ROSIE BAUR, D.I Chapter 3

20 Mar

3. FOR STARTERS…

By the time Rosie had parked her caravan in the awkwardly sized place behind her semi-detached home and tidied things up, it was too late to return to the station and come to grips with the murder of the librarian. She managed to make sure that her neighbour would be happy to watch the twins while she was at work. He was an elderly man, what she looked on as a typical grandfather-type, and both kids liked him even though he could be a bit tetchy if they stepped out of line. The discipline was good for them and their enjoyment of some of the old man’s stories made the chore of being baby-sat bearable to ten year old twins.
Next day she arrived at the station bright and early.
Her first port of call was the pathology department where Cardew Dingle had the body on his table ready to show her what he’d discovered so far.
“Rosie, it was a savage attack, but I would imagine very brief,” he said, indicating a bloody contusion on the man’s head. “This would have done the deed. He would have known no more, not ever, poor sod. We don’t have the murder weapon, though officers are busy looking under every hedge and down every drain, but I’d say it was a metal bar, rusted, you can see specks of oxide in the wound, and wielded with huge force. A second blow wouldn’t have been necessary.”
“And the eyes, Doctor?” queried Rosie.
He shook his head sadly. “Yes, they’re particularly nasty. Someone went to great trouble to dig them out using what I should imagine was a largish spoon, maybe a table spoon or something like that. There are traces of gravy…” He pointed a latexed finger at one of the eyes. “See the darker brown within the dark of the dried blood? That’s beef gravy, or I’m a Dutchman.”
Rosie shivered. “Most unpleasant,” she muttered. “It seems that our librarian might have seen something that his killer didn’t approve of.”
“Or read something, if he worked in the library. There are plenty of books there that not even I approve of, Rosie.”
“You think … I’ve heard they keep some books for release on request only, behind the counter, because they’re not considered suitable for some readers…” mused Rosie. “You know semi-porn, so-called classics over-brimming with flesh.”
“It might be a starting point,” nodded the pathologist, “but it’s no more than a vague suggestion, really. But why would a man be killed for what he’s seen? How would killing him in cold blood, and gouging his eyes out with a spoon dripping with gravy, do anything about what he’s seen?”
“There are some cranks about,” said the DI sadly. “Anyway, anything else, doctor?”
“Death was some time between 10 and midnight yesterday, and I’d like to think you catch the bastard who did this,” muttered Doctor Dingle, almost savagely. “I’ve not seen anything as rotten as this outside of television dramas!”
“I’ll do my best,” assured Rosie. “Let me know if anything else crops up under your microscope,” she added as she made her way out of the laboratory.
“Our librarian’s not a pretty sight,” she said to DS Peter Jenson when she returned to her office and waved him into a seat. “What do we know about suspects? I mean, do we have any?”
“Binyard Close, where he lived, is a cul-de-sac with only four houses on it,” replied Peter. “And his was one of them, leaving three others. So I guess all the neighbours could be suspects, though none of them seem to have anything to say against the man. I’ve got Martin trying to dig deeper, though.”
“What about other buildings nearby? Say, round the corner?”
The DS shook his head. “There aren’t any,” he said, quietly. “Binyard close, named after a philanthropist who owned the land back in Victorian times and not the dreaded wheelie bins that decorate our streets these days, is out of town on the way to Swanspottle, which is ten or twelve miles away, as the crow flies. It’s open farmland on the main road, and not housing, I’m afraid.”
“So either it was one of the neighbours or a visitor gone there with the sole intention of sending Mr Buttery to the hereafter before his time,” sighed Rosie Baur. “What about his wife?”
DS Peter Jenson consulted his notebook. “Mrs Miriam Buttery. I met her after she discovered the body. A quiet, probably timid woman in her fifties. Said she would be distraught without her husband, but didn’t look too distressed. I doubt she could have done it. Not the type and if she had been the killer she would have put on more of a show, with tears and gnashing of teeth and so on.”
“Any family?”
“Two. You’ll like this|: twins, one of each. But grown up and living away from home, though not far enough for us to think they wanted to put a distance between them and the the old folks. They share a terraced house in Swanspottle and do visit their parents every so often.”
“When were they last there?”
Peter shook his head. “I’ve yet to ask them,” he said. “But it’s good to note that a pair of twins can grow up and still want to be together without being at each other’s throats!”
“They share a house, you say?”
“A small one. Victorian terraced, there’s a row of them in Swanspottle, built for the workers when they quarried for building stone out there back in the good old, bad old days. There’s no quarrying any more, but the terrace still stands. I should think they’re sharing for economic reasons. It’s not easy these days, at least not for the young, housing being what it is.”
“We’d best see them some time. Are they in the frame, do you think?”
“I doubt it. There’s no indication that there’s any friction between parents and kids.”
“Then let’s get to it, sergeant. I’d like to take a look at the scene of the crime and have a word with the wife and maybe any neighbours who’re not at work. Then the twins. I know a bit about twins…”
“Young ones, ma’am!”
“Talking of young ones, my Jack was upset to hear who was murdered. He likes going to the library and said the librarian knew a lot about the best books in the kiddie’s section. Said he was an expert on Biggles!”
“Who’s Biggles?”
Rosie shrugged and giggled. “Some hero, I suppose,” she said, “Jack likes his heroes! Come on, or the day will be over before we’ve done a single thing.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
© Peter Rogerson 24.02.17

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