Tales Of Chiswick Chapter 4: The Murderer Unmasked!


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Jun 24, 2008
Chapter 1 New Beginnings http://goo.gl/PucDO

Chapter 2 The Kitten Has Claws http://goo.gl/SGdLp

Chapter 3 – Whodunit? http://goo.gl/6R7nz

Chapter 4 The Murderer Unmasked!

“Hmmm now let’s see babe…” Frances put her forefinger to her chin in mock puzzlement. “What could ANYone possibly have on Roberta Jones?” she laughed sardonically. “There’s a hell of a lot of jealousy in this place Billyboy, you’ll learn that if you stick around for long. Now I’m going to have to excuse myself babe. Little girl’s room and all that. I need to get rid of these Ryvitas or I’m going to be bloated for my next round of interviews….got to look my best! Laters babe.”
Frances gathered up her handbag and phone and headed off towards the restrooms. Bill pondered for a few moments. When she had held her finger to her chin he couldn’t help noticing her nail polish. It was bright, blood red.

As evening fell over Chiswick, a group of almost-famous faces from the countries longest running shopping TV channel were seated in their presenter lounge, furtively glancing at each other while Detective Inspector Malcolm Brown and his sidekick Constable Mo Mingley told them what they were and were not allowed to do.
Glaswegian Dawn Hanson and edgy single mum Pepper Gorman were sat with models Shaznay, Tina and Biddy. Close by was aspirational wannabe Frances Jilks and yummy mummy Clarisse Dutton. Queen of Shopping TV Roberta Jones shared a sofa with resident beauty expert Abigail Jeung and Bill Lapwing, the channels newly appointed new media presenter. Finton Terry, nail expert sat fiddling with his iPhone alone. Taffy McSharry, the victim’s closest ally sat by Holly Faraday who had returned from the hospital in a wheelchair with her injured foot heavily bandaged. Jacky Johnson, home economics guest buzzed around offering people cups of lukewarm coffee and lunchpot sized containers of watery pink yoghurt “to keep all of our strength up”. No-one had accepted the offer.
“You must not leave the address you’ve given us while the investigation is ongoing” said DI Brown. “If you need to attend to an urgent matter away from home you must inform your local police station. You must not leave the country under any circumstances whatsoever. If you do, you’ll be considered to have absconded and….”
Roberta Jones leapt up from her position on one of the couches.
“Inspector Brown that is absolutely ridiculous. I’m going to my villa in Spain at the weekend and neither you, or anyone else is going to stop me”
“It’s Detective Inspector Miss Jones, and if you try to leave the country you will be arrested at the port and detained”
“For what? You silly little man, arrested and detained for what?”
“On the suspicion of murder, Miss Jones”
“You can’t possibly believe I had anything to do with this, it’s absolutely ridiculous. I want to speak to my lawyer”.
“You’re not under arrest Miss Jones… not yet at least. However from the evidence I’ve gathered so far speaking to a lawyer might not be a bad move…..” Ignoring the aghast expression on Roberta’s face he continued “and now you can leave and go home for the night. We’ll be in touch with all of you for further questioning in due course”
“In other words ye dinna have a feckin’ cloo who the murderer is, dae ye?” said Dawn Hanson angrily. “Can ye nae see what’s in front of ye fat face?” She looked pointedly at Roberta. “Ye dinna have to be a rocket scientist to work it oot”
“Miss Hanson, I can assure you that I’ll get to the bottom of this matter in good time. Until then you’re all free to lea….”
“Wait Detective Inspector” interjected Bill Lapwing. “I’ve got a few things to say”
“Mr Lapwing, there’s really no need for…”
“No no, you don’t understand. You see I’ve worked it out. While I was sat here listening to you it’s all become crystal clear. I know who did it. Honest! I know who killed Jenna Fryman!”

+ + +
“Can we gerron wi’ it then?” said Finton Terry “only I’ve gorra reet important red carpet premier to get to toneet, I’m doin’ t’nails on all ‘t stars, an’ it starts at 9. Pixie Lott’ll be gooin’ apeshit”
“Yes, yes” said Bill. “You see there was so much information, it’s taken me a little while to sort it all out in my head but now I see perfectly”
“Go on Bill. Tell us” said Pepper. “Then maybe we can all get home to our families”
“Ok, at first I thought it was Roberta. I imagine most of you do too. There’s been some really bad stuff happening to Roberta lately, nasty notes, practical jokes, someone is trying to get her to leave the channel. In fact someone desperately wants Roberta’s job. Roberta thought it was Jenna and that’s why they had that terrible argument in the canteen just before Jenna got sho…. Before she died”
“Darling I’ve told you it was not me!” interrupted Roberta. “Yes I have been having a rough time lately and yes I was sure that it was Jenna who was behind it all but I was taking it though the proper channels. I wasn’t going to shoot someone for leaving a turd in my dressing room for Christ’s sake”
“No, I believe you” said Bill. “Jenna knew about the bullying, she was a very astute girl. Don’t forget she was a radio news reporter before she came here. She’d completely worked out who was behind all the trouble. She just never got the chance to tell anyone. So, next I thought about Frances…”
“Oh perleaaaaase!” exclaimed Frances Jilks, throwing back her head and laughing. “Why on earth would I want to do Jenna Fryman in? She wasn’t even on my radar hon”
“No, she was nothing to you, it’s true” said Bill. “But you don’t like Roberta, and you saw an opportunity to get rid of her when you saw the argument in the canteen. You could have murdered Jenna just to frame Roberta. That would leave you a clear run for the top job.”
“Youre nuts babe” said Frances
“Am I? Really? I heard you earlier Frances. I heard you mutter under your breath that Roberta wouldn’t be Queen of the channel for much longer and you called her a bitch. Not exactly the sort of stuff you say about a friend is it?”
Frances was silent, but cast a guilty look over at Roberta who was staring at her with narrowed eyes. Bill continued
“Then I came to Clarisse. You see, Clarisse has a secret. I don’t want to go into it here, it wouldn’t be fair. But she has a secret that she really doesn’t want anyone to know about….”
“Billy!! Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!” screamed Clarisse Dutton. “You can’t tell them, please please don’t tell on me” she sobbed uncontrollably.
“It’s alright Clarisse. I’m not going to do that here. But, some people did know about it. Roberta is one of those people. You could have killed Jenna to frame Roberta just like Frances could have. You didn’t want Roberta breaking your confidence and having her locked up in prison would be a great way of keeping her quiet”
“But I adore Roberta!” replied Clarisse through her tears
“Yes, I think you do. But the other person who knew your secret was Jenna herself. You had no loyalty to her, and you had no idea if she would keep her mouth shut. You could have killed Jenna to stop her from blabbing.”
“Billy I can’t believe you think this, I wouldn’t… couldn’t do such a thing. Billy please stop it….”
“Ok ok Clarisse” said Bill. “I don’t think it’s you. But we’re running out of suspects aren’t we? Let’s see whose left. Taffy… did you kill Jenna Fryman? No, of course not. No motive at all, in fact you were her only friend here and you’re the only person I’ve seen shed a tear for her today”
“Aye, crocodile tears! Don’t be so sure aboot her” said Dawn Hanson, stubbing out a Lambert and Butler into an overflowing ash tray. “She’s not been making any pals since she came, an ah know butter wouldnae melt from the look of her but Ah dinnae trust her!” She looked around the room, defiantly.
“You ridiculous woman” said Taffy. “I loved Jenna like a sister. She was everything to me”
“So who next?” said Bill. Who’s left? Our three gorgeous models over there? Shaznay, Tina and Biddy?. Again, no motive except to try and frame Roberta who can’t stand, and they did witness the row in the canteen. But to murder someone just to get at Roberta? They don’t have enough to gain. And Jacky Johnson, no motive at all. She likes everyone and everyone likes her… isn’t that right Jacky?”
“Well I try Bill… do you want some yoghurt?” Jacky replied smiling
“Err no thanks Jacky, it doesn’t look quite set… So then we’re down to Abigail and Finton, they were on air when the shot was fired. They’re in the clear. Pepper and Dawn heard the shot and discovered the body with me, so we’re all in the clear”
“But that’s everyone then” said Abigail Jeung. “There’s no-one left”
“Not quite everyone” said Bill…. We haven’t excluded YOU!” He spun round, and everyone in the room followed his gaze to the chair where, with her bandaged foot rested on a stool, sat Holly Faraday.
“Me?” Holly looked around in disbelief “Do you mean me Bill?”
“Yes Holly, I do. You murdered Jenna Fryman. I’m absolutely sure of it” replied Bill.
“But Bill I can’t possibly have done it. I don’t know what you think THIS is ….” she pointed to her heavily bandaged foot “but I can assure you I didn’t get it from being a little heavy handed with an electronic hard skin remover”
“Bill, she’s right. Holly can’t have done anything” said Abigail. “she had the accident in the Kitchen Essentials hour before the murder. She dropped that cast iron dish on her foot and made a real mess of it. She could barely walk”
“Aye ye silly sod” added Dawn “Ye nae have a cloo who did the murder after all! Ye’ve picked the only person in the room who couldnae do it!” she cackled, lighting up another cigarette.
“Oh yes I know she injured her foot” said Bill. And we all saw the evidence of that when she was taken to hospital. It really was in a state, blood, swelling, the nail was almost off.”
“And you’re suggesting that Miss Faraday managed to creep into Jenna’s dressing room, shoot her, and creep back to her own room in that state Mr Lapwing?” said DI Brown. “I really don’t think that would be possible”
“I agree” said Bill. “But she wasn’t in that state when she killed Jenna. Constable Mingley, I heard you discussing some evidence you found with your sergeant. A Kath n’ Co pashmina, a Claw Hammer from the DIY show this morning, and a bottle of Finton Terry red nail lacquer. That’s right isn’t it?”
“Yes Sir, that’s what we found in the grounds. The scarf was covered in nail varnish, bottle half empty it was. And everything was sopping wet even though it’s not been raining.”
“Where exactly in the grounds were they Constable?”
“They were on the grass near the Paul Lavers memorial garden Sir” she replied.
“And the Paul Lavers memorial garden is directly under Holly’s dressing room window!” exclaimed Bill triumphantly.
“Hang on a minute” said Pepper Gorman “Paul Lavers isn’t dead is he?”
“He might as well be darling. Can’t get arrested. That’s why he’s doing the gardening” replied Roberta.
DI Brown cut in “Alright alright that’s enough. Mr Lapwing, you’re going to have to explain in some more deta….”
“Yes of course, I’m sorry. This is what I think happened. Holly was doing the Essential Cookery hour this morning when she accidentally dropped that very heavy pan on her foot. But did anyone actually see that? She was behind the counter, and yes we heard the clatter of the pan hitting the deck, and we heard Holly scream in pain and start hopping about. But in all that commotion did anyone actually see the pan hit her foot?”
“If the pan didn’t hit my foot, what caused all this damage? You imbecile” sneered Holly.
“You made a lot of fuss about how much pain you were in, but your foot was immediately wrapped in something with ice cubes to stop it from swelling. The scarf was blood stained but no-one saw the foot. You were taken back to your dressing room where you stayed, supposedly unable to walk, until well after the murder when we all saw you taken away in the ambulance. Your foot did look very bad. But when you were taken to your room there was nothing wrong with your foot was there?. It was all an act. You see everyone, Holly dropped the pan on purpose, and then pretended it had landed on her foot. She got some emergency first aid with the cloth and ice, and got taken to her room.
When she got back, and was alone, she crept out of her room, went into Jenna’s and shot her dead. Then scampered back, probably wearing those ballet slippers she seems so fond of so no-one would hear footsteps. By the time me, Dawn and Pepper arrived at Jenna’s room Holly was safely were back. Pepper, do you remember when we found the body you thought you heard someone cry out?”
“Yes” said Pepper “I’m sure I did. It put the willies right up me”
“That was Holly” said Bill. “The injured foot was her alibi so she had to make sure she had one. She had to do something very drastic. She had already hidden away a claw hammer in her room and she used that to smash her own foot. She’d already taken painkillers from the producer, and she had lots of ice which she used to numb her foot first… then she took the hammer and smashed it into her own toes. Even with the pain numbed she couldn’t stop herself from crying out. That’s what you heard Pepper. An audacious plan conceived by a very desperate woman”
There was a stunned silence in the room.
“Awaaaaaay a feckin’ minute” said Dawn “after she dropped the pan on her foot, the cloth with the ice was covered in blood. Her foot WAS injured!”
“Not blood Dawn, it was Finton Terry nail lacquer. While everyone was rushing around to get her ice, painkillers and help, Holly pulled a pashmina she had stained with red nail polish out of her bag and used it to wrap her foot. In all the fuss no-one knew where the cloth had come from, it was her actually her own. Then, in her dressing room when she had smashed her own foot with the hammer, she wrapped everything up in the pashmina, the ice, nail lacquer bottle and hammer, and threw it all out of the window. She was no-doubt planning to clear it up at some later time. But the police found it first.”
“And the motive?” said DI Brown
“The job” replied Bill. Holly Faraday wanted Roberta out. She had been running a campaign of terror against her for months. Leaving disgusting things in Roberta’s room, sending anonymous notes, playing around with the schedules so that Roberta arrived late for shows. She was hoping Roberta would tire of it and leave the Channel but that didn’t happen. Roberta’s made of stronger stuff than that. Then, when the argument between Roberta and Jenna happened in the canteen, Holly saw her chance. Kill Jenna, and frame Roberta for the murder. Roberta would be sent down, and another up and coming star would be removed into the bargain. The next most senior presenter after Roberta is Holly. The top job would have been hers”
Everyone looked at Holly Faraday. It was dark outside now, and few lights had been switched on. In the dim light of the presenter lounge her face seemed to have transformed into a sneering, evil mask.
“Well, well well….” She said slowly. “You have really surpassed yourself with this one haven’t you Billy-boy? Very entertaining. Almost good enough for an Agatha Christie novel. There’s just one thing missing. Proof. You haven’t got one tiny shred of proof.”
DI Brown spoke next “Don’t be so sure of that Miss Faraday. Constable Mingley, get out the forensics kit and set up the D20 test. Cuff the suspect if you need her to be still”
“What are you talking about? What test?” said Holly, a hint of panic in her voice.
“The D20 is a detection test for gunpowder Miss Faraday. When anyone fires a gun they’re left with tiny traces of gunpowder from the shell on their hand. Under the nails, embedded in the skin. It gets everywhere. The test detects those traces. Constable, get the kit”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” screamed Holly. “You can’t take it away from me! I want to be the queen of shopping TV… it was my TURN! I’ll kill you, you bitch Roberta Jones.. I’ll see you rot in hell one of these days…. I’ll see you fall from that pedestal you’re on IF IT’S THE LAST THING I EVER DO!”
Three burly officers appeared as if from nowhere and cuffed her before carrying her away, bandaged foot trailing behind her and screaming obscenities at the gathering behind her.
“Well!” said DI Brown. “I think that performance at the end is enough to qualify as a confession, what do you reckon Mingley?”
“Yes sir, especially with all of these witnesses. But Sir, this test the D20. I don’t think I’m familiar and I’m sure it’s not in the forensics kit. Is it new?”
“Hmm the D564, yes Mingley. It’s so new that it hasn’t been invented yet” he chuckled. Never mind though, we got what we needed in the end. Goodnight all”

+ + +
As the police and other presenters drifted away, Bill Lapwing sat alone in the Presenter lounge. He felt incredibly proud of himself. But there was one thing that was worrying him. And it was worrying him terribly. Bill had been trying to get into broadcasting since he left school at 16. Everywhere he went, the door had been slammed in his face. “Too young, too inexperienced, come back in a few years” . But Bill wasn’t prepared to wait. So he faked a CV and added 4 years to his age. As a fresh-faced 20 year old with a few years of fictitious hospital radio presenting behind him he was a more viable prospect to employers. He’d being lying about his age for so long now that it was impossible to go back. But the truth of the matter was that he was not 31 as he told Roberta. Instead, and what was troubling him so dreadfully, was that he was exact same age as the illegitimate baby that Clarisse Dutton had given up for adoption 27 years ago….
Oh blast! Don't have time to read these now, just on my way out, but something to look forward to reading in the wee small hours........
BB, you read my mind. I was praying yesterday for a new Chiswick, we so needed it. Thank you. :bear::bear::bear::bear:
Holly Faraday - any clues as to who she might be?

Extract from chapter 2

"After a sleepless night Holly Faraday could have done without an Essential Cookery hour with Robin Green. These shows required a high level of interaction between the host and the guest. Tasting, stirring, passing things to Robin, it was incredibly complicated. She couldn’t just go onto autopilot and trot out her stock phrases “selling very very quickly…. Jump to the phones for this one…… incredible value ” so a night without sleep after hearing Roberta’s story was the last thing she needed."

She also wears ballet pumps.

But of course any likeness to individuals living or dead is purely coincidental blah blah :talking:
loved it, how fitting that the killer has been unmasked at the spookiest time of year. This gave me a real good laugh after a gruelling day at work, thanks so much BB

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