Excerpt for The Ice Maiden by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Ice Maiden


Michael saunders

The Ice Maiden

Copyright @ 2018 by Michael Saunders

Published on Amazon 2018

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.



Set in the sixties, THE ICE MAIDEN is a short introduction to Detective Inspector Jack Gilbert when he is at Peterborough, before the creation of the Mid-Anglia Constabulary and his move to the force’s new HQ at the Manor at Brampton. 13

There the Series begins, as he creates a new team to take on larger cases. 13

Read the ICE MAIDEN and there’s a link at the end allowing you to download for FREE, number one in the Jack Gilbert Series – THE CHOCOLATE KILLER. 13

Then again, if you are impatient and can’t wait, you can do so now. Just click on this link 13

Chapter 1 14

Chapter 2 19

Chapter 3 23

Chapter 4 27

Chapter 5 30

Chapter 6 36

Chapter 7 40

Jack had gradually come to rely on his neighbour more and more. Sue came in every day to keep Viv company and the pair got on famously together. He banished any thoughts of being selfish and exploitive to the back of his mind, as it allowed him to concentrate on his work. 40

He sat at his desk going through files yet again, but they were no further forward in the Anne Trayhorn murder investigation nor the disappearance of Pat Griggs. The telephone rang. He picked up the receiver. “Gilbert?” With furrowed brow he listened intently and scribbled down some notes on his pad. “Many thanks, that’s a great help,” he said, hurriedly replacing the telephone and going outside to speak with Andy and Stephan. 40

“We have another missing person,” he informed them. “A young nineteen year old named Daphne Clemp. It seems that she went out on Saturday evening and never came home. Apparently her parents reported it in the early hours of Sunday morning. Uniform went to see them and was referred to a neighbour who had seen who she thought was Daphne sitting in the front seat of a car,” and he paused for affect. “A red sporty looking car. It was pouring with rain and the driver got out, went to the boot and picked something up. He then opened the car door and struck the passenger in the head, before getting back in and driving off, with the passenger still in it.” 40

“Number plate,” asked Stephan hopefully? 40

Jack sighed. “If only life could be that simple. No, it was raining the neighbour is elderly and she didn’t think to note it down. She doesn’t know the make of cars either, which doesn’t exactly help, but she did say it had a sloping back to it, not like a normal boot and agreed it looked like a sports car and nothing like her son’s Rover.” 40

“Well if we take this mysterious car as being the same MGB GT that the WPC saw, it is obviously local. A check with DVLA should show up all local drivers owning such a car,” said Andy. “I’ll set the wheels in motion.” 40

“I’ve called in Travis Arnold,” announced Jack. 40

“Travis who,” exclaimed Steph? “That’s some name isn’t it? Who’s he when he’s at home?” 40

“Head reporter on the Telegraph. I want him to run a piece on the murder and missing girls. It might also help flush out this bloody car that seems to float around.” 40

*** 40

That night Jack returned home almost enthusiastically. He felt in his water they were at last getting somewhere after continually having hit a brick wall. As he locked the car and walked into the house, his brain walked through the wall dividing his work and home life – and never the twain shall meet. “Hiya Viv, I’m home,” he called as he walked through the kitchen, ducking his head to miss a beam as he stepped down into the lounge. He smiled on seeing his dear wife fast asleep on the settee. Walking over he stooped to kiss the top of her head. “Sweetheart I’m home,” he whispered with a loving smile. 40

Viv shifted and smiled dreamily. “Hello darling,” she said, still not opening her eyes as she slowly woke up. 41

“How do you feel? Had a good day?” 41

She considered the question. “Not bad. Sue’s been in and we had a bit of a chat and then she helped me cook something for tonight.” 41

“I’ve been so busy at work I only had a sandwich. I could eat a horse. What are we having?” 41

“You fucking bastard!” 41

Jack was staggered at how his wife had suddenly flipped; concerned as she lunged at him with flailing arms. “What’s the matter?” 41

“It’s always work, work, work with you. You never think of anything else. What about me,” and she beat her chest. “You were supposed to be here this afternoon.” 41

“Why?” 41

“The fucking hospital. You were supposed to take me to the hospital. I had my first out-patient appointment at three. I told you!” 41

Jack gulped. She was right. He had completely forgotten. “Did you go,” he ventured? 41

“Yes, I got a taxi. Sue came with me,” she hissed. “Go on get out of my sight,” and she turned away, withdrawing into herself. 41

*** 41

After an uncomfortable night in the spare room Jack got into work early. He felt extremely down. If only Viv had called to remind him, he thought, but then any husband worth his salt shouldn’t need reminding. He parked his car and as usual let his mind walk through the wall into work mode. 41

Stephan arrived, clutching a copy of the local rag. “The Telegraph has done us proud,” he exclaimed. “Hopefully it should generate some telephone calls. Unfortunately it didn’t make the front page,” he grinned, passing the paper to Jack who scanned it, nodding his head. 41

“Page six isn’t too bad,” he replied placing the newspaper down on the desk. “So where do we go from here, guv,” asked Andy putting his mug down and slopping tea over the paper. “Ah shit,” he exclaimed, lifting the mug, but immediately frowned as something caught his eye. He looked up in surprise. “Has anyone noticed this?” The other two shook their heads as Andy picked up the newspaper and began reading. 41

“It says here there are four units for sale at the Burrough’s Industrial Estate and lists the size, prices etc.” 41

“So what,” asked Stephan? 41

“There’s a six hundred square yard unit, with offices and work area, which used to be owned by Forget-me-not Catering. Have you checked this out Steph? 42

His colleague referred to his notebook. “No, but then I probably wouldn’t have if it had shut down.” 42

“Well what do you know,” Andy grinned? “It’s only got a commercial walk-in blast freezer.” 42

“Whose advert is it,” demanded Jack urgently? 42

“Bradshaw Estate Agents.” 42

“We need to tread carefully on this,” thought Jack out loud. “I don’t know about you, but somehow my gut instinct is telling me this could be the one. Do we have anything back from the DVLA yet?” 42

“I’ll give them a call straight away,” said Stephan getting to his feet and making the call. Moments later he got a result. “They’re telexing a list of local red MGB GT owners with their names and addresses. It should come through within the next half hour.” 42

“Call down to the desk Steph, and tell them immediately the telex comes through to bring it up straight away. Tell them it’s urgent,” ordered Jack. 42

The next thirty minutes seemed to drag and then when the uniform arrived with the flimsy sheet of paper in his hand he was almost mobbed. Jack checked the telex. “It seems there are eleven owners in the local area,” he exclaimed, wondering whether they should attend every address, but hoping they wouldn’t have to. He suddenly stopped in amazement. “Well what do you know? A 1965 MGB GT, red, registered from new to a Mr Stephen Bradshaw, address down as Bradshaw Estate Agents. I think he deserves a visit don’t you? We’ll just show up at his office unannounced and see what we can flush out. Andy come with me. Steph you hold the fort.” 42

Much to Jack’s chagrin he could not get anywhere near Bradshaw’s to park his car and they had to walk quarter of a mile, with Jack complaining every step of the way. Thankfully it wasn’t raining, although the pavement was still wet from the storm they’d had earlier. 42

Bradshaw’s was a small family run estate agent in premises which had previously been a tobacconist shop. Through a window full of property photographs viewed from the outside in the street, it was easy to look through and see two young women and a man working in an open plan office. Once inside Jack could see the obvious head honcho sitting at a desk with a glass window overlooking his minions. 42

One of the women came off the phone wearing a plastic smile reserved for all potential clients. “Good morning how may I help you,” she asked with all the sincerity of a recorded message. Jack held up his ID and in a tone not to be argued with demanded to speak to the owner - presumably Mr Bradshaw sitting in his private goldfish bowl. She reached for her telephone. They saw him pick his receiver up. “Sorry to bother you sir,” and she lowered her voice as if to prevent being overheard. “The police are here and want to speak to you. Shall I show them in?” They saw him nodding and looking at them through the glass. “Mr Bradshaw will see you now,” the girl informed them, getting up from her desk and smoothing down her skirt before sashaying towards the waiting boss man. 42

“Gentlemen, what can I do for you? Please,” and he indicated they should sit. 42

The two detectives sat down. “I see from the local that you are advertising an industrial unit which contains a built in blast freezer,” queried Jack, straight to the point, taking in the smug supercilious expression on the man’s fat face. 43

“Oh I thought it was police business; are you after a property purchase,” he smiled benignly? 43

“We are investigating a murder, sir,” and let the ensuing silence hang like a sword of Damocles over Bradshaw’s head. 43

“Murder?” His eyes widened in shock. “But what does that have to do with coming here. Surely you can’t think...,” and his voice trailed off, leaving his face with a distinct look of concern. 43

“When was the last time you inspected this property you are advertising,” asked Andy? 43

The man looked concerned. “I believe it was about three months ago. Just for a survey and to calculate a valuation for marketing.” 43

“And you hold the keys here for any potential viewings?” 43

He glanced a look at Jack. “Well of course the keys are kept here. Although there have not been any viewings for the property.” He pulled a face. “The owners are far from realistic. There are several units available on the site, but the owners want top dollar and that does not reflect the current market I’m afraid.” 43

“What car do you drive?” The question from Jack came like a bolt from the blue and Bradshaw looked confused. “I have an MGB GT, why?” 43

“Colour?” 43

“Red. What do you want to know for?” 43

That was enough for Jack, who promptly got to his feet and officially cautioned the man. Bradshaw was almost crying as the prospect of what was happening began to sink in. All he could think of was what people would think, the effect it would have on his reputation, the damage it would do to his business, and the fear of being taken to a police station and put in a cell. Told to get his coat and instruct staff to close the estate agency, Andy remained with Bradshaw while Jack went to get the car. 43

Moments later Bradshaw was forced to do the walk of shame past shocked and confused employees and through curious shoppers wondering why a car was in the middle of the road blocking traffic. Andy pushed Bradshaw’s head down guiding him into the back seat before sliding in beside him. 43

*** 43

While Bradshaw was being booked in Jack and Andy went up to the office for a welcome drink. “We’ll let him stew for an hour or two. That gives us time to arrange a search warrant of the empty industrial unit and prepare our questioning strategy for the eminent Mr Bradshaw.” Jack rubbed his hands together. “My intuition tells me we have our man. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him; all that bluster and full of self importance.” 43

“You should have seen him Steph; arrogant prick,” grinned Andy. “I thought he was about to shit himself when he knew we were bringing him here.” 44

Jack swallowed the last dregs of coffee, and made a call down to the front desk. “Right, come on Andy let’s go and see what Mr Bradshaw has to say for himself shall we?” 44

Bradshaw had been taken from his cell into interview room one. He sat there dejectedly, a beaten man with elbows on the table and hands over his face. He looked up despondently as the two detectives entered the room and visibly flinched as the metal door clanged shut. 44

“Why am I here,” he whispered almost on the verge of tears. “I haven’t done anything wrong.” 44

“Mr Bradshaw can you account for your movements over the last five Saturdays – specifically between the hours of nine and midnight,” asked Jack sternly, not allowing the man to relax for a moment. 44

He screwed up his face in thought. “I was at home, oh, except for last week when I went out for a meal at Luigi’s, in town.” 44

“How did you get there?” 44

“I booked a cab.” 44

“Why didn’t you go in your car,” wondered Jack. 44

Bradshaw shook his head. “I don’t use the car at the moment,” he almost whispered. 44

Both detectives looked at each other; both wondered why. “You own a virtually new sports car and you don’t drive it,” exclaimed Jack? 44

Bradshaw looked down at the table. “I was banned for six months.” 44

That was a surprise. Jack hadn’t seen that coming. “Why was that?” 44

“I took a bend too fast and hit another car. It should have only been a straight forward insurance claim, without any fuss,” he blustered, obviously feeling extremely hard done by in what had happened. “Police were called by some nosey parker and I was prosecuted under this new bloody Road Safety Bill. I ask you; all because I‘d had a few drinks. I was perfectly safe. I’d only had a couple of brandies and a few glasses of wine which didn’t affect my driving in the slightest. I was perfectly sober. Anyway the upshot of it was I was banned for six months,” and he slumped back in his chair still feeling the innocent party. 44

“If your car is off the road, where do you keep it?” 44

Bradshaw sighed. “It’s complicated. We have three cars at home; the MG, my wife has a Corsair and my son has a Mini. With all the manoeuvring required; there is not enough room to park all the cars on the drive, I rented a garage nearby for the MG as it wasn’t going to be used for a while.” 44

“And it hasn’t been driven at all?” 44

“Occasionally I get someone to give it a run; you know just to keep the battery charged.” He suddenly became animated. “It’s perfectly legal; it is fully insured,” he exclaimed anxiously. 45

“I don’t doubt that it is. You say you have a son - how old is he,” wondered Jack? 45

“He’s twenty seven; why?” 45

“And does he live at home? Where does he work?” 45

“Yes, he lives at home,” and he smirked, trying to ingratiate himself. “Youngsters these days want the easy life don’t they Inspector. Free board and lodging and all his laundry done for him by his mother. You know the sort of thing; they don’t know they’re born do they?” 45

Jack did not return the attempt at a chummy smile. “And what does your son do for a living?” 45

“He works in the business” 45

“Tell us more about the industrial unit,” asked Andy wrong footing Bradshaw. 45

He pursed his lips. “There’s not much to tell you. It’s a white elephant really, as far as we’re concerned. The owners want far too much for it. Other units on the site are much cheaper. Until the price is dropped nobody will be interested.” 45

“Can we take a look at the unit,” asked Jack, thinking a simple ‘yes’ would save a mountain of paperwork and umpteen hoops to climb through to get a search warrant issued. 45

“I don’t see why not, although there’s nothing to see except an empty shell.” 45

“What about the built in freezer unit; is it still working,” asked Jack? 45

“Well it is in working order, but switched off. There is still power to the property, but it would be foolish to run an empty blast freezer.” Bradshaw hesitated. “I am afraid the keys are at the office, and I closed the place down earlier, before I was dragged here.” 45

“Well,” said Jack, “I’m sure, rather than call a member of staff out it would be simpler all round if you give me the keys to your office and I’ll have someone go and retrieve the keys to the empty unit.” 45

“If it means I can get out of here quicker, then by all means be my guest Inspector. My keys have been bagged up with my bits and pieces by your Desk Sergeant. You will find the industrial unit key hanging in my office. It’s marked Forget-me-not UNIT.” 45

“Thank you for your help Mr Bradshaw. We shall endeavour to be as quick as possible. In the meantime I’ll arrange a cup of tea for you.” 45

“Thank you Inspector, that’s most generous of you and much appreciated.” It was said with a tone of voice which Jack felt was patronising and did little to warm him towards the bumptious little prick. 45

Leaving the interview room Jack was beginning to get the bit between his teeth. “Come on Andy, let’s do this ourselves rather than worrying anyone downstairs.” 45

*** 46

The two detectives let themselves into the Estate Agent’s but the keys to the industrial unit appeared to be missing. Angrily Jack picked up the telephone and called the office. “Hi Norm, it’s me Jack, can you get Mr Bradshaw to the phone, sharpish...yes, I’ll hang on.” Andy carried on searching, but it was evident the board was where all keys were kept and the one marked Forget-me-not was definitely not there. 46

“Mr Bradshaw, we are at your office. The keys are not here,” he paused on listening to what the man was saying. “We have looked everywhere. If they are not here, who’s taken them?” He listened intently and put the phone down, waving Andy into the outer office. He walked across to the tidy desk in the corner. “Apparently this is where Mr Bradshaw Junior works; although I get the impression he is not much of a grafter.” 46

They looked on the desk and all around, before pulling open the drawers. “I would have thought they’d have been locked,” exclaimed Andy. “So much for security. Yes,” and he held up a labelled bunch of keys. “We’re in business.” 46

Ten minutes later they pulled up to the rear of the industrial unit. “Grim looking place isn’t it? No wonder it’s not been sold,” said Andy looking at the unkempt and almost dilapidated unit. “And this used to be where they produced catering food for functions,” and he shuddered at what he considered to be a far from satisfactory hygienic production centre. 46

They got out out of the car and Jack unlocked the factory door. Inside they heard the sound of a faint whirring, and they looked at each other. “That’s an electrical unit. I thought Bradshaw said it wasn’t on,” said Jack beckoning Andy to follow him towards the end of the unit. “It’s the blast chiller and it’s working,” and he pulled at the lever to open the door. “Shit, It’s locked.” 46

“Are there any other keys on the ring?” 46

Jack pulled the bunch of keys out of his pocket and checked. “Yes, there seems to be spares for the rear, a couple of steel ones,” and he looked up and pointed. “Presumably for those two offices and a Yale key, probably for the front door, but no others.” Andy walked around the side of the unit to the control panel. “Hey, we’re in luck. There’s a key here.” 46

“Try it and see.” 46

“It’s our lucky day,” exclaimed Andy as the key turned in the lock and he pulled the lever on the heavy insulated door. It swung open easily. “Fuck!” 46

Inside, suspended by hooks on the ceiling were two frosted bodies, one without hardly any clothes on, the other completely naked. 46

“I can’t see their faces, there’s too much ice. Pound to a penny one is Pat Griggs.” 46

“And the other?” 46

“I reckon it’s the missing Daphne Clemp,” sighed Jack. 46

They stood for a moment looking at the two dead women. “Do you think it was Bradshaw guv?” 46

“No, it has to be the son. Come on let’s lock up and get back to the station.” 46

Chapter 8 47

Having got back to the station Jack telephoned the Divisional Surgeon asking him to call into the station for the keys and then go on to check out the two bodies. He then put out a call for uniforms to pick up the son, Edward Bradshaw. “I think we’ll keep the father here until we get confirmation that the son has been detained,” he said to Andy and Stephan. “Meanwhile gentlemen, can I make you a delightful cup of tea?” 47

In the event, Eddie Bradshaw was not at home, but that evening at around ten, traffic police on the A1, outside of Peterborough detained a red MGB GT being driven by a fair haired young man. Brazenly he had informed the officers he was driving his father’s car and was extremely angry that he had been stopped. He had not been speeding and had not done anything wrong. Furthermore, he was going to the airport and now there was every chance he would miss his flight. “Mark my words the police authority will be made to pay for my ticket plus compensation if I do not get to Heathrow in time,” he threatened. When nobody took any notice of his ranting it only served to make him even angrier. 47

The arrogance was still there when Jack and Andy came into the interview room. 47

“Mr Edward Bradshaw,” stated Jack? “I am Detective Inspector Gilbert and my colleague here is Detective Constable Street.” 47

“I don’t give a fuck who you are,” he countered angrily. “I have a plane to catch and I demand to be released – now!” 47

Jack smiled deprecatingly at the arrogant bluster.”Well, in that case let’s get this over and done with quickly shall we?” 47

Bradshaw crossed his arms. “At last, some degree of sense.” 47

“Do you know a young lady called Pat Griggs sir,” enquired Jack? 47

Bradshaw appeared to ponder the question. “No, I’ve never heard of her.” 47

“Are you absolutely sure,” queried Jack again, sliding across a photograph of her. 47

Bradshaw gave it a cursory glance. “No, I definitely haven’t seen her before.” 47

“That’s a nice jacket Mr Bradshaw,” commented Andy, catching Jack’s light handed approach. “Oh dear,” he pointed. “You’ve snared the material there, on your arm.” 47

Bradshaw frowned and inspected his sleeve to check where the cloth had been caught. “Oh it’s nothing. I must have caught it on something.” 47

“We know what that something was,” said Jack, stony faced, and he leaned forward aggressively. “We know from the autopsy on Pat Griggs that she caught someone’s jacket with her finger nails. The pathologist found fibres beneath a broken nail. Now, if I was a betting man, I feel sure those fibres will provide an exact match to that jacket you’re wearing,” and he sat back, a satisfied smile on his face. 47

Bradshaw visibly blanched, his mind working furiously to concoct some sort of defence, but he could do nothing but bluster. “I want to call my lawyer. I am not saying another word.” 48

“That’s you prerogative Mr Bradshaw,” said Jack with a thin smile. “Now do you have anyone in mind or would the duty solicitor be acceptable,” and raised a questioning eyebrow. “In the meantime I would ask you to remove your jacket to allow us to run some tests.” 48

Two hours later the three detectives were in the office having a cuppa with a celebratory plate of Jack’s chocolate digestives. Broken by indisputable forensics Bradshaw had come to the conclusion he had only one option open to him and that was to plead guilty. However, he did not admit to committing murder, but cited manslaughter, acting while the balance of his mind was sexually disturbed. Either way that was for the court to decide. 48

Amidst all the satisfactory back slapping, Jack’s telephone rang. He answered it and pulled a face. “Yes sir. Right away,” and replaced the receiver. “Good news travels fast. The Super sends his congratulations and has asked me to go up to his office immediately.” He counted the biscuits before he left. “There are eight left. I expect to see no less than six on that plate for when I get back,” he lectured. 48

“Come,” barked the voice of Superintendent Kane on hearing the knock on his door. 48

“You wanted to see me sir?” 48

“Yes Jack, come in, sit down,” and he pointed to the chair in front of desk. “Well there’s nothing like going out on a high is there,” he smiled. “Very good news on catching Bradshaw.” At once, the benign smile disappeared to be replaced by a more serious expression. “As you have been informed, you are being transferred to the new regional HQ at Brampton. I’m sorry to see you go Jack, but policing today is always looking to the future and who are we to stand in its way?” 48

Five minutes later Jack emerged from the Superintendent’s office feeling a little shell shocked. Slowly he went down the stairs and back to his incident room. 48

“Everything alright guv,” asked Stephan? He felt a little concerned on seeing Jack’s sour face. 48

Without further ado, Jack told them. “The Super has just told me, as from tomorrow I will be based at The Manor – that’s the new HQ outside Huntingdon.” He looked at his watch. “That means I have two hours to clear my stuff. Mind you that also means two hours and five minutes for a farewell pint,” and he managed a weak smile at his two colleagues. 48

As he threw his bits and pieces into a cardboard box, he looked around his dilapidated shoe box of an office. He had enjoyed his time here and was sad to see it all end. However, the picture of the new HQ drawn for him by his boss sounded exciting and he looked forward to the challenge of gelling together a larger team and handling more important cases. There was the added bonus too of having less far to travel. His home at Little Stukeley was only a ten minutes drive away. 48

Little did he know he would hit the ground running. 48


This short introduction has hopefully whetted your appetite in wanting to find out what happens to Detective Inspector Jack Gilbert when he heads up his new team. While recognised as being an excellent detective, he is a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to personal values. These are tested to the full in both his private life and at work when he takes up his new position in the Mid-Anglian Constabulary. 49

Find out more with this FREE OFFER of the first book in the Jack Gilbert series 49


CLICK HERE for your FREE download! 49


Set in the sixties, THE ICE MAIDEN is a short introduction to Detective Inspector Jack Gilbert when he is at Peterborough, before the creation of the Mid-Anglia Constabulary and his move to the force’s new HQ at the Manor at Brampton.

There the Series begins, as he creates a new team to take on larger cases.

Read the ICE MAIDEN and there’s a link at the end allowing you to download for FREE, number one in the Jack Gilbert Series – THE CHOCOLATE KILLER.

Then again, if you are impatient and can’t wait, you can do so now. Just click on this link

Chapter 1

“What a shit Christmas,” he said to himself; little knowing that next year’s Yuletide would be even worse.

Jack Gilbert gave a deep sigh as he made himself a cup of coffee. He had been up all night and didn’t think he had had one minute’s sleep; his mind was all over the place. He turned on the transistor radio to hear some group called the Beatles, caterwauling some mindless dirge. “Bloody pop groups,” he complained. “They’re all the same; here one minute, gone the next – and they call that music.” Irritably he re-tuned the station to the Light Programme where real music could be heard. All alone in the house, he walked into the lounge, put his coffee down on the table and sunk back on the sofa. From somewhere, he knew not where, he suddenly began to cry. Not just a tear, but a full scale blubber. Gradually he got a grip and looked up at the ceiling, roughly wiping his eyes with the back of his hand, wondering why, thinking grown men didn’t cry. This wasn’t him at all. He was a Detective Inspector for God sake, and in his position used to being in control. Now look at him. He shook his head, as if this would drive away the fears and doubts, but never the grief. He felt so alone and dejected after what had happened. He hadn’t even bothered to cook for himself, which was unusual. He liked his food, but whatever he ate lately seemed to give him heart burn. He slumped back and thought of his wife. Viv was still in hospital, but at least she was being well looked after.

He took a deep breath and ran a hand over a face rough with stubble. This was not him. He looked at his watch and came to the conclusion it was useless just sitting around moping. Perhaps he should go into work? At least he could lose himself in reports rather than let his mind wallow in grief.

Fifteen minutes later he was on the A1 up to Peterborough. Turning his blue Austin A55 into the car park of the police station on Bridge Street, he got out and walked across to the main entrance of the Peterborough City Police force. He paused before climbing the four stone steps beneath the traditional blue lamp and took a breath, unsure of how he was supposed to behave.

Inside, the Desk Sergeant looked up and was about to smile, before he remembered what had happened and became covered with confusion, not sure how he was supposed to react. In the event Jack merely nodded, stretched his hand out and pushed open the swing door into the corridor beyond. Briskly he ran up the stairs to his first floor office, which didn’t do wonders for his breathing. He made a mental note to cut down on the beer, or the making of his middle age paunch would be for keeps. Wiping his face with a hand; a weak attempt to reshape the growing jowls into some semblance of a pleasant disposition, he paused before the main office door to recover his breath and compose himself. He turned the handle and went inside. “Morning lads,” he mumbled, not making eye contact with the two detective Constables sitting at their desks, and went directly to his office at the end of the room, shutting the door behind him.

Constable Street raised his eyebrows, a thumb jabbing towards the closed door, before giving a shrug at detective Constable Oakman. “He wasn’t due to come in yet, was he?”

Oakman looked at the closed office. “No, I thought he was on compassionate leave for another two weeks yet. Mind you,” and he looked his colleague in the eye. “We could do with his input on this bloody Trayhorn case.”

In the haven of his office Detective Inspector Jack Gilbert was beginning to have doubts. He slumped down in a battered chair at his ancient desk, and glumly surveyed his world. You could hardly call it an office really; it was more of a glorified cupboard, shoe horned with three filing cabinets and two uncomfortable plastic chairs, nicked from the canteen, just in case he had visitors. A tiny window afforded a modicum of light and apart from three months in the summer a naked light bulb hanging from the ceiling was relied upon to add sufficient illumination in which to see. He sat there moodily contemplating what he should do. It was ridiculous coming in if everyone was walking around on egg shells, too embarrassed to act normally. Running a hand through greying, Brylcreemed hair he puffed out his cheeks as his steel grey eyes set upon the picture on his desk. It was of him and Viv on holiday. “We looked so happy then,” he thought, gently tracing a finger over the image. “Who could have imagined the pile of shit destined to fall on us from such a great height?” Feeling his lip quiver, he snapped his head in a preventative jerk, attempting to clear his mind and dampen the emotion. Grabbing hold of the desk he knew he had no option. He had to get a grip. He needed to compartmentalise his mind. One part here at work – another part for home. Building a mental brick wall separating the two factions was the only way to function. He got up, let out a breath through pursed lips and opened the door. Both detectives looked up expectantly, not sure how to react, but both about to soon find out.

“Right, let’s shoot the elephant in the room shall we? In case you don’t know,” and hesitated on seeing their sympathetic expressions. He looked up and rolled his eyes. “What am I saying? This is a police station for God sake. Even the most highly confidential of secrets get loaded onto the grapevine before you can say it wasn’t me guv. Look, I’m back. I can see by the look on your face you’ve heard. I won’t pretend, it’s been a very difficult time, but my personal life remains what it is – personal. Let’s just get on as normal, with what we’re paid to do shall we? Now,” and he threw a stern look at the two detectives; matter closed. “What do we have?”

“Well guv, we have the Trayhorn case, that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere,” said Stephan Oakman.

The Inspector walked across to the blackboard standing in the corner. It was his favourite bit of kit, derived from memories of his schooldays where the blackboard was a font of all knowledge. He used it here to break down cases into more easily absorbed sections and actions. “Right Steph, give me the details,” he commanded.

“A seventeen year old girl went missing on October 30th, guv.”


“Anne Trayhorn. Found dead on 7th January.”


“In some bushes down a lane off the A1 near Wittering.”

Jack wrote the details on the blackboard before turning back to catch Andy Street taking a giant mouthful out of a bacon roll. He raised an enquiring eyebrow. “I thought you were watching your weight?”

“I am guv. It’s going up nicely,” he grinned, patting a stomach that was as flat as a washboard. Jack shook his head. His two detectives were certainly a case of little and large with Andy Street devouring anything and everything that came his way, yet remaining as thin as a rake. Stephan Oakman on the other hand ate less than a fly and piled on the pounds. An overly tight shirt stretched across his ample stomach was criminally misplaced evidence of a man you would think devoured a full English everyday for breakfast and was no stranger to a multitude of fish and chip suppers.

“There was something strange that the pathologist came up with guv,” continued Steph. “His report states there was no decomposition of the body which would have been expected. Her core temperature was ice cold. He suggests she was murdered by strangulation and placed in a deep freeze. After a couple of months she was removed and taken to the site where she was found by a Mr Banks out walking his dog.”


Anne Trayhorn was a pupil at Peterborough Sixth Form College. She had been a bright student at the secondary modern school and her parents hoped she would go on to university, but in her early teens hormones had kicked in and academia had flown out the window to be replaced by boys and pop music. Despite bribes, inducements and threats from her parents to knuckle down and study, she had flunked her GCE’s.

It was then she discovered that in the real world nothing was given to you on a plate. You had to work for it and work hard to achieve anything you wanted in life. Up until this epiphany moment she had taken her home for granted. She now began to appreciate the sacrifices her parents had made and how hard they worked to maintain the lifestyle she enjoyed. That was why she had succumbed to her parent’s advice and for two years was studying hard to do her re-sits. She came from a loving family and her parents appreciated she did need some downtime, which was why she was allowed to go to the Peterborough Palais de Dance in Wentworth Street to see an unruly pop group called The Who, who were publicised in the papers as having a somewhat unsavoury reputation.

In an audience of primal screaming and deafening sound, Anne and her two friends had an absolutely ‘groovy’ time and it was nearly ten by the time they got to the bus stop to return home. Her friends, Jenny and Alma both lived at Dogsthorpe, and luckily they were in time to catch the ten fifteen, which was the last bus of the night. Anne lived at Longthorpe and her bus was not for another fifteen minutes. Giggling, laughing and waving, the young teens said their goodnights and Anne watched her friends disappear into the night. Standing in the chill Autumnal night, her mini skirt did little to keep her warm and she pulled her faux fur jacket tight.

“Enjoy them; The Who,” enquired a voice behind her?

She jumped at being startled and tried to disguise the reaction by acting nonchalant when she saw the good looking young man standing there. “Did you see them,” she asked? “Oh I just love Roger Daltrey; he’s fab,” and her pretty face grinned at him. “Are you a fan?”

“No not really. They’re OK, but I prefer The Kinks. They’re playing here in two weeks,” said the smartly dressed lad with a dimpled alluring smile that reminded her of Paul Jones the lead vocalist in Manfred Mann. She felt a shiver of attraction on feeling his intense bright blue eyes rapidly scan over her. “Waiting for a bus?”

Anne pulled a face and crossed here eyes. “Doh!”

“Sorry,” he laughed. “That was a bit obvious wasn’t it? Where are you headed?”

“I’m waiting for the Longthorpe bus.” She looked at her watch. “It should have been here by now. If it’s been cancelled, I’ve got a bit of a walk.”

“No worries. My car is just round the corner. I’ll give you a lift if you like.”

She didn’t exactly relish the prospect of a long walk on such a chilly night, especially in her new high heels . “Would you? That would be great,” she exclaimed, completely disregarding any thought of danger in accepting a lift from a stranger. It wasn’t as if he was some grotty old pervert handing out sweets was it? And she wasn’t exactly a child was she? She was smitten by that smile. He couldn’t be more than five years older than her and he did look ‘fab’. “You sure you don’t mind,” she asked?

“No probs. Longthorpe is only a few minutes out of my way,” and he put his arm in the small of her back to guide her down the street.

Anne liked the look of him. “What’s your name? Mine’s Anne,” she bubbled, attracted to the fair haired boy who she reckoned to be about mid-twenty.

“It’s Eddie,” he smiled, taking her hand and lightly kissing it. “How do you do Anne?” She giggled, thinking how nice he was and enjoying his company. He was handsome and had a car. He dressed well too, with that super killer jacket. Perhaps he might ask her out on a date, and felt a butterfly of hope, wrapped in a flutter of fancy somersaulting in her stomach at the prospect. This might be the start of something eminently enjoyable.

“There she is,” he pointed at a sleek bright red MGB GT. Anne was suitably impressed.

He unlocked the car and held open the door, catching sight of underwear as her mini skirt rode up and her legs parted as they swung into the foot well. She sat back in the black leather sports seat, as he got into the driver’s side. “Nice car,” she enthused, impressed beyond words.

“You should see her go,” he grinned, flooring the accelerator and shooting up the road, the rear end of the MG twitching with the speed. With eyes wide Anne was overwhelmed. “Wow,” she exclaimed in raptures, carried away by the car and its gorgeous driver.

“Fancy going on the A1 and I can really open her up,” he grinned at her. “Or will it matter if you’re half an hour late?”

“No, let’s do it. My parents will be in bed by now. They won’t know.”

He took hold of her hand and laid it on his thigh. “Hang on tight,” and chanced a glance to see the smile on her face. As they reached a straight run he floored the pedal again and felt her fingers tighten on his thigh as the car accelerated up to seventy. They came up behind an old Triumph and he had to brake hard. Giving an aggressive blare on his horn he pulled out judging the vehicle coming towards them was sufficiently far away to overtake the slower car. Except the driver was annoyed at being hooted at and decided to accelerate, keeping the MG on the wrong side of the road. The lights were dazzling; the horn deafening. Anne covered her head with her arms, while her feet jammed into the floor as if she had some divine power to make the car brake. With adrenalin coursing through his veins, Eddie was more than excited at this near death experience and with a deft flick of the steering cut across in front of the Triumph at the last second as a large van thundered past. “Wohoo,” he shouted, grinning across at Anne. “How was that for excitement?”

She placed a hand on her chest and puffed out her cheeks. “You are an idiot,” she laughed. “We could have both been killed,” and looked at him, clearly attracted by what she saw. He returned it with a knowing smile, convinced she would be easy. He slowed down and towards Wittering took a left turn out into countryside, keeping to a steady thirty five. “This better,” he asked?

Anne smiled. “Yes, much, I thought it was all over back there.”

He placed his hand on her bare thigh, his little finger straining to reach a little further beneath the hem of her skirt. “Sorry. Promise I’ll take it easy,” he pledged, edging his hand slightly higher as if caused by the car jolting on a sudden bump in the road. “I’ll just pull in up there and turn round. We don’t want to be getting back too late do we?” Stopping just past the entry to a field he placed his hand over the back of her seat and reversed back into the open countryside.

She felt his fingertips on her shoulder as he reversed and their eyes locked. The second it took seemed forever as he leaned towards her. Anne closed her eyes and relished the taste of his lips as he slid the tip of his tongue into her mouth. Gently sucking it she was conscious of his other arm encircling her and she fell into his embrace. As their tongues probed to and fro she sighed on feeling his hand on her breast. Soon he had found his way inside her jacket and then under her blouse. Fingers caressed the cotton bra feeling the nipple stiffen beneath, before slipping inside to explore her bare flesh, squeezing and rubbing, causing her to sigh. He kissed her neck and gently nibbled her throat.

“No,” she exclaimed as his hand went under her skirt and she tried to push him away. “No, I don’t want to. Stop. Please.”

This only served to increase his passion as he roughly reached right up inside to tear at her tights. “Go on; you know you want to,” he rasped in her ear as he ferociously grabbed, forcing his hand between her legs.

“No!” She kicked and wriggled to escape his hands, trying to fend him off her. Suddenly he stopped. “Bitch! Prick teaser!” He threw open the door and got out of the car. She gasped for air, thankful he had stopped and did not go any further. Suddenly the passenger car door opened and a hand grabbed at her. “Come on, get out.” Despite trying to fight, he was too strong and he virtually dragged her out of the car. Pushing her down to the ground, he straddled her. A hand roughly clamped her mouth as she fought to scream and shout. She kicked as his other hand delved where he shouldn’t, pulling and tearing at her clothes. She felt the cold air flood over her naked flesh and the pain from his nails as fingers intimately tore at her. Her energy was almost spent. She could resist no more as he grunted and undid his trousers. Pushing himself inside he began to thrust. As he began to pant on top of her, she tried one last time raking her finger nails down the material of his woollen jacket as she attempted to push him off. Her wild kicking caused him to slide out. He slapped her face. When she began to shout his strong hands grabbed at her throat, squeezing as he continued to have his way. As he came she went limp. He withdrew and pushed himself up. “Come on bitch, get up,” he hissed, staring down at her, doing up his trousers. “Get up, or you can find your own way home.” She didn’t move and he cruelly kicked her, but there was no movement. Realisation suddenly dawned on what he’d done. Being the man he was he did not panic. Looking down at the lifeless form his mind cruelly assessed every precise detail from when he had first spoken to her at the bus stop. She had been on her own. Nobody saw him talking to her. There were no witnesses to see them go off in the car. He smiled. The police had nothing to go on; especially if he delayed matters.

Chapter 2

It had been just before midnight on October 30th when the station had received a worried call from Mr Trayhorn, saying he had been out combing the streets looking for his missing daughter. The call was duly logged but nothing was followed up until the following morning. Two uniformed constables called round to the Trayhorn’s home, to interview the distraught parents. Their report contained a photograph of a pretty seventeen year old with a dazzling smile and blonde hair backcombed to within an inch of its life into the current Dusty Springfield style. All relevant enquiries were made and a search undertaken but nothing had been found. There had been no domestic arguments, she seemed a happy, well balanced girl; in fact a normal teenager. Uniform could find no reason as to why she would runaway and a detailed search of the girl’s last known movements had produced nothing of interest. It had been presumed as she was nearly eighteen that she was probably involved in a romance kept hidden from her parents. Perhaps she had been pregnant and didn’t want them to find out?


The file remained open with cursory and periodic attention being paid. That was until January 7th when an agitated 999 phone call was received from a Martin Banks. He was calling from a public telephone box on the back road into Wittering. “Hello, police? I’ve just found a dead body. The body of a young girl.”

Uniforms were called out to the scene, followed half an hour later by detective Constables Oakman and Street. Andy drew up and parked his car half on the verge. A panoramic view of open countryside stretched before them. Caught by the morning sun shining weakly through a gossamer January sky, everywhere was dusted with a white frost covering the entire landscape. “Jesus it’s cold,” complained the slim detective who felt the cold far more than his chubby colleague Constable Oakman. Beyond the verge a shallow ditch formed a natural boundary between the lane and the fields which were further protected by intermittent patches of low shrubbery. Getting out of the car they could see no attempt had been made to hide the body. They could clearly see a female figure lying in the ditch, with legs together and arms stretched above her head. Andy Street shook his head sadly. “What a waste,” he murmured.

“She’s obviously been interfered with; you can see,” said Stephan pointing at the body and the torn clothing as they walked towards her.

“Do you think she was killed here,” asked Andy looking at the ground around. “There aren’t any marks, nothing to be seen. The ground doesn’t appear to have been disturbed.”

“Hello dear boys!” The detectives turned towards the direction of the acknowledgement. A short portly man clutching a battered old case walked towards them, smiling with twinkling eyes from beneath bushy eyebrows. He paused beside them. “What do we have here then?” It was the Divisional Surgeon Dr. Ford. He winced at what he saw. “What is this world coming to,” he muttered sadly as without further ado he gingerly stepped down into the ditch. As he tended the body the detectives were more intent on seeing whether there were any items of clothing or possessions which may have been dropped.

“Look, over there,” exclaimed Andy, pointing to beneath a shrub beside the trench. There’s a shoe. It looks a match to the navy blue stiletto one she’s wearing. Someone has thrown it away. It’s too far from the body just to have fallen off her foot.” He stepped down into the gully to reach for the discarded shoe. “While you’re down there Andy,” said Stephan excitedly. “There’s also something else I can see. I think there’s a handbag chucked into that bush,” and he pointed to where he could see a small dark shape. Carrying the shoe, Andy took three paces along and began to delve into the foliage. “You’re right Steph; I can see it.” Hooking an outstretched finger through a strap, he pulled out a fairly new navy blue leather bag. Inside he found a purse. In the wallet section he discovered a Student ID card. He looked at the dead girl. “Yes it’s her bag for sure. Going from the photograph here, her name is Anne Trayhorn.“

“Are you sure,” asked Stephan and his colleague nodded.

Their attention was suddenly diverted by the Doctor who was kneeling beside the body. “The poor young lady was strangled,” he confirmed. “However, there is something a little odd here. It seems as if she’s been frozen.”

“Well it was bloody cold last night,” remarked Andy.

The Doctor threw him a resigned world weary look, as an intellectual might view an inadequate pupil before taking him to task. “I am fully aware of that Constable. What I am talking about here is her core temperature. I think you’ll find while last night was extremely chilly, it was no way near minus fifteen was it,” and he tilted his head derisively. “No, the poor child has been stored inside a freezer, making time of death somewhat difficult to ascertain.” Huffing and puffing he struggled to get to his feet, stretching out a hand imploringly. “Well don’t just stand there Constable. Give me a hand up will you. These old bones of mine are way past their sell by date.” Grinning, Andy helped the Doctor get to his feet and assisted him in getting out of the ditch. “There’s nothing I can really do here,” he said, looking up at the wailing sounds of an ambulance approaching. “She’ll be taken to The Peterborough and District. I have already liaised with the Home office Pathologist who has agreed to perform the autopsy tomorrow morning. If you would care to observe, I presume you would be made extremely welcome.”

“Who’s doing it,” wondered Stephan?

“The redoubtable knight of the realm, Sir Ralph Hayes,” smiled the good Doctor, knowing the man was an eminent pathologist, but formidably slightly right wing of Attalla the Hun in his domineering treatment of observers who he deigned were all ignorant with the intellect of a gnat.

The detectives looked at each other. “I think we’ll give that one a miss Doc,” said Andy pulling a face.

“Then I expect you will receive an extremely detailed autopsy report from the mighty knight twenty four hours thereafter.”


“So, I presume the poor unfortunate parents have been informed,” queried Jack?

“Yes guv,” confirmed Andy. “It all happened yesterday. We were just waiting for Sir Ralph’s autopsy report before going through a list of enquiries. The bag and shoe found discarded at the scene are being checked for fingerprints.”

Just then the office door opened and in walked a surprised big cheese - Superintendent Kane, clutching a report. “Jack? What the devil are you doing here; I thought you were on compassionate leave?”

Jack looked a little sheepish. “You know how it is sir, I need to keep my mind active, otherwise...,” and his voice trailed off hoping his boss would understand.

In the even the man merely nodded. “So you haven’t just popped in then? Here,” and without waiting for an answer held out the folder. “You had better go through this. It’s the autopsy report on the murder of Anne Trayhorn. Brief your team and then come up and see me. I need to discuss something with you,” and without further ado nodded at the detectives and was gone, leaving Jack wondering what on earth that was all about.

He opened the report and scanned the pages. “It confirms here that the body has been frozen and stored over a period of time,” said Jack out loud to the two Constables. “Time of death is estimated about nine weeks ago. Cause of death was by strangulation and there were marks on her wrists, akin to hands being tied together. She was also raped. Apart from the normal medical details, there’s nothing much else to relate, except ....” He pulled an inquisitive face. “Interesting. It says beneath the finger nails of one hand they found fine navy blue fibres of wool; similar to the composition of a man’s jacket. Does that mean in the struggle she snared the killer’s jacket?” He looked at his colleagues and shut the file. “If it did, then when we find the bastard, providing he still has the jacket, we can nail him. Right, I would like you both to complete a timeline from the night Miss Trayhorn went to the concert and a list of people she associated with, together with any background information we have, or need to find. I’ll just go and see our beloved leader and when I get back we can go through what you’ve come up with.”

He ran up the single flight of stairs, regretting it in an instant as he pushed through the swing doors into the corridor housing the higher echelons of Peterborough policing. He paused to gather his breath outside the door studded with the Superintendent’s brass nameplate. Adjusting his tweed sports jacket and hitching up his corduroys he pushed open the door to be greeted by the great man’s secretary busily typing away at her electric typewriter. Envy cut through his mind for a moment when he thought of the old fashioned clattering lumps of metal they had to pound away on to produce their reports.

“Morning Jack. The Superintendent said for you to go straight in.”

“Morning Gloria. Right you are,” and he gave the door next to her desk a light knock and went in.

“Ah Jack, sit down won’t you?”

Jack did not feel very relaxed. He had no idea why he had been summoned and from past experience coming here hardly ever proved a positive encounter. Nevertheless he sat as requested and waited for the man sitting on the opposite side of the desk to finish doing whatever he was doing. It seemed like reading and signing, reading and signing. He signed the last piece of paper with a flourish, putting it with the rest of the pile and leaned forward. Resting his chins on fingers forming a temple he looked intently at his Detective Inspector. “Would you say you were happy here Jack,” he asked, completely out of the blue?

Continue reading this ebook at Smashwords.
Download this book for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-40 show above.)