This is an excerpt from The Adventures of Gold & Sharpe, which is a short story series that grew out of our latest product – Get Adler! Deduction Card Game. I hope you will enjoy it (let us know if you do). For the rest of the free download see our website: Gold&Sharpe
Detective Superintendent John Hughes was a mountain of a man. He stood six foot four and weighed eighteen stone. He towered over Victor’s desk with his eyebrows furled above his intense blue eyes.
Hughes could be intimidating, but Victor knew that underneath this imposing exterior ticked a tender heart. Victor had a great deal of respect and admiration for his superior. Hughes had encouraged the young sleuth as a Detective Sergeant, recognizing his ability to solve complex cases. He had recommended Victor’s promotion to the rank of Detective Inspector, which had raised eyebrows amongst the veterans. Victor’s colleagues had learned, though, to value him over time, seeking his input whenever they were stuck.
Hughes tossed a new, mostly empty, file on Victor’s desk.
“This one bothers me, Sharpe. It’s why I’m putting you on it. A young woman, Margaret Prescott, was pulled out of the Thames early this morning by a tugboat. She plunged off Westminster Bridge into the freezing waters below. We have no witnesses as to how she went off the bridge.”
If something about a case bothered Hughes, then it bothered Victor too. Hughes had a nose for these things. Victor flipped open his notebook, picked up his fountain pen and started making notes.
Hughes continued: “The victim is twenty eight years old and the body is still on the tugboat at the Westminster Bridge pier. I want you to hurry over there and take over the investigation. Faulkner can fill you in. He’s on scene.”
Victor tried not to roll his eyes. ‘Wet behind the ears’ Detective Sergeant Faulkner was not the most detail oriented investigator at the Yard.
A few wind-scattered flurries pelted Victor’s face as he left headquarters and trudged through the snow and slush to the pier. Winter had arrived exactly on its appointed day. Ah, he loved punctuality and order.
The cold air cut through his overcoat and lodged into his bones, while the metal bar in his left arm gave him a dull ache – a painful reminder of being tricked by Herr Adler.
A few buildings that he passed displayed Christmas decorations. He shook his head. The holiday had snuck up on him this year with his heavy work load, and now another case thrown his way. He hated to drop one case and jump on another, but Hughes was the boss, not him.
Police, ambulance and the divisional surgeon’s vehicles crowded the pier area. He walked down the stone steps and a constable led him to the tugboat. Tall and thin Faulkner nodded to him.
“Show me what you have so far, Sergeant.”
Faulkner pulled the brown tarp away, revealing the body.
Miss Prescott was pale, frozen and pretty, with long brown hair. However, her face looked hard -older than her twenty eight years. She wore a white dress, covered with a thin, short, brown coat. A red woollen hat lay beside her, matching her crimson shoes. Victor pulled out his magnifying glass and studied her soles and heels. Her hands were bare ― no gloves.