The Body On The Beach: 49

Simmonds and Piccolo sat together that evening after enjoying their first home-made meal for quite a while. No matter how top notch hotel fare was it never completely satisfied. Too fancy, Simmonds called it. They were discussing the bracelet. It had been an exceptional find. ‘She must have just dropped it, or it fell from her wrist. No one would have been stupid enough to merely discard it’ Piccolo said.

‘Either way tells us nothing, of course’ said Simmonds. ‘We already have her placed in the area. Connects to no one else. Simply a piece of recovered property at this stage’.

‘But there is the tantalising question of who gave it to her, and why their name isn’t disclosed’.

‘An unwanted admirer?’ Simmonds asked.

‘Unlikely. She appears to have been wearing it, otherwise how would it have found it’s way to Welby? Implies some attachment, surely?’.

‘Then what?’.

‘Then we are left with only one conclusion’ offered Piccolo. ‘That it was a token of a love that neither party wanted made public. After all, there has been no mention of a boyfriend’.

Simmonds pondered on that insight as they sat for a while reading magazines and newspapers.

‘I still don’t quite understand how or why George Whittle is Catchpole’s lawyer’ said Simmonds after a while and on another tack. ‘They live a couple of villages apart and there’s no shortage of solicitors in these parts’.

‘Perhaps they have another connection’ said Piccolo. Simmonds pondered on that too.

‘I wonder if Miss Edith will be at the Hall for Christmas’ said Piccolo. ‘She did take herself off to The Lynn so as not to be a distraction. But I’d find it hard to believe the family would just let her stay there all alone over the holiday’.

‘Perhaps she’ll spend Christmas with George’ added Simmonds. ‘I’m sure he’d be up for that’.

‘Frankly I’m surprised any of them are in the mood for Christmas’ said Piccolo. ‘But I suppose that’s what these families do – they carry on. Stoicism and tradition are their backbone’. She turned a few pages of her magazine. ‘I am very curious as to who the other guests might be – I had the impression from Lady B’s nurse that there would be a few. Hope they aren’t all frightful bores’.

‘You’ll find plenty to amuse yourself I’m sure’ said Simmonds. ‘I know how you like to analyse people as research for your stories’.

‘Always working, darling. Always working’.

They turned to their reading again. Piccolo subscribed to a great many popular publications. There was never a shortage of printed material in the house.

‘That bracelet is a rum do’ said Simmonds.

‘Quite. Someone had good taste though. I suspect it wasn’t cheap’.

‘Strangest thing in the big picture is that when I searched through Margaret’s room there was no jewellery there at all’.

Piccolo looked up and peered over her glasses. ‘Really?’ she said.

‘Really’.

‘Now that is odd for a wealthy and stylish young lady’ said Piccolo. ‘Look how much jewellery I have … She was found wearing a string of pearls of course, but they were paste’.

‘Were they?.

‘Oh yes. Women can tell. Nothing wrong with paste mind, I have a few pieces myself, Coco Chanel has re-invented the style, but then you wouldn’t know that, being a man, unless you’ve been leafing through my copies of Vogue’. She grinned. He grinned back. She continued ‘So she appears to have only possessed one item of value – the bracelet …’. Simmonds could almost hear Piccolo’s brain engaging top gear. ‘… and she kept hold of that because it had sentimental value … I’ll bet she had many other nice pieces and she sold them. I think we’re looking at someone who had the need to raise cash for whatever reason. And I’m pretty sure that’s connected to her death’. Piccolo paused briefly before adding: ‘Well that’s how I would have written it’.

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