5. A Second Death

5. A Second Death

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



Back at Brumpton Police Station Detective Inspector Rosie Baur clapped her hands for attention, and a dozen or so faces looked her way.

Let me see,” she began, “what do we have? You first, Bob.”

Not so much, ma’am,” he replied, “but to start with, there’s the victim herself. Aged seventy one, Amelia Armstrong was found dead with a single knife wound that would have killed her instantly according to Doc Greaves.”

Amelia Armstrong,” said Rosie Baur, “has become a bit of a Brumpton celebrity in recent years. Before retiring from her work as school secretary at the Primary school, where she was both liked and respected, she showed an interest in the Brumpton Amateur Dramatic group where she gained recognition as a fine actress on stage. We need to look closely at that, though. Quite often, if we’re to believe detective fiction, differences of opinion amongst the Thespian sectors in society can run quite high and explode into goodness knows what. We must find out whether she had any conflict with her fellow performers.”

There’s no mention of any differences in the press,” put in Bob Short, her Sergeant, “I’ve looked in the archives very briefly and have only seen praise for her. Apparently she’s almost professional class with her comic roles, like, let me see, Lady Bracknell from the play, let me see The Importance of being Ernest.”

Well, it seems that, having retired from Brumpton Primary School a dozen or so years ago her life has been divided between a solitary existence at home and her theatrical activities,” said Rosie. “The gentleman who lives opposite her and our only witness of the time of her death, even though he claims to have seen nothing of interest except for the vicar who found the body, told me he tried to engage her in a friendship as they are both retired and live on their own, but she declined. He seems to think she was the sort of woman who was quite happy with her own company and isn’t on the lookout for romance.”

Well, she has passed the seventy mark,” put in Bob Short, “oldies probably don’t want that sort of thing to complicate their lives.”

My mother trawled through MySpace when it was an internet sight and found quite a lot of interesting friends, and she was seventy if she was a day when she met Claude, a Frenchman who was her own age and on the lookout for somewhere to place his you-know-what on lonely winter nights,” she said with a smile, “but I don’t think the man in question, Mr Windsor, was particularly cut up about it.”

Might it have been simmering under the surface though?” suggested Bob Short, “you know, elderly gentleman casting his net and thinking he’s found the right fish only to have himself rejected?.”

She shook her head. “I don’t want to rule anything out at this early stage,” she said, “but I honestly can’t see Mr Windsor being more than a disinterested bloke weeding his garden. Which brings us to the Reverend Roper, the clergyman who discovered the body. How did he do that? Mr Windsor would swear that he both saw and heard him knocking Miss Armstrong’s door. But if Miss Armstrong was dead already, as she must have been, then who let him in?”

Round there they all leave their doors open,” suggested a constable, lifting his head from the screen he was studying. “My aunt doesn’t live so far away and I never have to knock her up when I call on her. I just walk in. That’s the way it is round there, and I guess the vicar would know that.”

So Mr Windsor said,” mused Rosie, “it seems a dangerous thing to do in this day and age what with the crime rate never flat-lining, but it seems they all do that round there. So is the Reverend Roper a suspect, do you think? After all, he found the body, or says he did, and there’s absolutely no evidence that he did anything else. But we need to dig around in his background, see if there are any ghosts in his particular closet. Not that it’s likely. A clergyman with skeletons in the cupboard would have earned a bit of notoriety, I would think.”

What do you think his skeletons might consist of?” asked the constable at his screen.

Even men of the cloth have physical drives and needs,” said Rosie, “and he may have fancied her and didn’t want it to get out.”

But vicars have girlfriends, get married, have children, all the normal things,” pointed out Sergeant Short, “they don’t have to keep it under wraps like some used to do in the days when the Pope told them what to do and what not to do. I don’t see that’s much of a motive.”

Until we find out to the contrary, we must treat it as an unlikely motive,” Rosie told him. “Rule nothing out, that’s my motto. I mean, did she have a child by him when she was younger? And that child will have grown up to become a man, and decided to go off in search of his natural parents if he was adopted, as so many used to be.”

An outside possibility,” agreed Bob Short reluctantly, “though I don’t see it myself.”

Neither do I, but still, I’ll not rule it out without evidence,” smiled Rosie. “Now then, we’ve all got to do a bit of digging. “I’m off with the twins in our caravan for the weekend, but that won’t stop me furckling about on the Internet while Jack and Jill are exploring the wilds, so leave background checks of the vicar and Mr Windsor to me.”

Jack and Jill were her twins, and the three of them went off in a touring caravan as often as the weather and her work permitted. She enjoyed the freedom that it gave her, and the sun on her mixed-race skin was something she found energising. Indeed, so fond was she of sunbathing that she was known to be a secret naturist, something the twins had grown up to be amused by.

Will you be in touch?” asked Bob Short.

I’ll be on the usual farm site. You know where I go, Bob, and if anything crops up it’s not very far away and I’ll put the kettle on for you,” she grinned. It had happened before, that as part of an enquiry her sergeant had searched for her caravan and knew where she usually parked it, and she wasn’t the sort of person to close the door on it happening again.

The phone rang just as the meeting was breaking up, and the constable grabbed it and then looked up at Rosie.

You may have to put your holiday on hold,” he said, “there’s been another.”

Another what?” demanded Bob.

Old lady knifed,” replied the young officer, “and it’s bad,” he added, “she’s not dead, but it’s touch and go.”

Come on!” barked Rosie to Bob, “text me details,” she added over her shoulder.

© Peter Rogerson, 10.01.21

© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Great discussion and history shared of the woman. I liked the conversation and the open ending. Amelia was still alive. Very cool. Thank you Peter for sharing the outstanding chapter.

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Added on January 10, 2021
Last Updated on January 10, 2021


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..

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