It was nearing the time of Joy and Goodwill to All. But Death knew no Season.
The policeman had to ring the bell four times before the occupants woke.
‘What is it?’ she asked, turning over in bed.
He reached over for the small clock that rested on the side table. ‘It’s a quarter past three’. He put on his dressing gown and went downstairs and opened the front door.
‘Sir’ said the officer mustering as much apology as was possible in the circumstance.
‘Sergeant. Why all the bother?’
‘Beggin’ your pardon Inspector, but there’s a body on the beach. I think you should come right away’. Inspector Simmonds duly and somewhat sleepily put on a pair of gumboots and his old Royal Navy duffle coat over his night wear and followed Sergeant McPherson out into the night.
It was cold, especially if you had just left a warm bed. Luckily the incident was only a short walk away. Once out of the protection of the high dunes that bordered the road, icy snow flurries blew horizontally into their faces on a raw Easterly. The frozen sand crunched under foot. Two figures could be seen further up the beach, their lamps beckoning. Soon they were at the scene. The two guarding officers stood aside as the Inspector and the Sergeant surveyed the body, the Sergeant’s torch offering a weak yellow illumination. It was a young woman, aged somewhere between late teens and early twenties, it was difficult to tell from the modern waifish figure. Platinum blonde, wearing a gold coloured flapper style party dress. A string of pearls around her neck, one silver dance shoe was missing. There were no obvious injuries. She had not been immersed in the sea. She looked quite angelic, but quite dead.
‘Who found the body?’
‘Man out walking his dog, sir’
‘Cordon it off then. Telephone the Surgeon’
Having taken slightly longer to get dressed, as was a wife’s prerogative, Piccolo arrived at the scene clutching the fur collar of her coat up around her neck. ‘Good Heavens’, she said eyes alighting on the corpse, ‘on our own doorstep’.