The experimental whodunnit goes on. The text is hot off the ‘pen’. Part 3 follows soon. After that, I’d like help from my readers to develop the story.
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It’s an absolute fact … someone dunnit.
Question 1: who-dunnit?
Question 2: do you really want to know?
Question 3: are you prepared to risk your life to find out?
‘What happened?’ Lady Jayne’s crystal sharp diction added an aristocratic edge to her enquiry.
‘That’s what we’re investigating.’
Her eyes glinted. ‘I want to be involved. Now, let’s get on with it.’
‘Ma’am, are you sure? Scene of crime work can be distressing.’
‘I insist. Marjory’s brother is the Earl of Dulloch. I must provide facts to him, or he’ll never forgive me.’
‘Very well,’ He spoke through a sigh. ‘In a moment, we’ll continue overviewing the scene and recording first impressions. Next we’ll follow a disciplined examination of each aspect. And, of course, we‘ll need to eliminate suspects.’
‘What shall I do?’
He lifted and shook his finger which pulled more of his off-white shirt cuff from his navy worsted suit-jacket. ‘A moment ma’am.’ She bridled yet kept silent. ‘Constable.’
‘We need to speak to anyone who might have seen something or have other knowledge relevant to our enquiries.’ He turned to her. ‘Can you assist ma’am?’
‘Brown will provide a list of staff.’ The Butler nodded. ‘We have three house guests. I‘ll make sure they make themselves available as required.’
‘May I have your guests names, please.’ He paused, pen poised.
‘Colonel von Volcorn-Senf. Father Magiordomo-Sega. Dr Stephen Brandy.’
‘Please ask them to be available in a few hours.’
‘Of course, after lunch? Brown?’ The butler nodded. ‘Off you go, Brown.’ A brisk, backhanded waft of a slender bejewelled hand, confirmed the order. The butler bowed and marched out, tails flapping, a man on a mission. The portraits of the ancestors looked down with smug condescension.
Inspector Wilcox took her arm with gentle confidence. The expensive smoothness of the green cloth was almost soothing. He gestured towards the floor on near-side of the chair. The Duchess’ stiff be-stockinged leg still pointed upright like a fleshy mast on the other side. ‘What do you notice about the Chinese silk rug, ma‘am?’
‘The tassels are rumpled to one side.’
‘Backwards from the fire.’
‘Excellent, ma’am, you have a good eye.’ Her face stiffened with a pleasure she’d prefer not to show.
‘Where do you think she was first assaulted?’
‘By the chair?’
He nodded. ‘What happened?’
‘She was struck a savage blow.’
‘Savage enough to knock her over the chair arms and on to the hearth?’
‘I suppose so, yes.’
‘A reasonable opinion, which would require massive strength. It doesn’t work, actually.’
‘Why not?’ Her voice burst out, almost like the bark of a Corgi.
‘What may I ask?’ Her face pinched with instinctive unhappiness, her posture both interested and annoyed, superior, not used to being gainsaid.
‘Where’s the blood splatter?’
‘Splatter.’ He nodded. ‘Savage blows with a hard instrument break skin if there is bone near the surface.’ He paused, his gaze intent, questioning.
‘Go on.’ She shook her head and pursed her lips. ‘I can take this.’ Inside, he admired her frosty beauty. She hadn’t minded him taking her arm. Hmm …
‘This applies especially to the head, blood squirts from the wounds and sprays around. Other gore is thrown from a bloody weapon as it’s wielded.’
‘So some comes from the inside out and some from the act of striking.’
‘Precisely, ma’am: sprays and splatter …’ A sharp, howling female scream interrupted his answer. To be continued …