Sanguine Town: Westby Ravensdale - The Lady in Grey

Westby Ravensdale is an eccentric private investigator in Sanguine Town with an ability that sets him apart from all others. He is capable of analysing a situation and coming up with an answer in seconds, making the secret weapon of both the Police and the matter how much he may frustrate them. With his helpful companion, George Malcolm, Westby faces up to any and all fascinating cases, bringing his unique methods to play. --- "The Lady in Grey" is the first in a series of Westby Ravensdale stories. George Malcolm is introduced to the detective, and is thrown head first into a case involving a mysterious spectral lady. --- Confession: Inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Largely a placement of Sherlock into a Supernatural setting. --- Thanks to Christie_xx for the cover drawing.


5. An Unexpected Phone Call

It took me close to an hour to finally get the last box into my bedroom, and I still hadn’t moved the cello from its place next to the stairs. Fortunately, I didn’t need to, as on what was to be my penultimate trip down the stairs, I saw Westby inspecting the cello in the living room.

“I say, George, this is a fine cello,” he commented, gently plucking one of the strings, and smiling at the sound it produced. “I hope that one day you consider playing a duet with me. In respect to that proposition, I ask that we keep the cello in this room.”

I nodded in accord and moved to sit down on the sofa, as Westby placed my cello against the wall. I did not speak, feeling too tired to utter a sound, and felt my eyes close.

I am unsure whether I fell asleep, but my eyes opened when Westby asked, “Are you familiar with ‘La Musica Notturna delle Strade di Madrid. No. 6, Op. 30’ by Boccherini?”

“Excuse me?”

“Are you familiar with it? It is quite a favourite of mine.”

I opened my mouth, and then paused, playing the name over in my head. Finally, the tune presented itself, and I hummed it out.

“Ah, yes. That’s the one, indeed. Now…can you play it?”

I ceased my humming and regarded Westby for a moment. “I have never tried. Besides. I do not know the notes.”

“Then you must find them out,” Westby said, decisively. He stood up and went to the window once again. “Such a song…” He left his sentence unfinished, and disappeared into the kitchen.

I simply sat, still adjusting to this new home that already had been filled with our property. I had only been here a couple of hours, and already my boxes were ready to be unpacked.

“Are you hungry?” Westby asked, his voice muffled.

“Do we have any food?”

“We have bread…and a cabbage…”

“Is that all?” I asked, sighing. “Have you not gone shopping?”

Westby laughed. “I thought of everything except food.”

I sighed, stood up and went to the doorway. I saw him standing at the fridge holding a loaf of bread and the cabbage, inspecting them. “What are you doing?”

“Making sure they’re in a good state. I only bought them today, but food can be very temperamental.”

“I suppose I’ll be in charge of food then,” I muttered. I saw Westby was about to reply, when the sound of ringing suddenly sounded from his pocket.

“Who could be calling me at ten minutes past three?” he asked rhetorically, removing the mobile form his pocket. “Number withheld? Hm.” He pressed the receive button, and put the phone to his ear.

I am largely unsure of the conversation itself, as I only heard Westby’s side of it. It went something like this:

“Hello…Ah, yes. How can I help? I can tell you must need some…Oh, really? Locked room, and suspicious circumstances…Are you sure it’s not a suicide? This is a city…No note? Witnesses describe a woman leaving who didn’t go in? Interesting…Dressed in grey, you say? Fascinating…Yes, I am interested. I’ll be at the scene soon…Yes, the scene. Like it or not.”
And then he hung up. He turned to me, a fascinated smile on his features. “I say, Dr. Malcolm, isn’t this a stroke of luck! I have a case!”

I nodded. “Yes. I heard. I was standing next to you the whole time. Who was that?”

“Hm? Oh, that was a detective at the Police Department. D.I. Nathaniel Doyle. He told me that there’s an interesting case that might interest me…he wasn’t wrong. Something about a mysterious lady and deaths in locked rooms. Incredibly fascinating,” Westby replied. He briskly made his way towards the stairs, and I limped after him. “So we’re not going to get any food today?”

“All we’re doing from this point onwards is investigating this case. Come along, Dr. Malcolm. I think I may end up requiring your advice…” He paused. “Chemistry and Biology…correct? Your fingers seem to be slightly burnt from use of chemicals, and they also have the steadiness of someone who must do dissections.” He smiled. “How did I do?”

“You did remarkably well,” I replied, astonished.

“Wonderful!” he exclaimed. He shifted his gaze across my face and smiled. “And a teacher? That explains why you’re so tired.” Before I could answer, he rushed down the stairs and grabbed his coat. “Come on! Someone who knows their biology and chemistry may prove most helpful.”

I sighed, and headed down the stairs; thankful I hadn’t removed my coat earlier. We headed out to the road, and Westby hailed a taxi. It stopped, and we hopped in.

“To number 7, Dagger Street,” said Westby.

“Very well, sir,” said the taxi driver in a voice that betrayed a less-than-excellent upbringing.

I turned to my companion, a mildly confused – and frightened – thought playing on my mind. “Isn’t Dagger Street in the Slums?”

“It is, indeed, but the fact is that Dagger Street is by far the nicest place in the Slums…if a nice place exists there,” Westby replied. He smiled, and added, “Anyone who lives there is, most likely, a struggling businessman. Hence, Dagger Street is the home of many suicidal folk. However, the victim in this case does not seem to have committed suicide. Something else is happening, here.”
I nodded, and adjusted my position on the seat. “Considering where we’re going…should we worry about being attacked?” I asked, my mind bringing up my ordeal but a few weeks ago.

Westby stifled a laugh, and looked at me. “We’ll be stopping at the crime scene. Therefore, there will be Police Officers present. We have no need to worry, my friend.”

“Friend? Really?”

“We live together, and you’re the closest to a friend I have. Ergo, you are now my friend.”

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