This is a multiple word prompt story inspired by the following words:
I started writing a murder mystery some time ago, this is the next instalment.
If you want to read this story from the beginning click on this link:
A Token of Grudging Affection
Sir Alfred Thorpe had arranged something unorthodox. Using the many connections he still had within the Police, and mainly out of respect for him that many still held, even though he officially retired four years earlier, he had managed to negotiate for his friend Lady Audrey Patterson to look at some items that were usually kept locked away.
In this room were kept items that were found at crime scenes all across London. The walls were lined with boxes, all labelled and sealed. A woman police constable stood on some steps and brought down a small box, placed it on a plain table in the middle of the room and then left them to it.
Audrey opened the box and she was overcome with feelings of sadness at seeing within several items of clothing that Elsie used to wear. They were Elsie’s best clothes, not of the best quality, but the best she could afford. There was a pair of silk stockings that were definitely a bit more expensive than she’d have expected. Wiping away a tear, she continued looking through the box. All the items had been thoroughly checked and had yielded very little information. That is why the official enquiry had gone cold. No fingerprints and no witnesses. There at the bottom of the box was a powder compact, a pink shade of lipstick and a black silk scarf.
“According to the file, that’s the scarf she was strangled with” Sir Alfred explained.
Audrey shuddered to think that this object had been the very thing that killed her. How could anyone have done that? Wrap the scarf around her neck, or possibly she was already wearing it, then pull it until the poor girl choked to death. It wasn’t humane. Whoever did it couldn’t be quite all there. Audrey could understand how someone could shoot someone else. Out of fear, or in the heat of the moment, a quick pull of the trigger and bam, the person was dead. That way could be easy. Thankfully people didn’t go around much with guns. Of course, during the war, they were everywhere, but luckily most people seemed to be responsible. No, this kind of killing seemed somehow far more macabre and sinister.
Audrey reluctantly picked up the scarf, she felt drawn to it but repulsed at the same time.
Something fell from the folds of the fabric and sparkled in the dingy light from the single light bulb.
It was a diamond brooch, about an inch and a half across, in the shape of a crescent moon, or with a little stretch of the imagination, the letter ‘C’.
The letter C somehow seemed to spin round in Audrey’s head. C for Lord Cedric Halifax, C for Claudia Halifax, C for Constable Caradoc Jones, C for Christopher Copeland and the letter that Elsie had kept in her room signed by the mysterious ‘C’. Audrey recognised the brooch instantly. It had been one of Claudia Halifax’s most prized possessions. She remembered Claudia telling her how she had asked her husband for it when they went to Cartier in Paris for their wedding anniversary. She said he was rather grudging about it, but he did buy it for her. She said that after all the years they were married, she realised he was rather fond of her after all. She also remembered that not long before her party Claudia told her it had gone missing and she was worried that she’d have to report it to the police as stolen and her husband would kick up a huge fuss. He hated anything to do with the police. Ironic really considering what eventually happened. How did Elsie end up with it? Did she steal it from her at one of her parties? Elsie didn’t seem one to steal, she always seemed a good girl.
Closing up the box, Audrey turned to Sir Alfred and asked, “Do you think they would mind if I kept hold of this?” Audrey held up the Diamond brooch.
“Well, really it should be returned to its rightful owner, Elsie’s next of kin, I suppose” Sir Alfred responded.
Audrey stood up and with determination and renewed energy in her voice, she proclaimed “No, it wasn’t Elsie’s it was Claudia’s and I believe that this object was given to Elsie by her killer and that her murderer and the murderer of Claudia Halifax were one and the same.”
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 17/August/2018