The Body On The Beach: 14

Dawson excused himself — he had to report in person to the Chief Constable. Simmonds was left in charge of yet another major case. Having assured himself that Piccolo was recovered from the initial shock (he need not have worried, she was very resilient), he then proceeded to survey the now crowded scene best as he was able.

Lady Bessingham was in great distress. She had witnessed the whole affair and Simmonds could not begin to imagine how the symbolism of a burning cross had interacted with her faith. The family physician was called and a sedative administered, she then being put to bed with Mary in bedside attendance.

From Simmonds’ reading of the layout it was almost as if Lady B was the intended audience for the atrocity, the cross having been erected (and how was that done undetected?) so as to be square on to her bedroom window (she sleeping downstairs, alone, her infirmity not permitting her to go upstairs). This observation had to be patent nonsense he concluded. He was under pressure and this was not the time to be muddle headed and fanciful. If only he’d had more confidence in his intuition.

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