12. Deckchair Discussions

12. Deckchair Discussions

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



Mrs Rosie Baur?” the stranger asked, “is that you, Detective Inspector Baur?”

Rosie felt a tad underdressed when she took in the figure of the Archdeacon Gregory Jenson as he strode purposefully towards her. He was immaculately turned out on a smart and certainly expensive suit whilst she was clad in a pretty but minimal summer frock and reclining in a deckchair. Still, she thought, I guess it’s horses for courses, and I’m on my weekend

The very same,” she said with a smile that was about as genuine as the expression on the Archdeacon’s face as he smiled in return, a tight smile, that went nowhere near his eyes and gave the impression of being practised and consequently meaningless.

I have come from your headquarters in Brompton,” he boomed almost theatrically, “I have had words with my good friend your Superintendent,”

Bully for you, she wanted to say, furious that anyone should dream of sticking an oar into what she saw as her own investigation. But, “So I heard,” she told him, “and I couldn’t help wondering what could fascinate so elevated a person as your good self when it comes to my particularly savage little murders?”

He flinched at the words savage little murders. “I have come to explain,” he said, somewhat off his guard as a consequence of the way her bronzed legs seemed to dominate his field of vision, “the Bishop is aware that you have shown an interest in one of his parish priests.”

Of course I have,” replied Rosie, “I wouldn’t be doing my job and earning my salary if I wasn’t giving some thought to the Reverend Roper! So I have enquired of him certain things, matters pertaining to the spilling of too much Christian blood, and although questions have been asked of him I am not at liberty to explain to you or the Bishop or Uncle Tom Cobley or anyone else what I concluded from them, and I dared say your Bishop would get the same reply from the Chief Constable if he asked him the same on his way round the golf course.”

The thin smile vanished. The Archdeacon was not best pleased because the Bishop had expected him to put an ecclesiastic stop to any police investigation involving a member of his clergy, and what the Bishop asked he expected to get, in spades if necessary.

This is a very high handed attitude for a policewoman who seems to ignore Christian values when it comes to modesty!” he snapped, for a moment daring his own eyes to take in the whole of Rosie Baur and her pretty summer frock.

Rosie was annoyed. She knew well that she was an attractive woman with skin tones that many of her sex would pay a fortune for, but that wasn’t why she enjoyed a famed preference for near nudity. No, dressed as she was made her feel comfortable, and when she felt comfortable she was at her mental and physical best.

Are you suggesting I am indecently dressed?” she snapped. She wasn’t, she knew she wasn’t this time, though occasionally she happily enjoyed wearing considerably less than a flimsy cotton dress.

Some might think so,” he growled, “some might consider it sinful to expose so much flesh for public scrutiny, and wonder how you can properly do anything constructive in such a state!”

Then if you come upon anyone with such warped ideas you can happily and truthfully inform them that a person, man or woman, is most efficient when he or she is comfortable, and I’m exactly that: comfortable. You might try it one day. Now what were you going to discuss with me when it comes to the particular case you have driven this far out of town to ask me about?

You seem to have a particular interest in the Reverend Richard Roper, and I have made enquiries of him. He explained, and the Superintendent confirmed, that his only guilt lies in his discovering the deceased lady who soiled her reputation and standing in the eyes of good Christian folk everywhere by performing on the stage!”

I can’t believe that I’m hearing this,” she told him, her eyes holding his until he was forced to look down at his own feet, “I thought the age of Oliver Cromwell was over and done with! You mean there’s something wrong with performing on the stage?”

Some might consider it improper,” he grunted.

Then what does the average clergyman do every Sunday?” demanded Rosie, “isn’t the gesticulation of a vicar in his pulpit as he recites his script a kind of acting, and isn’t that pulpit his stage if ever there was a description of it, and consequently very much the same thing? And don’t bother answering that because I know you’ll find a way of denying it! Now tell me, Archdeacon, what would you suggest I do in order to bring the savage killer of a respected elderly lady to justice? Ignore witnesses because they’re wearing the collar the wrong way round? Turn a blind eye to a vicar because of his assumed faith? Or do I do my job thoroughly and properly?”

Of course but … in a caravan?” he stammered, realising he’d met his match.

I work well out here ad under the sun,” she told him, “and it’s a healthy environment for my kids to spend the odd weekend, rather than being glued to their computers in a stuffy bedroom.”

Jack and Jill, both grinning at something Jack had whispered, something that almost certainly had something to do with their mother and a man wearing a clerical collar, chose that moment to emerge from the path that led to the farm shop.

Mum!” called Jill when they were close enough to be heard without the need to shout, which she did anyway, “we’re off to see the scarecrow.”

Good idea,” she said, and frowned, “remember the time we found a dead body in his tatty rags?”

Don’t I just!” laughed Jill, “come on Jack, let’s see what the silly old ragamuffin is up to this time!”

You let them wander about like that?” demanded the Archdeacon, “when they might be doing something instructive, something educational?”

You are determined to criticise everything I do, aren’t you?” sighed Rosie, “well let me tell you this: those two, my twins, have a healthy attitude to the planet they live on and the importance of its environment, and they get that by seeing it, touching it, feeling it and not sitting at a dusty desk reading about it! And what’s more they are vitally aware that it’s up to mankind to solve the problems he’s creating planet-wide because there isn’t any bearded fairy in the skies looking down and shaking his head in despair before waving his celestial magic wand and putting everything right.”

Bearded fairy? How dared you?” snapped the Archdeacon.

Easily. Now I’d like to ask you to leave both the care of my kids and the solving of two hideous murders to me, and go and tell the Bishop that your vicar or whatever he is is quite safe in my hands, if he’s innocent. But if it turns out that he’s guilty…”

You’ll hand him over to the church to make a judgement?”

Of course not. He’ll go through the same process as he would if he was a dustman, a docker or even a Bishop! Now, please, I have some research to do before the sun goes down. Goodbye.”

Research! In a deckchair!” sneered the Archdeacon, but Rosie had already switched her smart phone on and was starting to trawl through back issues of the local press looking for reports of the stabbing of a primary school girl sixty years ago.

© Peter Rogerson 17.01.21

© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on January 17, 2021
Last Updated on January 17, 2021
Tags: caravan, deckchair, Archdeacon


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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