The River Runs Deep – Episode 06

The next morning, back at the gate of Magdalen College, Sergeant Greene reported that he was now officially the officer assigned to pursue the enquiry.“The superintendent says I have the most experience of it,” he said formally. “I may gather evidence and witness statements.”Ruth could see that he was thrilled. His handsome features were animated.“Well, am I not a witness?” she asked.“I would judge so, yes,” he said, avoiding her eye.The porter agreed to knock on Dr Morris’s door and request of him a meeting with the police. He tutted at the sight of Ruth, but 10 minutes later they were seated in a large, book-lined room, the porter closing the door behind him. Morris was shabby, embittered-looking, and rude. He did not ask them to sit, not even Ruth.“Yes, I intend to publish a new work on kingship in the Tudor period,” he said cagily. “What of it? I am busy with the proofs this morning, so if you have finished ”“We are making some initial enquiries,” Greene said, “in the matter of an attack upon an undergraduate.”Morris waved a fat hand.“I try to avoid them and their antics, except that I must teach them.” He eyed Ruth. “This young woman is not a policeman.” He smirked. “And certainly not a student of this college.”“The young lady is assisting me,” Greene said, his eyes fixed on Morris.Ruth’s spine tingled.“I don’t like him,” she whispered to Greene as they descended the dark staircase to the cloisters.“That is not a reason to accuse him,” Greene said. “Were you a police officer you would be accustomed to distinguishing the guilty from the disagreeable.”“But I am assisting?”He stopped at the bottom of the stairs. It was a very small space.“I said that to keep the doctor talking,” he said, loosening his collar with one finger.As they stepped into the dim light of the Magdalen cloister, a group of young men in academic gowns strode past, talking loudly.“So,” Ruth said, “now we may talk to Fred Carter’s peers.” She followed the men at speed.Greene caught up.“Perhaps, Miss Rutherford, I can decide how this police enquiry progresses,” he said.Ruth stopped and bowed slightly.“Naturally,” she said. But the look that passed between them, something in his eyes, told her that it was not necessarily so.Ruth approached the undergraduates, who were happy to talk to this pretty girl who had found her way into College.“I heard about poor Carter,” one of them said. “Terrible show.”“Fine fellow. Brilliant, too, for a grammar school man,” another said.Ruth nodded.“I believe he studies the Elizabethans.”“Don’t you worry about History,” a tall young man said, grinning at Ruth. “You concentrate on gowns, or hair styles, or whatever you ladies enjoy.”Ruth’s eyes narrowed, and she sensed the policeman’s smile again.“Indeed,” she said, “but before I visit a haberdashers, may I ask if any of you gentlemen have noticed anything unusual in College lately.”“Oh, it goes on pretty much as usual,” one said. “Dinners, lectures, crusty dons. Same old faces, same old books.”“Apart from the odd chap we saw twice!” a stocky boy with spots said.They all nodded enthusiastically.“Oh, him! Yes, miss. Scruffy type, loitering on the bridge here and at the station the next day. Phillips here particularly noticed him on the down platform. He was no Oxford resident, we reckoned. He was dressed all wrong.”“He could have been our murderer!” Phillips said. “Don’t you think, officer?”“No murder has, in fact, occurred,” Greene said, drawing himself to his full height. “And the police don’t think.” He blinked, thinking over what he’d just said. “That is to say, we do think, but we ” He stopped in his confusion. “We should be getting on, Miss Rutherford.”


Used to make posts more anonymous, eg a criminal case where you don’t want to expose the actual journalist.