“Yes, Mr. Tompkins, that’s what we mean,” said Ingram, “and the reason we’re here is because we think you know the man in question, a Mr. Mills of Knightsbridge.”
“What Spinky?” said Tompkins, “Spinky Mills, well I’m blowed, I only saw him yesterday evening at The Glitz Bar, y’know. He disappeared, and now I know where to, although it’s a long way to pop out for hanky-panky with a woman.”
“Perhaps he was kidnapped?” asked Sergeant Evans.
“Really?” said Tompkins, “why would you say that?”
“He had marks around his wrists indicating his hands were tied together. He hadn’t had sex either.” Sergeant Evans smile grew broader.
“Oh, poor Spinky,” said Tompkins, “but wait on, Constable Ingram, if memory serves, Stalky Stark was rogered before being asphyxiated, so the MO, the Modus Operandi is different in these cases.”
“How fascinating you would remember that, Mr. Tompkins,” said Ingram, “you are correct, of course, Mr. Stark had sex with his attacker and Mr. Mills did not. However, the hairs in the teeth prove the attacker is the same person.”
“Well, hold on, perhaps there were hairs still at the crime scene and those were placed in Spinky’s mouth?” suggested Tompkins.
“The crime scene was thoroughly examined and that is not possible,” said Ingram.
“Well, you would say that, Constable Ingram, but my belief is that the scene has been compromised by person or persons unknown. It is my belief that someone is mocking the death of my great friend, Stalky Stark, by also killing my great friend Spinky Mills in a way that is similar, but not the same.”
“You speak almost as though you were there, Mr. Tompkins,” said Ingram.
“Well, I was there a few days ago, but not recently, because it’s a crime scene and one shouldn’t cross the cordon sanitaire of the investigation.”
“I am only too pleased to hear that,” replied Ingram, “I wouldn’t have expected you to say anything else.”
“But who is doing the actual asphyxiation?” asked Tompkins.
“A woman, that’s all we know, a woman with an alluring manner, who seduces and cajoles men and then suffocates them very quickly,” replied Evans.
“You said you saw Mr. Mills last night?” asked Ingram.
“Yes, he was going to phone some of Dapper Dan’s girlfriends to see if any of them knew where he was. My friend Dapper Dan Heaton-Hall has also disappeared, and we don’t know where he is, so we hoped one of his girlfriends could help us, but it seems like Spinky never made those calls.”
“I see, well that is unfortunate – have you reported Mr. Dan Heaton-Hall as missing?”
“No, not yet, someone thought he might have popped off to the Outer Hebrides for a few days, but no one can confirm this yet.”
“It must be wonderful to pop off to places at a moment’s notice,” said Sergeant Evans, “without worrying about a job. Hold on, that snoring is definitely getting louder, I think your wife might have a sinus problem, I’d take her to the doctor if I were you.”
“Yes, you’re probably correct, but back to Dapper Dan – it’s not his fault he’s wealthy and his great-great-grandparents made so much money from the slave trade down Bristol way. It’s not easy being rich, you know.”
“No, especially when you own your home in London,” replied Ingram, “anyway, Mr. Tompkins, I think we should leave you be.”
“Well, that’s jolly decent of you, Ingram, and if you think there’s anything else I can help you with then please let me know.”
Ingram and Evans left with smiles on their faces. After Tompkins closed the front door, he ran up the stairs to find where Marvin was. The dog was lying on the chaise-longue fast asleep. Tompkins resolved to take him round to Aunt Jemima’s as soon as possible. He headed for the roof where a message attached to a pigeon said ‘Black Watch’ had arrived on Lewis and was headed for the beach where Dapper Dan’s responder indicated he was located.