THE MID MARTIN HENGE MYSTERIES. Death of an Author.
The Kate Winslow books are a story of good and evil, and how a faithful 93-year-old woman and a strong Christian, uses her agile mind and faith to aid her nephew Inspector Simon Culvate in solving crimes.
Life was once again as near normal as you would expect for such a beautiful quiet village and set in the picturesque surroundings of Somerset UK. The Parish had recovered from the recent deaths and a new priest and Curate were appointed at All Saints church.
The annual garden society had already met, and Kate Winslow had won the first gold award for Prized Exhibit three years in a row. While the Mid Martin Henge Writers Group had started holding fortnightly meetings within the Shire Horse.
Incredibly the group was well attended, and a range of members and visitors had presented themselves for this organised event.
David Wolverton was paying a personal visit and although famous in his own right, and writing under the Pen name of Havid Farland, and author of the world famous The Druids Lord, he was also known for having guided many well-known authors, including Stephan Gilmour, that was until the Sunlight Vampire stories became a world seller.
The meeting as usual held a variety of characters, from humble meek individuals, to those who forcibly tried to get their opinions across, and believing their method of writing and solving crimes was better than even Inspector Culvate, who was a local resident of Mid Martin Henge, and who just happened to work for the Avon and Somerset Constabulary.
The second guest speaker was the well-known and much loved, Kate Winslow. Kate now in her nineties was a small petite woman who could easily pass in her mid-sixties. She was agile and had a quick and sharp mind and what she termed as a blessing, in having a near perfect photographic memory, she also had three books entitled The Mid Martin Henge Murders to her name.
Incredibly when the Mid Martin Henge Christian Fellowship purchased the building, they finally won approval, and was given the required documentation to function as a Community Church come Coffee Shop, open to the public.
The various function rooms were also thoughtfully designed, and held the latest video streaming and Wi-Fi, and the Coffee Shop where the meeting was being held was sumptuously decorated with good quality material, and it had a beautiful old flag stone flooring, and a stunningly beautiful wood burning stove.
It was from within this environment that the writers group sat in comfort and awaited the next guest speaker, who was a recognised author, and who wrote under the Penn name of William Wolf. Only his appearance appeared to be delayed, until a late arrival brought the news that the police had discovered a body in a car, and it was parked upon the Shire Horse’s own land, and parking area.
As WPC Murphy Evans entered the Coffee Shop from the rear door, she looked at the confused people before her. “I apologise, but there has been an incident in the car park, and for now no one may leave until a fellow constable has taken statements from you all.”
Kate leaned back in her chair and took a sip of tea while observing the body language, attitude and mannerisms of those within the room. Understandably the innocent would be in mild shock, and like Kate wondering whom the unfortunate victim was.
Simian Wilson was one of the brash upcoming new writers who thought his work better than others, Jillian Jessobs was the complete opposite, and yes! She was related to the founder and owner of Jessobs photography, and wealthy in her own right. She had also three novels published, but not by Amazon or iBook Apple’s Self-Publishing, but by Penguin, a world-famous publishing house, and she was contracted to produce two more novels.
Andrew Warren was a relatively unknown variable, he had only recently started attending the writer’s group, yet he appeared reserved, although an example of his work had truly impressed Kate, and she believed he held great potential.
Ann Trump was also an unknown variable, and she like Andrew had only recently started attending the group but had as to date not shown or put forward any examples of her work. While Angela Bird was known by almost all the local residence of Mid Martin Henge, and she frequently volunteered in the local doctor’s surgery, the Tourist office and even at Melrose Court, a residential community housing project, offering extra care to the more vulnerable members of Mid Martin Henge’s community.
Havid Wolverton was known by all present, and famous in his own right, he had also entered the Coffee Shop with Kate Winslow, having met up with her for an evening meal at the White Hart, and then they both walked the short distance to the Shire Horse. On their arrival, and as they had entered the facility via the recognised rear entrance, Kate had noticed three cars were already parked, and that voices were heard, presumably coming from those who had already arrived.
As Kate cast her mind back to what she saw within the car parking area, she remembered there had been a couple taking photos of the stream area to the far end of the car park, and the car nearest to where Kate had entered the building, was a Black BMW eight series, and it had the driver’s door open as Katherine Bishops was exiting the vehicle, she had locked up and waved, closed the door, and locked the vehicle as she walked away, using auto central locking.
Kate had not been able to see clearly the car parked beside the large black BMW, but further along was a VW Polo Estate, and inside appeared to be someone reading a book, but he had been too far away for Kate to identify, or say for certain, if it was Mr Wolf.
Inspector Simon Culvate entered the room, and broke Kates concentration. “Kate, could we have a quiet word, the preliminary pathologists report, estimate of time of death is about two hours ago, and although you never saw me, I like you was sitting in the White Hart, and having a meal with an old friend of the family Judge Bishop Armstrong.”
Kate greeted Simon and then walked with Simon to one of the rear rooms, and away from the hearing range of those within the Coffee Shop, she reached up and kissed her nephew on the cheek.
“Simon dear, as you know Havid Wolverton was also with me, and I can vouch for him for most of the afternoon, as he came to my garden to see for himself my flowers, and later we also went to see the wild meadow near Pound Lane..., it’s so beautiful at this time of year.”
Simon smiled, “Yes we know, little gets past the locals in this village, especially in Pound Lane, as it has CCTV from the All Saints church, and the various private residences in that area. “He is a truly good author and artist you know,” replied Kate.
Simon looked and smiled, “Honestly Kate, I think you read my mind sometimes.” Just then loud voices were heard coming from the Coffee Shop area, and the door burst open and Katherine Bishop and Simian Wilson were seen arguing loudly.
“No.! Simian you have no right to accuse me, yes, I knew William, he was an old friend of the family, but to say I murdered him over a collapsed affair, it is..., it is slanderous.”
Simon immediately stepped between the two arguing individuals, and Kate could see that Katherine was crying. “Enough...., enough of this disgraceful behaviour, and you, sir if you genuinely made such an accusation, you need to keep your thoughts to yourself, and how might I enquire did you know it was Mr Wolf dead in the car park...?”
Katherine wiped her eyes dry with a tissue, “He received a text on his mobile phone,” said Katherine, “and then just came up to me, and interrupted my conversation with Angela Bird, we were talking about an idea she has for a novel, and this..., this monster, so rudely interrupted us, and started waving his phone at my face, and accusing me of having murdered poor William.”
Inspector Culvate’s mobile phone rang, and he was forced to allow WPC Evans to deal with the security breach and discover who had leaked the information to Simian Wilson regarding the recently discovered body.
It was evident he had been murdered, as a gunshot wound had entered the right side of his head, and a hole large enough to place an average size human fist was opened to the upper left top part of his skull, from where the round exited.
As no weapon was found, suicide was ruled out, and a further hole was in the cars roof area where the projectile exited the vehicle. Simon surmised that someone had leaned in close through the open driver’s side window, and shot Mr Wolf at almost point-blank range, only no one had reported hearing a gun shot.
Various witnesses had claimed the car was there when they arrived, and they honestly had not known it was Mr Wolf, nor had they realised that the poor man was dead, in truth his head was lowered as if he was reading something. Kate, herself who was normally by far more observant than others, had briefly seen the victim sitting in his car, and even she had initially assumed he was simply reading or possibly praying, and, as this was also a church, praying was not regarded as unusual.
Simon spoke into his phone, and then listened for some moments, he then placed the phone back into his jacket inside pocket, and walked over to Kate,
“One of my constables has just interviewed the couple who were in the car park down by the stream. They claim that the car was already parked there upon their arrival, and that they had apparently accessed the car parking area, via the opposite field, and apparently, they claim they were undertaking a sanctioned study of wild life in the area.”
Kate smiled, “Yes I had heard the Ornithological Society were interested in seeing for themselves, if there genuinely were kingfishers in the area, also sticklebacks and water voles had been reported to have been seen, personally I think it was more likely some locals still trying to stall the opening of the Shire Horse, and their little pranks got out of hand, and with some actually believing their wicked wild stories.”
“Are there Kingfishers in the area?” “Well yes once, but that was before even the Shire Horse was built and opened as a public house. It’s construction and the untreated waste pumped into the stream soon put an end to the king fishers and most of the wild life, other than mice and rats,” commented Kate.