Edith Lockheart Victorian Sleuth
This story continues from the one linked below, but the story make sense without knowing the previous one: Belle Âme
Flash Fiction — Murder Mystery
A dreary Monday morning; I had become so tired of the lack of motivation that preceded me. But what was I to do I wondered? This thought would lead me to my next grisly case, the missing daughter of the Newington’s. It was on that Monday morning that Pat and Tony Newington came to visit. The Newingtons were of common backgrounds than I, but who am I to judge. They came from a small port town in Rochester and had recently become the talk of the town as their daughter Missy had gone missing in very peculiar circumstances. If that wasn’t enough, it looked as though the Newingtons’ had been spending money they did not have. They were very much at the epicentre of the drama that Blackheath had become accustomed to.
“Newingtons is what do I owe the pleasure?” Even writing it now, I still knew what they wanted to ask; there was gossip that after the Seaborne case I had solved that they planned to ask me to find their daughter Missy.
“We’ve come to ask something of you Ms Lockheart,” They stumbled into the living room.
“Whatever could you have to ask me” I replied knowing full well what the proposal was to be. “Please take a seat.”
They both seated themselves opposite me on the white sofa. “We’ve come to ask for your help to find Missy.”
“I had heard of your daughter’s disappearance,” I took a sip of my tea. “Not that I give much value to the day’s gossip,” I added.
Pat at this point, warmly responded “Ohh I know you’d have nothing to do with the filth that is peddled around town Ms Lockheart,” She changed her tone and continued “The thing is we heard of your brilliance in solving the murder of Ms Seaborne,”
“Yes, that was a tough thing to see my friend be a part of,” I noted and took another sip of my tea, “But, please continue.”
“Yes, we clearly understand that. The thing is the police are hard at work finding Missy, but there is only so much time they can spend.” Pat Newington became overwhelmed with emotions, so much so that Tony Newington had to take over “…We hoped that you’d look into the matter, Ms Lockheart.”
“I see,” I sipped my tea once more. “I hear detective Johnson is running that case… If the gossip is to be believed. He seems like a capable and amicable man, why not leave him to his work?”
Pat Newington while wiping a tear from her eye and giving back her husband’s hand “He believes she will just turn up on her own…”
“He’s doing nothing,” Butted in Tony Newington with a face of rage. “We can’t sit back and not find our daughter.”
“Very well, I shall take up your offer, I understand that I have a legacy to uphold now, so in the camaraderie of things I don’t see why not.” I took another sip of tea and placed the cup on the white china saucer that matched it. “I shall start straight away,” I proclaimed. “Let us start with the last time you saw Missy.”
“It was Friday, around four o’clock. We had been shopping in the village.” Pat Newington said wiping one last tear from her face.
“And what was she wearing?”
“A blue dress with a silver lining” Tony replied.
I knew the dress too well; the Newingtons had bought it for Missy as a present in times that were better than now for them. It was a very audacious dress, not to my liking. I tilted my head and nodded. “I think that will be all for now, as I can understand, this is an emotional time for the both of you and I’ll be able to find out more of the details myself. Although if I have any questions, I’ll be sure to ask.”
With that, I got up as the Newingtons shuffled their way to the door.
“Thank you so much, Ms Lockheart,” they echoed. I waved and then shut the front door. Turning around, I said to Sigmund, “Could you get me a hansom cab, I’ll be visiting the village this afternoon.”
Sigmund “Yes Ms Lockheart, your hansom cab will be ready this afternoon.”
As I stepped out of the hansom cab onto the rough concrete street, I picked up the pleated bottom of my dress and firmly strut into the nearest boutique. I walked to the counter and was greeted by a miserable woman with long thick black hair cascaded down the right side of her face.
“Do I have the right store, is this Natalias?”
“Yes, Ms Lockheart you do,”
“I see my fame precedes me,” I continued “Do you by any chance remember a woman in a blue dress, the dress has a silver lining sown into it and is a very outlandish affair?”
“You mean Ms Newington?” the woman behind the counter huffed back at me. “Yes, she was in here like I told the police, she went down those stairs to our basement section and as I remember she came back up and left shortly after with her mother.”
“What’s down in the basement section?”
“You can have a look for yourself.”
“Please, indulge me.” I smiled to say how have you joylessly kept employment.
“It’s are less expensive clothing, it’s more for the servants that aren’t household bound.” She winced back at me.
So the roamers were true the Newingtons were running low on income, well at least disposable income for that matter. “And tell me, was there anything old about her behaviour?”
“Not that I can think of,” the woman shrugged.
“Thank you and good day,” I said as I left the store.
Natalias was only around the corner from my acquaintances the Pattersons. I took a stroll over to their house through where the Sunday market that Sigmund picks up the food for the majority of the week. Their house is up a small incline that reaches the top of the village. As I got to the door I gently pushed down on the stainless silver knocker.
I sat down in the emerald-coloured room, that was far too over matchy and to be frank with you, kind of cheap looking. But it wasn’t the room that I was there for, it was to discuss the case with Emily Patterson.
“Do you like the room? It’s freshly done,”
“Yes, I do, very wizard of Oz,” I said trying to hold back my disdain for the room. “The Newtions came to visit me today” I steered the conversation anymore amicable direction.
“Really? Did they ask?” she said staring through her half-cut spectacles.
“It wouldn’t be right to say, but yes they did.”
At this moment Frank Patterson came in and sat down. I took a sip of my tea and tried to keep it down as the swirls of the pattern on the walls were hazardous to the eyes.
“Oh Edith, what did you say?” she looked at me as if to request that I declined the offer.
“I said yes. I can’t do any harm, can I. The worst scenario is that I come back and say I can’t finder her.”
“I’ll admit Edith you did an outstanding job with the seaborne murder, and so fast too.” Emily swayed in her opinion of me taking the case.
“It’s a talent, I assure you.”
Emily eased forward on her sofa, “what have you got so far?”
“Well, the rumours are true about the Newingtons. They don’t have any money. Missy was buying her clothes downstairs in Natalias.”
“Ohh my.” she leant forward even more and whispered, “Missy is an odd name though, isn’t it?” as though there was more than the three of us in the room.
“It’s from The Americas, I don’t know.”
“And you couldn’t ask” pointed out Emily.
“There is one thing I can’t get my head around. The lady behind the counter said she left with her mother, which means they took Missy in the street.”
“What, and no one saw?”
“Not to my understanding, no.”
“How odd,” Emily said as she shuffled back in her seat, as the excitement was over.
“Forgive me but I have to ask, where were you two Friday? you didn’t happen to see anything?”
“I was up in London at work,” said Frank.
“Ohh yes, the reason you two moved here was to be closer to the city, for the train runs into the centre.”
“Yes, remarkable things, those trains are,” Emily said excited once again by the conversion.
“What do they run on, is it steam?”
“Yes, and they run quite fast too.”
“Well, I must be heading home now, my hansom cab will be waiting for me in the village.” I got up and carefully put my teacup down on the cluttered table that sat between Emily and me.
The night passed like any other, however; the morning was most misfortunate. Missy’s body was found. Emily Patterson broke the news to me. We raced down to the village together in a hansom cab.
There she was, wearing the outfit she had disappeared in, that blue dress once covered in lace, now bloodstained and ripped. Her decapitated head held in her hands, with a Try Square holding it in place. The only colour to her skin, blusher that she had been wearing the day she had gone missing. Her mouth gormlessly open revealing the metalwork of the Try Square. As they took her down from the shop window, the crowd thickened. The onlookers were glimpsing the murderer’s handiwork.
I turned to Emily “I know just who did this and for what reasons. You must gather your husband, the Newingtons and Detective Johnson at my house for this afternoon. I have some loose ends to tie up.” I once again speedily walked to the hansom cab. “To Bellmont Hill, please.”
As I arrived on Bellmont Hill, I got out and gracefully trotted myself over to the 57th house and knocked on the door. Opening it was an older man, “Mr Sanders” I walked past him, into his what can only be described as a quaint small living room and sat myself down. “I have a few questions to ask you, sorry I didn’t have time to write.”
“Yes, well, you see…”
“Excellent, you don’t mind,” I said realising I wasn’t as welcome as I hoped to be.
“Carry on then,” he said in a swivelled manner.
“What can you tell me about carpentry?”
“Well, you have the basic tools and then you plan and make the wood.”
“Let me stop you there, what can you tell me about a half a Try Square? Are they sharp?”
“Not by design, no. They can be though, cut me a few times in the trade,” he admitted.
“And one last thing, tell me about Frank Paterson.”
“Well, as you know he was a bit of a lady’s man before Emily and as you are aware he also is a Carpenter.” Sanders looked confused at my questioning, but I carried on.
“What was his type, was it the look of Emily?” I probed.
“It was actually blondes he liked, skinny twiggy things.” he laughed “not Emily at all, but there you go.”
“Would you say that the recently missing girl would fit the description?”
“Yes, yes, I would in fact,” he said with somewhat of a realisation on his face.
“I’ll be leaving you now Mr Sanders, sorry for the intrusion.” I got up and hurried back to the hansom cab, “home, please.”
“Everyone is here as you requested Ms Lockheart,” Sigmund as calm as always. “Excellent, I shall tell them the news.” I sternly walked into my living room. “Newingtons, I have solved your case, and the murderer sits among us.”
Detective Johnson piped “How have you solved this murder, it’s not even been a day since we’ve known it to be a murder.”
“I have something you do not detective, local knowledge.” I proudly said.
“It was Frank Paterson.”
The room stood still for a moment, “your alibi that you were at work is one of fraud. You took the opportunity to murder Missy as she walked past the ally way next to Natalias and you did it by cutting her throat with the Try Square. All because she was not attracted to you.”
“Edith are you sure? Are you sure it was my husband, Franky,” denial and desperation had set in for Emily at this point.
“As we know you are a carpenter, but you thought your alibi was airtight as you work all over London, no one could track your exact location and in the process framing your old mentor Mr Sanders with his Try Square. That is why you sat in on our conversation the other day because you wanted to know what I knew.”
“You can’t believe this detective, she has me confused with Sanders,” said Frank Paterson.
“Unfortunately if you Frank, Mr Sanders has no understanding that Missy is even dead. At present Mr Sanders still thinks Missy is missing. That is how I know it’s you that committed this murder and not him.” I continued “You tried to romance Missy for years, however, she wasn’t taken by you was she, Mr Paterson.” I said accusingly.
“Come on you, time to go. Got some question you need to answer.” detective Johnson lead Frank Paterson out in handcuffs.