ROSIE BAUR D.I. Chapter 1

18 Mar


Rosie Baur lounged luxuriantly in her upholstered camping chair and grinned at Jack, her ten year-old son as he ran a race against his twin sister, Jill, and lost by tripping over a blade of grass and scuffing his knees.
“You’ll have to be more careful than that!” she called and he shouted something inaudibly cheeky back before asking for an ice-cream, which might help his knee get better.
Rosie had parked her caravan on a small site with minimal facilities and a welcome to campers who enjoyed a more naturist life-style, which meant it wouldn’t be as busy as some, and being within a couple of spits of the North Sea it provided what felt like a proper holiday without being excessively sand and surfy, which she didn’t like but the kids did, but today was her day for relaxing, for recharging her personal batteries and regaining her perspective on life, and she was going nowhere. The kids would help her there. They always did.
One of the downsides of her job, a detective inspector in Brumpton where there was just enough crime to keep her job interesting, was contact with those kids, especially during a difficult case. She loved them, more than anything else in the world, but needed to earn a crust and anyway she loved her job as well, and was damned good at it.
It hadn’t been easy getting to the rank she’d reached. Not for a pretty woman from a mixed race genetic pool in a world where there were still deeply rooted prejudices in some corners, against women and against colour, and she’d had to fight her way up with basic intelligence and determination her weapons. But fight she had and had repaid, she thought, in full, for the trust that had been shown in her abilities. Her clean-up rate was second to none in the county and nobody could argue with that. And it came from the way she attended to each detail of a case as if it was more important than all the rest.
She watched Jack with his ice-cream and warned him against dropping the wrapper and then stretched out again. This was the life she loved, the kids nearby, the world quiet and peaceful and the only people likely to come near not likely to hide their personalities behind the outpourings of the fashion world. Not that everyone was naked like she was, lounging near her awning and soaking up the sun. There were some who used the site who would never cast off all their clothes, and she supposed the world should be grateful for small mercies when she thought of some of them. But most braved the naturist’s uniform and didn’t give it a second thought. Even the kids accepted being in the altogether as natural.
“Can I have an ice-cream too, mummy?” asked Jill, and she smiled back, and nodded.
“Is uncle Peter coming?” asked Jack, “like he did last time?”
Uncle Peter wasn’t really an uncle or even any sort of relation to the twins, though it felt like he was closer to her than any sibling she had could possibly be when they were at work. Detective Sergeant Peter Jenson was by far the best friend she had. He was stolid, reliable, prepared to go the extra mile if it was called for, and never argued back publicly when he suspected she might be wrong, which was rare anyway. Instead he quietly murmured his own views, privately, and contributed to decisions that way. And she appreciated it.
But the best thing was the basic fact that they’d become friends without going through the awkward maze of being lovers. Him being a lover would have put a different and most likely unhelpful skew on their relationship, and she didn’t want that any more than she was ready for a lover. She was grateful for the way things were, just as she’d been more than grateful for everything he’d done to help when Paul had been killed.
Paul, her husband and father to her children had been an angel, but an angel with a dangerous hobby. He’d raced cars, not proper racing cars but old bangers on stock car tracks, where there were frequent accidents that normally didn’t mean very much. But on one disastrous occasion and unknown by him his seat belt had been tampered with and he’d been killed tragically in the first collision, but not outright. He’d lingered in a coma for days before he’d given up the ghost and plugs had been pulled and he was no more. It had taught her to loathe any kind of motor sport because, to her, it wasn’t a sport at all, but yet another of mankind’s weapons that can be used in murder.
She hadn’t been allowed to solve the problem of who had as good as killed her husband, of course, she being much too close to the victim, but Peter had struggled day and night until he’d worked out what had happened and why Paul was dead, and now the bastard who’d taken a blade to a safety harness was behind bars and would be until he was old and grey. Justice of a sort was being done, and he deserved it.
But the whole process had brought herself and Peter even closer together. The two years that had elapsed since she’d buried Paul hadn’t been easy, but without her doughty sergeant they would have been one hell of a lot harder.
“Well, is he?” demanded Jack.
“Pardon? Oh, uncle Peter? No, he’s at work, but he might pop by at the weekend,” she said.
“That’s good,” grinned Jack. “He’s going to show me how to make a bow and arrows.”
“Like Robin Hood?” smiled Rosie.
“Or Little John,” said Jack, “It’s good here to shoot arrows because there’s nobody to get in the way and end up with an arrow in their eye, like that old king of hundreds of year ago.”
“As long as you’re careful,” murmured Rosie.
It worried her when the children were encouraged to play what she considered dangerous games, but she knew that boys must be boys and with sensible supervision they should be all right.
“That’s your phone, mummy,” called Jill from the awning where she was busy unwrapping her own ice-cream.
“Darn it,” she said, “bring it here, darling.”
Jill ran up to her, and the phone stopped ringing just as she handed it over to her mother.
“How annoying,” muttered Rosie, and she started checking the missed-calls register.
It was Peter Jenson, and she would have called him back but the phone started ringing again.
“Rosie,” said Peter, “Better get your drawers on! You’re wanted here. There’s been a murder, and it’s what I’d call bloody nasty!”
© Peter Rogerson 22.02.17


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