15 Seeing is Believing

15 Seeing is Believing

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

Christie’s Detective Agency Two THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY part 15


When the phone rang in Christie’s office and Jenny answered it she found herself at first cringing with something akin to worry and then almost exploding with anger as the implications of what she was listening to sunk home..

Cyril!” she shouted back, “what do you mean that I’ve been interfering with your investigation? I’ve done no such thing, and you know that I wouldn’t!”

Horace watched her face as she listened to the D.I. He could almost hear the man’s voice as he harangued her.

Is there any law in the land, Cyril, that says I can’t call on the brother of one of your victims if I want to? I mean, last time I looked at the news it was a free country, but the present government might have changed things and turned me into a criminal while I wasn’t looking!”

There was a further muttering from the other end, then, “Cyril, he was a loving brother not a raving lunatic! And by the way I should imagine he’s got every reason to challenge you in the courts for wrongful arrest and wrongful imprisonment! He might have sorted out the lad who left our Lauren at the altar, but it wasn’t him who tried to burn their farm down due largely to a lack of motive even though someone in your chair decided it was!”

Then another loud shouting from the Detective Inspector who, it seemed, was convinced that a private investigator had got to his number one suspect before him. And, according to him, he wasn’t having it. It was his job to put the fear of the Almighty into wrong doers first, and not hers.

How come he’s your number one suspect?” asked Jenny, “I mean, the deceased woman was his sister, who he was very fond of, always has been, still is, and who he thought was still alive until I popped in.”

More rumbling and then a click as the D.I. hung up. Jenny hummed and hawed and looked at Horace who, if his face showed anything, was slightly amused.

I’m going to see him, he’s going off half-cocked and I know he can do it if he gets a bee in his bonnet and it won’t stop buzzing, if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphors!!” decided Jenny after a few moments of thought, “and you might as well come with me, Horace. He’s got it all wrong, and that makes the police seem foolish. They might be sometimes, but one thing Cyril’s not is thick. And he’s never learned that it’s not just one and one that make two: zero and two do as well. Yet he’s got it in his head that he’s solved the murder of Lauren Foster, that the answer involves our man and is one step away from locking him up. Come along, number two! He’s in the Copper’s Nark by the sound of the background noise, which is neutral territory!”

And he was there. Surrounded by two uniformed officers, both young and female, he was in the middle of a sentence that was clearly an attempt at convincing himself rather than them that he’d worked everything out quite properly. And he was so engaged in his own words that he failed to notice the two private eyes as they quietly moved up to his table.

It’s quite plain that the man blamed his sister for a lifetime behind bars, forgetting that it was he who knifed the farmer’s son and not she,” he said, “and he thinks I can’t see the wood for the trees! But he had a perfect motive: a lifetime almost, spent behind bars, and he made her pay for it. In a way I see the sense of it. Maybe even understand him. You have to understand the criminal mind to get anywhere in this job.”

He mentioned trees to him when you were face to face with him then, did he?” asked Jenny mischievously, “when I saw him he had all on coming to terms there might be a wood anywhere without thinking about trees.”

Cyril Hudbur looked up from his spontaneous lecture to the two policewomen who were obviously too young to have been at the station when Jenny had worked there as a D.C., and who were evidently clinging to his every word, and he scowled.

Who gave you permission to come in here?” he growled, clearly forgetting where he was.

It’s a public bar,” pointed out Jenny, “and I was fascinated to learn how a man who has suffered from cerebral palsy affecting his legs for all of his life could have walked the, how far is it, three miles? From his home to the library, skulked around unseen until it was shut, crept up to his sister and, in one blow, stabbed her into the heart and then painfully limped away before anyone could see him? Followed by marching back to his home, unseen in the dead of night? In his late seventies? A retired Olympic athlete would have struggled to do that, and Lofty Foster is a man so disabled that he struggles to get into his own kitchen in order to put his kettle on when he fancies a cup of tea!”

That’s what he led you to believe, Jennifer, but I’ll bet when the doctors take a look at him they’ll declare him to be fit as a fiddle. He’s had you on, he has.”

You saw him, then?” asked Horace. “You encouraged him to demonstrate his agility

He wouldn’t even open the door! He just shouted through it, that you’d been interfering and told him what he already knew, that his sister was dead. Now bugger off or I’ll have you arrested for wasting police time!”

And that pint in front of you isn’t wasting your time?” asked Jenny, and she passed a five pound note to Horace. “Here, number two, I’ll have a shandy and you get what you want,” she said, winking at him. Then she turned back to the D.I.

So you didn’t actually see Lofty?” she said, “face to face, I mean, or zimmer frame to zimmer frame?”

He wouldn’t want me to see too much of him, would he?” demanded the Inspector, “he said he was troubled with his legs, and that’s easy to say when nobody’s looking to see whether it’s true or not, and he won’t come to the door!”

Horace returned from the bar with two shandies.

Because he can’t,” he told him, “He doesn’t lock the door,” he said, “you could just walk in.”

Without a warrant? I should cocoa!” sneered Cyril.

We did,” replied Horace, “he shouted for us to come in, and we did. And when we mentioned what happened to his sister I could tell how hurt he was that someone had knifed her and even though he wa her sibling he’d not been informed.”

He knew. He did it. Motive, means and opportunity.” snapped Cyril casting logic to the winds of Hades for a moment.

Motive?” asked Jenny, “killing a sister he loved but hadn’t seen for years on account of being locked at her majesty’s pleasure, but through all the long years loving her. Means? Crippled legs and no transport other than shanks’s pony. Opportunity? Housebound and miles from town. I don’t get it, Cyril, and I always respected your instinct for getting things right. What’s wrong? Too many sweet young things to impress with wild improbable theories?” She eyed the two young officers as she asked that last question.

He did it, and I’ll prove it with or without the help of Christie’s Detective Agency!” he snarled, and he stood up and marched out.

The two police women looked nonplussed, and Jenny smiled sympathetically at them.

He’s a good detective,” she said, “and he’ll get it right in the end.”

He’s lovely,” murmured one of them, frowning.

I know,” she smiled, “I thought that too, when I was in your shoes. In particular I got the impression that he particularly liked my legs, especially when I hitched my skirt up!”

© Peter Rogerson 09.10.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on October 9, 2021
Last Updated on October 9, 2021
Tags: disagreement, motive, sibling


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 79 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..