Tag Archives: twins

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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ROSIE BAUR, D.I. Chapter 6

23 Mar

6. A TINY HOUSE
Swanspottle was a small village about ten miles from Brumpton unless you took the winding road, which made it a great deal further. An ancient place, little more than a hamlet even though there was a mention in the Domesday Book, it had been built around a church that had been rebuilt more than once since then and was still in a state of considerable disrepair. And there was a pub run by Thomas the Greek (who wasn’t Greek) and a single row of cottages with an odd seemingly purposeless scattering of old, some even long disused, houses that had apparently been built and dropped randomly in the neighbourhood so long ago that memory has no knowledge of their builders or why they were where they were.

“I wouldn’t recommend that place unless you like your beer diluted with tap water,” said Detective Sergeant Jenson to his Inspector, pointing at the Crown and Anchor as they drove past.

“I’ll bear that in mind,” smiled Inspector Baur. “Look … we’re here!”

They pulled up just past a tiny house, one of a terrace of similar tiny houses.

“Built in Victorian times when it was widely thought that the ordinary Joe didn’t need much in the way of privacy,” said D.S. Jenson. “There used to be a quarry, now a wildlife sanctuary, and these were built to house the workers and their families, poor sods.” he added.

“Let’s go and knock the door, then,” said Rosie Baur, “I’m anxious to see what twins are like when they’ve grown up!”

The door was opened by an attractive young woman in her twenties, and Rosie was struck immediately by the similarity between her and the racist wife of the corpse whose demise she was investigating. The daughter had certainly inherited her mother’s best features and, hoped Rosie, not her worst. She introduced them and their warrant cards, and was invited in.

“I can tell who you are,” she said, “you’re the spitting image of your mother.”

“Everyone says that. It’s about my dad, isn’t it?” said Amelia Buttery, the daughter. “My brother’s about somewhere, I’ll call him.”

“Just a minute,” interrupted Sergeant Peter Jenson, “let’s start with you. When did you last see your parents?”

She looked down at her feet, nervously. “I think it was the evening he was killed,” she said, “a couple of evenings ago, we called in to see them like we do about once a week or so, and he was perfectly okay. In fact, he was too much his usual self.”

“What do you mean, too much?” asked Rosie. “How can a father be too much his usual self?”

“You know, all hearty and quoting books as if book quotes solve every problem.”

“I don’t think I do know,” coaxed the D.I. “Can you elaborate a bit for me?”

“I don’t think I can. It was just a chance thing for me to say, like he wasn’t changed or moody, just himself. It wasn’t as if he was expecting to bump into a homicidal maniac any day soon!”

“You think it was a homicidal maniac rather than someone with a grudge?” asked Jenson.

“Is there a difference?” There was something defiant about the way Amelia addressed the question. “I mean, to kill someone you’ve got to be some kind of maniac, haven’t you?”

The door opened before either officer could continue with their line of questioning and a young man walked in. He, unlike his twin, bore little resemblance to either of his parents. He was tall, probably worked out at a gym as often as he could, and smiled as if he was forcing himself to smile.

“I was expecting Mr Plod before long,” he said, “but I’m glad to see it’s Mrs Plod instead!”

It seems that this family is determined to get under my skin one way or another, thought Rosie, but instead of reflecting her true feelings she smiled, warmly she hoped.

“Detective Inspector Baur,” she said by means of self-introduction, “and you’re right. I am married,” to a wonderful man in the graveyard, she added to herself.

“Well then, Mrs Plod, what do you know about my father’s sad demise?” asked Denis, Amelia’s twin, and nothing like her in any physical way, was giving the impression that he had nothing like her brazen attitude either. Physically, he was larger than his twin in just about every dimension, being taller and generally a great deal heavier, most of the weight looking as if it might be muscle rather than fat.

“The name’s not Plod but Baur, and I’d appreciate being called Detective Inspector rather than Mrs,” she said, sharply. “I don’t need to remind you, but your father’s been murdered, rather savagely, and his body mutilated, and you’ve got to depend on me to sort the wheat from the chaff and put the killer behind bars before he can kill again.”

“You said he,” put in Amelia. “How do you know it’s not a woman?”

“We don’t, not for sure, but killers who think that they’re clever always give too much away,” replied Rosie, her voice laced with ice. “This one mutilated the eyes of your father, tried to make sure that his dead body could see no more, not that that makes much sense to more normal humans like us. And it would be a man that did that. A man who puts so much emphasis on vision when it’s not an issue anyway, the dead being blind as well as dead. At least that’s how it is normally.”

“Where were you when he was killed?” asked the sergeant, not liking the way the interview was going.

“Not far away from him, I suppose,” replied the son. “We’d called on him, and when we left he was just about to put his wheelie bin out for the next day’s collection.”

“He’d been talking to me like he did sometimes,” put in Amelia, “he liked to talk to me. It was his way.”

“His way?” asked Rosie, frowning, “his way of what?”

“Passing the time of day,” said Denis Buttery, his voice turning acidic.

“His way of saying he loved me,” whispered Amelia. “A father should love his kids, don’t you think? A father should always be there for them…?”

“And didn’t he like to pass the time of day with you?” asked Jenson, directly addressing Denis.

“With me? Don’t be daft! I’m a lad, a man, and men don’t do that kind of thing,” protested Denis. “Men wrestle and joke. Men aren’t soft.”

“Dad was,” whispered Amelia.

“This is quite a small house for two adults, isn’t it?” asked Rosie, changing the subject and sounding as conversational as she could.

“It does us,” murmured the woman, a smile flickering across her face. “It does us fine.”

“What is it? Two beds?” asked Rosie. “I noticed a similar property for sale a couple of doors away, and I know a couple…”

“Just the one, so Denis and I share…” said Amelia hesitantly. “We’re twins, you see, so it isn’t so odd…”

“Oh. My friends would need two beds,” frowned Rosie.

“It depends how it was modernised. With ours, one of the two original bedrooms was turned into a bathroom. They may have had the bath put into a ground floor extension, and have kept two bedrooms,” said Amelia. “It might be worth checking.”

“I’ll tell them. So back to your father. You left as he put the wheelie bin out? Can anyone confirm that?”

“Are you accusing us?” almost shouted Denis, his face suddenly masked with something Rosie didn’t like.

“Of course not,” D.S Jenson said, smoothly. “It’s just questions that have to be asked. So can anyone?”

“What? On that quiet little road at the dead of night? I very much doubt it,” snapped Denis.

“Then we’ll be leaving you, for the time being. I’ll keep in touch, just so that you’re kept in the loop,” said Rosie quietly. “Just the one bedroom, you say?”

Back in their car and with the D.S. behind the wheel driving to Brumpton, Rosie glanced at Peter.

“What do you think?” asked Rosie.

“There’s something right dodgy there,” he said. “I don’t think it can have anything to do with the murder, but it’s still dodgy.”

“That’s what I’m thinking too,” nodded the D.I.

TO BE CONTINUED…

© Peter Rogerson 27.02.17