"So did you question the husband?" asked Charles.
"Yes. He couldn't add much to the statement he initially gave the police. His wife had no known enemies, they had a happy marriage, he has no enemies he knows of..."
"So, first we need to consider any similarities and differences between the two murders. Do you want to start?"
"Both women were strangled."
"Yes. And roughly about the same time, that is to say just after nine."
"The first time nothing was taken from the victim which suggests two things - first that our man or woman wasn't in the habit of collecting trophies and secondly that he or she was wearing the murder weapon and took it away after the crime so as not to leave dna evidence."
"Whereas the second time the victim's own skirt belt was used and then stolen afterwards. No fingerprints of any kind which means he must either have worn gloves or wiped his fingerprints off."
"Yes, that's about the only difference".
"In the murders yes. As far as the victims are concerned we can draw out quite a few differences. Though both victims had black hair and brown eyes, Maddeline had curly hair whereas Lynette's hair was pretty much straight."
"Right, and while Maddeline was married, Lynette was single. Lynette had a cat but Maddeline had no pets. "
"Yeah, and finally Maddeline had a car but Lynette didn't".
"So there is no concievable pattern in the victims' marital status, pet ownership, personal circumstances or physical appearance."
A few minutes silence ensued as Charles noted down everything they had discussed. "Well I'll write a report on this and then fax it to Peter Edwards. He says that the FBI is now going to take charge of the case so he'll need all the help he can get. I don't want him thinking the police force is incompetent. "
Maria was having a browse in Wendice's Wearhouse when she was surprised to run into her boss Peter.
"I was just looking for some new dresses" Maria said, holding up two that she had chosen.
"That's great." Peter paused. "I'm just looking for a new suit."
There was a few minutes awkward silence.
Then Peter spoke. "I expect you have heard the FBI have taken over the Mystery Strangler case."
"Yes, I did hear that Sir".
"I'm calling a meeting on Monday morning - you, Jenny, Frank and Charlene will all attend."
Maria nodded. "Who are you assigning this case to?"
Peter hesitated. "Most probably Frank and Charlene, but you and Jenny are welcome to make suggestions and give information to one of us if you have any."
Maria went to pay for her dresses and Peter resumed his search for a suit. Maria was served by a young man of about 24 who introduced himself as Harry Metkin, Mr Wendice's assistant. After they made their purchases, Peter offered to walk Maria home.