One day ago, the veterinarian for Heath on the Hampshire was found dead in the community pool with a pearly knife stuck in her chest. I was a refugee from Scotland Yard trying to live a calm rural life but the constable, untrained in murder investigations, made me an honorary constable. The vet, Maureen, was unpopular in a town where most people liked each other. With Marty McBride, the constable, I went to Maureen’s house. It was a small home with a thatched roof and a glossy red door. In her living room, comfortably furnished, were numerous photos of golden retrievers and Labradors.
“Her dogs,” said Marty. “The last one died a year ago. She took it hard. She really loved her dogs.”
I ventured further and went to the kitchen. It was clean and relatively neat. There was a cereal bowl in the sink with remnants of granola. There was a tea kettle on the stove. There was a teacup with a tea bag sitting on the counter. There was a small amount of amber liquid in it. I left the kitchen and walked down the hall where the walls were adorned with more frames of her dogs. I opened a door that led to her bedroom. The bed was unmade. The comforter was white with blooming blue roses. There were side tables, a lamp, and a comfy chair upholstered in fabric with cabbage roses. I sighed. I was bored. There was nothing interesting in Maureen’s home and then I opened the double doors of the closet and felt a blossoming of interest and intrigue. On the left side were shirts and pants hanging limply on hangers but on the right were leather and latex outfits with hanging whips and riding crops and a sundry of other sexy outfits. I opened a drawer and there was a riotous mix of vibrators and dildoes.
“Goodness,” exclaimed Marty.
“Maureen is now officially interesting,” I said. “Between wanting to euthanize pets and a taste for S&M she seems to have a sadistic streak. I wonder who her partners were.”
I went into her living room. There was a small writing desk with a laptop. It was password protected. I opened a tiny drawer and there was a pink sticky taped down. PetsEverything. I tried that as the password and it worked. I opened her photo files and saw, much to my dislike, many of the town’s men, most married, in various stages of nudity with ball gags in their mouths.
“This expands our suspect list,” I said.
“Good lord. Christ. I know all of these men. They seem so normal. I can’t…” Marty seemed in shock.
“We have to interview these men.’
“This is going to be awkward.”
“It has to be done,” I insisted. “One of these men could be the murderer. Are there any with knife collections?”
Marty scratched his head. “Philip. He inherited hunting knives. Oh, and Nigel. He collects war memorabilia.”
“Are either in these photos?”
“Nigel. There he is.” He pointed to a nude balding man cupping his genitals.
“Well, let’s go talk to him.”
Marty sighed. “This is going to be a mess.”
“Murder usually is.”