Red Herrings :
Act Four – Deliverance

It was not until late Sunday afternoon that the first real break came in the case.

The sergeant detective with the constable in tow had arrived at the directors London town house.

Even though a search warrant was still forthcoming, they joined forces with the London constable and tried the doors and windows, only to find them all securely fastened.

The three policemen were all huddled at the back of the house when they heard a car pull up on the graveled drive way. Going around they saw a late model green jaguar parked, and a tall, thin bearded man in his fifties pulling a suitcase out of the boot as he was eyeing the collection of police cars in the driveway.

Immediately the unsuspecting chap found himself surrounded by police officials waving identification cards in his face.

He identified himself, and turned out to indeed be the director of the test filming that had been taken at St. David’s. He was taken inside for a quick questioning as to where the film crew and his female assistant could be found, along with the were bouts of the van could be found. The quite flabbergasted director gave them all the information without hesitation.

This information was relayed back to Eastminster police CID and officials were dispatched to collect the wayward members of the film crew, equipment and the van …

As the London detective stayed to search the directors house, the director was placed, sputtering, into the back of the police detective sergeants car, along with all of his luggage, and driven back to headquarters to be interviewed.

The officers had not talked about the case, and the director on the drive back appeared to know nothing of it, and appeared( or feigned) ignorance as to why he was being treated like a common criminal!

Once they arrived, he was hustled into an interview room, where the Chief inspector interviewed him personally.

The director demanded to know what the purpose of all this was. But his request was ignored and he was asked to explain his activities over the weekend.

The director, his assistant and the two camera men had driven from London on Friday evening and had occupied a townhouse of a friend’s. It was a well-known fact that when away on a shoot he always stayed at friends or rented a private home, detesting hotels as filthy public places!

Leaving their cars parked at the townhouse, the director and his assistant had driven down early Saturday morning in the van. They had gone up and scouted the area, took some shots, figured out camera placement and angles, before going back into town for supper. Afterwards they had driven right to the hotel, met the limo picking up the two actors he had hired, and left for the function.

They had had to take a shortcut due to construction, and the limo had suffered a flat trye along the rather deserted country lane they found themselves taking. Changing the flat had caused them to arrive much later than anticipated.

Then after the filming, and the impromptu autograph session, the limo had driven the actors back, and they had taken the van back to the townhouse. Where the had spent the evening and some of the morning editing the film. Then after a late lunch, they had all split up and headed home.

No, nothing unusual was seen on the film.

I need to see that film sir, where is it?

Unfortunately, it had been collected that morning, , The director had been able to give the description. It was the red-haired assistant to the producer who had picked it up. She had been wearing driving gloves, black leather jacket over a green frock, dark glasses, and her hair was done up and covered with a long green scarf.

He was asked to tell his story from the beginning, as the Chief Inspector silently cursed that the film was not yet in their possession…

The director was first contacted a month ago by a dark skinned young man wearing dark tinted glasses, looking in appearance like a young harry Belafonte with a smartly trimmed beard, and a thick Scottish accent.

The description closely resembled that of the Romeo in the fancy tux who was suspected as being light fingered.

Accompanying him was his red headed secretary with thick glasses that gave her an almost owl like appearance.

He had said he was form a small independent studio and offered £ 25000 for a test shoot, £ 15000 before, £ 10000 after the film and negatives were received by his secretary. He told them the avenue for the test film had to be done in the chamber and garden pagoda at St Davids…

No, they had not met at his London townhouse. The meeting had taken place at a restaurant. He had received a contract the next day by post. Kept his copy, signed and returned the other. No he had not kept the envelope, or noticed the postal mark. Yes he could have his assistant produce the contract if needed. A money order for £ 15000 was received the following day.

The Detective Chief Inspector had a notion, and after asking a few pertinent questions, the producer realized that it had been the man who had suggested the figure to offer the bishop..

Didn’t you find it odd, asked the Chief Inspector, that he wanted the film right away? He wanted to see it raw, didn’t want to pay anything extra for editing or such the director answered, if you work in the industry ling enough, request like that are anything but out of the ordinary, its the nature of the beast one must simply accept it as such and just as told.

But you said you did edit some of the film. Yes, the director admitted, just curious as to how it all came out. And, again, no one saw anything out of the ordinary? inquired the Chief Inspector.

No, as I told you, answered the director, a puzzled look on his face, just what is all this on about anyway?

But the Chief Inspector saw no reason as of yet to enlighten the director on that matter, instead he rose, and had the director taken to a cell and held as a material witness; someone still suspected as playing a role in the whole affair.

Soon after the director had been processed, news came that the two cameramen and the secretary had been rounded up and were in interview rooms.

The van had been also recovered and was being towed to an impound yard.

The Chief inspector interviewed the two camera men separately.

The first one, a rather burley chap in his forties, sat with a smug look plastered upon his rather doggish mug.

As a witness to the occurrence, the Chief Inspector found that he was not going to be much help.

He was the much more experienced of the team, and when filming his focus was on the director’s direction and the action taking place. He was not paid to watch everything else going on round about him, especially fancy dressed prats with more money than sense in their wee pointed heads!

So you like money, the Chief Inspector asked him?

Why the cameraman asked him?

No Reason The Chief Inspector answered, figuring the gents expression looked innocent enough.

Did he remember talking to a lady in red satin?

No , as I told ye, I don’t mingle, no time if I am going to get the filming done.
Ask my partner, he fancies emself the ladies’ man!

The rest of the cameraman’s story jived with what the director had told him earlier.

The Chief Inspector finished up, and also had the man placed in a cell as a material witness under suspicion.

The second cameraman was a bit younger, slender with a rather ragged beard upon his quite handsome mug.

Unlike the first cameraman, he had noticed a bit more, at least where the ladies were concerned.

He was able to describe several of the ladies he had observed dancing, and at least one matched the suspected light fingered darker haired lass in green satin.

The Chief inspector asked if he had noticed anyone of her dance partners. He thought a bit, and mentioned two.
The first one he described did not match anyone the Chief Inspector had seen or interviewed.

The second he thought may have been her brother, a man with the same dark complexion wearing a fancy suit. But he had only caught a brief look as they had danced.

Yes he remembered the priest who had greeted them at the door, but he had not seen him atoll the rest of the evening. Wait a minute he said, and the Chief Inspector could feel his hairs rise, as they did when he sensed a clue coming forthwith ( a feeling that he had as yet to have previously since starting this case) .

Apparently he had caught a glimpse of the priest talking to the lady who had those sparkling earrings, as both watched the dance scene being filmed..…

He described a slender lady in a long rather pretty dress that been wearing a pair of quite sparkly earrings that had played the devil with his camera during the second shoot. During the third shoot he had noticed her again in the crowd, but without the earrings. He just assumed the director had had her removed them to prevent the camera glares he must have noticed. Yes she had been dancing both times with the same bloke, the rather smarmy bloke in a fancy tux, rather dark that he had seen earlier with the lady in green…

His description matched the girl who had discovered her earrings missing at the chamber

Do you remember seeing the dark skinned lad wearing the fancy tux at any other time?
The Chief Inspector asked the cameraman.

After a long minutes ponderance his face brightened, jolly right, while they was signing autographs.. He had come u to me with a question. was with a lady in red, asking me about the actor, she was interested in meeting up with him, in private.

Describe the lady please
Fair skinned blonde wearing a rather tight fitting shiny red gown, lots of sparklers, poshy snob if you ask me!

Did you take them to the actor?
I could give then no help, I did not know the gent.

He had the constable remove the second camera man , musing that he at last had a sighting of one of the 3 missing girls, and all tied in with 3 of the suspected thieves.

The Chief Inspector than entered the room where the Directors assistant was being held,,,

She was a lady in her mid-forties, thick glasses, severely bobbed hair, and a rather school teacher’ish stern look upon her face.

She rather tartly stated that she had been busy helping the director help set up the cameras, and film the scenes. She had also selected the extras for the dance floor, and had helped keep the on lookers back.

She had remembered the priest, but did not know of him. She had only seen him when he had escorted them in, and when he had helped set up with the autographs.

The cameraman, the younger one, did you remember seeing him talking to a couple during the autograph session.

She thought a moment, pursing her lips, which did nothing to help her rather homely looks.

Yes, her face brightened a bit, a rather poshy boy and a lady in red with all these diamonds just dripping off her. They were talking to him, not sure what about. They walked off after a few minutes, and met up with the priest who was with a lady in green

What Priest, the Chief inspector asked, this time his hair did more than just prickle?

The one who had met us at the door! She rather snapped her answer back at him.

Thought you said you only saw him twice.

Yes she said, when he met us and at the autographs.

But you never mention him meeting up with the couple.

Why would that be of any importance, she again snapped, priests are always meeting and helping people , that’s their job is it not!!

Describe the lady he was with please
Black hair, shiny green dress and matching gloves.

And she wore this diamond tiara! I remembered her because she was with the crowd that wanted to be an extra, but I felt the tiara would be far too distracting and out of place.

Was she alone with the priest? he asked Quite she said, though her husband was probably pretty close by, I know I wouldn’t let anyone stray too far flaunting jewels like hers!!

The Millionaires wife and one of the twins, all seen together with the priest and the dark skinned Romeo…..! The Detective Chief Inspector though to himself.

The Chief Inspector gave a long sigh.
That is, what it is, he murmured dejectedly to himself… daylight was finally being spotted at the end of the tunnel, but none of it was making any sense…..

He released the personal secretary from more questions, having her also detained until the whole matter cleared itself.

At 10 pm a report on the van was received

The vans interior was quite taken apart in hopes of a clue being found to prove that the whole filming was a sham, and only done as a front operation to hide the thieves real intent. Though It was clean, its tyre marks matched those of the caste taken near the gardens….

He recalled the first cameraman who had been driving the van and asked him about it.
He had seen the headlights of two cars coming down the road as he was leaving and had swerved to go around them, going off road for a bit.

Did you get a look at the cars the Chief Inspector asked.

No, it was too dark, and they swerved off a bit on the other side, so his eyes had been mainly kept on the road.
Would you say they were in a hurry the chief Inspector asked.

Not particularly, it was more that they had appeared out of nowhere.

No more questions, the Chief Inspector indicated to the guard, who took the cameraman back to the holding cell…

The Chief inspector than went back to his off to go over the facts so far…


There was not a single clue yet unearthed to connect the director on his crew with the crime that had been committed Saturday evening at St. Davids’ Chambre…. All avenues appeared to be leading to the ring of pickpockets that had been suspected to be working amongst the guests at the event. But as of yet there had been no sighting of them outside that evening.

Could the filming have been all an elaborate ruse set up by the ring of thieves for their own nefarious gain? Leaving a trail of wriggling red herrings scattered about to be followed to as many cold dead ends while they got clean away snickering amongst themselves?

Bloody cheeky of them if it was!

But what part had the missing Ladies played?

That they had been last seen in the company of the thieves, there was no doubt… Could they have been held captive in the automobiles that had passed the cameraman’s van. But why? Certainly not as hostages, for they had apparently gotten clean away. If they had been kidnapped, than certainly the ransom notes would have been delivered by now! There could be darker reasons for the disappearance, but doubtful…

He decided to keep the Director and his crew overnight, and release them in the morning if nothing new developed…

Another report came in, interrupting his line of reasoning…

From an detective inspector whose team had been given Interpol’s list of suspected jewel thieves operating in the area recently.

Only three were tracked down, and all three had alibis. Though one of those alibis proved to be because that evening he was burgling the country of a wealthy Lady. This confession was given light when he was caught red handed with the jewels as the police had come knocking at the door. One of the few bright spots of the investigation, though the Chief Inspectors superior failed to see it that way!

It twas a quite battered and beaten down chief detective who put a call in in to his superior at 10 pm on Sunday to repot the progress that had been made. He, to put it nicely, had his head chewed off and handed back to him on a platter.

Early on Monday morning a detective sergeant escorted the director back to the Eastminster townhouse where he had spent the weekend in. Going inside to look for any clues that the mysterious secretary may have left. Even though the director had said she had been wearing driving gloves.

The envelope that had held the money had been recovered, and it was placed in a bag for evidence, the detective noting that the envelope was embossed with the seal and address of the Diocese of Eastminster, and had never been posted, or Witten upon.

As they were searching the basement a knock was heard on the door.

The detective opened it and looked down upon a smallish, puckish older lady with grey hair and pince-nez glasses. She identified herself as a neighbor ( snooper he thought unkindly) and excitedly asked the detective if he was investigating a murder, like those in Agatha Christie ! (her eyes lit up at this).

She was disappointed when informed that no, it was not any type of murder investigation!

Oh! I see, she said, sorry to bother, and turning, stated to walk away.

Then, before the detective had had time to go back inside, she stopped . Turning back around she timidly held up a tattered old notebook, don’t suppose you would be interested in me notes than ,, she innocently asked fully expecting to be disappointed again.…..

The startled Detective Sargent took the steps down to her three at a time……….


End of Act 4

“Quand on rencontre un mystère, on croit généralement être scélérats cachés “
Author Unknown

To be Continued and Ended in Act 5 ( The Pygmalion Ring)

Posted by Subsequent Wickedness on 2017-04-06 22:35:30

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