The Body On The Beach: 70

For those touched by yet another shocking event at Bessingham Hall, Christmas Day came and went almost unnoticed. Simmonds was left to unpick what had occurred. Although the murder of Miss Margaret remained his number one priority, circumstances dictated that he shelved that enquiry to concentrate on the Smith case. But he need not have worried about solving the capital crime, for the most unexpected was about to happen.


A few days later, out of the blue, George Whittle asked to see Inspector Simmonds. He knew he was in a lot of trouble, and could put off the reckoning no longer. Hearing of the latest incident at the Hall he realised he had to set the record straight. And so finally the truth came out. And this is how it was told by him to Inspector Simmonds:

‘Where to start? … Eric and Agnes? Yes. That’s where I came in. They worked at The Lynn. They were blackmailing Midge – that is Miss Margaret. Agnes had seen a letter to Mortimer Catchpole, which Midge had left out one time when she had stayed overnight at the hotel. It discussed the fact that she, Midge, was being blackmailed. Someone, and it didn’t say who, claimed to have evidence that she was illegitimate. They wanted a great deal of money to keep their mouth shut. Well guess what? Agnes told Eric about it and they decided to join in! So one blackmail attempt led to another, as it were, and they demanded money too. They had some idea of using the cash to open a teashop and live happily ever after. I think Brighton was mentioned. As if Brighton needed another teashop! Well Midge didn’t pay, but after her death – that’s when I learned of all this – they targeted her brother Charles by peddling some vile allegation of incest. Of course he didn’t want his sister’s name sullied but he didn’t have the money so he came to me and I paid them off. But that was later. You’ll want to know how Midge died. Well it’s all connected and quite simple. She patently couldn’t take the stress of the blackmail any further – there is a pile of letters to Catchpole proving it. I took them from her room after she was dead — I had some legal business at the Hall and sneaked upstairs. I didn’t want the story coming out, you see. Midge hated the thought of anything putting her Father’s name in a bad light … She was devoted to him, did you know that? Anyway, I found her body – at the hotel. We were due to have dinner but she didn’t show so I went up to her room, the one she always used, and there she was, quite dead …’.


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