The Body On The Beach: 24

It was a bright Winter morning and Piccolo had a bounce in her step. Her imagination was in full flight and that was her preferred state.

The Central Library was a fine example of Victorian philanthropic endowment. It’s lofty marble interior echoed municipal pride.

‘Why hello there’ said Veronica Bainbridge, looking up from a drawer of index cards to encounter the Inspector’s wife. ‘This is unexpected. What can I help you with?’.

‘Guess who I have been to see?’ Piccolo said directly and in a familiar way that would have given any casual eavesdropper the impression that the two ladies were long time friends. Such is the way sometimes when you meet someone and instantly, for an unfathomable reason, feel comfortable in their presence.

‘I really have no idea’ replied Veronica.

‘Mortimer Catchpole!’.

‘My dear girl’ exclaimed Veronica, she being Piccolo’s senior by a number of years, ‘are you asking for trouble?’. Veronica rose from behind the main enquiry desk and walked around to the front, taking Piccolo gently by the arm and leading her into a quiet corner. The only sound that could be heard was the rustled ‘swoosh’ of newspaper pages being turned in the adjacent Reading Room.

‘… and?’ Veronica quizzed, satisfied that they were neither being overheard nor causing a disturbance.

‘… and he is quite a fascinating man’ said Piccolo. ‘Absolutely he has an interest in the Occult, but I failed to see monstrous tendencies’.

‘Come back near closing time’ said Veronica ‘say around four thirty, and I’ll show you some things that will change your mind’.

They parted company, Piccolo totally absorbed by the expectation of whatever it was Miss Bainbridge promised to reveal.

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