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EXTRACT FROM An Honest Review – Character Insight – DCI Humphrey Middleton

Walking toward the four-poster bed, Humphrey stretched a pair of plastic gloves over his hands, before leaning over Jocelyn’s body.

‘Don’t you worry, love. I’m going to find out who did this to you.’

He moved his head close to hers, just inches away. Age had treated her kindly she was still a handsome looking woman. He remembered how stunning she was when younger. His parents took him to see The Mousetrap in the West End. He was in his A-Level year, and it could have been one of her last performances before she married Peter Robertshaw. Jocelyn was playing the part of the aloof Miss Casewell, who had a penchant for wearing men’s clothes. His teenage brain fixated on the image of Jocelyn’s portrayal of Miss Casewell for quite some time after the performance. He had been infatuated with her. It had never crossed his mind that a woman could look quite so seductive wearing a pair of jodhpurs. Articles about the actress and socialite, Jocelyn Strand, regularly appeared in newspapers and magazines around that time, and Humphrey read every one. Forty years on, who would have thought that he would be investigating her death? Jocelyn didn’t look quite so alluring in death more of a tragic Anna Karenina figure. A woman who lacked nothing, but always wanted more.

There was a slight, dried watery bloodstain on the pillow, which looked like it might have seeped from behind her head. Where were the forensic team? They should have been here before him. He had been under the impression that they were already on their way when he got the call, and it was almost midday.

He looked at the bed tray straddling her body and the laptop perched on top.

‘Working up until the end, were you?’ He asked, watching Jocelyn’s face as if expecting a reaction. When he was alone with a corpse, he always liked to chat with them. After assuring them he would find their killer, he enjoyed a bit of one-sided banter with them, as well as the odd laugh.

‘If you made a note of whodunit, that would be useful. It would make my life a lot easier.’

There were two empty glasses and a cocktail shaker on the bedside table. Humphrey picked the shaker and shook it. It was empty. Holding one the glasses to his nose, he sniffed it.

Juniperus communis.’ He said, looking at Jocelyn again. ‘You obviously liked your gin. Still the party girl, then?’

On a substantial chest of drawers, there were photographs of Jocelyn and Peter and their children. He could understand why the beautiful Jocelyn would have been attracted to Peter, with his rugged good looks and SAS physique. There were also many photographs of the children at various stages of their lives, including two wedding photos. The children. He must make contact with the children. He didn’t think for one minute that Sergeant MacCorkingdale would have done it.

He wandered over to the dressing table. There was one photograph of a grinning Peter wearing his fishing gear, a set of silver hairbrushes, and an ashtray with cigarillo stubs in it. He turned to address Jocelyn.

‘Good Lord, even if you did nail the part of Miss Casewell, I would have never put you down as a cigar smoker. Perhaps it’s a thespian thing. Although I can’t see Jo Lumley puffing her way through a Cohiba?’

The sound of cars arriving prompted him to look out the window. PC Carter was directing the forensic team round to the back of the property as he’d been instructed to do, so not to arouse unnecessary suspicion.  A police car and an ambulance followed them around.

‘Oh, crap.’  A convoy like that travelling through the centre of the sleepy town of Didsbrook would be considered to be a grandstand event.  Hopefully, most people would be focussed on getting their Sunday roast on the table.

‘Finally! The cavalry is here, Jocelyn.  Forensics, and Didsbrook’s very own Sergeant MacCorkingdale. We’ll have the bastard who did this behind bars before you know it.’

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Thank you very much for visiting my niche-less blog! If you have time before you leave, would love you to tell us what you think. All the best, Tessa Barrie

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