The train to Hawksmoor

Davy was outside the house at five minutes to eight with a duffle bag slung over his shoulder and a grey flat cap pulled down and forward over his face.  He shivered slightly, the soft morning drizzle was making him feel cold. The droplet on the end of his nose now was water.  Probably water, he thought.  He looked up at the sound of a man's voice saying his name.

"Davy!  Let's get moving, the train leaves at twenty past."

Inspector Miles was wearing a long grey raincoat with an upturned collar, belted tight around him emphasising his thin figure.  He strode past Davy barely slowing down.  Davy hurried to catch up with him, and then slowed his pace down to one that didn't quite leave him out of breath.  Inspector Miles seemed to forget that his stride was longer than Davy's.  They continued in silence to the station, where Inspector Miles produced two tickets.

"We're going to Hawksmoor," he said.  "We'll be met at the station by the woman who'll be looking after you while you're there.  Her name is Bernice."

Davy nodded.  "My grandmother suggested that she should be a first or second cousin of mine.  Enough of a relationship to explain my presence, but not enough to be threatening perhaps?"

Inspector Miles said nothing for a moment, staring off down the platform in the direction the train would come from.  "Yes," he said at last.  "Yes, that sounds like a good idea to me.  I should think Bernice would be happy with that too."

"So who has been murdered then, Inspector?"

Inspector Miles sighed heavily, sounding slightly sad at the same time.  "I'm not very sure."

Davy waited, noticing that the train had appeared in the distance.

"Bernice is the once-estranged daughter of Gerald Samuels, who in turn is the son and heir of the Baron of Hawksmoor.  She was welcomed back into the family about eight months ago, although there's some lingering resentment from some of her relatives that she's put down to jealousy over possible inheritance.  The Baron is reclusive, although he does attend a couple of society functions each year, possibly just to scotch any rumours that he's dead."

Davy smiled, but Inspector Miles didn't.  He didn't seem to have much of a sense of humour.

"Someone has been killed at the Baron's house in Hawksmoor, which is called the Eyrie, but the reports I've had from the attending officers are a little confused.  The family are being unhelpful.  A man has been killed: it might be the Baron, it might be Gerald, it might be a visiting cousin, and I have a report that Gerald's sister claimed that it was Gerald's wife and his dirty little secret was now out of the bag."

"How was the man killed?" asked Davy, raising his voice to be heard over the train as it pulled in.  Inspector Miles frowned at him, even though the only other person waiting on the platform was two carriage-lengths away.

"He was found floating in the ornamental fish-pond," said the Inspector.

"He'd been there a few days then," said Davy thoughtfully, "and he must have been tied somehow."

"Yes." Inspector Miles ushered Davy onto the train ahead of him and they walked along the carriage to find seats where they could talk in private.  "As I can see you've deduced, his wrists were wired together and his pockets had been filled with gravel.  It was a poor attempt to hide the body, but it gave the fish time to eat away much of his face, and the water time to bloat the body.  We've not got much to recognise him by yet."

"Will we know more when we get there?"

"There should be the doctor's report, I hope.  And Bernice may know something as well."

"At the very least she should know if anyone's gone missing since the body was discovered.  Anyone's who's not missing can't be the body either."

Inspector Miles nodded, and gazed out of the window, watching the scenery go by.  Davy sat back in his seat and looked out of the window too, thinking back to his conversation with his Grandmother the previous evening, and what the Inspector had just told him.


The End

5 comments about this story Feed