The Body On The Beach: 15

Simmonds and Piccolo drove back to The Lynn later that afternoon, the storm having abated and there being no other police work to be concluded in situ at the Hall. At the hotel they bathed and changed into clean clothes. They had a light tea sent up to their suite and tried to make sense of recent events. After discussing what little they could about the most recent atrocity — a sense of numbness and denial had descended to protect their sanities — they turned to the original conundrum.

‘So we can dismiss the incest accusation’ said Piccolo.

‘If we believe what appears to be true about Charles then yes’ said Simmonds.

‘Oh you’re not supposing the old double-bluff, are you? Do you think he’s that clever?’

‘Probably not’ said Simmonds. Although he had no proof that Eric and Agnes were lying, or what their motivation for such behaviour might be, he was prepared to accept Piccolo’s analysis and dismiss the accusation. However, it wasn’t something that could be ignored. He held his exhausted head in his hands. ‘Bit of a mess this one’ he concluded.

‘Sometimes when I’m writing’ said Piccolo ‘the plot runs away and I find myself boxed into a corner, and then I think ‘God, what a pickle!’, but it never is, there’s always a solution if you calm down and think things through rationally. So let’s think: Why would you choose to kill someone by means of an overdose? There are far more conventional and simpler ways of committing murder’.

‘To make it look like an accident’ replied Simmonds.

‘But that would only work if the victim was already an addict, or you made it look like they were. Neither applies in this case’.

‘Then to make it look like suicide’ proffered Simmonds.

‘Possibly, so where is the staging? Why no syringe left at the scene? No note?’ Piccolo was, of course, completely correct in her observation.

‘So if it is therefore neither a self-administered overdose nor a suicide then it has to be murder but we know that already, so where does all this lead?’ Simmonds asked.

‘It leaves us, Darling, missing the one thing that explains the whole mystery. Not the ‘how’ of Margaret’s death, or the ‘who did it’, but the ‘why’ of her murder’.

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