15. A List of Four

15. A List of Four

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



In less than an hour after Superintendent Knott left the farm where Detective Inspector Rosie Baur had parked her caravan, and taking his enraged face with him, she was nudging her caravan into place in front of her home in Brumpton and Detective Sergeant Bob Short was waiting for her.

This is a turn up for the books and no mistake, ma’am,” he mumbled. After all, it was he who had faced the brunt of their Superintendent’s anger before he had raced off to give Rosie a piece of his mind, and he had been left with the impression that the Chief Constable would want to know why he had left his Inspector go off for the weekend, as if he had the power to influence her one way or another.

You’ve outlined to me what happened,” Rosie said, unhooking her caravan and opening the house door for the twins to go in. Then she added, “I’m sorry, Bob. I shouldn’t have turned the sound down on my phone,” she said, and smiled, “I just wanted to dig around in the murky world of sixty years ago and silly apps kept squawking at me.”

It’s all right, ma’am,” replied Bob, “we weren’t expecting the Reverend to get shot now, were we?”

I’m still as shocked as anyone.”

The Super thinks it’s the same killer, ma’am, but I’m not so sure,” said Bob.

Until we know better we can’t rule anything out, but I’m with you on that, Bob. Different M.O, like chalk is different from cheese.”

And less tasty. The old ladies were knifed, as if the weapon used on them was part of a longer story,” mused Bob, “but this was a gun, some sort of pistol, the sort that’s easy to carry with you and not be noticed, probably a German Luger from the forties. Nineteen forties, that is, according to the doc, who seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of such things.”

Rosie nodded. “He does,” she said briefly, “so who in Brumpton has got something like that?”

Doc Greaves says we should ask ourselves who hasn’t. Apparently quite a few came back after World War Two as souvenirs, along with a multitude of guns from every quarter of the globe. I didn’t know gun manufacture was such a big thing, ma’am.”

While people want to kill each other it always will be,” replied Rosie, “so who are we looking for? A gun collector? The son of a soldier from the war years? Surely not the soldier himself: he’d be long dead or in a wheelchair ready to gasp his last.”

Things like old weapons might end up as family heirlooms,” said Bob thoughtfully, “you know, there’s a story attached to them and that story gets passed down a generation or two until it just doesn’t mean much any more, and with it goes the heirloom.”

Anyway, let’s get to the station and I’ll face whatever music the Super wants to play at me. No time for me to change into something more sober, I’ll go dressed just as I am in my summer best. Keep your phone on and we’ll continue our little chat as we drive.”

Will do, ma’am.”

So what’s your best theory?” asked Rosie once she was under way, “I mean, I doubt if you’ve got any idea who the gunman was, but where do you think we should look?”

Or woman, ma’am, it could be a gun woman,” murmured Bob, thinking, “I reckon it’s someone who knows why the two ladies were killed, someone who saw something way back in their school days and decided to put a stop to the knifings before they went out of hand.”

That’s quite a leap, Bob,” said Rosie thoughtfully, “why the Reverend? Damned traffic lights!”

I think we must have been on the right line, ma’am, when we fingered the Reverend for the knifings. He did it all right, and I’m betting he had a list in his head of who might have seen something when the girl Rebecca was stabbed. And it was the Reverend, when he was a boy, who was down as the person who found her body and who claims to have seen a guy who could have been the killer.”

You mean, that guy might still be around?”

He’d be a hundred if he’s a day! No, ma’am, I reckon the Reverend was the killer when he was a ten year old urchin, he killed the girl and he’s started going round the other kids he remembers being in the playground, kids who might have seen him if not actually kill the poor little lass, but maybe simply know there wasn’t any stranger anywhere near where it happened.”

This is getting to be complex, Bob. Look over there! What’s that idiot doing, reversing into my path?”

It’s the Chief Constable, ma’am!”

Oops! So it is! Anyway, we’re at the station if he’ll park in his own space and give us chance to get off the road.”

She and Bob Short found their usual parking places and scurried into the station.

Detective Constable Sheila Robinson was at her desk, gazing at a computer monitor and frowning.

I see you’re busy, Sheila, and not at your boyfriend’s granny’s and getting up to all kinds of naughties,” said Rosie, standing just behind her. “What’s this you’re looking at?”

Sheila looked up, and blushed. “Earlier, the Sarge and I were wondering where it might be best to look, and he came up with the idea it’s all to do with a group of ten year olds sixty years ago, when something happened. We all know what that was: a girl got stabbed. So we thought it might be interesting to compile a list of all the kids who might have been playing in the school yard when that happened, and see how many are both alive and still living round here, because the sergeant reckons our killer will be one of those.”

And you’ve got a list?”

Just about complete, ma’am. And it’s not as big as you might think. For starters, there was only one class at school that day, the top class, the rest were at the theatre watching a puppet show. If we include those who we know have been killed there are only nine, which means the guilty party could well be one of the other six. Two of them have passed away, natural causes or illness, something like that, and have been in the graveyard for ages, at least more than a year, which puts them out of the frame. That leaves this four.”

She handed a sheet of paper to her Inspector.

So one of these saw something back before any one of us was born,” sighed Rosie, “so what might that have been that has had such drastic repercussions all these years later?”

Before the Constable could reply the Superintendent’s door opened and he bellowed out “Inspector Baur, come this way please!”

Oops,” whispered Rosie, “If I was a bloke I’d be reaching for my cricket box in case he goes for my balls!”

Shelia smiled at her. “Best of British,” she whispered back.

© Peter Rogerson 20.01.21

© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on January 20, 2021
Last Updated on January 20, 2021
Tags: shooting, war pistol, Superintendent.


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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