The unlikely pair was standing outside the small-town police station in Oakham. For the first time in nearly a week the weather was not cold and foggy; only a few clouds obscured the early-October sun shining down on Chief Inspector Richard Reddington and Miss Pam. The Bradbury family butler had already been taken inside by a couple of officers. With the amount of evidence against the man the court-case would be over quickly but still Richard hoped they could close the lid on the case soon. It had been a ghastly week for the Bradbury family, trapped in their remote estate for nearly a week while they were picked off one by one by an assailant they had only identified with the help of Chief Inspector Reddington and Miss Pam, two guests that had just happened to be there when the fogs descended.
Initially the Chief Inspector had been reluctant to accept the help of the elderly woman in his investigations. He quickly had to reconsider his stance when the second death happened. She had proved invaluable. She was an old friend of the Bradbury family and knew them and their staff well and had a mind like a winter gale. Sharp and cuts to the bone.
“And you are certain I cannot convince you to accept my proposal, Miss Pam?”
The elderly woman smiled at him kindly. “Thank you for the offer Chief Reddington but I am just a curious pensioner out visiting friends and distant family. I have to get back to my house as well; Miss Whiskers must be missing me something dreadful.”
That didn’t upset Richard. She had already declined his offer earlier. He just wished his own detectives had half her sharpness of mind and intuition.
“Well I hope we meet again, Miss Pam.” Richard doffed his hat at her.
“Indeed, Chief Inspector. Under happier circumstances hopefully.” Miss Pam responded with a chuckle.
Chief Reddington couldn’t help but chuckle back. “Of course. Now, I have some paperwork that unfortunately needs my attention. If you’re headed for the railway station I can arrange one of my men to escort you?”
“I’ll be quite safe on my own, Chief Inspector, but thank you for the offer. Good day.” And with that the elderly woman did a small bow and left, walking down the sidewalk towards the railway station in a brisk pace. Chief Inspector Richard Reddington looked on for a moment before calling out.
One thing poked out of his recollection. “Miss Pam!”
The pensioner stopped and turned, a curious smile across her face. “Yes, Chief Inspector?”
He ran over to the her so Miss Pam would not have to shout. “We only found out it was Laslo because you found the murder weapon. But how did you know it was there?”
Miss Pam’s face lit up. “Ah, you see, the Bradbury’s have a tea pot that’s been in the family for generations, the one with the lovely depiction of Saint George?”
“Yes I know the one.”
“Ah yes and the day after the second murder the butler made tea in a different pot,”
“The one with the Virgin Mary.”
“Just the one. He said it needed to be cleaned but when I checked the kitchen sink it was absent. But just behind the pipes under the sink was the family tea-pot. And inside,”
“Was the old serrated steak-knife.”
Miss Pam nodded.
“Ah, so it was. Thank you again Miss Pam. Have a safe trip home.” Chief Reddington reached out to shake her hand.
Miss Pam returned the gesture. “To you too, Chief Inspector. Good day.” And again she turned and headed for the railway station and Richard went back to the station. Work called.
Miss Pam gingerly knelt down under the bridge and picked the serrated knife up with a gloved hand. Lady Bradbury had stood in her way of the inheritance they were both entitled to from a shared mentor from their school days. Well, had both been entitled to, Miss Pam supposed. Poor Laslo had been perfectly positioned to be a scapegoat in her place.
She put the knife in a little pouch in her handbag and carefully strode back up to the sidewalk, looking both ways to make sure no-one had seen her. She had a train to catch home.