The River Runs Deep – Episode 09

Sergeant Greene sent a note the next day to St Hilda’s, asking Ruth to meet him at the river.

In an official capacity, as witness, he wrote, you might be able to add to the Force’s knowledge about a new matter that has arisen. But if the weather is poor, I will not, of course, expect you.

It was pouring with rain at the appointed time. Ruth borrowed an umbrella from the girl across the hall.

“My chief,” Greene said sadly, as they sheltered under the umbrella near the spot where Fred was saved, “is suggesting that Mr Carter was not, in fact, pushed. He proposes that he banged his head on a branch and became confused.”

Ruth looked at the riverbank and shook her head.

“And that the death of undergraduate Philip Fulshaw,” Greene went on, “is unconnected. Undergraduates get drunk, the super says. It is likely that I will be taken off this investigation.”

“Then we must hurry,” Ruth insisted. “What else?”

“Doctor Morris is to be asked to leave Magdalen. The President of the College was reluctant to divulge private disgrace, but I got it from him.”

“So his work is very poor, and his shame considerable. But that doesn’t make him a murderer, as we established.”

“Oh, and the man seen by those students the scruffy man. A picture was circulated, and my colleagues in Mayfair reckon they have seen him loitering in the area of Eaton Square,” Greene said.

“We will see what links can be made between the victims and that part of London.”

“I had an appointment with them both an hour ago,” Greene told her with satisfaction. “You see, Miss Rutherford, that I can proceed on my own account.”

“Of course. But I should like to have been with you.”

“Until ladies,” he said, “are accepted in the British police force, which you will admit will be never, you may not accompany an officer in the pursuance ”

“Yes, yes.” Ruth was impatient. “What did you find?”

He sighed. A fresh blast of rain hit them from the south-east.

“Trescanton’s family has a large townhouse in Eaton Square. He wondered if perhaps the man is a blackmailer; it is a new and distasteful practice for wealthy men to be held to ransom for some indiscretion. But Trescanton has never seen the man in the picture, who gave his name in Oxford as Franks. Neither has Fred Carter. And none of them have cause to be blackmailed. Discreet enquiries were made with families, and the slate is clean.”

Ruth sighed.

“Then we are no closer. My enquiries have been of the feminine sort, and useless, I am sure. Fred Carter is in love with a young lady of high rank who is an old friend of his Lordship. They are sure to marry.” Ruth smiled as the rain hammered on the umbrella. “The spark between them was clear as day.”

Her hand touched his as she adjusted her grip on the umbrella’s handle. They both froze for a moment, until Sergeant Greene moved away slightly, adjusting the position of the umbrella. He cleared his throat.

“Well, I am pleased that poor Mr Carter is to be made happy. And now I must arrange a trip to London, to ask in Mayfair after our friend Franks.”

“I will come with you.”

He stared at her.

“Two heads are better than one,” she declared. “We have little time, if your superintendent does what he warns of, but I am sure we can throw more light on this.”


Sergeant Terence Greene was certainly not off duty when he made his enquiries in London. And the company of Ruth Rutherford was certainly unorthodox. They both knew it, and neither of them commented as they visited the gold stores, shops and eating houses of London.

“This is a wall of silence,” Greene said softly as they exited a dark, narrow jeweller’s. “We have spoken to a hundred people in this small area of London.”

“I know that some of these people must recognise the drawing of this man,” Ruth agreed. “But they won’t speak.”

They took an omnibus across to the West End, and walked along damp streets to elegant Mayfair.

“We have little hope of seeing this man by chance,” Greene said. “But a friend I have in the new CID tells me that, in the art of investigation, the action of familiarising oneself with a place or landscape can bring new ideas to light, new connections.

“This is the Trescanton residence,” Ruth said as they turned a corner into a wide street. “Carshelton House.” They stood looking up at a huge white-painted mansion.

Greene peered through a lower pane with the nosiness only permitted to policemen.

“Empty,” he said. “As far as I can tell.”

“At least empty above stairs,” Ruth said. “Servants are less visible. But the Earls of Hardstone are not our concern today.”

They walked on, and at the next corner of the grand square a couple he about fifty years of age, she perhaps forty-five were arguing inside a fine black two-horse carriage. Ruth placed a hand on Greene’s arm to forestall him, and listened.

The day was cold and the windows of the carriage firmly shut, so the words of the quarrel taking place inside within were indistinct. But it was certainly heated. The woman glanced out of the window suddenly and frowned at Ruth, and they moved away.

“What a gorgeous carriage,” Terence said as they walked away.

Ruth looked back.

“There’s something familiar about it,” she said, “and about the woman.” She laughed. “Perhaps it is just a memory I have that makes me think that. My parents rarely argue, but I remember finding them in heated debate one evening as they came back from evensong. They thought I was safely back at our house.”

“They were arguing out of your sight,” Sergeant Greene agreed. “Keeping their differences from their child.”

Ruth nodded.

“They were arguing about some matter connected with me. I could tell.”


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