Sunday 20 – Monday 21 May 2012
‘Oh, dear God, Detective Chief Inspector, what do you want now?’ Lady Emma Carlisle demanded. She examined his face as he sat opposite her in the sitting room of the Carlisle’s recently renovated mansion.
‘Lady Carlisle, you’ll remember, you were the one to call us, requesting we send someone out to look for Lord Carlisle.’ Although he was firm, almost forceful, his tone was compassionate, for despite that fact that Lady Carlisle was a completely objectionable human being, she had just been informed that her husband had been brutally murdered. In DCI Simon James’ book, everyone deserved compassion in those circumstances.
‘Yes, yes,’ she was placated, ‘indeed I did. Go on, DCI James, ask your questions.’
‘You were on the phone to your husband?’ He started simply.
‘Yes, it was after you had left. I called him to tell him you’d been around asking about John Mitchell. He said you were just doing your job, and I was overreacting . . .’ her thoughts wandered momentarily. ‘Well, that’s not exactly what he said. He said you were baiting me to get a rise. Those were his words. And he told me he’d be home shortly. I assumed he was somewhere on the estate, not far from the house.’
James furiously wrote the information in his notebook. All of his police issue notebooks had been meticulously kept, and were now meticulously ordered in the bottom drawer of his desk in the office. He prided himself on his note taking, and it had assisted him in solving many cases. Well ordered notes, in James’ opinion, could make an officer, and break a case wide open. He was, however, too engrossed in his note taking to notice that Lady Carlisle had started weeping. When he looked up to ask the next question, he paused at the sight of the distraught woman.
‘Lady Carlisle, if it’s alright with you, we might continue this tomorrow, perhaps,’ he quietly said.
She nodded, ‘Yes, please . . . I’m not entirely sure that I can . . .’
‘Do you have someone who you can stay with tonight, or who can stay with you?’ James enquired.
She thought for a moment, her mind unable to focus on anything much since hearing the awful news. ‘I think one of our officers called my children. I believe them to be on their way here.’
‘Good, good. I’ll have WPC Atkins sit with you until they arrive. You remember her from the other day?’
She nodded again as WPC Atkins moved from her position by the sitting room door to the sofa next to Lady Carlisle.
DCI James sat a little longer, uncomfortable with the heavy silence in the room. He was appreciative of DC Harris’ timely entrance.
‘Sir, can I speak with you, please?’ Harris asked.
‘Excuse me, Lady Carlisle, my DC needs me. We’ll talk tomorrow.’
James strode quickly out into the large entrance foyer of the house, to Harris’ side.
‘Good God, thank you for coming in then Harris. Not sure I could have stood that silence any longer.’ He slapped Harris on the shoulder.
‘Me neither,’ Harris agreed. James ushered Harris towards the front door. He was eager to get out of the house and back to the station where there was rarely any silence.
‘I need to find out who the crispy critter is, Harris. That’s the key to this.’
‘Guv, do you think they’re related? The Westwind farm body and the murder of Lord Carlisle?’
James thought about the question. He nodded slowly, and then stepped out into the fresh air, not realising how stifling the sitting room had been. He walked to his car with purpose, Harris doing his best to follow closely.
‘It’s possible, Harris. Coincidence is unusual, don’t you think? Odd that there would be two separate murders in Blackfriar’s Dell that had nothing to do with each other?’
Harris shrugged his shoulders and slipped into the car.
‘I want to know who had it in for Carlisle, both of them. We know that John Mitchell was abusive to Lady Carlisle a day or so ago, but we need to find out who else was ticked off with them. The Lord was bound to have a number of people who wanted to cause him grief, either personally or through his former business. Find out who, Harris.’
. . . To be continued . . .