Inspector Winter had been shown up to Supt Payne’s office. Coffee and biscuits had been brought in and the Supt had explained the state of the investigation to date. “You were very guarded on the telephone. Perhaps you can now give me some more info on your interest?” he asked. Winter reached over to the small table for a biscuit and took a bite. He used the few seconds it took to focus his thoughts. “One of your officers ran a PNC check yesterday on a car I have a marker on. The current driver is Max Blain. He is the left hand man of a man affectionately known as Roaming Royston. Royston is very wealthy, is mostly in the city and is a known fencer of exceptionally high value jewellery. He specialises in utilising disposal routes into the rest of the EU and then on to dealers across the globe. The property he moves generally comes from high value residential burglaries and on occasion assists wealthy families dispose of items without exposing themselves to risk and the associated tax penalties.” Winter went on to explain the presence of Max Blain in the village meant the likelihood of a connection with the Renners case and was particularly interesting to him because of the Calder estate and the Scholes-Fogg family.
They continued to discuss the matter for over an hour but despite the circumstantial nature of the links they had nothing concrete. There was knock at the door. “Come in” the Supt responded. Sgt James Main put his head around the door. “I don’t mean to disturb you Sir but I have something you may be interested in.” Sgt Main came and sat next to Winter. His half-moon glasses were perched on the end of his nose and he peered over the top of them as he spoke. “That vehicle you had an interest in was involved in an RTA last night. The driver was a Max Blain and he was taken to hospital by the paramedics. I’ve had Sallie Lou out this morning making enquiries at the pub where he was coming from when the accident happened. Seems he was sat talking to another resident most of the night who goes by the name of Jane Hamilton.” Winter was getting bored and reached into his pocket for a Haribo as Sgt Main continued. “There’s nothing special about this but a job came in this morning called in by Jane Hamilton herself. It seems she has some property belonging to Blain and wants us to pass her contact details to him.” Winters attention was returning. “To avoid tying up a patrol I told the control room I would deal with it from here. All very normal Sir but something was nagging me so I contacted Ms Hamilton and told her we will act as the intermediary with the property as Blain is concussed, still in hospital and not with it at all. She has agreed and Sallie Lou is collecting it.” Winter turned toward Sgt Main. “When that property lands here I need to see it straight away.” Sgt Main glanced at Supt Payne with a questioning look. “It’s ok James. That sounds like a plan. Inspector Winter is from the Met assisting with the Renners case. Bring it up as soon as it arrives.”
Jane had taken a call from a police Sgt about the document. It wasn’t her first choice but she conceded to herself that the longer she had it the worse it would look. She had therefore reluctantly agreed. A short time later the officer met her at The Bull and took the document from her. Sallie Lou headed toward the top of the village. She could then head out to the by-pass and get back to the station as Sgt Main seemed to be in a rush to get his hands on it. It was then that she saw WPC Pink and her panda. She pulled over for a quick chat.
Inspector Guilfoyle stood looking at a patch of forest floor. It seemed no different to the rest of the forest floor. “This better be good Daz. If Kip is leading us to a dead badger or something I’ll have his badge” he said with a grin on his face. Daz looked down affectionately at his dog and ruffled her ears. “She’s not let me down yet Sir.” Simon Guilfoyle turned to PC Avers and a cynical looking bobby both leaning on spades and Cairnsy just behind them. “We’ve been running with minimum cover for weeks. I’m glad you guys are here. Let’s get digging.” Avers handed the spade to Cairnsy. “Here. You heard the boss. I’ve got a flask in the car sir. Coffee?”
Rob Preece had read through the document images that Jane had pointed him to. The matter was clearly to do with the graveyard case that was linked to Lord Scholes-Fogg. He agreed that the last paragraph was peculiar and he punched her number into his phone to discuss it further.
Sallie Lou and Pink sat in the panda and discussed their respective mornings. Pink explained about the collapsed chimney breast and how she was meeting Mrs Winter later to open the envelope. Sallie Lou then told her of the document she had collected. “It’s a copy of a will. I’ve scanned it and its to do with an Edward Scholes. I assume it’s something to do with Lord Scholes-Fogg as Sgt Main has got twitchy about it and wants it back at the nick ASAP so I can’t stop long.” Pink was intrigued. “A will? How old is it? Does it say?” Sallie Lou handed the document to her and she began to scan it quickly. “It’s certainly to do with the estate and the passing on of the peerage. What’s this last paragraph though? This is very unusual for a will.” She read it more closely but it made no sense and she handed it back. “I guess you’d better get that to the Sgt. Fancy a drink after today’s shift?” Sallie Lou agreed and at that they resumed their duties.
“What does it mean Rob?” asked Jane. “I’m not sure” he replied. “I assume he’s buried in a family plot somewhere. That’s where he’s lying? But who or what is he lying next to that is so important to him? I’m not sure Jane but that would be my first port of call if you can get near to it.” Jane agreed. “I think you’re right Rob. I needed an extra pair of eyes. Thanks. Oh by the way what does “Les Trois Cles” mean to you?” She went on to explain the letterhead in the car and the key symbol that was popping up all over the place. Rob promised to do some research if she went to look at the family graves again. Jane looked at her watch. It was just gone noon so decided a light lunch was needed and then she’d head over to the church.
Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde put the will down on his desk and looked at Supt Payne and Insp Winter sat opposite him. “Mark I’m sorry but this is just too thin at the moment. I want the enquiry to progress as I’ve got the PM breathing down my neck about it. We should follow up every lead, no matter how thin but I’m not happy that we go crawling all over the family grave. If this was a definite lead then yes but this is just a hunch based on this final paragraph. Yes, by all means, lets look over the grave but not until you have the agreement of Lord Scholes-Fogg. The press will have a field day if they get hold of the wrong end of the stick and they often do. Send somebody over to discuss the matter with Lord Scholes-Fogg and then by all means get on with it.
Insp Winter and Mark Payne stood in the lift as it descended from the top floor of force HQ. “Mark. I can hear what the DCC is saying and I appreciate he has to be careful but my job relies on hunches and following them through. This is something I think we should move on and move on now.” The lift doors opened and they walked across the car park to the Supt’s car. “I know what you mean and I can understand your frustration. Something doesn’t seem right but I’m not about to countermand the DCC. He’ll have my head on a platter if this goes wrong.”
Jane looked out of the window. It sky had turned grey and held the threat of rain. She grabbed her rain coat and headed over to the churchyard. She’d been to the family grave before so she took the short route down the side of the church and then tiptoed in between the graves to the mausoleum at the very back of the graveyard underneath the spreading branches of tall pine trees. She felt the first drops of rain against her cheek and decided she needed to be quick. She took another look at Edward Scholes grave. It was just as last time. She had taken the time to read through some documents she had on the Scholes family that were on her server whilst having lunch and had the names of family members floating around her head. She read the names and recognised many as brothers, sisters and earlier relatives. The mausoleum had a number of names inscribed on it but two stood out as the parents of Edward. She pursed her lips and thought for a moment. “Was this what he meant? He was lying next to his parents?” She dismissed the thought and continued to look at all the other names. Nothing leapt at her so she decided to get a closer look at the mausoleum. The rain had now become a steady gentle fall, the precursor to a full downpour and she felt a chill as she stepped over the low chain boundary and squeezed between Edwards headstone and the mausoleum. Underneath the branches of the trees it was much darker but she worked her way around to the back. A dry stone wall was the churchyard boundary behind the graves and was covered in moss. She had to crouch down under the branches to get right to the back. She could then stand and turned to look at the back of the mausoleum. She was faced with a solid wall of stone. It was just the plain back of an otherwise fancy family tomb. The heavens suddenly opened and the rain came pouring down heavily. She pulled the hood of her coat up and glanced up across the graveyard. The wind had suddenly lifted and the rain was angling across the graveyard. She was going to get soaked. She was just about to leave when she saw that right of the foot of the back of the tomb was a small hatch. It was no more than 18-20 inches wide and about 12 inches high. She pushed at it with her foot but it didn’t move. She then saw a key hole. Considering the size of the hatch the key hole was actually quite large. She couldn’t figure why she hadn’t seen it before. Crouching down she gave it a harder shove but it was not budging. Jane had no idea what this door was and concluded it must be some sort of access hatch that maybe allowed access to another opening that would allow further bodies to have been added. She stood up lost in thought. The rain was no lighter and she decided it was time to go. She turned around and came face to face with a dark hunched figure in a long stockmans coat. She was totally off guard and the figure frightened her. Her heart was racing and she jumped back from him. “Who the hell are you and where did you come from”. She suddenly felt an irrational fear of being a lone woman in a graveyard away from hearing from anyone in the village. She began to panic and pulled her coat around her as she stepped backwards away from him. She stumbled on a tree root and fell backwards onto the floor. The figure stood motionless and with the hood up she could not fully see the face. He began to walk towards her. “Don’t come anywhere near me I have a mace spray and I will use it” she yelled as she pushed herself away from him along the floor. He continued to advance on her and she backed up along the floor into a headstone. She was rigid with fear, couldn’t stand and her retreat was now blocked. The figure stopped and threw back his hood. An elderly man looked back at her. He held his hand out to her. “This is no place to be in the pouring rain and snooping around the Scholes mausoleum isn’t something you should be doing”. She looked at the man and guessed he was about 65. Despite his overall size he looked kindly but she refused to take his hand. “I mean you no harm. Let me help you” he said. She accepted his hand and he pulled her to her feet then turned his back to her and walked away. “Wait a minute” Jane said. “You can’t just walk away. Who are you and why shouldn’t I be here?” The figure turned back to her. “My name is Rayner. That’s all you need to know but you would do well to not go snooping around. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.” At this he turned, pulled his hood up and headed off across the churchyard. Jane shouted after him “Hey! What do you mean? Come back I don’t understand…” The man did not stop and disappeared around the corner of the church and out of sight. She looked down at herself. She was covered in pine needles and dirt. Her coat was filthy and wet. “Just great” she said to herself. The rain was no lighter so pulling her hood back up she followed after Rayner toward the church and then back to her room at The Bull to change.
CSI had attended at the forest and supervised the digging of the hole. It was about 5-6 feet down before they found the tarpaulin. At this point everything stopped. Insp Guilfoyle was called and a tent to cover the scene was ordered. From this point onward it would be a forensic matter.
Pink sat at a large farmhouse kitchen with Katharine Winter opposite her. They both had a large mug of tea and were staring at the yellowed envelope on the table between them. “Any ideas what this is” she asked Katharine. “I’m as curious as you are. I have no idea what it contains. You open it” she said as she pushed the envelope across the table toward Pink. Taking a letter opener that Katharine had provided she sliced carefully along the sealed edge of the envelope. Her heart was in her mouth as she reached in and gingerly took hold of the wad of papers inside and slowly drew them out. Inside were letters, lots of letters, mostly on the same headed paper she had seen before but they were written in what appeared to be French in a beautiful handwritten script. There were also some official looking documents. They laid them out across the table and she found herself drawn to one document in particular that appeared to be some sort of legal document and was in English. She read on with her eyes getting wider and wider as she did. At the foot of the document were two signatures; Edward Charles Scholes and Amylou Renners. The content of this document was about to dramatically change the direction of this investigation.
To be continued…..
This post is fiction but the characters are people I follow on Twitter and by referencing to them I recommend (#FF) them to you. The story is just a different way of #FF’ing that gives me some pleasure. The personalities of my Twitter characters portrayed in this tale are hypothetical and in no way reflect their true professionalism and personal qualities.. it’s meant to be fun.