Read Churchyard and Hawke Online

Authors: E.V. Thompson

Tags: #General Fiction

Churchyard and Hawke

BOOK: Churchyard and Hawke
7.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Table of Contents

Churchyard and Hawke


Other books by author

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

About the author

and Hawke

E.V. Thompson


© E.V. Thompson 2009
First published in Great Britain 2009

Hardback ISBN 978-0-7090-8853-0
Paperback C Format ISBN 978-0-7090-8869-1

Robert Hale Limited
Clerkenwell House
Clerkenwell Green
London EC1R 0HT

The right of E.V. Thompson to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

2468 10 97531

By the same author


The Retallick Saga


The Jagos of Cornwall


As James Munro



In his first floor office at the Bodmin headquarters of the Cornwall constabulary, Superintendent Amos Hawke became aware of raised voices coming from the police station inquiry office on the ground floor of the building. Frowning irritably at having his concentration broken, he waited for the commotion to cease, but it continued unabated.

There were three voices. One he recognized as belonging to Sergeant Hodge, the duty station officer, the second probably also belonged to a policeman, but the third was that of a young woman and she sounded upset.

Sounds from the inquiry office would not normally have been heard on the first floor, but Cornwall, indeed the whole of Britain, was in the grip of a heat-wave and it was being said that 1859 was the hottest summer anyone could remember. As a result, even though it was not yet noon, all windows in the police headquarters were open in the hope that a breeze would spring up and bring some relief to the perspiring policemen working inside who were obliged to carry out their duties wearing heavy, high-necked serge coats.

The noise from the inquiry office showed no sign of abating and with a sigh of resignation, Amos placed his pen on the ink-tray on his desk and stood up. Fastening the buttons at the neck of his coat and collecting his uniform cap from the hat-stand as he exited the office, he made his way downstairs.

He reached the corridor on the ground floor just as a young girl wearing cheap but tidy clothes was being led from the inquiry office to the front door between Sergeant Hodge and a constable, both of whom towered head and shoulders above her.

The girl was no longer protesting, but there were tears on her cheeks and, speaking to the sergeant, Amos demanded, ‘What’s going on, Sergeant Hodge, why is the young girl so upset?’

Before the police sergeant could reply, the girl wailed, ‘They won’t listen to me . . . they think I’m making things up.’

Over the girl’s head, Sergeant Hodge gave Amos an exasperated look. After pointing to the girl he put a forefinger to his forehead and twisted his hand back and forth in a gesture suggesting there was ‘something loose’ in her brain, at the same time explaining, ‘It’s all right, sir, I’ve known Enid Merryn since she was small. In fact, it was me who got her work as a scullery maid up at Laneglos House, the big mansion off the Lostwithiel road. There’s no harm in her but she has a vivid imagination and sometimes sees and hears things that aren’t there.’

Struggling unsuccessfully to break free of the large policeman’s arm, Enid retorted, ‘You may not see or hear everything I do, Alfie Hodge, but I knows Jem well enough when he speaks to me. I knows him only too well and I saw him yesterday evening.’

‘Well, even if you did see him there’s nothing we can do about it…’

To Amos, the sergeant said apologetically, ‘This young man she’s talking about worked up at Laneglos House until a few weeks ago. He wasn’t there more than a couple of months but it was long enough for him to get to know young Enid a little too well and to steal money from her employers.’

‘He took money from me too,’ Enid declared, ‘He promised to pay it back but then he ran off.’

Looking at Amos over the girl’s head once more, Sergeant Hodge shook his head.

Ignoring the gesture, Amos asked, ‘Why was this young man never arrested?’

‘He likely would have been,’ Sergeant Hodge replied, ‘but Lady Hogg, up at the big house said the money involved was such a trifling sum it wasn’t worth all the trouble it would have caused.’

‘I should have been informed of this.’ Amos said sharply, ‘I will decide whether or not someone should be arrested for breaking the law.’

Addressing the Laneglos scullery maid, he asked, ‘This Jem . . . does he have a surname?’

Despite her earlier indignation at not being taken seriously, now Enid had the attention of a senior policeman she seemed to suffer from a sudden loss of confidence. ‘Yes, and I know it. . . but I can’t remember what it is.’

‘Is he a local lad?’ Amos put the question to her.

‘No, he comes from London . . . where the Queen lives. He’s seen her, too, lots of times.’

Amos doubted whether her ‘Jem’ had actually seen Queen Victoria, but had boasted that he had, in order to impress this gullible young scullery-maid. He asked, ‘I don’t suppose Jem mentioned where it was he lived in London?’

‘He did tell me, more than once. He said it was one of the smartest parts of London. It was called something like . . . Oxford, but it wasn’t that, although I know it started with "Ox . . . something or another.’

Amos tried unsuccessfully to think of a London district that began with ‘Ox’, before remembering that an ‘H’ at the beginning of any word was invariably ignored by Londoners from the poorer districts of London. ‘I suppose it wasn’t "Hoxton" by any chance?’ He suggested, mentioning one of the roughest slums in the East End of London.

Enid’s face lit up immediately, ‘That’s it, "Oxton", that’s where Jem comes from.’

Before being taken on as a superintendent in the newly-formed Cornwall constabulary, Amos had been a detective in the Metropolitan Police’s Scotland Yard and much of his work had been in the slum areas of London where crime thrived and law and order was despised. Of all these areas of narrow alleyways, dingy streets and jumbled houses, Hoxton was the worst. A high percentage of those arrested for the most violent crimes came from here and its residents were proud of the self-explanatory nickname ‘Kill-copper Alley’ which had been given to the area. If someone - anyone - from Hoxton was in Cornwall, Amos wanted to know about it.

Speaking to the senior of the two men with Enid, he said, ‘You may release Enid now, Sergeant Hodge. I would like to have a word with her in my office about this young Jem. Have a cup of tea sent up for her, will you?’

Enid Merryn seemed over-awed at being in Amos’s office and in an effort to put her at ease, he asked general questions about her work at Laneglos House but even when a constable brought a cup of tea to the office for her she maintained her reserve - until Amos asked whether she had always lived in the Bodmin area.

‘Oh no, sir,’ she replied, ‘I come from Porthpean, near Charlestown. My father was a fisherman there . . . but he died before I came to work up at Laneglos.’

‘I know Porthpean well,’ Amos said, glad to have found some common ground between them. ‘My wife was the schoolmistress at Charlestown for many years. You might have known her . . . she was Talwyn Kemow then.’

‘You married Miss Kernow, sir?’ Enid’s delight was unfeigned, ‘I liked her very much. My pa paid for me to go to her school and she learned me to write my name - and to read . . . well, just a little. I wasn’t very quick at learning, but she was always kind to me and I liked her lots. I would have liked to stay at her school, but when my pa was drowned we moved into St Austell to live with my grandma and Sergeant Hodge got me work as a scullery-maid at Laneglos - only he wasn’t Sergeant Hodge then, he was a grocer who used to deliver to the big house and he spoke for me.’

The knowledge that she was talking to the husband of the woman who had once been her much-liked teacher succeeded in putting Enid at her ease and Amos was soon able to broach the subject of the mysterious ‘Jem’. When he asked her once again if she knew his surname, she said immediately, ‘Yes, sir, I’ve remembered now, it’s "Smith", he’s Jem Smith . . . Jeremy Smith, really, but he said I should call him Jem.’

Even in the unlikely event that this was the young man’s real name, there were hundreds of Smiths in the East End of London, many being of Gypsy origins. Amos knew he would get nowhere with this particular line of inquiry.

‘How well did you come to know Jeremy when he was working at Laneglos?’ he asked.

Enid’s evident embarrassment gave Amos the answer even before she replied. Not meeting his eyes, she said, ‘I thought he loved me . . . he said we would get married one day.’

‘I see, but then he borrowed money from you and after stealing money from your employer he was dismissed?’

‘No. When the money went missing he knew everyone would blame him because he wasn’t from around here, so he just ran away. He didn’t even say "goodbye" to me.’

Enid became tearful yet again and Amos said hurriedly, ‘Do you believe he stole the money?’

Enid hesitated for a long time before replying, ‘No. . . at least, I didn’t then. I loved him and thought he loved me, but when I saw him yesterday he wasn’t the same, somehow.’

Tears were still trembling in her eyes and Amos asked gently, ‘Where was he when you saw him, Enid . . . and what was he doing?’

‘Miss Wicks, who’s housekeeping up at Laneglos, sent me to fetch the candlesticks from the church, for cleaning. The church belongs to the house and is just behind it. When I was on my way there I saw something moving in the bushes. I thought it might have been a sheep got in there, or perhaps a dog, so I went to shoo it out. But it wasn’t an animal, it was Jem and there was a man with him he said was his uncle. Instead of being pleased to see me Jem was angry, especially when I asked him if he’d come to give me back the money he’d borrowed. He was so nasty he made me cry.’

‘Did he say what he was doing there?’

‘No, but his uncle did. He said Jem hadn’t meant to be angry with me. It was just that he was upset because he thought I was more interested in the money than I was about what he had been doing since he had to run away from Laneglos. His uncle said he and Jem had come all the way from London, ‘specially to tell me they were going into a business . . . something or another.’

BOOK: Churchyard and Hawke
7.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Batavia by Peter Fitzsimons
Axiomatic by Greg Egan
Pretty Wanted by Elisa Ludwig
A Lady in Love by Cynthia Bailey Pratt
Lucky Penny by L A Cotton