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The Four Marys
The Four Marys
Four Marys Part 3
Four Marys Part 4
The Four Marys Part 5
The Four Marys Part 6
The Four Marys Part 7
The Four Marys Part 8
The Four Marys - A Murder Mystery
Seven (You can access the other parts from the main menu at the top).
Wilson had a long list of things for Mike to do but had to remind
himself sharply that the lad was seconded to DCI Maxwell for the
duration of these murder investigations. Mike started to make some
notes about the two murders, hoping to chance upon some connection
between the two victims, Mary Simkins and Mary Fielding. It was slow,
painstaking work, but it was what he loved doing, and he swiftly
became absorbed in his notes. He wasn’t sure why he wanted the
murders to be connected, except for the obvious reason, that both had
been killed by a blow to the head with a lump of flint, a substance
that didn’t occur naturally in this part of the country, which was
primarily composed of sandstone and limestone. Flint could be
purchased from builders’ merchants for decorative purposes,
however. To Mike it seemed absolutely certain that both young ladies
had been murdered by the same person, but as yet there was no
evidence, unless he could find a link between the two Marys.
of the victims had ever been arrested in the past, so Mike started to
make enquiries about them through the electoral register and various
other resources available to him as a police officer, and soon
determined that they had both been pupils at the Girls' Grammar
School in Six Hills Way, the only girls' grammar school that served
the New Town. Simkins had then attended the University of Liverpool,
gaining a degree in modern languages. Fielding had entered the civil
service, and until the time of her death, worked for the Council in a
local office. Simkins was twenty-three years old, Fielding
twenty-one, but there were only thirteen months between them, so it
was quite likely they had run into one another during their school
years. It was even possible that they had both been in the same form,
as one of them could have passed the eleven-plus at the age of ten,
as he had, and just scraped in to the year ahead of her. That would
be easy enough to find out, a phone call to the Grammar School would
soon clear that up. Mike paused in his note-taking and decided to ask
Maxwell if he should drive out to inform Mary Fielding’s parents,
Anthony and Janice Fielding, of her death, but the Chief Inspector
was away from his desk, so he asked Sergeant Wilson instead.
not working for me at the moment,’ Wilson said with a sigh. ‘Use
your initiative, boy. All part of your training. If you can’t find
your line manager, use your initiative.’ This was a piece of advice
Mike would come to regret, but for the time being, he decided to
follow it, hoping that Sergeant Wilson’s heart was in the right
thought about asking Lizzie Trigg what he should do about the
Fieldings, but decided instead to collar WPC Matthews during his
coffee break. They’d been back at the station for less than an
hour, and he already had two pages of notes on the two victims, but
he thought it was still within the bounds of decency for informing
the parents. They would have to carry out the formal investigation of
Mary Fielding’s remains, in any case. What did she think?
on my way home shortly, Mike, I’ll follow you, if you like?’
think we should do it?’
can’t find Maxwell?’
right now. Sergeant Wilson is being uncooperative, he’s lost me
temporarily to Maxwell, so he doesn’t want to know. Says I should
use my initiative.’
you go, then. I’ve done it before, but only from an RTA, not from a
on, then.’ They decided to both drive in their separate cars as she
had to pick up her children from the local primary school, and Mike
would still be on duty. It took them just fifteen minutes to get
there, but when they arrived, the house was locked up, and they
assumed that both of Mary’s parents were at work, or shopping, or
something of the sort. They were about to drive off when they saw a
woman walking towards them, having just alighted from the bus that
was going past.
I help you?’
Fielding? Mrs Janice Fielding?’
me. Has there been an accident?’ As WPC Matthews was still wearing
her uniform, Mrs Fielding knew that this was a visit from the police,
and that something had happened.
we go inside? Is there a neighbour who could come and sit with you?’
doors down. Why? It’s Anthony, isn’t it?’
it’s your daughter, Mary,’ the policewoman said as Janice
Fielding turned the key and led the way into the house. She dropped
her shopping bag on the floor and her hands flew to her face.
we sit down? Mike, go and get Mrs Fielding’s neighbour, then put
the kettle on.’
time Mike returned with an elderly, white-haired lady who had
identified herself as Sally Haynes, a widow who had befriended the
Fieldings when they had first moved to Stevenage New Town ten years
ago, relocating from Willesden, in North London, the news had been
broken to Janice Fielding that her daughter was dead.
Mike, please, hot and sweet,’ Matthews aid. Janice Fielding was
sobbing, rocking backwards and forwards on the settee, her arms
clasped around her middle. Sally sat next to her and put her arm
round her, comforting her.
need to contact your husband, Mrs Fielding. Can you tell me where he
works, and give me a phone number, please?’
do it,’ Sally said, standing up. ‘He works at the ESA factory in
the Old Town. He’s a systems engineer, whatever that is. The
number’s in the directory. I’ll tell him he’s needed at home,
you, Mrs Haynes,’ Mike said.
did she die?’ Janice asked.
Christ, you haven’t told her she was murdered yet, have you? Time
to do my duty, Mike
thought, and sat next to Janice on the settee.
sorry, Mrs Fielding, I have to tell you that your daughter was
murdered, earlier this morning. She was with her housemate, Jenny
Rogerson. She discovered Mary this morning, and we were asked to
attend the scene. She was murdered. I’m sorry. We can’t give you
all the details right now, but we believe it was a blow to the head…’
Where’s Jack? Is he all right?’
is fine. He was asleep when it happened, and Social Services have him
all safe and sound. I’m sure they’ll be in touch with you
shortly, but Jack is perfectly safe, and slept through it all. As far
as we know he was never in any danger.’
Haynes returned. ‘They’re sending him home. He cycles, so he’ll
be a while.’ It was probably in the region of two miles. Mike knew
this because he had occasionally cycled all around the new and old
town area to familiarise himself with the lie of the land, which was
necessary in his line of duty.
could have gone to fetch him,’ WPC Matthews said. She looked at her
watch, then took Mike on one side. ‘I have to get home, one of the
kids has been taken poorly, I have to fetch him from Ashtree…’
nodded sympathetically. ‘You go. I can handle things here.’
the station, ask them to send someone out to sit with Mrs Fielding
and her friend until her husband gets home.’
need for that, is there? I can hang on here. They may be able to fill
me in on Mary’s background.’
trying to find out if the two victims were connected in any way.’
shouldn’t start questioning them just yet, Mike. They have to get
over their grief first.’
be fine, you go. I’ll just have a quiet word with Mrs Haynes. I
promise I won’t bother Mrs Fielding. Not today. And I’ll
definitely stay until her husband gets home. You go. I’ll see you
she was clearly still worried. ‘I shouldn’t leave you…’
nipper comes first. I’ll be fine.’
don’t do anything stupid!’
she had reluctantly driven off, Mike returned to the kitchen and
finished making three mugs of tea. He found digestive biscuits in an
unopened packet in one of the cupboards and carried everything
through to the lounge, where Janice was still crying, and Sally
Haynes was still trying to calm her down. Mike supposed that when her
husband finally arrived home and had been apprised of the situation,
he might be able to slip away with Mrs Haynes and ask her some
questions about Mary Fielding.
turned out to be a long wait for the husband to arrive home, and when
he did, he was carrying his bike, an old, rusty affair with straight
handlebars and mudguards. He had a puncture, and rather than try to
repair it, he had decided to walk with it. Mike met him at the front
door and told him briefly and succinctly of the situation.
not our Mary…’ he said. ‘Where’s Janice…’ Anthony
Fielding, known to his friends and family as Tony, was average
height, no more than five feet nine, almost totally bald on top, and
wore dark glasses. He wore a shabby grey suit and his trousers were
protected from the bicycle by cycle clips. He had removed his tie and
shoved it in his jacket pocket. Strapped on the luggage rack behind
the back wheel was a battered old leather briefcase.
the front room with Mrs Haynes. I’ll make you some tea…’ Tony
Fielding shook his head.
he said. ‘She’ll need brandy. Some in the kitchen cupboard.’
afternoon wore on. The doctor was called to give Janice Fielding a
mild sedative, and Sally Haynes promised to see that they had a good
hot meal inside them later that evening.
Fielding – Tony… You’ll both need to come to the mortuary to
formally identify the body – well, one of you will… when you’re
ready… The post mortem will be carried out tomorrow morning at ten
o’clock, so if you could make it before then, either this afternoon
or first thing in the morning, before the pm, that would be good?’
Fielding nodded. ‘I’ll come. Can someone give me a lift? My
on my way back to the station, but I’ll give you a lift to the
hospital first, if you like?’
can you stay with Janice while I…?’
nodded. ‘Of course. We’ll be fine, we’ll be fine.’
Haynes, I’d like to have a quiet word with you later, when I bring
Tony back, if that’s all right with you?’ Mike said to the older
lady, whilst Tony was changing into more comfortable clothes.
Yes, if you wish. I’m not sure how I can help you, but yes, of
you. See you later, then.’
drive to the mortuary took place in complete silence. Mike didn’t
know what to say to Tony Fielding, and he seemed to have no desire to
talk. Only when they reached the hospital and arrived at the mortuary
did he open his mouth. Finding his way down to the mortuary was
easier, having already done it once in the company of Nurse Baker,
and he wished that he might bump into her, even making a detour past
the Men’s Surgical Ward for that very purpose, but she was nowhere
to be seen. It had been his intention to make an arrangement to see
her again, as he had promised, but today he was out of luck. Nurse
Martha Baker was simply not around, at least not in the vicinity.
she suffer, constable?’
really not at liberty to say, Mr Fielding…’
need to know!’
died very quickly, that’s my understanding, and that’s really all
I can tell you. You will be told everything in due course…’
understand. Sorry to put you on the spot like that.’
here, let’s get this done, then I can get you home.’
Trigg pulled the sheet away from Mary Fielding’s face and Tony
Fielding’s face crumpled into tears. He nodded, and turned away.
her, that’s my Mary,’ he whispered, and Mike felt so sorry for
the man that he clasped him round the shoulders and hugged him,
comforting him as best he could.
get you home now. Your wife will be needing you.’
drive home, Tony Fielding voiced his opinion that the murderer must
have been one of Mary’s past boy friends.
you know them, any of them?’ Mike asked, hoping for an insight into
the kind of people Mary had associated with.
really. We lost touch when she moved in with Jenny. We know the
father, of course, Jack’s father. David Smith. Seemed a decent sort
of chap, but I expect you know that already?’
my way now to find out where he ended up. We will have to interview
him, of course,’ Mike said. He’d not given Jack’s father a
single thought, something both Maxwell and Wilson would be sure to
castigate him for if they found out that he had been making enquiries
about Mary’s schoolfriends rather than her closest friends and
she visit you, bring Jack to see you?’
a week, sometimes less, sometimes more. When she didn’t have anyone
to knock about with, she would come home, Janice would take them
shopping, get stuff for Jack, sometimes stuff for Mary, too.’
of course she did! She works, sorry, worked for the Library, in the
old town, next to Elmes hardware shop.’
looked after Jack, then?’
Somewhere in the old town, I think, near the library.’
nodded, bringing the car to a halt outside the Fieldings’ house.
father, where can I find him?’
used to work at the railway station, I think. His name is David
Smith. I thought you said… I don’t know where he lives, though.’
just wanted to make sure. Jenny Rogerson said she thought he had
moved away from the area. There were no other people at Mary’s
house last night – some kind of small gathering to celebrate the
finalisation of Jenny’s divorce, I believe, but it folded
relatively early, at least that’s my understanding. There was Mary
and Jenny, John and Terry. I’ve already spoken to John and his
mother. I still have Terry Vincent to see.’
nodded and got out of the car. ‘This is a nice little motor.
Starting handle job, is it?’ He clearly didn’t want to be
thinking about his daughter and how she had died. As soon as Mike had
started to talk about the other people in the house, he had steered
the conversation away to a subject nearer to his heart, motor cars.
the easiest way.’
was originally 918cc. We did a re-bore, that didn’t work so we
dropped a larger engine in.’ Mike couldn’t remember the actual
engine size, so he didn’t elaborate at this point. If Tony Fielding
persisted, he would have to find the log book, which he thought might
be with the rest of his papers, including his birth certificate, at
home in a battered old suitcase.
four seats. Not many of those about now. What year is it? 1936, I’d
say. Could do with a proper paint job, though. I might know someone
who could spray it properly for you…’
bear it in mind. Mr Fielding, I’m going to ask you the same
question I asked Jenny Rogerson: do you know of anyone who would want
to hurt your Mary? Kill her?’
Fielding shook his head. ‘No. Not my Mary. She was an angel, that
one. Wouldn’t hurt a fly. Do me a favour, will you? When you catch
whoever did this, don’t tell me who it was. In fact, don’t let me
near them. I will kill them.’
Mike said, knowing full well that Tony Fielding would probably be one
of the first people to know who the murderer was. ‘A senior officer
will be in touch with you to let you know how things are progressing.
In the meantime, I have some more enquiries to make. Terry Vincent,
first, I think. He was the other person at last night’s party.
Jenny’s boyfriend. I’m sorry for your loss, Mr Fielding. I
didn’t know your daughter, but I can see that she meant the world
to you and your wife. We’ll get the social services people to make
sure you don’t lose touch with Jack. Will you be taking over the
looking after of him, do you think?’
Fielding nodded. ‘I can’t think of anyone else. Jenny works full
time in the Coop supermarket at the Hyde. She loves him just as much
as Mary used to, but she has a life of her own. No, I guess it’s
back to looking after a baby for us, at least for a while. If Janice
isn’t up to it, I don’t know what we’ll do. Thanks for the
like to say it was my pleasure, but it wasn’t, really, was it? I’d
guess you’d rather still be at work than here talking to me. If you
think of anything, call the station. Police Constable – Detective
Constable Thompson. Anything at all that might lead us to the killer.
I’ll let you know the results of the post mortem as soon as I have
them, but it’s fairly certain that she was struck on the back of
the head with a piece of flint.’ And
if you do come up with the name of someone who might have killed your
daughter, don’t keep it to yourself, don’t act on it without
telling us. That would be a senseless thing to do, especially now,
when your wife and Jack need you.
Fielding pushed the car door shut and walked slowly to his front
door, his head bent. Houses either side had already pulled their
curtains as a mark of respect. News travelled fast, and everyone knew
that the daughter, Mary Fielding, had suffered an horrific death by
virtue of the neighbour, Sally Haynes. Mike spoke briefly to Mrs
Haynes, who confirmed everything the parents had already told him,
and offered nothing by way of information that would help with the
enquiry. Mike decided to talk to Terry Vincent, after which he would
make his way back to the station and continue with his enquiries into
possible connections between the two victims.
parked outside the Vincent household in Windermere Road and after
knocking twice, the door was opened by a young man whom he assumed
Vincent? Detective Constable Thompson. Can I come in?’
is it? I fixed the light on my bicycle at the weekend, you can’t do
me for that…’
not about your bike, Terry.’ Mike followed Terry Vincent into the
front room, which was sparsely furnished, and sat on an old G-Plan
settee, which had seen better days.
remember anything about last night, at Jenny’s house, Terry?’
it Jenny? Has something happened to her?’ Vincent’s eyes were red
and tired-looking. Mike wondered if he might have taken something,
and remembered Jenny saying that pills had been passed around at the
party they had all attended before going home to the Mary and Jenny's
Jenny is fine. It’s Mary. Someone broke into the house last night,
well, early this morning, to be precise, and murdered Mary. I’m
sorry, this must come as something as a shock to you.’
Vincent gave a howl of grief and lurched unsteadily to his feet.
be better off sitting down, Terry…’
need a drink.’
took him by the arm and lowered him gently but firmly back onto the
settee. ‘No you don’t. Not yet. I just need you to answer a
couple of questions. What time did you leave the house to come home?’
did you see anything unusual? Any vehicles parked in the road? N your
way home from Jenny’s house?’
shook his head, and Mike had no reason to disbelieve him at this
stage. If Vincent had been off his head on drugs of some sort, the
likelihood of his being able to remember seeing anything on his walk
home in the dark were virtually nil. Mike asked a couple more routine
questions then made his way back to the station. Wilson informed him
that DCI Maxwell had been called back to HQ in Hertford and that for
the time being he was to carry on with his own investigations into
the two murders, but at the same time, the sergeant insisted that he
made inroads into the mountain of paperwork that had accrued on his
desk while he had been out.
wrote up the few notes he had made from the morning and afternoon’s
interviews he had carried out, then pulled a few of the files off the
top of the pile and leafed through them, but his mind was still on
the possible connection between Mary Simkins and Mary Fielding. He
decided to ring the Girls' Grammar School but the school was on the
point of closing and he realised with a start that it was gone four
o’clock. All of the pupils would have gone home to their various
neighbourhoods, and although the secretary, a Mrs Anne Laker, was
still there, she was not sure if any of the teachers were still in
the building. Mike reminded himself that Abigail would be home by
now, and that he should drive out to have a word with her. He didn’t
expect that she would be able to contribute anything, or tell them
anything they didn’t already know, but it had to be done.
I can help you, Constable?’ Mrs Laker was saying, and he jerked
himself back to the present.
might be able to, yes. Have you been there long? At the school?’
you remember two of the pupils from around the early 1960s? Mary
Simkins and Mary Fielding?’
was a moment’s hesitation before the reply came.
remember Mary Fielding yes, vaguely, but I remember Mary Simkins
better. Fielding was always in trouble of some sort, mainly with the
police… No one thought she would get a decent job, to be quite
realised he hadn’t checked on either girls in the police records.
But then Maxwell should have done that, shouldn’t he?
home life, was it?’
you have all that on file?’
of course, I’ll check, but anything you can add would be very
helpful, of course. What makes you remember Mary Simkins more, would
was always the centre of attention, the one who starred in the school
play or the Christmas musical, you know? Everyone liked her, she was
beautiful, kind, funny, plenty of friends, that kind of thing. Always
ready to help anyone who needed it.’
you remember if she and Mary Fielding ever knocked about together?’
there was a momentary hesitation before the answer.
I don’t think so… wait, though, there was that one time…’
Mary Fielding was arrested for shoplifting, the other Mary said she
would take care of her. Next day, at school, they were inseparable,
but then the older girl graduated back to her normal friends in her
own year, and I don’t recall them seeing much of each other during
school time. I couldn’t say if they met out of school hours, of
course, you’d have to talk to the families.’ They
had been in different forms, then, a year apart, but more or less the
I’ll do that, thank you very much for your time, Mrs Laker. I may
need to call you again, and you may have to make a statement.’
a minute!’ For a moment, Mike thought that Anne Laker had
remembered something else, something vital, but no.
it Mary Simkins who went missing and turned up dead a couple of days
you think Mary Fielding might have had something to do with it,
not at liberty to discuss it, I’m afraid.’ I’m
certainly not at liberty to tell you that Mary Fielding has also been
murdered, today, and by the same method.
of course not. A statement, you say?’
may come to that, yes. Any information we can gather about a possible
connection between the two girls will help to build the case notes
killed the connection and went through to Maxwell’s office, the one
that had been vacated by a detective inspector who was on annual
leave, and rifled through the piles of paperwork on his desk.
Sergeant Wilson saw what he was doing, and pulled him up short.
is the chief’s office, Thompson. What do you think you are doing in
here, going through the DCI’s paperwork?’
for something, Sarge. A file on either Mary Fielding or Mary
won’t be a moment, Sarge. Here we are, both files. Shall I take
them through to my desk, or sit and read them here?’
here, don’t take them away. Make sure you put them back exactly
where you found them, and I want you out of here in half an hour.
Then I’m locking the office.’
pulled the first file towards him, the one for Mary Simkins. In it
were various pieces of paper, witness statements from the pharmacist
and the cleaning lady with whom he had spoken earlier. She had
evidently been in to make her statement as promised, probably whilst
Mike and Alice were out with the Fieldings, breaking the news to them
about the death of their daughter. He scanned the statement quickly,
nothing out of the ordinary other than what she had mentioned in the
chemist’s shop. The pharmacist’s statement was longer, more
complicated, and suggested, as the cleaner had, that he had taken
Mary Simkins into his little consulting room (broom cupboard, thought
Mike) and reviewed her medication, while the husband, Roger Simkins,
waited outside. There had been some kind of diversion, a scuffle of
some sort, involving a couple of teenagers, and whilst Roger Simkins
was otherwise engaged, his wife had slipped out of the shop, turned
right and disappeared around the corner. After which, Roger Simkins
had become quite agitated, demanding to know where his wife was, and
at which point the police had been called.
was the statement from Roger Simkins stating quite clearly that there
had been no scuffle outside, that he had been watching the shop the
whole time his wife was inside, and that she had definitely not come
out through the front of the shop. Not to the best of his knowledge,
at any rate. Mike remembered that DCI Maxwell had spoken about going
to see Roger Maxwell, and also that there had been a note from
Simkins to the effect that he had seen his wife go into the little
consulting room, she had never come out, and that there was no other
way out of it. Had anyone checked that there was, in fact, a back
door to the chemist’s shop? It was unthinkable that there was only
the front door, but surely someone would have checked, to see if
there was any evidence that Mary Simkins had left that way instead?
Everyone seemed to have assumed that the story about the commotion
outside was correct, and that Roger Simkins had been looking the
other way when his wife had left, and he had simply missed her.
begged the question as to why his wife had wanted to avoid him in the
first place, but there was, he remembered, a record somewhere of the
interview with Roger Simkins in which it had been alleged, but which
he had denied, that he and his wife had had a violent row the morning
of her disappearance, something he vehemently denied.
leafed through the pages in the file, but could find nothing in them
relating to an interview between DCI Maxwell and Roger Simkins. It
could be, of course, that Maxwell had not had time to write up his
notes on such an interview, but from what he knew about the chief,
Mike was more inclined to think that it had turned up something
interesting, something suspicious that the chief wanted to
investigate further. He finally found the piece of paper on which
Roger Simkins had written his own note, and read it through. The
final paragraph was the most revealing.
was no way out of the consulting room, and I am convinced that my
wife did not leave by the front door. It’s as though someone
spirited her away. No one believes me. No one takes me seriously.
It’s as though my wife simply ceased to exist.
It was like a diary entry by Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s
gothic horror classic, Dracula,
he stop off at Roger Simkins’s house at knocking off time? Should
he try to get in touch with DCI Maxwell to see if he had already been
to see the man whose wife had disappeared two weeks ago, and who had
now turned up dead, murdered with a piece of flint, just like Mary
Fielding? Mike started to shuffle the papers and tidy the file, when
a scribble inside the back cover of the brown foolscap file caught
his eye. He was familiar with DCI Maxwell’s handwriting, and there
it was, in the top right hand corner of the file, faint but
unmistakable, the two words, followed by a question mark:
made a note in his notebook to the effect that he still had to
interview Abigail Walker, the babysitter, and resolved to catch up
with her the following morning before work, if possible. Then he
decided that enough was enough for one day, and left the station,
putting all thoughts of the two Marys to one side. As he realised
that he intended spending an evening with Elizabeth Trigg, he thought
briefly about Martha Baker, and smiled to himself.
catch up with you tomorrow, Martha,’ he said, and then he was off.
The Four Marys continues in the
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