Her cold, dead eyes stared up at the night sky, and the men who stood looking down at her stopped digging. They had found what they had sought. Detective Inspector Edward Stanton smiled a humourless smile. He had found the woman after five months of fruitless searching, of wild goose chases and roads to nowhere. Here she was, decaying in a shallow grave, the method of murder as yet unknown, but murder he suspected it was. One of the men pointed a flashlight at her face, making it startlingly white. He could see marks around her neck, and he was confident that she had been strangled. He walked to the edge of the path that led into Hale bank, South Liverpool and got into his vehicle. It was 11:04pm. There was no moon in the sky. The rough trail cut through sloping fields until it eventually wound its way to a Mersey river bank nature reserve. It was popular with joggers and bikers. Around ten metres from the path, beneath an over hanging oak tree, the woman’s body had been found. With her husband being a suspect, now seemed like a good enough time as any to go and see him. He had been questioned many times while she had been missing, all the time protesting his innocence. As the house was only a ten minute drive away, he realised that his instant decision to confront the husband was taking a risk on his own. Yet, the man was not exactly Mr Universe, but he was capable, however, of strangling his wife. In the times Edward had seen him, not once had he been violent. In fact, if he was innocent, he would probably burst into tears, and that was something he could do without, being a shoulder to cry on and a tea-maker. It had to be done, though, and he wanted to get it over with.
He pulled up outside the semi-detached, and saw that somebody was home. Everywhere was quiet, the moon behind wisps of cloud, a nearby street lamp casting the car in a muted orange. Edward left the vehicle and walked through the gate, up to the front door. He knocked quietly and stood back. After a few moments, the hall light came on and the door opened. The woman’s husband recognised who it was instantly.
“Detective, strange time to be calling,” said Peter Selden. Edward smiled that humourless smile again.
“We’ve found her,” he said. “She’s dead”. Peter closed his eyes, slowly breathed in through his nose, then took a few steps back. He collapsed to his knees, his face in his hands.
“Alright, alright, it was me. I killed her,” he said. Edward stared at him for a few moments. That was it, he thought. Case closed. He took from his pocket a mobile telephone, and before he began the necessary procedures, there was one person he decided to call first. After a few rings, it went to an answering machine.
“Congratulations,” said Edward. “You’ve done it again”.