10. Questions, Questions, Questions.

10. Questions, Questions, Questions.

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



D.I Rosie Baur and D.C. Sheila Robinson left the Reverend Roper in the interview room with a uniformed officer standing nearby, and retired into the viewing room to consult with Detective Sergeant Bob Short, who had been looking on during the interview via a monitor.

He’s as guilty as hell,” was his summary, “I could tell it on his face and see it in his eyes when you dropped that sixty year old bomb shell.”

I agree,” sighed Rosie, “but we haven’t got one shred of evidence against him. The old story, when he was a lad, and remember he was the headmistress’s son, was he noticed a strange man hovering near the bins and then saw the girl Rebecca Rowbotham lying in a pool of blood. That’s what he said sixty years ago and sure as eggs are eggs its what he’ll stick to today. It was looked at back then and our colleagues accepted it Then sixty years on we have the two modern murders, the elderly ladies. Forgetting for a moment that he seemed to know the back door was open yet hadn’t been anywhere near Miss Armstrong’s house before, his story’s almost identical to the schoolboy story, that all he did was couragously try to help her when he found her in a pool of blood.”

And the only thing to connect his to Betsy Bullard’s sad demise is the word car which may or may not have been a dying lady’s abbreviation of the word vicar,” said Bob thoughtfully. “There’s not even a soupçon of evidence that he killed anyone, just watered down circumstantial and my gut feeling.”

And mine,” murmured Sheila.

What would his motive be if he was the killer?” asked Rosie.

That’s easy,” replied Bob, “he’s a highly respected man of the cloth, a clergyman who I shouldn’t wonder has conducted more marriages and funerals, not to mention christenings, than anyone else in the borough in his long career behind the pulpit. If he’s the killer he’ll know full well how it would taint quite a lot of lives if it came out that he’d killed a little girl when he was a kid. I mean, if my nipper had been christened by a murderer I’d be more than upset, I’d be bloody furious!”

So you’ve got a nipper now then, Bob?” grinned Rosie.

I was speaking metaphorically,” he told her.

But you’ve hit the nail on its head,” agreed Rosie, “I was married by the borough Registrar, but if I subsequently found out that he had a secret life as the Ripper I’d be more than miffed, I’d be out for blood myself!”

So did he kill that little girl back when he was tennish?” asked Sheila, “we do know that as a fact, do we?”

We know he claims to have seen a stranger lurking in the playground and the reports, in the local rag rather than in documents that were mostly lost in the Great Fire of Brumpton, all confirm his story and point out that as the headmistress’s son he was beyond doubt a little angel who did his best to save the lass’s life. The paper even gave him an award for it at a ceremony in the town hall. I’ve been reading up on it!

And now, sixty years later, he’s trying to dispose of possible witnesses? There’s more chance of him being caught and accused of today’s antics if that’s what he’s up to, when it seems quite probable that if he’s got away with murder for sixty years he’ll never be found out.. and poor little Rebecca can remain at peace in her grave

But there may have been a stranger lurking in the bins shelter, and he might have been telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” said Bob thoughtfully, “look, I’ve never liked the clergy, but that doesn’t make them into killers even if they do spend every waking hour of their lives murdering the truth.”

You forget the good they do,” sighed Rosie, “the peace they spread on troubled waters, the mentoring they do at the end of life even if there’s not a great deal of truth behind it.”

What about that doctor you mentioned to him, to look at his flaky skin?? Where is he?” asked Bob.

I sort of made it up, but there is one on call and I’ll, er, call him,” said Rosie, “I’d like to see those hands of his myself. That eczema story of his was just a tad too pat to be true, in my opinion, and anyway, if he’s got a skin complaint on his hands it doesn’t follow that he’s got to wear gloves twenty-four seven!”

She returned to the interview room where the Reverend Roper was sitting, still angrily gazing at the wall as if it was the source of all mankind’s follies as well as his own. “You can take your gloves off: there’s a doctor on his way,” she told him.

I’ll wait until he’s actually here, if your don’t mind.” The Reverend’s voice was becoming more like his favourite pulpit voice again, as if he’d decided that any troubles he might have could easily be boomed away.

Rosie returned to the other two. “Well, she said, “it’s Friday and if we’ve going to sort this out we’ll need a darned sight more evidence than we’ve got. That gives us the weekend to poke around in our vicar’s past and see if there are any loose bricks we can dislodge.

That’s one hell of a metaphor,” grinned Bob, “and I thought you were off with your twins in your caravan for a couple of days.”

I might well do that seeing as a laptop works as well in the country as it does at home, but I’m afraid that, as ever, work can get in the way at a moment’s notice,” she sighed. “I suppose there’s always next weekend if I lose this one, before autumn starts properly,” she added.

And your twins?” asked Bob.

Well, they’ll hate me for sure, but they know how important the job is to me, so they’ll swallow it and there are places on our chosen farm they like to explore. And if the weather turns iffy they can always take little trips to a magical land on their computers.”

Killing aliens?” suggested Bob.

Something like that. At least they won’t be killing old ladies, I hope.” she laughed, “And I’m looking forward to doing a bit of sun-bathing out of sight of the hoi polloi before summer’s finally over, so that’s what I’ll try to do.”

My fella was murmuring about a couple of days in the country, staying with his granny,” sighed Sheila, “she’s a game old girl and turns a blind eye to some of the things we get up to.”

Lucky you,” grinned Bob, “I’d be mowing lawns, two big ones, and I won’t half miss that mower! And what about the vicar?

No evidence, so he can go home, but I’ll tell uniform to keep a weather eye on him when he’s out and about. And that’s about it until Monday. Have a good one, folks.”

© Peter Rogerson 15.01.21

© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Another outstanding chapter Peter. I hope you are doing well. I am semi-retire now. Time to read, write and edit my work. Happy New year and I will return and read more later today.

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Added on January 15, 2021
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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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