Monday 8 – Wednesday 10 December 2014
‘Well . . . he’s definitely dead.’
‘Norton, you’re a genius at statin’ the bleedin’ obvious. God in heaven, how’d we end up with a copper like Nigel Norton?’ Big John shook his head, and toed the dirt at the side of the road. The police constable let the publican’s insult wash over him as he continued to look over the body of Matthew Jenkins.
‘So, what do you think, Nigel?’
‘Other than he’s had his head smashed in, it’s too early to make any other sort of judgement, Harry. Especially given that Matthew annoyed so many people.’ PC Norton kept his eyes on the body, ignoring Harry hovering close by.
‘Looks like I’ll have to get the big guys in,’ Norton mumbled.
‘Not that wanky DI Lester?’ Big John replied.
‘More than likely,’ the constable said. ‘He’s the closest detective. We can’t pick and choose who we want to investigate, John. We get who we’re given.’ He stood up and stretched his legs, massaging out a cramp in his left calf. ‘And what is it to you who I get in to investigate this? Do you have something to hide, John?’
Big John stepped away from Jenkins’ body and PC Norton. ‘No, but I don’t like Lester, and he’ll not be welcome in the Ravenbridge. And if you’re looking for suspects other than locals, why don’t you come and speak to the five tourists campin’ out in my pub.’ He turned his back on Norton and strode back into his pub.
* * * * *
William Wilkinshaw opened the front door a few moments after the doorbell sounded. PC Norton was surprised to see the younger Wilkinshaw in front of him.
‘William . . . hello. I’m sorry, I was expecting your mother to answer the door.’
‘Surprise, Nigel, she didn’t.’
‘I thought you were in the city now,’ Norton muttered.
William let go a little of his attitude. ‘Yeah, I am, Nige, but I came back for a couple of days to see mum while things are going a little slower for my business. You know how it is around this time of year. Things slow down a bit.’
‘Yeah, guess it must be hard when the economy slows down.’
‘Yep,’ William answered, ‘just have to grin and bear it, and hope things pick up pretty quickly.’
They stood in silence for mere moments but to Norton, it seemed too long. William noticed the constable’s discomfort.
‘I’ll get mum for you. Please, come in and wait.’ Wilkinshaw stepped out of the way for the constable to pass, and once Norton was inside, he closed the door and took the stairs two by two.
Norton only had to wait a minute or two before Fenella and William descended the stairs. She spoke as she closed the distance between herself and the PC.
‘PC Norton, what can I do for you?’
‘I have something quite difficult to tell you, Mrs. Wilkinshaw. You might prefer to be seated before I start.’
With an open hand, Fenella gestured towards the library. Norton and William followed like two little boys about to be chastised by their school headmistress.
‘Please have a seat, PC Norton,’ she offered. He did as he was told, and William followed suit. ‘Now, what is it that you have to tell me?’
‘It’s Matthew Jenkins, Mrs. Wilkinshaw. There’s no nice way to put this . . . he’s been found dead by Ravenbridge Pub.’
She considered what the police officer had just said. She purposefully glanced at her son and then back at Norton.
‘Dead,’ she said.
‘Yes, dead,’ Norton replied.
‘Dead . . . ’
‘Yes, Mrs. Wilkinshaw. Dead as in no longer alive.’
‘Sorry, Nigel, but why are you informing my mother of his death?’ William injected himself into the conversation.
‘Well, because, it was well known that your mother and Jenkins were in a relationship.’
Fenella sat stoically as PC Norton gave her and William the details that he had garnered before arriving at their door. Inside, however, she was dying to smile and laugh at Matthew Jenkins’ demise. William played the good son, wrapping his arm around his mother’s shoulder, comforting her in her time of grief. As far as Nigel Norton could tell there was nothing odd or suspicious about the sight in front of him.
. . . To be continued . . .