THE CASE OF THE GOLDEN EYEGLASS – 5

15 Aug

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THE CASE OF THE GOLDEN EYEGLASS

glass whisky photo: glass whisky l_whisky_glass_fire_400w.jpg5

When they arrived back at Angelina’s flat she made straight for the whisky bottle and poured them both a good measure, and they sat next to each other on her heavy-looking sofa. The sergeant had a few questions he wanted answering, especially why she thought an ordinary young policeman should be gunned down in broad daylight in a sleepy littletown like theirs.

“I get what you say about coincidence, but why is this a clue? And if it’s a clue, what on Earth can it be a clue to?” he asked.

“Someone left a very valuable artefact where a blind ex-policeman might find it,” began Angelina. “You’ve got to ask yourself why, and if you come to any conclusion at all it’s got to do with the fact that dearest Mr Curmudgeon is blind. He can’t see, and even his hearing isn’t what it used to be. Why, he listens to my voice and believes I’m an old crock of seventy! So a blind man’s got an open house for one day. Anyone can walk in or out and it’s been advertised in the local press. They even did a feature on him! BLIND DETECTIVE SETS UP SHOP, it ran. I read it aloud to him and he was dead chuffed.”

“I get that much … but the artefact?” asked Royston.

“Have another whisky. It helps,” suggested Angelina, and without asking whether he wanted it or not she poured a generous measure into his tumbler.

“Hey! That’s enough! You’ll have me on my back!” he joked.

“I’m prepared to bet that the golden loupe’s very hot property indeed,” explained the young woman. “Behind the scenes, where neither we nor the news agencies can go, there’s probably a row raging. It’s been stolen again and nobody’s at all certain who stole it. And then it appears on whoever owned it’s – if owned is the right word – radar. I started making enquiries, and because they didn’t have to be particularly subtle I must have drawn attention attention to the fact that I know where it is.”

“I see what you mean,” murmured Royston, and he took a big sip of his whisky. “The owner now knows that it’s somewhere near here. What about the Inspector? They must be sure he’s involved and as he’s blind they probably think it would be easy breaking into 221c and turning the place over until they find it! He’s just got to be in danger!”

“I should imagine he’s safe enough,” said the girl, “you’ve never seen as many alarms as he’s got ready to go off the moment a fly passes by or a butterfly coughs! And they’re all connected to the police station because he was one of them and they like to look after their own. That’s why the loupe’s still there. It’s the safest place for a valuable piece of treasure, believe you me.”

A sudden thought crossed his mind. “What about us, here?” he asked. “You said you were the one making the enquiries, drawing attention to its existence in this corner of creation…”

“But not in my own name,” sighed Angelina. “It was a shock hearing that Tiny was dead,” she added reflectively. “It leaves a nasty feeling in the pit of a girl’s stomach when she’s been told that the last man to make love to her in on his way to the mortuary…”

“You and him…?” asked Royston, his mouth agape.

“It was a few weeks ago, after the open day at 221c. He knew I was ex-job and had retired to keep an eye on Curmudgeon. We went for a drink and, well, I invited him here and … Tiny was a big man, well over six feet tall, and there were rumours that he was big everywhere, if you see what I mean…”

“You mean his you-know-what…?”

“A girl can get curious. But it wouldn’t be fair for me to express an opinion about his body parts, not with him on the slab and unable to defend himself…”

“Would he have to defend himself?”

“Not if you’re thinking what I think you’re thinking…” she teased. “Anyway, he came back here and we passed the time of day. I’m not an easy target for a Lothario, you know. I enjoy the company of men, of course I do, but I like to have some say as to who shares my bed and who doesn’t. And poor old Tiny was in the group who get shown the welcome sign…”

“Anyway, back to the loupe,” he suggested. “Why was Mr Bloxam shot? He didn’t have the loupe and unless he was the one to leave it in your office where you were bound to find it he knew absolutely nothing about it.”

She nodded. “He knew nothing about it,” she agreed. “Why should he? He was an ordinary police constable who spent more time at a desk than he did on the beat. But whoever wants the thing might not know that. Those who killed him might believe that young police constables are at the centre of all things criminal.”

“Criminal?”

“Well, the loupe was stolen, you know. It doesn’t just exist in a vacuum. It originally belonged to a university museum in the States – they were the only legitimate people who could afford it when it was put on the open market a couple of decades or so ago. And it was stolen at the end of last year from that museum where they reckoned it was safer than if it was in Fort Knox!”

“I see.”

“The thieves left no trace of themselves. Not even a strand of hair for DNA. It was as if they were emissaries from the spirit world.”

“So how did the thing end up here in this backwater of little England?”

“We don’t know but suspect that it must have been stolen again, this time from the original thieves, but one thing is sure. Now that Tiny’s dead we can be sure they’ll spread their net a great deal wider.”

“What makes you think that?”

“If they thought he had any real knowledge at all, do you think they’d have killed him? Certainly not! If they thought he knew only a whisper of where it is they’d have kept him alive.”

“Unless he did know, and told them.”

“I’m sure he knew nothing. Knowing about such things as priceless artefacts wasn’t the kind of thing the Tinies of this world ever know. No, he was clued up on traffic regulations, knew everything there is to know about helping old ladies across the road, but when it comes down to really serious crime he was like an innocent child. I learned that much about him after a pleasant hour between the sheets with him.”

“You did?”

She smiled. “You can learn an awful lot about a man when he’s making love to you,” she whispered. “If you keep your wits about you, that is.”

Royston was about to say something trite like and you kept your wits about you, did you, when he was stopped by a loud splintering crash and the sound of something heavy rolling about in the hallway outside the door.

“What in the name of…” he began, but the young woman was quicker. In a fractured second she had grabbed him by one hand and dragged him with unbelievable strength behind the sofa they were sitting on.

She was only just in time.

The door burst open, and peering round the edge of the sofa, making quite sure he didn’t expose even one hair of his head, Royston saw exactly who it was.

“Come on out quickly,” said the interloper in a voice as cracked as its owner was blind, “things are afoot and evil stalks the globe! We must act quickly, or it will all be much too late!”

©Peter Rogerson 15.08.14

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3 Responses to “THE CASE OF THE GOLDEN EYEGLASS – 5”

  1. pambrittain August 15, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Awesome chapter. You have me on the edge of my seat.

    • Peter Rogerson August 16, 2014 at 8:02 am #

      Better not fall off then, Pam!!!

      • pambrittain August 16, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

        Why not? My floor could use some cleaning.

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