The Body On The Beach: 53

Simmonds returned home to find Piccolo baking. ‘Well?’ she asked as soon as she saw him. He explained the proceedings at the bank. ‘So looks like you were correct about the money angle’ he said.

‘Doesn’t confirm the jewellery theory though’ said Piccolo. ‘We need a way to approach that. Perhaps Miss Edith?. She must have noticed what jewellery Margaret wore. If that changed over time, if she noticed some pieces disappearing, that might be a convincer. But if she did sell them and there isn’t a clue we’ll never discover to whom or where’.

‘We could ask around the local jewellers’ said Simmonds, ‘there can’t be that many’.

‘She’d hardly have gone in and sold them herself’ said Piccolo. ‘What she needed was a go-between, someone who could ideally travel some distance away to make the sale and who couldn’t be traced back. That’s what I’d do’.

‘She may not have been as cunning as you’ Simmonds pointed out.

‘True’ replied Piccolo. ‘Perhaps that modus operandi is a guess too far. We’re even falling into the trap of assuming she had anything to sell in the first place. Let’s stick to the facts we have to hand’.

‘Then the fact is she had, withdrew, and disposed of a large amount of money. We just don’t know the what-for’. Simmonds paused and then said casually ‘I have the keys to Henry Dalling’s house. Care to join me?’.

This perked Piccolo’s attention. ‘Absolutely’ she said. ‘Just let me finish up here first’. She started tidying. ‘But isn’t it a crime scene as such?’ she asked. ‘Ought I be there?’.

‘When has that ever bothered you?’ Simmonds asked rhetorically. ‘It’s fine anyway. The boys have already been over it. Officially it’s still a missing persons case, but knowing what we know I’d like to have a look around from a different perspective’.

‘Do you have anything particular in mind?’ Piccolo asked.

‘Some link to Mortimer Catchpole’ said Simmonds.

‘Are you so positive there will be one?’.

‘Not at all, but it has to be worthy of an examination. And there’s something else …’.

‘What?’.

‘When I was over there before something struck me as being unusual, but for the life of me I can’t recall what it was. I’m hoping it’ll come back when I’m there again’. Simmonds reached to grab a cake, Piccolo smacked the back of his hand with a wooden spoon.

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