Saturday 9 – Sunday 10 June 2012
A police constable that DCI Simon James had never laid eyes on before dutifully handed him several printed emails. He scanned each one, his facial expression unchanging with every read email. From his desk, DC David Harris carefully watched his boss, assuming that the paper held the important forensics results from the Tara Roberts crime scene. The London crew had promised to send them through as soon as the reports became available.
‘Very interesting, Harris,’ James said, ‘evidence suggests that Lady Emma killed the journalist.’
Harris screwed up his face. He didn’t know what he expected from the results, but he was sure that Lady Emma as the murderer was not anywhere in the vicinity of his thoughts.
‘Serious?’ Harris asked.
‘Seems that way.’ James nodded, then ran a hand through his unkempt hair. ‘I can guess why Lady Emma would kill the journalist, but what about the others? Did she kill them? And if so, why? But then if she didn’t kill them all, who did?’
‘Well, Guv, if we knew that, we’d have solved the case,’ Harris hoped his boss would take his comment light-heartedly, as he’d intended it to come across. James’ mind, however, was not at all focussed on Harris or his idea of humour.
He was off and running towards Interview Room One before Harris realised that James was on the move. Slipping into the room with the DCI just before the door closed, Harris plopped himself clumsily in the chair next to James.
‘Thank you for coming in, Helen,’ James started, ‘and thank you for waiting so patiently while we waited on some paperwork.’
Helen smiled and lowered her eyes to the papers in James’ hands.
‘Anything I can do to help, Detective Chief Inspector James, my mother would have wanted it that way,’ her voice was faraway and wispy. She was not fooling James with her poor little girl act, but he allowed her to think that way, convinced that she would let down her barriers and make an enormous mistake.
‘I know we’ve spoken about her in our previous interview, but I want to you go over, again, what you knew about Tara Roberts, the crime journalist in London.’
She held her eyes on James’ hands and the papers he held, sighed as if it were difficult to drag up those memories again, and began.
‘Ms. Roberts approached me in London about eight weeks ago. She said she wanted some information on my family, my father in particular, because she was going to write an article about us . . . him.’
Harris joined in. ‘What was the article about? Did she tell you?’
‘Not at the time,’ Helen replied quickly, ‘she didn’t. We met three or four times before she spilled that it was going to be an exposé on his alleged dirty dealings.’
‘And what did you think about that, Helen?’
‘Detective Chief Inspector James,’ Helen replied, ‘it was of no consequence to me what she did. My father was a big boy, and if he got himself into less-than-legal situations, it was up to him to wear it.’
‘What would you say if I told you that we’ve received information that there’s evidence that your mother killed Tara Roberts?’ James started playing hard. Helen shrugged, undisturbed by the revelation. She smiled smugly.
‘My mother was a big girl. If she felt it important to protect the reputation of the Carlisle family, that was her cross to bear. And I think it’s clear to see how she felt about her actions,’ she paused. James was unable to tell if it was out of genuine grief, or remorse that she was shafting her mother.
‘DCI James, in the space of a few days I’ve become an orphan. It’s an odd predicament to be in as an adult child. I mean, everyone dies, but to have one parent brutally murdered, and the other take her own life . . . it’s abhorrent.’
Harris watched James’ face. The man never gave an inch of what he was thinking; James’ words surprising Harris as well as Helen Carlisle.
‘So, Helen, explain to me how Alan Willits, John Mitchell, your father, and you all fit together in a nice little web of murder and deceit?’
. . . To be continued . . .