Scene of Crime
Real-life crime has engulfed the domestic life of the Riverside Theatre players. For starters, there’s the violent death of Estelle Bignall, the beautiful, neurotic wife of a well-to-do doctor (and aspiring resident playwright). In truth, suicide seemed more Estelle’s line—especially during the Christmas holidays—but a thief saved her the trouble, stealing all the presents and leaving her bound, gagged, and suffocated.
Instinct tells Detective Chief Inspectors Lloyd and Judy Hill that Estelle’s murder is far more complicated. At the crime scene there are too many footprints, too many fingerprints, too much conflicting evidence—and too many suspects: an elusive burglar, a sinister next-door neighbor, the victim’s secret lover, a scared kid with fresh bruises on his face. But which of them was desperate enough to commit murder?
thinking she had some imaginary illness or other. Got very nervy and depressed. Eventually, she seemed to get over that, but this year she’s been very down again. She left the society—said she wasn’t good enough, which was absolute nonsense.” Judy frowned. “And you think Carl was to blame for that?” “Well, I certainly don’t think he helped. I think once Estelle got to be a bother to him …” Again she shook her head. “No, I really mustn’t say things like that.” Like what? Judy thought perhaps
had called to say that he’d seen a van parked on the main road, at a bus stop between the entrances to Windermere Drive and Eliot Way, at about eight-twenty. He had written down the number because of the burglary in which a van had been used, and the driver, a heavily built young man, had run back to it and driven it away as he’d done so. And it was the number of Baz Martin’s van. Of course, Ryan said he’d been there, but he said Baz had gone home before anything happened, and clearly Baz had
seriously wondering if he was suffering from shock or something. Lloyd had repeated the contradictory statements Leeward made to him in his surgery, repeated his denial that he’d been having an affair with Estelle Bignall, had asked if he wanted to say anything more, but Leeward said nothing. He had shown him the glove, asked if he recognized it, and Leeward said nothing. He had asked him again if he’d been having an affair with Estelle Bignall, and Leeward said nothing. The shoes had been
shaking; he couldn’t go home in this state. But he couldn’t stay here. The pub, he thought, relieved that something approaching an idea had managed to penetrate the fog of fear and worry. He’d go to the pub. He drove off, turned down the road into the bypassed village and parked, half on the pavement, half off, opposite The Horse and Halfpenny. No one knew how it had come by that name, and people assumed it was one of the new wave of pubs with silly names, but The Horse and Halfpenny, once a
at bookstores everywhere.