Read Shrine to Murder Online

Authors: Roger Silverwood

Tags: #Fiction, #Traditional British, #Crime, #Mystery & Detective, #General

Shrine to Murder (4 page)

BOOK: Shrine to Murder
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Angel
turned away, looked down at the business card, read it and then pushed it into his pocket. He wasn’t happy with the way things were developing. He rubbed his hand across his mouth thoughtfully.

DS
Carter peered through the door.


Ah, there you are, sir,’ she said brightly and bounced into the room like a teenager just out of school.

He
looked up and frowned. He wasn’t pleased. ‘Did anybody see anything, sergeant?’ he said sharply.

She
realized that she was at variance with the sombreness of the occasion; it took her a second or two to make the correction.


No, sir,’ she said. ‘Nobody saw an intruder or a man with a ladder or anything suspicious the last few days.’

Angel
grunted. That was the last thing he wanted to hear. ‘Without exception, everybody spoke very well of Mr Redman,’ Carter said. ‘The lady next door, a widow, who is in her seventies, was particularly upset. She lives on her own and they had become quite friendly.’

Angel
took in what Carter had said. He explained the writing on the mirror to her and then said, ‘Go back to the neighbour and ask her if she knows anybody or anything beginning with “V” or what “V to go,” might mean.’


Right, sir,’ she said and dashed off.

He
looked at his watch. It was almost eleven o’clock. He reached into his pocket for his mobile and tapped in the CID office number. Ahmed answered.


I asked you to find DS Crisp for me. He hasn’t shown.’


He must be on his way, sir. I had some difficulty finding him but he should be with you by now.’


Well he isn’t, lad, and I want him here.’


He was out dealing with a market vendor who had some bed sheets stolen.’


Chase him up for me. This is a murder inquiry, and the crime scene’s getting cold.’

Angel
heard the closing of the front door.


Hold on a minute, Ahmed.’

Angel
went out into the hall. His eyes met those of a handsome young man in a smart suit. It was DS Crisp.

Angel
glared at him. ‘Where the hell have you been?’ he said. ‘I can never get hold of you when I need you.’

Crisp
affected a look of childlike innocence. It was his speciality, but Angel was well aware of it. ‘I didn’t know we were on a murder shout, sir,’ he said. ‘I was taken up with a shoplifting case in town.’

Angel
was exasperated beyond measure, but with Crisp it was a waste of time. He ran his hand through his hair and said, ‘Come in here.’

Crisp
followed him into the drawing room and glanced round. ‘Very nice, sir. I wouldn’t mind living here.’

Angel
pointed to a chair and Crisp flopped into it.

Angel
’s grip on the mobile tightened. ‘Are you still there, Ahmed? He’s arrived, at long last! There’s something I want you to do. There are a couple of people…Cyril Krill and his wife, Kathleen Krill aka Kathleen Redman. Look them up. See if they’re known to us and ring me back.’

Angel
cancelled the mobile and dropped it into his pocket. He looked at Crisp. ‘Did you hear what I said to Ahmed, lad?’


A couple of suspects, sir. Husband and wife. Cyril and Kathleen Krill aka Kathleen Redman.’


They’re not exactly suspects. Up to now, they’re witnesses. We haven’t any suspects.’


So we’re scratching about, sir?’


That’s exactly it, so I want you to find out what you can about her, Kathleen Krill. She’s the daughter of the dead man. She went to see her daughter at Rosehill Academy, Weeton on the Water, Gloucestershire, this last weekend. Find out when she went and when she came back. Also find out what you can about her marriage to Cyril. He’s a builder and property developer in Sheffield.’


Right, sir. And do you want me to check out the husband, while I’m about it?’


No. I’m getting Carter to do that.’

Crisp
’s eyebrows went up. ‘Oh, DS Carter’s arrived then? What’s he like?’

Angel
wrinkled his nose. ‘Different,’ he said. ‘Now push off lad and crack on with it.’

 

Chapter Three

 

There was a knock on the door. ‘Come in,’ Angel said. He looked up from his desk.

It
was Ahmed. ‘You’re back, sir? Those people you wanted me to look up on the NPC…Cyril Krill and Kathleen Krill aka Kathleen Redman are not known to us.’

He
didn’t really think that they would be, but when suspects are sparse…


Thank you, lad.’

The
phone rang. It was Dr Mac.


Ah, Michael. I’ve found two specimen hairs on the back of Luke Redman’s hand that are not his.’

Angel
’s eyebrows shot up. That was terrific news. He pursed his lips as if he was going to whistle, then blew out air without making a sound. He needed news like that to give him encouragement. It was better than a public commendation from old Judge Heneberry.


Great stuff, Mac.’


I can only surmise that they came off the murderer’s hand or wrist in the course of the assault. The victim was in good fettle even though he was eighty-two. He still had some muscle tone.’

Angel
knew it would be a few days before DNA could be determined and the result checked against the national database.


That’s the only lead we have so far,’ Angel said. ‘Anything else?’


Nothing that would get you excited, Michael. If there is, I’ll let you know.’

He
replaced the phone and looked up at Ahmed. ‘We might get some DNA off the murderer. Things are looking up.’


That
is
good news, sir,’ Ahmed said.


Aye,’ he said rising to his feet. ‘I’m going out. If anybody wants me, I’ll be at the Northern Bank.’


Right, sir.’

*

‘I’m Henry Blamires,’ the manager said. ‘Sorry to keep you waiting, Inspector. It would have been better if you had made an appointment.’


I certainly would have, if I had had prior information that an ex-manager of this branch of the Northern Bank, Mr Luke Lancelot Redman, was to be murdered.’


Oh dear,’ Blamires said. ‘Oh no? I see. I had no idea. Poor old Mr Redman, murdered?’

Angel
nodded. ‘And I need to speak to everyone who knew him.’


Yes. Of course. Old Redman murdered. Have you got the man who did it?’


We’re working on it.’


Oh how dreadful. Now let me see. I remember him, of course. I joined the bank when he was manager, in the glorious days when bank managers were gods. I was also here when he retired. Can’t remember exactly when it was. Do you happen to know the date, Inspector?’

Angel
frowned. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I have no idea. Would have been a little while back; after all, he was eighty-two.’


Ah well, he’s the sort of chap who wouldn’t have retired until he had to, so I expect he retired when he was sixty, so that would be…1987. Good gracious. That seems a long time ago. There weren’t many of the present staff here in 1987, Inspector.’ He reached out for the phone and tapped in a number. ‘Hello, John. I have Inspector Angel from Bromersley police. Do you remember Mr Redman who used to be manager here? No? Oh. Well, anyway, he’s been murdered and the inspector wants to speak to everyone who knew him…Yes, murdered…I know. What about John Johnson? Well ask him…No? Right. Is there anybody else? Let me see, they would need to be over forty-one. No? Right. Thank you.’

He
replaced the phone. ‘There’s only me, Inspector. Staff do move around quite a lot these days, you know. There might be somebody who has worked with him, who is now at another branch, Sheffield, or Barnsley or Rotherham or further afield, who might remember him.’


Thank you, Mr Blamires,’ Angel said. ‘I’ll bear that in mind. Primarily I need to know what sort of man Mr Redman was. What do you remember about him?’


Well, I was very much a junior when I joined in 1978. I had to report to Mr Redman who gave me a pep talk and was very strict and rather pompous. But as time rolled on, as he got to know you, and if you did your work carefully and properly, he became quite tolerable.’


Did you like him?’


Not really. He was all right. As I said, he was pompous, but fair. He never had to ball me out, of course. I was a good employee. Always kept the rules. There are a lot of rules in a bank, Inspector.’

Angel
sighed. He knew all about rules. He wondered if Blamires knew about ‘Judges’ Rules’ that are so biased against the judiciary. There wasn’t the time to go into that.


Was he generally popular?’ Angel said.


I don’t suppose so, no.’


Do you know of any member of staff who might have taken a serious dislike to him?’


Just about all of us, I should think, at the time. But, I mean, he had to keep discipline, Mr Angel. Managers are responsible for every coin in the strong room. The local directors in Nottingham know exactly how much there is. Then there’s the necessary requirement of accounting for it accurately. Besides that, each branch is expected to make a handsome profit.’


Quite so. But was he
so
unpopular?’


In my experience, he was, but it would be ridiculous to suppose any member of staff disliked him enough to want to murder him.’

Angel
nodded. ‘What about the clients? There might have been somebody he wouldn’t loan money to, for example. Or somebody on whom he may have foreclosed with possibly dire consequences?’


I am sure there were, Inspector, but none of them that I know of who would want to see him dead.’

*

Angel returned to his office and was sitting at his desk thinking over his visit to the Northern Bank. It hadn’t produced a single suspect. According to manager, Blamires, Luke Redman would not have won any popularity contest, but there was nobody he could suggest who might have wanted him dead. Angel reasoned that that was only Blamires’s judgement, and he was wondering how he might economically spread the inquiry further afield to other Northern Bank branches or other banks where employees who had known Redman might still be working. It also seemed to him, in view of the time span of twenty-two years, that the likelihood of finding an employee who had worked with Redman and was able to supply any useful topical information about him was fairly remote. He had to consider the cost of manpower and the odds of achieving a positive result. He was still mulling over the question when there was a knock at the door. It was DC Scrivens.


Come in, lad. Sit down.’

When
Scrivens was settled, Angel said, ‘I want you to get some background on a man called Redman.’

He
brought him up to date with the murder and the fact that there were no suspects. He told him about the meeting with Blamires and said, ‘I want you to contact all the local branches of the Northern Bank, and any other banks around South and West Yorkshire, and see if you can locate anybody who had known Redman and had a motive strong enough to want to murder him. All right?’

*

‘Good morning, sir,’ Taylor said. He was carrying a bundle of plastic bags and a yellow folder file.


Come in, Don. Close the door. Have you brought all of it?’


All that the cleaners sucked up, sir,’ he said. ‘Every room separately marked. And the photographs.’


Put the bags on here,’ Angel said pointing to the top of the desk.

Taylor
lifted up seven transparent bags, each containing small amounts of grey fluff and dust.

Angel
raised his eyebrows.


I said there wasn’t much,’ Taylor said.


Have you separated anything out?’


Nominal amounts, to see if there was anything unusual.’


And was there?’


No, sir. It is all carpet fibre, human dust and common earth fibre typically found in domestic premises. Plus a solitary green leaf, presumably blown in through an open door or window or brought in accidentally by an animal or a human on clothing.’


Let me see that,’ Angel said.

Taylor
sorted out the bag and pressed the plastic bag hard against the leaf inside.

Angel
peered at it. ‘It’s an evergreen. Mottled. It’s a laurel leaf, Don.’


Yes, sir.’ He showed him the label on the bag. ‘It’s from the master bedroom.’


The room where Redman was murdered,’ Angel said.


Probably blown in through the open window, while the murderer was climbing in.’


Do you have a photograph of it in situ?’


Yes, sir. It was on the carpet at the side of the bed.’

Taylor
raced through the yellow folder. He soon found out a photograph of the lone, innocuous laurel leaf on the pink bedroom carpet. The SOCO photographer had sensibly included the side of the bed and a bedside table leg to show the exact place where it had been found. It was about eight inches from each piece of furniture.

Angel
studied the photograph for a few moments then said, ‘It’s an evergreen, Don. It’ll stay this colour for some time.’


I suppose so, sir,’ Taylor said. He frowned. ‘Do you think it’s really significant? It’s only a laurel leaf. There are millions of them in the park.’


I don’t know. It’s a slightly unusual discovery…in such a remarkably clean and uncluttered house.’

Taylor
nodded.


We need to know if there’s a laurel bush in Redman’s garden,’ Angel said, ‘or, if not, are any in the gardens nearby? Also I wonder if it was windy that way on Sunday night. Let’s consider if it is plausible that such a leaf could have been blown into the victim’s bedroom by mother nature? Right?’


Oh yes, sir.’


If it isn’t, then we have to assume that it had been brought there by the murderer on his shoes, or in his clothing, or in something else he brought with him or…or in some other way? Anyway I’ll be down there soon, I’ll have a look round.’

Taylor
considered it a waste of time, but that’s what Angel wanted and he was the boss. Taylor had learned that he should never underestimate Detective Inspector Michael Angel. His reputation for catching murderers had spread across the UK and beyond. The newspapers wrote him up as if he was a Canadian Mountie: Inspector Angel, the copper who always got his man.


Right, sir,’ Taylor said and he went out.

Angel
took a weathered envelope out of his inside pocket and ran down his notes. He spotted something then felt in his side pocket for a business card…Krill’s business card. He turned it over and found the home address and the phone number that Krill had written there for him. He reached out for the phone and tapped in the number. It was soon answered by Mrs Krill.


It’s inspector Angel. Sorry to bother you. Just a little query. I wondered if you knew how many towels there would have been on the heated towel rail in your father’s bathroom, that’s all.’

There
was a moment’s silence.

Angel
added: ‘We are trying to establish whether the murderer took a towel from the rail away with him or not.’


Sorry, Inspector, I really don’t know.’

Angel
licked his top lip with the tip of his tongue. ‘I wondered…your father was probably a creature of habit…if he had some number that exactly satisfied his…requirements?’


I really don’t know,’ she said. ‘I’m really sorry.’


That’s all right, Mrs Krill. It is just a detail.’

There
was the shortest of pauses.

‘C
an you tell me, Inspector,’ Mrs Krill said, ‘when I may be able to…to organize my father’s funeral?’


I’m afraid that there is an inevitable delay. I’m sorry about that. It will be a week or two depending on the progress of the case. I will let you know.’


Thank you,’ she said.


Have you had any further thoughts about the message on the mirror, Mrs Krill? Does “V to go” mean anything to you at all?’


I’m afraid not.’

Angel
pulled a face. There was no joy there. ‘All right, Mrs Krill. Sorry to have bothered you.’

He
replaced the phone and immediately left the office for the car park.

BOOK: Shrine to Murder
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Always a Princess by Alice Gaines
The Rock Star's Daughter by Caitlyn Duffy
Protection for Hire by Camy Tang
Monica Bloom by Nick Earls