The Strange Case Of The Buckled Swash – Episode 11

Driving home from the police custody suite, having booked Peter Thorpe in, John Barclay was far from euphoric. On the surface it seemed an open and shut case. But was Peter Thorpe jealous enough to commit cold-blooded murder? He wasn’t convinced. Plus, even though the poison clearly came from the vet’s supplies, there was no concrete evidence to prove that Peter had been the one to apply it to the sword. It would have been the work of seconds, and with the swords sitting out on the prop table anyone backstage, in theory, could have been responsible. Including Pippa, for that matter. Hadn’t Peter Thorpe mentioned that she had visited him briefly on the opening night? The phial of Immobilon was the crucial missing piece of evidence. Whoever had it, or had been in possession of it, was the murderer. Something else niggled at him. The issue of Deirdre Wells’s set of keys. Why would she say she had returned them if she hadn’t? And if she wasn’t lying, then that meant Jean Burrell was. There were still too many loose ends and unanswered questions, and John Barclay did not like loose ends. He did not like them one little bit. ****“So, to what do I owe the pleasure? I suspect it’s not a social call despite all your outrageous flirting,” Briony Powers said as they sipped their machine-dispensed coffees in her small office. “Apologies for the coffee, by the way.” “It’s like nectar compared to the sludge we get at the nick. Do you remember I asked you if the poison could still have been effective if applied prior to use and you weren’t sure? It’s become crucial that I know the answer to that question.” Briony Powers grinned. “Just as well I checked with the manufacturer, then. They confirmed that, in order to induce death in humans, it would need to enter the system while still in liquid form, which means no more than a few minutes at most on the sword tip. Your man in custody, is he still the prime suspect?” “He ticks all the boxes at the moment.” “Apart from concrete proof linking him to possession of the phial of poison?” Barclay nodded. “Which is precisely why I have ordered a thorough search of the farm and stables.” ****“Mr Thorpe, I remind you that you are still under caution. Can you tell me what this is?” DI Barclay pointed to a small sealed plastic bag containing a syringe. Peter Thorpe picked it up and sighed. “You know what it is. It’s a dose of Immobilon. It says so on the label.” “Do you know where we found it?” “Of course I don’t.” “Then let me enlighten you. It was found, wrapped in clingfilm, buried under a pile of hay in the stables on your farm. Mr Thorpe, where were you between eight p.m. on the evening of the Friday dress rehearsal and four p.m. on the Saturday afternoon?” “I was at home.” “Can anyone corroborate that fact?” “Yes, Pippa.” DI Barclay flicked through his notebook. “Miss Burrell: ‘Pippa wasn’t in the audience?’ Mr Thorpe: ‘No, she’s been out on some big animal emergency all day. She came backstage earlier to let me know she was going home to have a bath and a glass of wine and to wish me luck’. “I’ve checked, and the grateful farmer concerned has confirmed Miss Barnes’s version of events, so you have no alibi, meaning you could have gone to the hall any time on Saturday and jammed the sword mechanism. Applying the poison would have been easy. And what better way to deflect suspicion than to carry out the act yourself in full public view. I have to congratulate you, Mr Thorpe. It was a fiendishly clever plan.” “Why would I conceal the evidence in my own stables if I was fiendishly clever?” Peter Thorpe put his head in his hands. “This is some sort of living nightmare. I didn’t kill Tim Tompkins. I didn’t, I swear it!”


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