Read Death of an Innocent Online

Authors: Sally Spencer

Death of an Innocent

BOOK: Death of an Innocent
8.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Table of Contents

By Sally Spencer

Title Page

Copyright

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

By Sally Spencer
The Charlie Woodend Mysteries

THE SALTON KILLINGS

MURDER AT SWANN'S LAKE

DEATH OF A CAVE DWELLER

THE DARK LADY

THE GOLDEN MILE TO MURDER

DEAD ON CUE

THE RED HERRING

DEATH OF AN INNOCENT

THE ENEMY WITHIN

A DEATH LEFT HANGING

THE WITCH MAKER

THE BUTCHER BEYOND

DYING IN THE DARK

STONE KILLER

A LONG TIME DEAD

SINS OF THE FATHERS

DANGEROUS GAMES

DEATH WATCH

A DYING FALL

FATAL QUEST

 

The Monika Paniatowski Mysteries

THE DEAD HAND OF HISTORY

THE RING OF DEATH

ECHOES OF THE DEAD

BACKLASH

LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER

DEATH OF AN INNOCENT
A Charlie Woodend Mystery
Sally Spencer

This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

 
 

First published in Great Britain and the USA 2002 by
SEVERN HOUSE PUBLISHERS LTD of
9-15 High Street, Sutton, Surrey, England, SM1 1DF.

eBook edition first published in 2013 by
Severn House Digital an imprint of Severn House Publishers Ltd.

Copyright © 2002 by Sally Spencer.

The right of Sally Spencer to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.

ISBN-13: 978-0-7278-5708-8 (cased)

ISBN-13: 978-1-4483-0085-3 (ePub)

Except where actual historical events and characters are being described for the storyline of this novel, all situations in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to living persons is purely coincidental.

This eBook produced by
Palimpsest Book Production Limited,
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.

One

T
he first flakes of snow had made their appearance in the middle of the night, floating gently down to earth like mellow kamikaze pilots and melting wistfully away almost as soon as they made contact. The ones which followed were better organized, tighter packed and more determined, and by the time dawn finally broke, the moors were covered with a thick white blanket.

It was still snowing as Detective Sergeant Monika Paniatowski coaxed her seven-year-old MGA down the rutted track which led to the hand-loom weaver's cottage that her boss, Charlie Woodend, had bought when Scotland Yard had exiled him to the North of his youth.

Paniatowski checked her watch. Woodend himself wouldn't mind being disturbed at this ungodly time on a Sunday morning, she thought, but she didn't imagine for a moment that Joan, his wife, would be best pleased.

She eased her car round a bend in the lane and brought it to a halt in front of the stone cottage. Woodend, who must have heard the MGA's tortuous progress – and understood immediately what it signified – was already standing by the front door, dressed in a shabby overcoat and inhaling energetically on a Capstan Full Strength cigarette.

Paniatowski wound down her window just in time to hear his parting words to his wife.

‘Don't be daft, lass. You'll never get a taxi in this weather,' the big man said. ‘Besides, I'm not havin' some stranger seein' you off. You're my missis, an'
I'll
take you down to the station.'

He closed the door, and walked down the steps to the car. ‘If you're draggin' me out on a mornin' like this for anythin' less than the wholesale massacre of the Whitebridge Boy Scouts, you're in big trouble, Monika,' he growled.

‘It's not quite as spectacular as that, sir – but we have got two dead bodies on our hands. I tried to ring you about it, but all I got was the engaged signal.'

Woodend walked round to the passenger side and opened the door. ‘Telephone line's probably down. It happens a lot with the snow. Still, it won't bother Joan. She's goin' to Altrincham.'

‘I don't quite follow you, sir.'

Woodend looked at her almost pityingly. ‘It won't be snowin' in Altrincham, because they're too posh there to have the same weather as everybody else,' he explained.

‘Family visit?' Paniatowski asked.

‘Aye,' Woodend agreed. ‘She'll be stayin' with her sister – the one who was smart enough to marry a bank manager rather than a policeman.' He opened the passenger door, and squeezed inside. ‘I wish you'd get a bigger car, Monika.'

‘I wish you'd get a better road, sir,' his sergeant told him.

‘So what's it all about this time?' Woodend asked, as Paniatowski began to execute a three-point turn on the slippery snow.

‘I haven't got all the details yet,' the sergeant said. ‘All I know is that a reporter from the BBC rang the station and said he'd found two bodies – a man and a woman – at a farmhouse out on the moors.'

‘Probably hypothermia,' Woodend pronounced. ‘You get a lot of that with the cold weather. Why aren't the uniforms handlin' it?'

‘Because these two didn't freeze to death. They were both shot – at close range. It's all very messy, apparently. Which makes it sound like a job for us, doesn't it?'

‘Oh aye,' Woodend agreed. ‘That sounds just up our street.'

The snowploughs would probably turn out later in the day to cut a swathe through the snow, but for the moment it was nature, not man, that was in control. These were the real moors they were crossing now – not the half-civilized moors which existed on the edge of the villages, but the brooding expanses of untamed land which had not changed for five thousand years. The few farmhouses they passed were squat, stone buildings, hunkered down against the wind and the rain, and the folk who lived behind the thick walls could go for days without seeing even their nearest neighbours. It took a special kind of person to farm out on the proper moors, Woodend thought. Special – and bloody weird!

‘You say it was a reporter from the BBC who phoned this case in?' he asked, as Paniatowski did her best to keep the MGA travelling in a straight line.

‘That's right, sir.'

‘An' what the bloody hell was a reporter doin' out on the moors before the crack of dawn?'

‘Beats me,' Paniatowski admitted.

A large building site, surrounded by a chain-link fence, loomed incongruously up in front of them. Woodend looked at the huge billboard picture of neat, detached houses and read the banner which proclaimed, ‘The Moorland Village – a new concept in rural living from T. A. Taylor and Associates!'

‘Bollocks!' he said.

‘I take it from that you're not very keen on housing estates, sir,' Monika Paniatowski observed.

‘Housin' estates are all very well in their place – an' their place is the towns,' Woodend told her. ‘If you want to live in the countryside, then bloody live in it properly.'

It was another four miles beyond the building site before Paniatowski pointed ahead and said, ‘I think that's the place, sir.'

The farmhouse was located about two hundred yards from the main road. It was similar to the other farms they passed on the way, except that there were at least six vehicles parked in its yard.

‘Jesus Christ!' Woodend exploded. ‘What the bloody hell did they think they were doin', drivin' right up to the place like that? Which soft bugger's in charge of the team? Mickey Mouse?'

‘DI Harris was on duty at the time when the call came in,' Paniatowski said flatly.

‘Well, there's no bloody wonder this has happened then, is there?' Woodend demanded angrily. ‘Harris needs a map to find his way to his own office.'

‘Should we park here and walk the rest of the way?' Monika Paniatowski suggested.

Woodend looked again at the caravan of vehicles parked in front of the farmhouse.

‘That'd be like puttin' a French letter on
after
you've had your end away,' he growled.

‘Pardon, sir?'

‘It's a bit too late to start takin' precautions now, isn't it?'

Paniatowski turned on to the narrow lane, and dropped into a lower gear. The MGA bumped and scraped against the ruts in the track. Woodend studied the vehicles which had already arrived at the scene. There were two family saloons which he recognized as belonging to a couple of his detective constables, two patrol cars, an ambulance, the Humber Super Snipe which Dr Pierson, the police surgeon, had recently acquired, a Triumph Spitfire he didn't recognize at all – and a big green Volvo.

‘Bloody hell, Dick the Prick's here!' Woodend exclaimed. ‘Now that's really
all
I needed!'

Paniatowski nodded sympathetically. The enmity which existed between Chief Inspector Charlie Woodend and Deputy Chief Constable Richard Ainsworth was almost legendary in the Central Lancashire Police. Ainsworth disliked many things about Woodend, including his general attitude to authority, his total lack of dress sense, and the fact that instead of staying at the command centre – as a senior office, in Ainsworth's opinion, should – the bloody man would insist on rooting around at the scene of the crime like a truffle pig. As for Woodend's opinion of Ainsworth, it could not properly be expressed in language he would use in front of a woman – even if that woman were his hardboiled bagman, Monika Paniatowski.

‘I can't work out why Dick's here at all,' Woodend mused, as Paniatowski manoeuvred the MGA carefully around the side of the ambulance. ‘It's just not like him. Durin' normal workin' hours it's well known his arse is firmly glued to his seat, an'
outside
workin' hours the idle sod probably likes to pretend he's a country gentleman rather than a bobby.'

Paniatowski parked. Woodend heaved himself out of the cramped passenger seat, and took in the scene. The ambulance driver and his mate were sitting in the cab of their vehicle, smoking and reading the Sunday papers. In the distance, a couple of uniformed constables were inspecting one of the outbuildings. And one of Woodend's own regular team, the burly DC Hardcastle, stood on duty by the farmhouse's front door.

As he reached in his overcoat pocket for his cigarettes, Woodend saw DCC Ainsworth emerge from the farmhouse. Ainsworth noticed
him
, too, and made a beeline for him.

‘It's extremely kind of you to have finally turned up, Charlie,' the DCC said.

BOOK: Death of an Innocent
8.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Body Language by Michael Craft
Three Secrets by Opal Carew
The Perils of Praline by Marshall Thornton
Bone to Be Wild by Carolyn Haines
Set Free by Anthony Bidulka