A huge crowd of people were gathered outside Judith Talbot's house including reporters and police officers. James drove his Nissan Sunny up and parked outside the house. He stepped out, followed by Helen.
"Excuse me Sir". A blonde reporter tugged at his arm. "Is this murder in any way connected to that of Mary Evron's?"
"No comment". James continued to walk.
"Is it true that both women were drugged in HollyBrook School and taken home in their own car?" asked a curly haired man.
Helen turned round. "We will make a statement to the press as soon as we have more details" she replied shortly and then followed James without another word.
James went in with his official ID badge to find Ralph Palmer the pathologist bending over the body.
"Dead about 24 hours I would say." He looked up. "Mrs Talbot's husband was working late. He returned to find the fire brigade here and his house in flames. One of the neighbours saw that there was a fire and rang them. Unfortunately they were too late to save the woman. She had died from smoke inhalation already even though she was only in the living room. Even I was only allowed in just half an hour ago."
"Are we sure it is the same person who killed Mary Evron who did this?" asked James.
"Killed exactly the same way, there's a very strong chance" admitted Ralph.
Helen glanced round at the police officers. "Does anyone know anything else that would be useful to us?"
"Her house key is missing." said a constable, holding up a charred handbag.
"Then the killer must have taken it." Helen replied.
"We had to break in because the door was locked" a fireman outside called through the open door.
"Then there is not much doubt it is the same man or woman. Maybe there was no auto lock this time."
James took up the questioning. "Have you guys dusted for fingerprints?"
An officer nodded. "Nothing."
"Can I take the body away now?" interjected Ralph.
James sighed. "Yes you can. We'd better report this. I wonder if Superintendent Nemesio is here."
"I'm here". Haki strode in authoratively. "You had better deal with the press outside. They won't stop harrassing me". His lips twitched but otherwise he remained serious. "Just tell them that there has been a second murder, that we think it is the same person who killed Mary Evron and that there is no need for panic but everyone should err on the side of caution".
"I'm onto it Sir". James went to deal with the press.
Haki put his hand on Helen's shoulder. "Are you all right Sergeant Fairfax?"
"I'm fine Sir", Helen's voice trembled.
"All the same, you'd better sit down."
Helen sat gratefully. Haki sat opposite her. "I'll ask James to drive you home as soon as the press have been dealt with and you two can have the rest of the day off. Tomorrow, if you two are up to it, I want you to question Oliver Kent again and Eadric Stevens as well, and I'll get someone to take a look at the CCTV footage in case it caught our guy this time."
James returned at that point, saying that he had for now dealt with the press. James and Helen got into his car again.
"We're definitely dealing with a serial killer" he sighed.
"But why would anyone do this? What's the point?"
"Revenge maybe?" James shrugged. "But whoever this person is, he's smart."
"I think we'd better interview the husband and the neighbour as well in case they know anything."
"I agree. The chances are slim but we need to explore every avenue." He stopped just behind her car in the road.
Helen got out and James walked her to the door. She unlocked it.