Observing Murder – A Short Story Part 2
Having made my decision to look first at newspaper reports, to see if I could find anything about the murder I had witnessed in my dream, it made sense to me to spend a couple of days in London where I could research properly. Online searching is all very well but there is nothing like doing it by hand, carefully reading through each little snippet of information just in case something has not been picked up by the search engines. My time was my own and, luckily, I had some money saved so I could afford to book into a London hotel for a couple of nights (nothing fancy you understand, just a basic hotel), and spend the days at Colindale where the British Library has its newspaper depository. Because it was already Thursday I decided to leave it until the Monday then, at least, I had the option of staying longer if necessary, especially as I had also decided to take a look at the scene of the crime itself.
For the first time in a long time I was feeling upbeat about things. I had something to do – at least it felt as though I did. I spent the weekend packing my case, gathering up my notepad, pencils, laptop and the notes I had made about my dream, and wrote out a plan of action. This was, of necessity, rather short. I had no idea what, if anything, I would find but I needed a plan behind me. I needed the reassurance that what I was doing had some structure – but mainly I needed to reassure myself that I was not going on a wild goose chase.
By late Monday morning I was ensconced at a desk at Colindale having summoned up as many original London papers as I could for the dates I was interested in. It took me about three hours before I came across anything – which surprised me as it was surely news when someone was murdered in such a public space. However, the item read:
‘Young lady found murdered on steps of the Kit Cat Club in the early hours of 27th July. As yet unidentified, she was wearing a sapphire silk blue dress with matching scarf, made by the house of Callot Souers, with shoes to match. No jewellery was found on the body, except a silver watch engraved with the initials O.A.J., and pearl hair pins. It has been ascertained that the young lady had been strangled with her own scarf. Further, that her hair had been dyed blonde but that her natural hair colour was, in fact, light brown. She had been found by a group of young ladies and gentlemen as they exited the club. They all verified that there had been no-one else in the vicinity at the time and that they had no idea who the young lady was. If anyone knows who this young lady is then please contact Inspector Crane of Scotland Yard immediately. We will treat any information we receive with the utmost discretion. Her family must long to know where she is’.
I don’t mind telling you I sat there for another fifteen minutes taking it in. Three things from that report came immediately to mind. The first two were that the initials on her watch were the same as the initials on the man’s silver-topped cane, and that the dress was from a very famous design house – and very expensive. The third thing was that she had dyed her hair. Then I looked again: no mention of her purse nor of her beautiful sapphire ring, and no mention of any pendant. That was interesting, as I knew that all three items were there with and on her body when the man who had been responsible for her murder had legged it, so who then had removed her jewellery? Why had her jewellery been removed, and, having removed it, what did the thief do with it afterwards? I couldn’t imagine that the ring, especially, would have been easy to fence, or to pass on to anyone else as a ‘little gift’. It was a very high quality piece of jewellery, any fool could have seen that.
I needed a little help here and could have done with some of Laurie’s input, but she was staying silent – I was on my own. I wondered if I would find anything else in subsequent newspapers but, after an exhausting two further hours spent sifting through hundreds of articles, and thousands of words, I had found nothing further. This puzzled me as someone must have missed their daughter/girlfriend/sister/niece/best friend? It also saddened me to think that her murder may never have been solved because no-one had bothered to care enough to name her. It just didn’t add up somehow. The clothes and jewellery she had worn were those of someone with money, not just a little spare cash but real money. Her shoes were made specifically to match her dress, unless she had landed lucky and ‘found’ some which matched exactly. Not likely at all that one.
I wondered what my next step should be. I could hardly go to the police and tell them I had witnessed a murder in a dream and was currently researching it to see if it was all as real as I believed it to be. However, I was in possession of vital information which had been unavailable to the police at the time, information they should really have. I tried to visualise myself pitching up at Scotland Yard with some yarn about a dream I’d had of a murder that had actually happened, and the response I was likely to get. I could just imagine the looks, the nudges, the sly winks and then the final humiliation when I was carefully escorted off the premises by someone who thought I was a nutcase.
Finally, finally, Laurie started to communicate with me again. She sounded rather strange, as though she had a heavy cold, which was of course impossible (but then she was real so, perhaps, she did have a cold). ‘Ask them if anyone had reported the sapphire ring missing at the time, they must have records of missing jewellery – it was an important piece and it will have been missed by the person who purchased it’, was what Laurie eventually said. That sentence added up to more words than she had spoken to me in, probably, the last five years. Ok, maybe that’s a tad exaggerated, but, trust me, Laurie never strings sentences together. However, I had to admit, that it was a starting point. She was right, the ring had to have been a one off, the diamonds and sapphires were simply stunning and pure art deco. I decided to try and draw it so that I could at least present something to the police. The other thing I could do was have a look through Debrett’s Peerage or Who Was Who and see if anyone turned up with the initials O.A.J.
If I only knew the name of the jewellers who had made the ring I could have enquired about their back catalogue and, perhaps, found out the name of the purchaser. Laurie was silent on that one for a long time. About an hour later I heard her voice in my head whisper ‘Garrards’. I didn’t ask her how she knew. I probably should have asked her there and then, though I doubt she would have replied. I guess, if I ever thought about it at all, I thought that she could find the answer to anything with a little ferreting around. After all, she had been an amazing help to me over the years. I had never once stopped to ask why she helped me, why she protected me or anything in fact. Why she put up with me I really don’t know. All that mattered to me, at the time, was the fact that I had something definite to work with. I decided I would visit Garrards the following morning.
Ha, innocent that I am. Why on earth would Garrards just let me in through the door? They only let you in if you have an appointment, of course they don’t let just anyone through their hallowed doors – as I found out on Tuesday morning when I was politely turned away. However, nothing ventured nothing gained as my mother always said. I rang their door buzzer again and the same young man came to the door ready to turn me away but, this time, I showed him the picture I had drawn of the ring and managed to tell him the story before he could open his mouth. I admit it was a bit of a garbled story but he seemed impressed by the trouble I had gone to and, wonder of wonders, interested in my story. He let me in!