Saturday morning in Bremston police station saw a bunch of desultory officers looking at the list of depredations perpetrated by the local villains the night before. Detective Sergeant Karen Parker looked bored and irritated.
“Honestly, was this why I went to police college? To pick up wasters who uproot park benches and throw cans at the war memorial? I should have stayed in my bed.”
This brought a few rude comments from her junior colleagues, but she ignored them. Karen was a dedicated policewoman, promoted at an early age and keen to keep on the upward path. The fact that she was single at twenty-seven meant only that she had yet to meet the right man, someone who set her heart on fire while still respecting her commitment to her job. So far no-one had matched up, but she certainly hadn’t given up hope.
“So who do we favour for the park benches?” she asked the room in general. “Where were the Flecks last night? Was Danny around? Or big brother Lee? Are the Turnbulls in residence these days, or currently incarcerated at Her Majesty’s pleasure?”
It was only sensible to start with the regular offenders, the local pests who were a constant thorn in the side of Bremston worthies.
A bright-eyed youth rose from his seat and checked he had his notebook.
“I’ll start asking, shall I, boss?”
“Sure. Get on to it, Gerry.”
Karen indicated which of his colleagues should go with him, and then had another look at the list of offences. At least no-one had landed up in A&E with a hatchet in his head. On the other hand, a nice violent assault might dissipate the tedium, and a corpse would be even better.
No sooner had the thought crossed her mind than the phone on her desk rang and she lifted the receiver.
“Bremston Police. Detective Sergeant Parker speaking.” She paused, listening to the excited voice at the other end.
“Hold on a minute, Constable. You’re not making much sense. Start again.” She paused, listening attentively. “A body? In Peterford? Are you sure? You’re standing looking at it. I see.”
Again the voice squawked in her ear. The constable had responded to a 999 call, and had found a dead body, as promised. So could he have some back-up, please?
“Of course, Constable. Stay where you are. I’ll have someone with you as soon as possible. What was the address exactly?”
Karen put down the phone, lifted it again, and dialled.
“Good morning, sir. Sorry to disturb your Saturday, but apparently we’ve got a suspicious death. In Peterford. Yes, I was a tad surprised, too. But I’m assured by the local man that there is indeed a dead body in a garden, though it’s not clear what exactly happened.”
Detective Inspector Jim Owens groaned as he saw his Saturday and his daughter’s football match go up in smoke.
“I’ll pick you up in five minutes if you like, sir,” Karen said.
“I suppose so. Honestly, couldn’t you have made do with the normal weekend stupidities?”
“Plenty of those, too, sir. I’ve got a team on them. This is different, and possibly more interesting. See you in five.”