8. The mysterious Ms Salmon’s Cat

8. The mysterious Ms Salmon’s Cat

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

The DI nwith a young DC interview the child who was badly injured's mother



8. The mysterious Ms Salmon’s Cat

Ian, with DC Megan Braintree driving his car while he tried to put his brain into gear, checked on the address where the ex-wife of the bullying father of the Boy David Shrimpton still apparently lived. The bully and convict had moved to the other end of town on his release because he knew he would be a target for anyone who knew his brutal history. People don’t like it when young boys are treated like David was.

What I don’t understand,” murmured Megan as politely as she could, “is why there are two of us coming here, sir? After all, the woman, what’s her name, Eileen can’t be implicated, can she?”

Never overlook the obvious, constable,” he replied “but the first of our naked Johndoes had been her husband until she divorced him. That in itself might breed a cause for murdering the man.

But she re-marriedl didn’t she? To a clergyman?”

Well not exactly, Megan, “there’s no record of her marrying anyone since her divorce, and there’s also the question as to whether a clergyman would happily be living in sin with a divorcee. I don’t know the answer to that, but the whole thing smells very fishy to me.”

But isn’t he supposed to be spreading his brand of divine nonsense into Africa, converting innocent little children to his way of thinking?” asked Megan and for the sake or respectfulness added “Sir.”

We’ll have to ask some interesting questions, and we seem to have arrived at the address you typed into the satnav. Here, look, number thirteen. Conehill Crescent. Now Megan, as I’m the senior officer leave most of the questioning to me, but if you think there’s something I’ve forgotten feel free to come out with it before we leave. And, by the way, you’re sitting in that seat rather than the good sergeant who got all moody when I invited you along because you’re a woman and we’re hopefully interviewing a woman. There might well be things that a mere male like myself could miss.”

Yes sir,” murmured Megan, and they climbed out of the car and she followed the DI to the front door, which he knocked with a rat-a-tat-tat before depressing the bell push.

The door was opened by a woman who had been beyond doubt Eileen Shrimpton, no matter what she called herself since her divorce.

Mrs Shrimpton?” he asked, smiling warmly because he had long since learned that a warm smile can do the job of a dozen questions, though he had no idea how it worked.

I was,” she told him, frowning, “I’m Ms Salmon these days. Ms and not miss or mrs.”

Wonderful,” he said, and produced his warrant card. “And I’m DI Bincott, and this is DC Braintree,” he said, “may we come in for a few moments?”

I suppose you better had,” she said reluctantly, “though I’m off out soon so be quick.”

We’d like a few words concerning your ex-husband, who was a Shrimpton, I believe.”

She scowled. “For his sins,” she acknowledged.

You did hear that he was sadly murdered?” he asked, “One of my officers should have called to let you know. It a particularly odd affair and a weird way for any man to be murdered: shot whilst in a stranger’s bed, naked.”

He always was a pervert,” she growled “and no matter what, he deserved it.”.

And did he ever express an opinion about nakedness and dying in a stranger’s bed?” he asked.

That’s a daft question and anyway, as I said, he always was a pervert.”

And these days you cohabit with a man who likes to be known as a reverend,” he said with what he hoped was a particularly warm smile.

Some of the time,” she acknowledged.

But he’s not here now? In this house at this moment. I say, is that picture off him? He asked pointing towards a photograph on the mantel piece showing a portly man with a clerical collar standing with his arm round a woman who just had to be the woman he was talking to.

That were taken before he set off to do his duty, as he put it, in Africa,” she explained.

I wonder if you could elaborate on that,” he said with a gentle smile, “our records haven’t been kept up to date and I’ll have to give a roasting to the officer who supposed to keep them up to date, But nowhere could we find a church or religious institution or anyone if it comes to that who knows anything about him. Maybe we’ve got his name wrong? I have him down as the Reverend Joshua Salmon. Is that right?”

I suppose so if you say it is,” she replied, a little awkwardly as if the questions were veering away from where she would have preferred them to be.

But I do,” smiled Ian, “so why are you so unsure about the nature and name of a man you share your loneliest hours with?”

She looked at Megan warily, wondering what it was that the slip of a lass was scribbling in her notebook.” A woman can’t know everything there is to know about any man,” she almost snapped, “and our lives are nicely separate. I live my life, thank you very much, and he lives his, and that’s that.”

I do hope that my own good lady doesn’t hear about this or she might get some ideas, and then where would I be?” he murmured. “So am I right in believing he’s in Africa?”

So he says!” she almost snapped.

Ian thought he could hear a sound of something moving upstairs. “Is that a visitor?” he asked.

It’s nowt. Just the cat.”

Of course. My wife wants a cat but I’m not a hundred percent behind the idea, but there you are.”

Well, Mr policeman, was there anything else you wanted to know? My gentleman friend will be in Africa until he’s done his work there, so I can’t help you with him.”

Megan coughed quietly. “What, er, what exactly is his work in all of Africa?” she asked, “I mean, it’s a big place, is Africa, so what does he do there? And how does he find his way to where he might be needed, in all that space?”

Eileen looked at her and saw her youthful inexperience and decided to take advantage of it.

It’s no concern of mine, and even more it’s no concern of yours,” she said, “he does bible work and that’s all I know and all you need to know.”

That’s all we need to know,” said Ian when he saw how his pretty DC was uncertain whether she should burst into tears or lose her patience with the woman, and he was beginning to suspect there were a lot more questions that needed to be answered. But not now. He needed to do additional research.

We’ll leave you in peace then, Ms. Samson, he said. “We’ll see ourselves out. Thank you for your time. Come on, Constable.”

Moments later they were back in the car and he had taken over control of the vehicle whilst his constable sat in the passenger seat looking nonplussed.

There’s something wrong there, sir,” she said when the car was under way.

What do you mean?” he asked.

Well sir, two things. Firstly that photograph you looked at, the one on the Mantelpiece. There were two figures on it and one was the weird woman we were talking to. And unless I’m mistaken the second was our second Johndoe. Not naked with his bits hanging out like he was on the slab, of course, and b y the look of it, not dead. But unless I’m very much mistaken it was him with an arm round the woman.”

You’re not mistaken, constable,” he said approvingly. “You said two things drew their attention to you. Was the second piece of evidence the cat, the thing that made a noise upstairs.”

She nodded. “I would say that if it was cat then I’m a Dutch woman, begging your pardon, sir. But I swear that I heard a human voice, possibly a male one, hissing at something upstairs.”

Possibly at a cat,” grinned Ian, “and yes, I thought that too. What I’m going to do is get a search warrant and we’ll take a closer look at number thirteen Conehill Crescent. Tomorrow morning, we’ll give that woman an unexpected second call and see what she’s got to say then.”

© Peter Rogerson 26 05.23


© 2023 Peter Rogerson

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Added on May 26, 2023
Last Updated on May 26, 2023
Tags: photgraph. mantelpiece, sound upstairs


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..