ROSIE BAUR, D.I. Chapter 14

13 Apr

14. THE GIRLIE ROOM
Back at the station and in the main office the team were exchanging information. The Detective Inspector and the Detective Sergeant together with their respective partners for the day were both looking thoughtful.

“You really think the Swanspottle lass was her own father’s lover, and rather than find it dreadful being involved with an older close relative, she approved of it?” asked Rosie. “It’s quite a conclusion to be drawn from a blush. Why, I blush for nothing sometimes, and I don’t expect to be arrested for it.”

“She’s not been arrested and anyway but you’re a dusky maiden, so nobody notices, even though you’re quite … what shall I call it … commando about your dress code sometimes!” said Peter, winking at her.

“That’s enough Sergeant!” she replied, “and back to the job in hand before the trail goes completely cold. “Now, about the girl?”

“You should have seen her when I asked her if she knew whether her dad had a lover,” sighed Peter, “I thought she might name someone, or say she thought he might have somebody in the wings, but you’ve never seen anyone blush quite so scarlet! And she was speechless, completely off her guard. He had a lover all right, and if I read the signs right it was her. I’ve got her in an interview room and I’m going to drag out of her everything he knows about her father and his sex life.”

“You think it may be she who battered her dad to death?” asked Rosie, frowning. “And bear in mind there would be no point in pursuing the incest angle unless there’s a chance she did.”

“No. I’m sure it wasn’t her. But her love for him was more than a daughter’s love for her father, don’t you think? Remember, most girls suffering from abuse of that sort don’t like it and are relieved when it’s found out. But she gave every sign that, above all things, she was daddy’s girl. So my question is, can there be anyone we’ve not thought of yet who has such an attachment to for that he’s prepared to murder what he sees as unfair and downright immoral opposition? And might she know who that is?”

Rosie groaned. “That makes sense, but how do we find this particular needle in a massive haystack?”

D.C. Elena Davies coughed quietly. “There’s one possibility,” she said.

Rosie raised one eyebrow. “This has been quite a welcome to our little gang for you,” she said with a smile. “Tell us, this possibility?”

“Well ma’am, while the Sergeant was questioning Amelia, I pretended I needed to use the loo, and took a peep in their bedroom like Sergeant Jenson suggested. And I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s quite a big room, big enough for two single beds, I’m sure of that, but it’s just got a double divan in it, with black sheets and duvet cover…”

“Is there any significance in the colour of the bedding?” asked Jenson.

“Well, I’m no psychiatrist or anything like that, but black sheets have always appealed to, what shall I call it, the more randy side of my nature…” And as she said that Elena had the grace to blush. “I’m sorry…” she added. “… but if I see things that way, so must others. Anyway, it’s a cliché, and they’re often quite well founded.”

“No, don’t be sorry, I think you’re right,” said Rosie, frowning. “It mightn’t mean anything, but I reckon you’ve got a point.”

“And the rest of the room,” continued Elena, “talk about a man-trap! It’s got everything that’s feminine and seductive. Plush carpets, red curtains and even pink nets. And the furniture, modern and feminine with hardly a trace of anything masculine about it, yet two people share it, one of them a man. Her brother. I looked at his bedside table and besides a reading lamp and an electric shaver it’s got a book open half-way through. It’s a trashy book called The Eyes can See, and it’s all about killing and blinding the eyes of those who have seen too much. I read it once, I’m sorry to say, but I was younger and thought it might guide me into minds corrupted by life, and maybe make me into a better copper when I graduated!”

“Blinded, you say?” asked Rosie.

Elena nodded. “I remember it quite well because I thought it was truly sick. And not very well written either, but I doubt that matters to a diseased mind greedy for that kind of muck.”

“And you think Denis Buttery might have one of those?”

“Well it’s on his side of the bed. The other side is sickeningly girlie with loads of make-up, fragrances and three hairbrushes. I mean, three! And just to one side is a big plastic head, the sort hairdressers practice on. No, that sick book is on his side, all right. It’s his reading, bless him. No woman would want to read it anyway.”

“So what do you conclude from that look around, constable?” asked Rosie.

Elena frowned. “It struck me as odd that the room is predominantly female. I know that blokes aren’t so fussy about where they sleep, but they usually like some mark of their gender about them, if you see what I mean. And isn’t Denis supposed to be a bit butch?”

“I think you’ll find the word’s thick,” said Jenson heavily. “I’m off to the market to see him and I’ll see what he’s got to say. But if what Elena says is on the mark it might be that he’s so obsessed by his twin sister that he lets her have total freedom, both in and out of the bedroom.”

“None of this will have anything to do with the murder unless there’s something we’ve missed,” frowned Rosie. “There’s no accounting for human behaviour, and it’s not unknown for siblings to be attracted to each other, and I would expect that to be particularly true of twins. No, I reckon we ought to widen our search before the trail goes totally cold. And what we really want is the murder weapon, and if it’s been dumped in a hedgerow or field nearby, get our hands on it before there’s a storm that washes it too clean. I’ll get a wider search going. There’s a farm across the road from the Buttery place…”

“And a farmer with a wonderful imagination,” grinned Peter, “when it comes to couture and fashion!”

“He camps on the same sites as me,” said Rosie, mildly. “They’re for people who may or may not want to get undressed in the sun. He never does, but he could if he wanted.”

“But I’ll bet he’s got an eye for those that do!” said Peter, “I know that I would.”

“But then you’re a perv, Sergeant,” Rosie told him, but she winked at him as she turned and walked away. “I’m off to round up some uniforms to do that search,” she said, “if the super can afford any, that is. Then I’ll go and see the McCarthy’s at number five. I’ve not seen what’s his name … Winston … yet, and he might know something we don’t.”

TO BE CONTINUED…

© Peter Rogerson 07.03.17

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