The Mid Martin Henge Mysteries.
Any reference of names or persons who are real is purely unintentional and bears no reference to any individual or true location.
This is book one from the The Mid Martin Henge Mysteries collection.
Mid Martin Henge is a quiet village set within the history of Somerset in the United Kingdom, and is also a much loved and preferred location, and in which recently the more affluent prefer to live, including the young, to older generations, and those who choose to retire there.
There is an active and friendly community, also good pubs come places to get a meal, and recently in historical perspective, the old Shire horse Inn was purchased by the Mid Martin Henge Christian Fellowship, and they have a beautifully well adapted and clean modern coffee bar where food can be purchased, and use the building not only as a place of worship but to also serve the community, from which visitors and members travelled from surrounding areas to attend, as well as numerous additional activities which appear to be well attended by both younger and older generations.
Only recently a spate of murders or mysterious deaths have befallen the elderly citizens of Mid Martin Henge, and who as one reporter was quoted as saying, that they were reputed to be falling like skittles, and that Inspector Simon Culvate was struggling to solve these crimes.
Kate Winslow an old Miss Marple type of character, and in her own unassuming manner becomes involved in assisting her nephew Inspector Simon Culvate with solving these crimes; only she finds herself targeted by forces which she knows and understands in some cases are far from human.
The birthday celebrations were in full swing, and Ester Davies was enjoying her Ninety Third birthday, and the residence of Brearley House were singing happy birthday, while watching Ester taking in a deep breath, and then blowing out the small cluster of candles. There was laughter as her false teeth clattered onto the table, and incredibly the candles went out, and then within seconds they relit themselves.
Esters eyes widened as she realised the care staff had used trick party candles, and she smiled, as she raised her eyes and looked over to the Care Coordinator, who was holding a selection of carefully wrapped parcels.
“Happy Birthday Ester,” came the collective reply, and then there was clapping and laughter as the cake was cut, and the residence grouped around Ester wishing her good health and many more birthdays.
It was a joyous occasion, and Steller Armstrong one of the residences had returned to her apartment, as she had wanted to collect a present which she had forgotten to take with her for Ester. Only in all the excitement and laughter, singing and noise, she had not returned, and it was not until some twenty plus minutes, before the Care Coordinator had realised that Steller had failed to reappear.
Inspector Simon Culvate looked across to his colleague WPC Murphy Evans. “This is the seventeenth murder in the last five months, and we are still no closer to knowing who is responsible for these hideous crimes.”
He paused to think and then continued talking. “It also looks like this might have been an opportunistic crime, as Steller would not have returned had she not forgot her gift.”
It was later discovered that Steller’s pearl necklace was missing, yet strangely, money and other valuable items had remained untouched, and unknown to the residence and staff, this was the signature of who-so-ever was committing these hideous crimes.
Excluding Steller, there had been seventeen deaths within the community, and all of which but one, were remaining unsolved, and Steller had made the eighteenth..., and in every case it was discovered a single object had been taken..., possibly as a trophy..., yet in every case money and valuable jewellery were left behind and untouched, yet in every case the victims were elderly, and all had been murdered, by first using chloroform..., and then smothering the victim with a pillow until they had stopped breathing.
Simon the Pastor of the Mid Martin Henge Christian Fellowship, smiled as the children eagerly went through their collective rehearsal for the upcoming Christmas play, young Susan Wilson constantly got her words muddled and out of order, yet her enthusiasm showed, and her smile and times of laughing kind of made it adorable.
But as she dropped her shepherds staff, Susan bent forward to retrieve it, and a pearl necklace fell free from her clothing, and was recognised immediately by Simon, as he had seen it on many times in the past, while visiting Steller Armstrong, and who was once in her younger years an active member of his church, until age and illness, had prevented her eventual attendance.
Now Steller laid within the morgue awaiting an autopsy, and Simon knew the necklace been worn by young Susan was the one which had gone missing from Steller’s room, as central to its design stood proudly one pink pearl.
Quietly Simon pulled out his mobile phone and contacted his brother in Christ and friend Inspector Simon Culvate and explained that he was almost 100% certain the missing pearl necklace was at this moment been worn around young Susan Wilson’s neck.
Realising the delicate nature of the enquiries, Inspector Culvate arrived with WPC Murphy Evans, and Murphy sat talking to young Susan, while she played with one of her dolls. “I had a doll like that when I was your age,” said WPC Murphy. “I called her Polly Anne, and I use to dress her in my mother’s jewellery, only I lost her one day when we went to the sea side.”
Susan smiled, “My doll is named Jenny, and I take her everywhere I go.”
“Do you sometimes dress her with that necklace you are wearing?” Susan laughed. “Shish..., don’t tell mummy but I found it when I dropped Jenny, and there by her side on the grass lay this necklace, and I thought Jenny had shown it to me to wear and play with.”
Murphy smiled, “Wow would you mind if I had a look at it, I wish my Polly had been so clever, you are a really fortunate girl to have such a clever dolly.”
“I don’t mind as I also found a ring and a hair comb, you can play with those as well if you want.
Murphy looked across to Simon Culvate who was near by talking with Susan’s mother. He had heard the child’s remarks and quietly shook his head indicating yes. “Oh, can I..., that would be lovely as I have another doll still at home, and I could dress her just like you do, and would you believe her name is Susan.”
Susan took off the necklace and handed it over to Murphy along with the ring and hair comb, which she had retrieved from her small bag. “Here you are,” said Susan, “and the next time I see you, you can show me your doll, and we can dress them together..., and they can play while we are in church,”
WPC Murphy smiled, “do you think you could show me where you found these items?”
Susan laughed, “no silly..., as mummy told me not to leave the church, but I can tell you, it is only a few houses up where there was a load of rubbish in the front garden, the second from the corner, and not far from the old Manner house which was up for sale.”
WPC Murphy carefully wrapped the jewellery in a silk scarf and placed them into her pocket. “Susan..., I just need to go and talk with my friend Simon, he is over there talking to your mummy, thank you for letting me borrow your jewellery, I will bring you my doll the next time I visit.”
As Murphy got up and was walking away, Susan smiled and waved to her new friend, and Liz, Susan’s mother came to play with her daughter.
As WPC Murphy conferred with her boss, Inspector Culvate spoke into his mobile phone, and arranged to have the house in question cordoned off until a forensic team could arrive.