“Beg pardon?” Jepson asked. She squirmed in the chair.
“Nazi,” Dickinson said, “ Bloody Nazi, he was. And in the 60’s, it was. Tried to take Winnie Churchill’s seat, he did. Nobody voted for him. Like anyone would.”
Dickinson looked to Lewin for standard approval. The chief detective sipped his lukewarm tea, and turned to the Assistant coroner.
“So no movement on an autopsy?”
Jepson said no.
“The family was contacted. Constable Parvesh spoke with Mrs. Cheltnam, she lives in Chelsea Abbott, just a few clicks from here. The Missus took the news well, and had some questions, then asked to be excused.”
Jepson looked over her notes.
“Two children. There's a daughter Deborah, age 45, married, with two children, and the younger son, Brian, who was in the Army. Recently returned from Iraq. He is residing with his parents, or well, one of them now. Madeline and her family live in the side house to the abbott. Caretaker's place."
Jepson handed her pad over to Lewin, then turned to Dickinson.
“Anything new from your aunt at the dead letter office?”, she asked.
Dickinson waggled a finger. "Careful, now."
“Did you know him?" Lewin interrupted. "The son?”
Jepson swiveled back to Lewin, just missing Dickinson's nasty look.
“No," she said, "if you mean in the Army, there were over forty thousand British troops in Iraq, so I might have driven right by him, but I don’t recall meeting him there. Seen him in town, though, though I can’t recall when. Been a while. Never spoke."
“Can’t miss anyone here,” Lewin mumbled. “So it sounds like Mrs. Cheltnam did not approve of the autopsy, but I think I’d like to carry on with that. We’ll get the permission, or medico-legal if we need to. Meantime, can you get me a little more information on the son? Where and when? I’ll talk to him. By the way, have either of you had any contact with the family previously?”
Both shook their heads.
“Really? In an area this small?”
Dickinson nodded at Jepson. He’d take it.
“The family moved in not all that long ago, sir, three, four years ago. Came down from London as far I know. Was away for the longest time. Might see them in town, like Jepson said. But not friendly. That’s the talk. I can check around.”
“Ask Rose, too.” Jepson mumbled.
“I just might do that. She’s knows more about dead people than any cop ever did.”
Lewin held up his wait a moment hand.
“I’ll need the report on forensics, tire marks, other interviews all the usual rot. Get a file going on line and regular paperwork. By the way, when was the last murder out here?”
Jepson shrugged. “Could’t tell you. I’m new here. Dickinson?”
As had been said, he knew his moments.
“Seventy years ago, sir. At Chelsea Abbott. Mr. Cheltnam’s father,Lord Cheltnam, it was.
“Right. The Nazi thing after the war. Lord Cheltnam supported Hitler and all the fascists. Was reading in his study in late 1940 and boom, like one of them Jerry Hermann bombs came in his window. Ba-boom. Took em years to rebuild the Abbott, not like anyone was rushing to do it, but it did have historical value, so eventually they got it done, but the price was the old Lord’s title. They gave it to some war hero, but he died not long after, and that was that. As I said, the family stayed away in London for years."
“So the grandfather died violently, and I'd like the file on that," said Lewin, "and now the father is shot by an AK-47, and the son was in the army in Iraq who would have used...”
He gestured to Jepson.
“Normally assigned a L85A2. I’ll get some photos.”
“Right, a whatever that is. This goes back to the 60’s and even further back than that. Or it may mean nothing at all.”
Lewin pondered the next sentence before speaking, but these two were as close to friends as he’d made since he came to Parnell-Locksey.
“Look, I never thought we’d get anything like this and...”
“You mean a murder,” said Jepson, almost reverentially. “I can understand.”
Everyone understands, and no one has a clue, Lewin thought. He wrote that in his journal enough so it came unbidden. “Quite, but here it is. And we will do the best with it. Headquarters wants it kept on the hush hush, no point stirring this all up. But Headquarters has its head up its hindquarters, as usual."
Jepson and Dickinson smiled, and it took Lewin a few moments to realize he had made a funny. He quickly grinned and stood. “Let’s be on our way. Meet back for tea at four.”
Dickinson stepped aside for Jepson to head out of the office first, then turned to his supervisor.
“The car was taken, sir. It’s a lovely day, and its only a mile. Walk or bike?”
“Why aren’t there any buses in this town?”
Dickinson shrugged. “It’s Parnell-Lockesey, sir. Why anything?”
“Ask your aunt.”
Dickinson stood aside for Lewin and then grabbed the door to close it “I did. She said no comment. Politicians is politicians even when they are dead.”
Lewin turned his head quickly for a final look at the picture of the Queen as the door shut.
“We’ll fix it this time, M’um,” he whispered. “Promise.”
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