This excerpt is from the book entitled The Goat Parva Murders an English Murder Mystery book set in the countryside, starring two policemen who have been working together for a few years and get along really well. There’s lots of dialogue and banter with some humour thrown in amongst the murders and suspects.
Knowles checked with the constables who were searching the woods to see if they’d found anything. There were a number of sandwich wrappers, a “Meat is Murder” sticker, and two beer bottles – nothing of any apparent significance, but Knowles left no stone unturned and asked for them all to be dusted for fingerprints.
Clem Shapiro’s butchers shop was in Madeley Waterless although he lived in Goat Magna. Although it was about three miles by road Goat Magna was only three quarters of a mile away from Goat Parva via the woods. Knowles believed Shapiro came through the woods to spy on Danica Baker-Clements as his vehicle had not been found.
As they were driving along Knowles phone rang.
“Allo, Knowles, here – oh hello – really – a what – in his mouth – how long?”
There was a long period of silence and then Knowles rang off.
“This case just became slightly more strange, Barnesy old son. That was Dr Crabtree from the forensic lab. When they opened Shapiro’s mouth they found a three-inch long stem from a flower, almost certainly a rhododendron flower, in his throat.”
“There was no flower in his mouth when I arrived.”
“Yes, I know, because that is something even you would have mentioned.”
“What happened to the flower and why would the murderer have put a flower in Shapiro’s mouth?”
“It’s symbolic of something isn’t it? What do butchers do with heads, the dead heads of animals – they sometimes place things in them such as apples – a pig’s head with an apple in its mouth.”
“Mimicking Shapiro and his decoration of dead meat?”
“The more troubling aspect of the case is this: Mrs Hills, Carly Waferr, and Barry Janus all saw the body and none of them mentioned a flower. We know that Shapiro’s jacket disappeared from his body in the few minutes between Carly Waferr and Barry Janus viewing the body. We know that no-one saw the golf seat that Shapiro was using. There’s two possibilities – either that bastard dog Bingo removed the flower from Shapiro’s mouth or someone took the flower before Bingo started removing his shoes.”
“So the person who took the seat took the flower too and then came back later for the jacket because Bingo disturbed them – they waited and then took the jacket after Carly Waferr left and before Barry Janus arrived?”
“Or the murderer took the seat and then someone else took the flower and a third person took the jacket.”
“Don’t forget Danica said she thought she was being watched by three people one of whom we know was Shapiro; the second person might have taken the seat for more comfortable viewing and the third took the flower. Who would take the jacket?”
“Someone who lives close by and might have seen something? Tomorrow we should pay a visit to Lord Avon and his family. You know what sickens me the most is that someone took a flower out of the mouth of a dead person with such force that the stem was torn off – that’s what the lab said – the stem was torn.”