Saturday, January 10, 2009
It was the thin film of ice that gave it away. The rest of the pond was inches thick in the stuff – almost enough to stand on until you heard that tell-tale high-pitched squeal of splintering cracks. Here, though, were shallows where in summer the muddy water was a haven for wildlife.
The ice was too thin. It had been broken recently and re-frozen. Harold planted a foot close to the edge, where the ice was still thick, and peered in. “It’s Jean Dawlish, all right,” he said, shifting his weight backwards until he was safe once more on the frozen ground. “She’s not been there long, either.”
Sergeant Brandsford of the Laverstone police called it in. “We’ll have to wait for the coroner,” he said, “and no doubt Inspector White will want to take charge of the investigation and I won’t even get a mention in the police gazette.” He paused, his eyes narrowing. “How did you know it was her, anyway?”
“Easy,” said Harold. “Her ghost is standing right beside you. She says it was her jimmy that done her in.”
Mike Brandsford took a sharp step sideways and gave a bark of laughter. “Even if I believed you,” he said. “I’d need to have some proof.”
Harold stood, pulling his gloves on. “She says the knife he used is in the bottle bank at the Old Mill pub. It’s got his dabs all over it.”