14 Aug


Part 1. Part 2  Part 3


UK police cars photo: POLICE ACTION CARS CIMG23622.jpg



The fish and chips lunch was so good that Angelina Parr invited the Sergeant back to her place for a coffee or “something stronger,” as she put it, and a talk. Seeing as work for the blind Inspector seemed to be on hold until the next day and he was otherwise at a loose end, he agreed.

“I’ll fill you in on some of the background,” she suggested as he drove her there.

She lived on her own in a small but tidy ground-floor flat two streets from 221c Butcher Close.

“It’s ever so humble, but it’s home,” she said lightly as she invited him in.

“It’s really nice,” he approved, thinking if I ever invite her round my pad I’ll have to do some serious tidying-up first…

“Take a seat and I’ll make myself more comfortable,” she said in a breathy near-whisper, and with a wiggle of her bottom she disappeared through a door he assumed led to her bedroom.

Dress in something more comfortable, he wondered, she looks comfortable enough to me already! I’ve hardly been in the company of a pretty young woman wearing less, and more comfortable usually means less…

But when she returned he realised he would be. She was wearing the flimsiest of tiny dresses, and what it covered it barely concealed as its fabric was as diaphanous as any fabric he’d ever seen, like woven gossamer threads. He groaned inwardly, and found himself almost passing out as she asked him what he would like to drink. But somehow he controlled the flow of black that threatened to absorb his consciousness, and he muttered something about the same as you, if you don’t mind…

“It’s a fascinating thing, that loupe,” she said as she clinked glasses and poured whisky into them. “Do you like anything with yours?”

Do I like anything with my what, he asked himself.

“I like a small tot of Scotch when there’s thinking to be done,” she twittered. “It somehow seems to release little birds of freedom into my brain, and I find I can see and understand things that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Mind you, if I have too much … you don’t want to see me when I’ve had too much … they tell me that I become quite the femme fatale, and like a sponge I soak things up … not appropriate for a first meeting…”

Not appropriate for any kind of meeting… he thought.

“Er … I suppose not,” he mumbled.

“So do you?”

“Do I?”

“Do you like anything in your Scotch?”

“Something in? No, no, neat’s fine by me…”

“Here you are, then,” she cooed, and handed him a tumbler containing too much whisky for the early afternoon, but he didn’t like to say anything. Somehow he got the feeling that Miss Parr was in charge and he was little more than a subordinate in all things. He wondered whether she was the real power behind Inspector Curmudgeon and his blind business.

He took the smallest sip of the biting whisky. It was good. Smooth. Tasted of the peat bogs of Scotland… or at least, that’s what he told himself.

“So the golden loupe,” she began, and the smile in her voice was echoed by the smile on her lips … he was glad to notice she’d washed the lipstick off whilst changing. Her unadorned lips were beautiful, the sort that are never improved by artificial colour.

“Yes,” he sighed, not really capable of thinking of anything but those lips.

“It really is old,” she said in her breathy voice. “I know it’s hard to believe, but I checked it out – I met a few choice individuals when I was a constable, experts in this or that, you know the types we meet at work. Did I tell you that I was in the police force briefly, but when dear Mr Curmudgeon had his accident I left to look after him? He had nobody else, and I sort of blamed myself anyway. I distracted him just as he was pulling the trigger in the firing range. I’d been sent by the Superintendent with a vital message, and he took his eye off the gun when he saw me, so he didn’t see any clues that might have told him something was wrong when it went off…”

“And you nursed him?”

“Not exactly. He had a proper nurse for that! But I was around if he needed anything, and when he decided to set up the agency and needed a secretary I was there with my application form and … er … discouraged other applicants. But he didn’t know it was me, and I didn’t want to tell him. He was a randy devil and all I really want to do is work. Do you want a refill?”

“Eh? What … no I’ve not finished this yet!” He’d barely started his whisky and anyway rather suspected that the one shot would be quite enough.

“Well, the loupe’s genuine and Egyptian. I’m 99% sure of that…”

“Only 99%?” he teased.

She nodded. “There’s always a chance…” she told him. “But I read reports, even watched an old piece of film, shot in the thirties when the haul the loupe was in was dug up, and everything seems consistent. Are we sleeping together tonight?”

“You what?” He found the words suddenly exploding from him. Sleeping together? Golden loupe? Old film? Sleeping together…

“It was just a thought…” she murmured. “It’s just I get some of my best ideas at night, and if I’ve got someone close at hand to discuss them with … and I know you’re not married. Have you got a girlfriend?”

He shook his head at a loss for words.

“Then we’ll sleep together,” she decided. “I know it might seem a bit forward, but that’s the kind of girl I am. After all, you are an ex-copper, and quite my sort in the way Mr Curmudgeon wasn’t!”

What could he say? There didn’t seem to be any kind of reasonable response to that suggestion. If he said no it might seem that he was uncooperative and if he said yes it might be interpreted as over-enthusiastic.”

“When we’ve finished our little drink I think we should go and see one of the six people who attended the open day,” she said, thankfully changing the subject.

His mind rotated rapidly and he almost passed out again.

“Or the caterers,” she mused. “That was your idea, and a jolly good one! I’d already considered it, of course … but Mr Curmudgeon hadn’t!”

“Er … yes…” he mumbled through the haze of muddy consciousness.

“There’s Tiny Bloxam,” she decided. “He’s a policeman himself, so he should be easy to interview. And I did work with him once. A decent man, not a pervert like most men, unmarried, no encumbrances, no kids, nothing like that… and he has been to Egypt!”

“Is that … particularly relevant?” mumbled the Sergeant. “I thought the loupe was discovered a fair time ago.”

“I suppose not, though it might be some sort of coincidence, and I don’t like coincidences…” she smiled. “Come on, drink up! We’ll pop off to see him while you’re still sober enough to drive, and we’ll see what he’s got to say for himself!”

Sergeant Royston Williams groaned but managed to swallow the remainder of his whisky. Sober enough to drive, he mumbled inside his head, I’m never likely to be sober enough to drive, not after drinking that!

Tiny Bloxam lived at the other end of town and Royston found himself taking several wrong turns before he got there. But get there he did … to find the house he was trying to reach was surrounded by three police cars and two ambulances.

“What on Earth…” he mumbled.

“Just a minute!” Angelina opened the her door and leapt out, flashing her almost-underwear to anyone close enough to see it as her dress wafted diaphanously around her waist.

She sidled up to one of the police officers and spoke in an animated way to him whilst he made a valiant attempt not to stroke her bottom. From the expression on her face she got the impression that she knew the young officer quite well.

Then after several minutes she returned to the car and climbed in.

“Quick: drive off,” she ordered, “there’s nothing we can do here while all the forces under the sun are hovering around…”

“What is it?” asked Royston. “What’s been going on?”

“We’ve got our first clue,” explained Angelina, “and it’s a great big fat one. The young copper who came to our open day, darling Tiny Bloxam, has been murdered!”

“You what?” exclaimed Royston as he accelerated away. “You mean he’s dead? How on Earth did that happen?”

“He was shot,” explained Angelina, “he was shot: a single bullet to the head as if a Mafia-style execution had been carried out! As I think I’ve already said, there’s one thing I don’t believe in, and that’s coincidence. And it’s too much of a coincidence that we were going to question him about the loupe on the very same day that someone decided to take him out!

“This whole business is getting serious, and we’d best be considerably more than careful ourselves from now on!”

© Peter Rogerson 14.08.14



  1. pambrittain August 14, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    Aha, a murder story. I’m totally getting into this one.

  2. Peter Rogerson August 15, 2014 at 8:01 am #

    I couldn’t spend too long on an impossible loupe, could I?

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