie Weasley get caught in the midst of a feud between prefects that turns deadly. Both detectives must sort through red herrings and numerous suspects to find the one important thing: the name of the killer.

2007 Dobby Award Winner for Best Novella!

Chapter 2: The Evidence of the Body


Tonks slowly moved over to the body, feeling as though she had just stepped into a book and become one of its characters. She knelt down beside it and gently placed her hand on the boy’s neck. No pulse flickered beneath her fingers; he was definitely dead. Balancing on the balls of her feet, Tonks took a long look at the body, trying to remember every detail she could.

He had golden blond hair and lily white skin with an almost-feminine aspect to it. There were no blemishes or bruises whatsoever on his visible parts, except, of course, for the knife. His robes were new, Tonks noticed from the way that there were barely any signs of wear upon them. The symbol of Slytherin house decorated the front of his robes, as did the prefect’s badge that now had a small splattering of blood upon it.

“What was his name?” Tonks asked the Hufflepuff girl, who was now crying on Charlie’s shoulder as other students began gathering around to see what had happened.

The girl sniffed loudly and looked up, having wiped off most of her mascara on Charlie’s robes. “Gilbert Moriarty.”

“Can you tell me what happened, - ?“ Tonks broke off, not knowing the girl’s name.

“It’s Ariadne Vane,” the girl replied, taking a lace-edged handkerchief from the pocket of her robes. She swallowed, then continued. “We had been sitting here together after the other prefects had left. We were to take the later turn at rounds of the train. Gil and I were talking about how different school was going to be this year now that we’re prefects. Then I got up to change into my robes.” She stopped for a moment and bit her lip. “He said he’d change later, he had to do something first.”

“Do you know what it was he had to do, Ariadne?” Tonks asked.

The girl shook her head. “Sorry, I have no idea.” She looked back at the body and the tears began running down her face once more.

“Charlie, can you find her friends for her or something?” Tonks suggested, feeling sympathy for the girl, who obviously had seen nothing like a dead body before. “She seems quite broken up about this.”

He nodded and led her off, leaving Tonks to look back at the body. Other students were beginning to gather around the compartment door, asking her questions, but she ignored them, trying to catch every piece of evidence before any of the other prefects arrived.

She reached into the pocket of her jacket and took out the tissues her mum had stored there, just in case you get a runny nose, dear. Tonks wrapped her one hand in some of the tissues and slowly reached for the knife sticking from the boy’s chest. She had to get a good look at the murder weapon without destroying any fingerprints on the knife itself. Just as her hand, covered in the tissues, was encircling the knife, a pair of familiar shoes appeared in her line of vision.

“What do you think you are doing, Nymphadora?” Bill Wealsey asked.

Tonks glared at him. “I am collecting evidence, if you don’t mind.”

“Actually, I do mind,” he remarked. “In case you’ve forgotten, I am Head Boy.”

“Yeah, I remember that fact. The only problem is that unless you can provide a good alibi, you’re on the list of suspects.”

While he spluttered in shock, she took a deep breath and yanked the knife from Gilbert Moriarty’s chest. The strange noise it made caused her to shudder with distaste, but she quickly recovered and placed the knife on the rest of her tissues.

“So you think I did it? What in Merlin’s name - “ Bill began, his voice rising.

She rolled her eyes dramatically. “I didn’t say that, Bill. A detective has to be careful in who they trust, you know. And the only one I can trust right now is Charlie ‘cause he was with me when it happened. Even the trolley witch is under suspicion.”

“So you’re a detective now, are you?” he asked incredulously.

Tonks leaned over the body and stared at the wound, a pained expression on her face.

“Indeed I am. Do you happen to have a pair of tweezers on you?”

Before he could answer, she dug once more in her pocket and produced her wand along with the stub of a pencil.

“Never mind,” she said, raised her wand over the pencil. “I can make my own. Professor McGonagall’d be pleased with me using something she taught.”

“Tonks, maybe it’d be better if - “ Bill started to say, but was cut off by the small cloud of smoke that suddenly surrounded his brother’s friend. He heard her coughing slightly, then an arm poked out of the smoke.

“Ha!” she exclaimed. “I can Transfigure things!”

“There was never any doubt of that,” Charlie said, entering the compartment. He turned to his elder brother. “What should we do about all those people outside, Bill? They’re getting downright impudent, if you ask me, wanting to see the body and all.”

Bill hesitated for a moment, as though he were thinking deeply about something, then he nodded his head. “Since you are such a great detective, my dear Nymphadora, I’m leaving you in charge of the body until we arrive at Hogwarts. If you can, and only if you can, find out who did this. Understand?”

Tonks pursed her lips and nodded solemnly. “I’ll find the murderer, Bill, don’t you worry.”

“That’s exactly what worries me,” he responded, then left the compartment. His voice could be heard soon after telling the students to go back to their seats, that everything was under control.

Which, according to Tonks, it was.

She took her newly-made tweezers and leant over the body once more, her eyes squinted as though she were looking for something very small. Carefully keeping her hand steady, she picked up what seemed to be a hair and turned to show it to Charlie.

“Look at this,” she said to him. “It must have fallen off the killer.”

“Or it could just be a hair from his mother or girlfriend,” he pointed out in reply. “You know, Tonks, it’s impossible to say whose it is or where it came from without all those gadgets like Dumbledore has in his office.”

Tonks held the hair up to the light and stared at it, almost willing it to give up its secrets.

“It’s of a thick texture and brownish-looking, I would say,” she said. “Though it’s hard to tell whether it’s from a girl or boy, it’s of the length that could be either.”

Charlie shifted his balance from one foot to the other, feeling a mix of impatience and ignorance in just standing there while Tonks did all the work.

“Is there anything you need me to do?” he asked, his voice cracking somewhat at the end. He was not used to seeing dead bodies of fellow students with knives sticking out of them.

Tonks looked up from her examination of the hair. “Yeah, there are a couple of things I need done. You still got your sketchbook with you?” He nodded. “Good, you’ll need it to take notes when you’re talking to possible witnesses in the surrounding compartments. Check to see who was about and whether anyone heard or saw anything before Miss Oh-So-Pretty-Prefect began screaming to no tomorrow.”

Charlie raised an eyebrow at his friend’s change of tone. She sounded more like a hard-boiled American private eye than a Scotland Yard detective.

“And,” she continued, oblivious to his facial expression. “I’ll also need some powder and a make-up brush. I’m sure that one of the girls on board will have one with them.”

This last was just too much for Charlie. “What do you need that for? Surely not for yourself or for him,” he said in consternation, pointing at the body.

She sighed patiently and looked straight at him, her dark eyes strangely serious. “For fingerprints, of course. I’ll dust the knife, then compare any prints on it to people on the train who might have killed him. Most likely it’s the only way we’ll find who did it before we get to the school.”

His gaze fell from hers and travelled over to the bloody knife that lay on the pile of tissues. “Right then,” he said, trying to keep his voice straight. There was a murderer on the train and they had no idea who. What could that person do next? he wondered. “I’ll get on that, Tonks.”

She grinned suddenly, her eyes once more taking on that signature twinkle of hers.

“That’s Inspector Tonks to you, laddie. And don’t forget it.”

With a short laugh, Charlie left to set out on his task, leaving Tonks to sort out the physical evidence of the body and anything else she found in that compartment.

Note: all the OC's in this story will have names put together from various characters in detective stories, modern or classic. Hope you enjoyed the chapter!