Simmonds and Piccolo were in the kitchen for breakfast. She asked how many eggs he wanted. He answered ‘two’. He continued: ‘I need to follow up on your idea that Miss Margaret needed money. I’ll try the bank first. Almost certain she’ll have had an account with The Southern. They’re always keen to help. Could be a big step if you are right’. Simmonds was always happy to give credit, and Piccolo was always happy to receive it.
‘All we need to do then is figure out what precisely she needed the money for’ said Piccolo, carefully placing the eggs in the pan of boiling water. She added ‘So we have love, and we have money. Trouble is usually not that far behind’.
Inspector Simmonds sat in the office of The Southern and Provincial Bank in Welby. He’d been there a few months earlier investigating a fraud case. Following the money was becoming ever more prevalent in police work. It was a Capitalist age.
‘Well she had an annual allowance, quite a generous one, paid in a lump sum each year on her birthday’ said the Chief Cashier. Simmonds had correctly guessed that Margaret had banked with The Southern. Having been given a few hours notice, they had been able to retrieve the details from the branch in Bessingham. The banker elaborated: ‘She spend quite freely, but never let the account run out, until a few weeks ago when she withdrew all the funds – quite a substantial sum – in cash’. He passed the paper statement across the desk so that Simmonds could see the numbers involved. They were large. Simmonds thought: So all this to hand and she still needed to sell her jewellery to raise further? (Presuming Piccolo was correct in her supposition, of course). Was that plausible? What enterprise would have demanded that amount of money?
‘Do you handle any accounts for a Mr Mortimer Catchpole?’ Simmonds asked.
‘No. We had a request from you chaps the other day asking the same question and I checked then. So he’s a person of interest too?’.
‘Oh yes’ said Simmonds. ‘Very much so’.